I know a lot of people, probably most of you, love going camping, but I was was born without the camping gene.
I cannot for the life of me find anything attractive about camping. I realise that this makes me a pariah in many social groups but, sorry folks, that’s the way it is.
When I was a kid my father and uncles used to go camping every so often, leaving us kids at home with the womenfolk. My brother and my male cousins were upset at being left out of the activity and would beg to be allowed to go along. The answer was always the same.
“When you can eat two meat pies, you can came along.”
As time went by, each of the boys managed to gobble down two meat pies and was then admitted to the male camping brigade. My brother was the youngest so when he finally succeeded in meat pie scoffing, it was a day of great celebration for my dad. He was very pleased to be taking his son camping but, to my mind, there was absolutely no excuse for what happened next.
My dad decided that I should go along too. I didn’t know what to think. I had spent hours playing games when I imagined myself sleeping under the stars like the cowboys and/or Native Americans. I had had afternoon snoozes in my cubby house but I had never actually sleep anywhere other than in a proper bed with a proper bathroom in near proximity.
The dreaded day arrived and we set off from my Aunty’s beach house where all the ladies were going to spend their weekend and headed for the Currumbin Rock Pool area which is an absolutely beautiful spot.
The men set up the tents and established a cooking spot while we played in the water and slid over the rocks. So far so good. We had sausages on bread for lunch, slightly burnt but delicious nonetheless. All was well until I discovered the lack of bathroom facilities. I believe that if you go camping in the area now, there are all the facilities you could possibly require, but way back then….uh uh!
Well, that was enough for me. I wanted to go home…after finding a service station with a bathroom. My request was ridiculed and denied. I was to endure a whole night of the torture that is camping.
* No shower…swimming was expected to remove enough dirt to suffice. Hmmm.
* Insufficient light for reading…my torch chewed its way through batteries like there was no tomorrow.
* Sleeping on the ground in a sleeping bag…unable to stretch out properly…uncomfortable.
* Mosquitoes…need I say more?
* Ants…need I say more?
* NO bathroom…no civilised person should have to dig a hole behind a tree!
* Weird noises…not just all those males snoring…really weird noises.
I just hated it. I couldn’t wait for morning to arrive so that we could leave. Those hours crawled by. At last, after yet another bush bathroom visit and soggy cereal for breakfast, Dad loaded me and my sleeping bag into the car and took me back to Aunty’s beach house. Oh, the relief. Dad announced that I was not a camper, unloaded my gear and left to rejoin the men.
Mum understood completely. She put bubbles in the bathtub for me and let me have a jolly good soak. She knew I had a lot of ‘camping’ that needed to be slowly and gently dissolved.
And that, my friends, is the first and last time I have been camping. When I signed up for online dating some years ago, I included in my profile the fact that I would not under any circumstances go camping. Luckily, my (now) husband loathes camping almost as much as I do.
My daughter-in-law tells me there is now something called Glamping…glamorous camping.
FYI…..still not interested!