Friday, 11 March 2011
The Great Outdoors
Spring is not far around the corner and with it come thoughts of holidays. For those of you thinking about roughing it this year and going camping, here is a handy guide to camping in the UK.
1. The week leading up to the holiday should be spent checking the long range weather forecasts with a growing sense of doom as clouds gather and expand like a sponge filling with water directly over where you will be visiting.
2. Load up your car with as much equipment as you can until it appears that you squeezed the contents of your house into a meduim-sized hatchback. Always make sure you load your tent in first. This will ensure that when you arrive you have to dump everything out onto the ground so you can get to the tent.
3. If there is a stream or river near the campsite always make sure you pitch as near as possible to it. This will seem a great idea as you sit by your tent during the day listening to the gentle flow of the water.
However when you are trying to get to sleep the gentle flow will sound like Niagra Falls is roaring dirctly into your ear. There is the added bonus of the river flooding if the rain is heavy enough and joining you in the tent.
4. When cooking food make sure your gas stove is far enough away from the tent to avoid fire risk. The downside of this means that the freezing 50mph winds will blow the flame horizontal so it takes around an hour just to warm a tin of Ravioli in a dented pan.
5. While waiting for your Ravioli to become tepid enough to eat, take a look at your tent. You will notice that it is poorly erected and sagging in the middle.
Then compare it with the state of the art, space-age looking tent next to yours.
This will be huge, cost more than your car and have an internal cooking area, sleep zones and entertainment emporium. The people inside will probably be called Gerald and Lucinda, they wil read The Guardian and have two perfectly well-behaved childern called Oscar and Emily.
6. When the evenng comes you will find that time has now begun to move at a glacial pace and while you thought you had spent three hours sat in your tent trying to read a book while becoming rigid with cold, in fact only twenty minutes have gone by.
You must now go to the local pub. Here you will be able to talk to the locals who will inform you about cattle, then becoming progressively drunker start telling you how much they hate campers coming to their home turf.
While in the pub fill up on Pork Scratchings as you will be ravenous after only eating one luke warm tin of Ravioli all day.
7. After drinking five pints of Taylors Landlord or Black Sheep,stagger back to the campsite along a pitch black country road, screaming like a girl everytime a horse looks over a wall at you.
8. Climb into your sleeping bag and fall into a drunken snooze, which you will awaken from two hours later with the overwhelming urge to pee out all the beer you have drunk.
Climb out of your nice warm sleping bag and discover that you haven't brought any torch batteries. Decide to walk to the edge of the field to pee instead of trudging over to the grim, Stalinist-looking toilet block.
As you flounder around in darkenss so complete you may as well be in outer space, trip over a guide rope and crash headfirst through Gerald and Lucinda's enormous tent, awakening the entire site.
9. In the morning, disassemble your tent then make a half-arsed attempt to shove it back into a bag that was originally packed by a machine that could apply hundreds of p.s.i. to squeeze everything in.
Cram the half packed tent into the back of your car, using your foot to squash everything down enough to close the boot.
Drive out across the rutted, muddy field until you reach tarmac then head at speed straight to a hotel.
10. Lie to everybody about what a great time you have had.