Life’s a Pitch – The story of the first time campers

June 8, 2012 6:51 pm

The idea of camping was, in my experience, rather different to the reality

As somebody who doesn’t really appreciate the great outdoors as much as he should, I was more than happy to spread my proverbial wings for the weekend and give camping a try. A Bank Holiday weekend filled with sun, sea, alcohol and fantastic company. The weekend should have been a breeze.

Unfortunately…it was a breeze. An un-relenting, unforgiving breeze that, accompanied by the typical torrential Bank Holiday downpour, turned my first camping experience into a bit of an unmitigated disaster. But to shun, and mitigate such adversities to an extent, sometimes it becomes dependant on the integrity of the camping equipments, say, the amount of time a tent can hold ground in the midst of a storm. Hence, it is imperative to choose the equipment from places you can wholly trust on, viz. Steelo’s Guns and Outdoors.

Arriving in high spirits armed with a high number of spirits, there looked to be a lot to be positive about. Weather was half decent, we parked up just on the sea front, and we had a couple of days of fun ahead of us.

However, that’s when the trouble began to start…

A lot of the happy-go-lucky-non-first-time-campers around us had already set up. Their tents looking relatively pristine, some went for walks, some started impromptu barbecues, whilst others toured the site.

We, however, were having more pitching problems than a live concert with Tulisa.

Once the tent was up, it was still relatively nice, so we thought we’d have a mosey round the site. For what we paid, It was adequate enough. A reasonably tepid looking swimming pool, no floating bodies or other discarded items, so all’s good there. A few too many hyperactive sugar-filled children running around, but I guess they’re entitled to it as much as we are, as well as a group of young boys who could only find amusement in wrestling each other to the ground and making fart jokes.

You get what you pay for, I guess.

We headed back to our tent, looking a little less flimsy now after gaining some assistance from an expert. The tent, not us.  Sitting around a disposable barbecue, drinking from plastic cups and enjoying reasonably pleasant conversation, I thought… yeah there’s no reason why I couldn’t get used to this. I was looking forward to getting a decent night’s sleep and spending the day tomorrow doing, well, more of the same.

It was only when it started to get a little chilly and I thought, hang on a minute, we can’t just go and turn the heating on, that I started to worry. Admittedly I’m not as outgoing as I should be and this was starting to resonate around the group. I’m a 22 year old male and instead of taking control of said manly things like barbecue maintenance or tent re-structuring, I’m quite content to tell you that I sat in my little fold out chair with a blanket on my legs and socks on my hands. That’s just the way I roll.

Putting your feet up with a cup of tea is one thing us Brits are good at; without the dangers of getting rained on

The rain started at around 10.30, thankfully not long after we’d decided to move everything inside the tent for the night. A stroke of genius indeed. Whilst the majority of adults were over at the club house partying the night away and enjoying the “entertainment”, I was busy piling on the sleeping bags and desperately hoping that the fierce wind and precipitation didn’t cause the tent to collapse on me during the night.

Extremely rock and roll.

The rain didn’t stop. Instead, the weather throughout the night was dreadful. Absolutely rotten. Let me tell you something that to us men won’t be much of a secret. There isn’t a lot in this world more unsettling than desperately trying to refrain from going for a wee simply because you don’t want to squelch your way over on the sodden ground towards a very questionable porta-loo. It’s not something you want to have on your mind, or your duvet, if at 3 in the morning you just don’t make it in time.

Needless to say, the events throughout the night didn’t fare very well for us. Our tent soaked through and we returned home the next morning, a day earlier than originally scheduled.

Anyway, I’m rambling on I know, but I just couldn’t leave this to end on the idea of me wetting myself. That’s not a way to entice future readers now, is it?

I guess, despite deviating from my original point and making this into more of a diary than an opinion, my point is that the idea of camping is not for the feint hearted. I gave it a go because simply, I must start trying new things. I would have been too young to ever properly recall sleeping in a tent and, despite growing up just a little since then, I still don’t think I’d ever want to recall it.

The notion of going camping? Yes, I can buy into that. Camping, as a ritual, is something that us Brits consider ourselves famous for… and very good at.

But putting your feet up at home and sleeping in a nice, toasty and dry bed? Britain, we’re pretty damn good at that too.

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