Monday, 16 June 2008

Camping gas


Ah the first camping trip of the year, the excitement, the planning, the getting-out-the-old-stuff and checking it over, the buying of the new stuff, the non walking child, the dog. We set off bright eyed and full of hope, the specially picked camp site only an hour away door to door to test Jack's staying power and Twizzle's guts. The car packed with people and stuff; tent wedged between Husband and Twizzle, cool bag balanced precariously atop the dog cage (it follows me wherever I go, I call it The Shadow), sweets, treats and doggy drops lined up along the dash board for just-in-cases and tears. I'd thought of it all ladies and gentlemen, this was going to be one flawless camping trip, yes siree.
The queue started about ten minutes from home, unusual at this time and would probably start moving in a few minutes. It did, very verry slowly. Note to blue Golf on the A429 to Stow: if there is a two mile queue behind you and a caravan is tailgating you, perhaps you may want to take your foot/feet off the brake and apply the accelerator. It's the pedal to the far right of the foot well. Next to the Brake, your favourite pedal.
I maintained my dignity, refused to sound the horn and an hour later glided smoothly past said Golf, head up, pleased at my restraint and calm in the face of extreme provocation. I looked in the wing mirror to see Husband signalling Isla to flip the bird through the back window, she did, expertly. Ah.
Note to blue Golf, bird flipping child is not mine.
The camp site was just as promised, basic, rustic even and suitably outdoorsy for the Millennium Housewife family. Despite our everyday personas of normal working Husband-in-suit, Housewife at home (blogging and bleating about it) 2.4 kids, get us camping and we change faster than Superman in a telephone box. It's as if our real lives are our Clark Kent disguises but when let out for the weekend we become the love-children of Ray Mears and Bear Grylls, all campy and kitted out.
It goes without saying that a camping trip always involves a visit to the local camping store. Where else to feel outdoorsy and really part of nature than when buying all the equipment needed to experience it? I don't know about you, but I always get a sort of jittery feeling when going into a camping shop. Think of all the things I could be! The urge to buy crampons/climbing ropes/freeze dried beef casserole, as you imagine yourself skipping up mountains like Tom Cruise at the beginning of Mission Impossible 2. The red mist comes down as the desire takes root, in your head you need these things, they're just what you need for the rest of the weekend to be successful, it'll show everyone how part of it all you are. Look at her they'll all say, she must do out doors things every week, and you know that they're imagining that once out of the camping shop you're off to do something indistinct but dangerous and clever. The fact that after the camping shop trip you're going to drive back to the camp site and have a quick kip before opening the wine is irrelevant. Irrelevant.
The best bit about this particular camping trip is that we had invited Uncle Matt. Everyone's favourite uncle and Husband's best friend, Uncle Matt comes unfettered by children/dogs/strange wife wearing crampons in a field. He serves as a bench mark by which we can measure just how much more cluttered our lives are than the last time we saw him and, (the painful bit) what our lives may have been like had we made different decisions/used contraception/said no to the dog.
He arrived ten minutes behind us, all smart car, expert parking and I've-had-enough-sleep-for-the-last-32-years grin, you've got to love him. Once parked, he proceeded to open his boot and set up his tent. It took four and a half minutes, neat and crease free, he had opened and repacked it before setting off to check it was sound. He then started to bring out neat, well kept gadget after gadget: a small metal table as an extra surface, a slightly larger table because, well you know, you might need another, slightly larger table, a cafetiere with attached bean grinder, a spoon/fork/knife contraption, neat packets of teabags counted out before packing. I held my breath, praying that the next item would be a camping black Top Hat out of which he would pull a fold up rabbit (a live one), but was disappointed to see only his fold away sofa, ah well, next time maybe.
Uncle Matt then proceeded to help us with our camp; the seven birth tent (fits dog and travel cot) that we still haven't cleaned since last year, the blankets and pillows, the complete lack of gadgetry, the copious amounts of Barbies/trucks. Oh I had packed well, everything (everything) the children could have cried for in the night had been thought of, blankies, teddies, duvets, Rabbit Clock, you name it Millennium Housewife had packed it. There were going to be no sleepless nights not attributable to the actual inconvenience and uncomfortableness of camping. Fab. What a fantastic mother I am.
But perhaps not Wife-and-supplier-of-comforts. There had been no room for anything Husband and I may need you see. I was more intent on the possibility (ha!) of sleeping that night. Oh dear. Still, Uncle Matt's spoon/fork/knife contraption came in useful (we wiped between users) and the fresh ground coffee was lovely. We didn't drink too much tea though, he'd only counted out enough for himself. He'll know better next time.

13 comments:

Ernest de Cugnac said...

Ah, my God, and here it (that is, life) is in a nutshell: "had we mad different decisions/used contraception/said no to the dog".

Ernest de Cugnac said...

Or even "made" but perhaps mad is better.

Jolly Good Yarn Girl said...

so weird...we were in camp shop yesterday buying tents. What's going on ?

rosiero said...

As a family of seasoned campers, this made me laugh.

Millennium Housewife said...

EDC! Tis true, life in a nutshell, we can all stop philosophising, Millennium Housewife has solved the riddle MH

Yarny! Parallel lives, totally up for the ride...

Roserio! Thanks for popping in and welcome, nothing like camping for family harmony and constipation MH

Jolly Good Yarn Girl said...

When I edit or write a posting I press the insert picture icon button thingy...tha's how I get a photo in. I can't get my comments to show so I'm pretty dimbo too - my son caolls me Buttercup Chucklechunks...says it all really

Frog in the Field said...

Our first jaunt in a tent was one we borrowed...I shall blog about it I think.
Darling Husband always moans I've packed to omuch, but is always bloody grateful I can produce it all when called for.

Frog in the Field said...

sorry, you're tagged, come and see what to do

Working mum said...

Hi! Found you via Frog in the Field. Great post. We used to go camping when I was young so I recognised a lot!

Will be back
WM x

Tara@From Dawn Till Rusk said...

Just found you after Frog tagged you.
We flirted briefly with camping. Children adored it, hubby and I nearly divorced over it. 4½ minutes to put up his tent - we would have abandoned our own and moved lock stock into his . . .

Millennium Housewife said...

froggy! thanks for the tag! not sure what it is and away on holiday right now so will check it out next week... see you then! MH

Boyfromoz said...

I've just read your entire blog output - brilliantly funny and beautifully written, so very many thanks. Anyone reading this - do yourself a favour and read the lot from the start.

Mud said...

Just found your blog and read it all (busy day in the office) - just brilliant!