Wednesday, October 27, 2010

yet another one about camping

We're happy campers. I've said this before once or twice.

And just back from a fabulous little camping trip - our first in over a year (bit of a record for us) and our first with Stella - I've a couple more thoughts ...

~ how is it that the loudest voice in the campsite, or at least the one that carries the clearest, is always the most boring?
This is not when you overhear a revelatory explanation of Derrida, a fascinating political theory or a hilarious anecdote. No, the voice that wafts across to your fireplace is money down bitching about the state of SA sports. Or who should have won a recent reality chef contest. Or rehashing boring previous holiday stories, exactly how many kilometres were traveled between one boring destination and another, how many boring meals were eaten and at what price.
Also, you quickly realise the correlation between how many glasses of wine The Voice has had and how boring it becomes. By the 3rd evening you can almost set your watch by it.
If you were wearing one.

~ this is of course only a problem when you're staying in one of those camping spots where the sites seem to be right on top of each other, just the merest hedge - if you're lucky - separating you from your neighbours. At Addo this last week this is as tastefully done as possible, but none-the-less you are likely to learn far more about your neighbours then you may have chosen to. As no doubt they did about us.
'Are you going to give Stella some boob now Mum?'

~ when you go somewhere like Addo, out of season, mid week, you find all your fellow campers are retirees, living the dream wandering round the country in their camper vans - replete with satellite dishes, fold-out dish-washing racks, homemade curtains and high tech camping chairs. We were surrounded by these and I was imagining their hearts sinking as we pulled up with two kiddies live-wired on the back seat.
But of course this combination of olds and smalls worked surprisingly well. The oldies missed their grandkids and smiled indulgently at our girls. And they kept the same hours - early to bed and early to rise. No loud music keeping our kids awake, and no need to hush the children's excited early morning shenanigans.

~ when camping one can often expect strange night time adventures ... Pre-babies Husband and I once lay tense and awake in our tent for long minutes convinced someone wearing flip-flops was creeping around our campsite. Eventually we shone our torch beam out, only to catch the small glinting eyes of a tiny little hopper mouse.
On arriving at Addo I taught Frieda to read the different signs for the Men's and Ladies toilets. We were later to rue the pedanticness of a 3 year old when Husband carried her off to the loo at 1am only to return unsuccessful, even half-asleep she wouldn't let him take her into the Men's, and he didn't want to go into the Ladies for fear of encountering a weak-bladdered Granny. We had to stifle our giggles in the silent dark.
But my favourite nocturnal adventure of this recent trip happened to Husband on the night he spent camping alone on his drive up. The place he stayed at had two horses roaming around the campsite. They were friendly and seemingly inconcerned by him. In the night however he woke to a really strange and undecipherable noise. He could tell the horses were distressed, but what was that clanking?
One of the horses, overcome with curiousity, had become entangled in his camping chair and was getting more and more freaked out, eventually running wildly around the campsite, whinnying and tossing its head. Husband was just wandering what(tf) to do when the horse shook itself free, leaving the chair unscathed in a muddy heap, nothing damaged but equine pride.

Fun times. I like to camp. And we're so happy that our daughters seem to too.