Yes, actually. Another tale from camp. Not another poem. I’ll spare you that.
This one is more an observational post about camping and associated holiday behaviour. The things we love, the things we hate and things we can’t believe we pay to sit in a damp field miles from our perfectly good home for.
We obviously love it enough to keep going for more. And enough that although at home, I’m sat outside in the cold, near dusk, writing this.
I just need to interlude that I’m witnessing the most amazing pink sunset sky and a neighbour has set off one of those lovely crackly sparkly fireworks. I’m on the Vermouth. Rosso. But I don’t think I’ve had THAT much yet. I don’t know the reason for the firework. A dummy run for Bonfire Night? I’ll keep you posted.
Our latest adventure was a return visit to somewhere we love. There was seaside, chips and cribbage. There was also a sharp strong south-easterly. For nearly the whole time we were there. Undeterred, we made the best of it. That’s what we’ve come to expect (the unexpected) when wanting a cheap people-free holiday. Also wanting a cheap-people free holiday. That sounded judge-y. I’m in no position to be judge-y.
It was a sedate affair, apart from the south-easterly. We needed to recharge and take stock. It gave me much time to reflect on why we so enjoy trundling off to a stranger’s field, give them money and build a temporary home that we’ve stuffed into our medium-sized car.
In no particular order, I’ve made the following observations and discovered some embarrassing home-truths.
For so long, we’ve not had our own home. Although we were in our old rented home for a VERY long time, it always felt flighty. We could be asked to leave for no reason, at relatively short notice. We couldn’t do a thing without permission and someone came to inspect it on a regular basis. A situation I’m sure many are familiar with, so I hope this doesn’t come across as patronising or smug now that I’m no longer in that position. So camping was like ‘playing house’. It was all ours and no-one could take it away (though that south-easterly tried) or come in without permission. All that was missing was our cat. But we could imagine how that would go, so it was always best he stayed home and faced eviction without us.
More light-hearted observations;
8pm is a perfectly reasonable time to go to bed. Noon is a perfectly reasonable time to shower and get dressed for the day.
Talking of shower. Takes a couple of days back home to get use to not having to shower in 15 second bursts. Or however long the push button on the wall allows you. And not wanting to kill yourself because your towel touched the floor, or the wall or that questionably stained curtain.
Each time we pitch tent, I’m quietly reminded of my addiction for battery-operated fairy lights. If the tent isn’t lit up like a carousel, is it even worth camping? Our fellow campers may feel my addiction is not so quietly reminded, as their night sky is assaulted by a kaleidoscope of colour, worthy of Santa’s Grotto.
The Wee Hours. Camping reinforces why they’re called the Wee Hours. Regardless of how little you drink after 4pm, you are guaranteed at least one trip for a wee to an unlit building 400yds away in the middle of holy crap it’s dark out there. Because you’re on holiday, you try not to be governed by the clock. And in a field of 3 other units, miles from civilisation, it’s often hard to determine the time. It may be only 9pm, but it feels like 3am. If it was only 9pm, there wouldn’t be anything from the horror movies watching you from the hedgerows. So it must be 3am. Do I lock the toilet door, or is it best to leave it open so nothing can crawl under it? The return journey is a real test of your lung capacity. If you haven’t woken your partner up with all the zipping and unzipping, your wheezing and eyes so wide they glow in the dark should do the trick.
If you’re camping at a seaside town, chips on the beach is an absolute must. It’s illegal not to. However, the incoming tide is relative to how long you wait for your chips. No matter how quickly you’re served, that tide will have just covered the last rock to sit on.
A conversation that was particular to this recent trip;
‘Could I get 4 of your Rum Truffle Cakes please. And would it be possible to have them in a box as they need to travel.’
‘Certainly. Did you know that you can order these for delivery now? We’ve added them to our online shop.’
Shuffles feet awkwardly, not knowing whether to speak the next sentence or not…….
‘Err, actually, yes I did know. My email request made me responsible for you adding them to your online shop.’
No other situation in the world would see you merrily walking across a field in your pyjamas to clean your teeth, only to be met by an 80 year old woman in her bra and knickers. Neither one of you batting an eyelid.
Pose of the trip was executed by yours truly. I call it ‘Sexy Starfish’. The reality was;
‘As soon as I take this last pole out, THROW yourself onto the top of the tent like your life depends on it. This wind ain’t messing. Spread yourself out.’
I suspect the couple in the nearby campervan were filming us. Expect a video to appear sometime soon…….
Now that we’re home, what do we miss about camping?
The convenient bottle-shaped hole incorporated into the arm of the chair.
Eating straight from a pan.
Crisps for breakfast. Every day.
The stars going all the way to the edge of the sky.
I could go on for another 1000 words but it’s now pitch black out here, the firework display peaked at that one sparkly crackle and I need to pour myself another Vermouth. Rosso.
Thankyou for reading, you lovely people you!
UPDATE: Just a glimpse inside our fairy-lit tent. Lights blurry and in full swing on account of the 50mph winds battering our temporary home. Luckily the weight of snacks we’d taken helped keep the tent pinned to the ground.
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More travel related tales of woe can be found in The Lockwood Echo’s Travel Section.