Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Over the years I've done my fair share of camping, and generally it's been a lot of fun.
Apart from recalling the horror tents and latrines of the Girl Guide experiences, I really do like getting a tent and buggering off away from things for a while. I even had a tent in the back garden when I was about nine, and would rarely spend a night indoors during the summer holidays.
I've pitched a tent at Glastonbury back in 1983, spent time exploring the campsites of North West Scotland in the spring*, camped under the bar stars at numerous Discworld get togethers and kite fests, and more recently, DAS dos when possible.
For new readers and those who haven't been paying attention, a DAS event involves several species of (generally) furry assorted Vikings and Saxons, gathering together in a village and invading the local pub before going off and fighting each other in a wood somewhere. The gathering together in a pub is done the night before the fighting by the way, we don't get pished then hit each other, although that has been known to happen by accident at banquets.
The banquets also usually involve alcohol, and plenty of it, which has led to some fun, and funny events, especially when tents are thrown into the equation.
I recall with fondness the time when someone with a snore loud enough to register on the Richter scale, was unceremoniously transferred in his sleeping bag to the next field where he awoke to find a gang of cows staring at him, and another when someone let down the guy ropes on a tent during a freak storm, as they thought causing a flood in the front part of the tent would be a laugh**
But there are occasions when it's not all sweetness and light, for example, being kept awake by someone who has lost at Tequila Roulette trying to turn their stomach inside out all night, but then again it was worth it to see the look on their face when they got up to find that they couldn't leave their tent without wading through the stomach contents was amusing.
But far, far funnier, was hearing someone crying out at two in the morning, "Oh God, where's the zip, sweet Jesus, where's the fuc*ing zip, help, Yaaaaaaarch... Oh, no, no... yaaaaarch.." followed by gentle whimpering. We didn't want to be around when he got up the next day.
And even I have had a not too pleasant time with a tent.
The main thing I have learnt when going camping, is to set your tent up and get the bedding in it before even thinking about setting off to the pub.
Failure to do so can result in either a) sleeping in the car, b) sleeping passed out in a field, or c) trying to get a small tent up in the rain and dark while smashed out of one's tiny mind after nearly two bottles of red wine.
Guess which option I went for?
I know you're all rooting for it to be b), but I have my pride, and I was determined to get my little tent up, despite the cold, wet conditions. With the help of a couple of (also pished) friends, we managed to get the tent half up and resembling something rather more Dali than Boy Scout manual. I thanked them profusely and they trundled off to their own tents, while I drunkenly tried to get my bedding from the car and into my strangely shaped home for the night.
Finally, I removed my wet clothes, curled up in my damp sleeping bag and tried to sleep the wine off, but then that all too familiar sense of impending gloom washed over me.
I was going to be sick. Wearing only a t-shirt and knickers, with no time to grab clothes let alone make it to the sanctuary of the toilets back of the hall, there was only one thing for it.
I managed to get my wellies on, and legged it to what I thought was a quiet corner of the field to get things out of my system.
It was there that I was sick in a hedge. Cold, partly naked, and wet, I stayed there, doubled over while the nearly two bottles of red wine left my body.
I was thankful for the darkness and lack of people around until I heard a car.
To the family that saw a wet, nearly naked blonde being sick in a hedge while in the glare of their headlights, thanks for not making a fuss. I was fine, thank you.

*Standing in the pis*ing rain in a force nine gale, whilst only wearing knickers and a sweatshirt is a whole other story, too long to regale you with today. Plz to remind me for another time if you're interested.
**It was, but not for the occupant of the tent.