It is a little difficult to believe but once again friends of mine have invited me to go camping. They have even offered to provide me with a little tent situated some distance away from the big tent where the grown ups are because I snore. This is useful as I suspect without that I might have been reduced to crawling under a car for shelter.
This camping trip is a father's and children affair. For some reason I have been invited despite not fulfilling the entry criteria. I am (arguably) male but I have no offspring and my attempt to source some on a temporary basis for the weekend was met with, shall we say, hesitation by my friends. Hesitation and the occasional threatened restraining order.
Our destination is Glenwood Valley or Glendale Wood or Valleydale Glen, something like that anyway; its basically a bowl filled with horsedung. Trees are dotted around the place and a small stream flows through. It's rather pretty and picturesque for those without a sense of smell. We came here before in 40 degree heat when the atmosphere was robust to say the least. By picking a late Autumn arrival date we stand more chance of the air being breathable.
Chores were allocated and Jason and I were tasked with providing dinner on Saturday night. I contacted Jason, did he want any help with dinner? Jason intimated that he might stab me if I came anywhere near the food. Fair enough. I bought cheese and biscuits instead. Plus quince paste because nothing says "we're having a classy cheese and biscuit evening" quite like quince paste. I'm not even sure what quince paste is but I've got some.
Having acquired a sleeping bag to replace the one that didn't make it back from Africa and chased the spiders out of my air mattress I am now fully ready to go on a camping trip. Except for all of the things I've forgotten. I don't know what they are, I've forgotten them. My fellow campers will point them out in tones ranging from incredulity (I can't believe you've forgotten that!) to weary contempt (I find it so easy to believe you've forgotten that). Last time it was plates and cutlery, excuse me we're camping. I thought we would hunt down and kill stuff and then tear it apart with our bare hands and eat it raw. Apparently getting back to nature is more fun as long as you don't get very back to nature.
Let's face it this is the truth of camping. We go camping to pretend we're getting back to nature while actually emphasising our complete disconnect from it. Nature has become a sort of theme park that we visit with as many of the comforts of home as we can possibly arrange. We set all of this stuff up, stare at nature from a safe distance and agree with each other as to how rugged we are. We will frequently wear specially designed clothing often in dull or camouflage colours to demonstrate how edgy and out in the wild we are but its all bullshit really. From time to time somebody does genuinely get back to nature. You can always tell. They're the ones we have to send the rescue choppers to go and find. Frequently they die. Nature isn't nice, not even to temporary visitors.