Monday, September 27, 2004

Camping Gas

Well camping's changed hasn't it?

I've never been that enamoured with camping before, it all seemt a bit too much trouble especially as I like my home comforts a bit too much. My abiding memories of the 3 times I've been camping previously are of terrible trouble getting the tent up, having almost no sleep at all down to the sheer uncomfortableness of it all and shivering in the cold, and that's before you get started on the shaved eyebrows, face art and missing clothes that were the stock-in trade of camping with a bunch of my schoolmates.

No more. As with most things time brings ease and aids. And maturity, which is overrated in life generally, but not when it comes to camping.

The tent? A 2 minute job. My kind of work. Sit back and watch it put itself up just about. Air beds? Self inflating too. It all was a good job seeing as the wind was a bit strong and we'd got there late due to the incessant traffic along Norfolks roads. Pillows and blankets completed the luxury air tight sleeping cabin. From car boot to habitable in 15 minutes with not one bead of sweat or a cross word exchanged. And a fine nights sleep in prospect too.

That is until the next morning.

The problem is that the majority of camping people are the outdoorsy up at first light kind of people. The kind that at home have walked the dog, fetched the paper and cleaned the car by the time you've finished dreaming about scoring the winning goal in the cup final. The ones who have done a half marathon in the dark as you blearily undraw the curtains. The cheerful kind who sing "morning" at you as you emerge blinking from the tent. That type.

7.30am saw the start of the banging and shouting and kids playing. 8.30am and it was a full-on country fayre around the tent. The decision to get up wasn't a voluntary one.

I stumbled off down to the showers and saw a shaven headed guy in our group washing at the sink. I started chatting away to him as he had his back to me, but he was less than talkative for some reason, I was lucky if I got a grunt back. Maybe he wasn't a morning person I thought. That was until the guy that was really with us walked through the door and I realised I was chatting away to a complete stranger that looked like my friend.

Why is it that you always bump into the people you try to avoid?

I enjoyed it so much I'm off to do it again next weekend.