|Bringing a touch of Leopard to camping|
There’s screams in the dark and I’m immersed in fluid, praying for my life.
This can only mean one thing….
Nah, not a stint on the maternity ward but a ‘fun’ night under canvas.
“Hi de hi campers!”
“Low de low….”
Incase you’re wondering, my camping trip is right down there with a trip to the dentist or an NCT coffee morning.
Put up and Shut up
The expedition began well. We found a small (BASIC) scenic (BASIC) remote (BASIC) campsite in the rural Devonshire countryside.
It was a sweltering day and the chance of precipitation (just say "rain" ffs) was 0 %.
We joined our two small pop up tents to make an uber construction.
It was dwarfed by the seasoned campers’ giant erections (couldn‘t resist).
Tents the size of marquees, big tops and the 'Millennium Dome', sorry, 'O2'.
With their compartments, pods, separate drawing rooms, studies and utility areas.
We thought we were prepared. Foldaway table, chairs and emergency rations of pickled onion 'Monster Munch', Wagon Wheels and 'Capri Suns'.
Until we spied the neighbours’ fire pits, floodlights, three piece suites, 'Smeg' fridge freezers and Agas, serving up a la carte banquets.
Our neighbours were a friendly, elderly couple. Their enormous dogs had a penchant for humping boys‘ legs.
“They just love small children. Don’t be alarmed if they come bounding up to the tent,” they laughed, adjusting the beasts’ muzzles.
To the right were two families with an assortment of infants in nappies, crawling across the field in excitement - I mean excrement - as they savoured the flavours of fresh cow pats.
We just needed a toothless hick playing the banjo.
Mr N isn’t musical, but he does play a mean game of frisbee.
|Sure plays a mean Frisbee|
Nuts in August
(Referencing Mike Leigh‘s superb: ‘Nuts in May’ where a group of Midlanders wreak chaos on a peaceful campsite.)
We idled away the hours playing games in the sun and exploring the picturesque lakes. Swallows and Amazons. In contrast to Birmingham’s Magpies and puddles.
“Look, a chicken,” the boys cried as the fowl creature, sorry, egg laying stock, see: http://thenews-on.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/confessions-of-voucher-holic.html pecked my travel hair straighteners and I fled, screaming.
We ventured to the only pub in the village and returned at dusk to the flickering embers of fires and the scent of the forest.
The boys cosied up on their side of the tent, making shadow puppets.
It was idlyc.
We sat with plastic cups of wine, listening to the sounds of crickets and the distant hum of traffic.
Smokey the Bandit and his family screeched onto the site. He put up the tent by the light of Lambert & Scutler, before switching on the full beam of his GTI and pumping out Taio Cruiz.
Should I gently remind him of campsite rule # 10: ‘No noise after 9pm (10pm of a weekend‘)?
Mr N told me he could sleep anywhere, yet insisted on sharing MY 50 cm wide old cot bed mattress, thus stapling me up against the sides of the tent.
I took some comfort in knowing he was on the nose bleed stained half.
At home we have a Superking bed with a pillow in the centre, which acts as a buffer from morning breath and unscheduled advances.
This sleeping arrangement forced us to sidle up together. My husband passed out immediately. My body was contorted, but not in a good way, and the only thing I snogged was canvas.
Still, I had my Mummy style sleeping bag. But “Who would want to sleep in a bag?” to quote 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days'.
As daylight faded my fears began to manifest as my imagination worked overtime.
Eerily silent, you could hear a pin drop. Or a carving knife….
Piercing infant screams, squawking birds of prey, the call of cows - or zombies from 'The Walking Dead?'
It didn’t help that my digital radio - pre set to 'Absolute 80s' - was playing 'Thriller'. Quietly.
Blair Pitch Project
We were pitched by a BBQ clearing in the woods.
A rustle and steps….was it a savage rat or rabid fox scavenging for scraps of charred 'Quorn' burgers?
I gripped the torch, but the shadows of the trees above resembled giants with demi waves. Their falling blossom sounded like small rodents or tarantulas scurrying over my head.
Smokey entertained us all night with his rasping cough, until his phlegm lined splutters formed a hypnotic rhythm.
Survival of the Wettest
As I began to drift off, the final camping cliché. Rain.How could this be with odds of 0%?
My face was forcibly stuck against dripping canvas and my sleeping bag soaked up the wet.
Like the 1980s advert where a scientist shows how absorbent sanitary towels are by pouring blue water onto them. Clearly Smurfette’s on the blob again. I’ll stick with her cousin, Lilet.
Delirious, I woke my husband to inform him that my waters had broken.
I contemplated moving to the car, but it was jammed with holiday essentials like fishing nets and surf boards.
I lay there like James Caan in 'Misery'. Come on, show some decorum and resolve. I resolve to ‘Like’ Hilton Hotels on Facebook.
Eventually tiredness consumed me and I fell asleep for five minutes. Before the hen, babies and couples bickering at full volume over whose turn it was to empty the slop bucket, woke me.
The chirpy crickets just left me itching.
|Here chick, chick|
I Love the Smell of Stale Arm in the Morning
In the harsh light of day the romance eroded, like the lining of Mr N’s 1990s swimming trunks.
The grass was no longer dewy, it was boggy.
Bleary eyed, with the imprint of a guy rope on my face and Robert Smith hair, I emerged from my tent with my husband - Robinson Crusoe - to behold the frights.
Mother nature is unkind.
Pale campers letting it all hang out in Khaki shorts and vest tops. In the wilderness there is no need for bras, under arm shaving or Frizz Ease. Clearly making aromatic and audible bodily noises is also de rigueur.
Wearing my satin nightdress seemed futile in such circles.
At least they had coffee, albeit in tin cups, whereas I had a flat can of 'Sprite'.
The boys were ecstatic. Refreshed and lively. Unaware of the stormy night.
|Coming back stronger than a powered up Pacman|
Life's a Pitch
Trepidation at what mysteries the lavatories would reveal. Wearing waterproof shoes and clutching an quilted toilet roll, I went on a reconnaissance mission.
I thought of Vincent Price in 'Thriller' : “The foulest stench is in the air, the funk of 40 thousand years...” and went in.
Relief - in both senses of the word. The toilets were surprisingly clean and former patrons had even left a bottle of 'Jasmine Radox' and a packet of 'Mint Imperials'.
On return I walked past the much maligned caravans. Envious of their electricity, running water and access to the Saturday morning 'Emmerdale' omnibus, even if it was the signed version.
Time to pop away the tents (like wrestling a giant slinky) and return to civilisation.
My suspicions were confirmed. I’m not really one for nature and I don’t really understand camping.
Even with a Wigwam, divan, combi boiler and full access to a 'Scutlins' holiday park - with optional upgrades to breeze block - I’m not sure I’ll Girl Guide it again.
I’ll continue my Mother’s sterling work and book into a B&B while all the boys rough it.
I’m less Kum ba yah and more Go by car. Now!
A parting gift, bird crap on the driver‘s door. Presumably the chicken, or the Pterodactyl.
|Insane in the tent membrane: Camping's gone to Mr N's head|