Thursday, 29 April 2010

Into the Wild: Are there any bears in the UK?

Sorry, but I have been so very busy. Panicking. And checking every two seconds. Unfortunately, our dry April is showing every sign of turning into a very wet May holiday weekend. This is very bad. Sure, it may be great for the plants and flowers. Bully for them. But it’s very bad for me. Because I’m venturing into uncharted territory this weekend.

You know how, sometimes in a marriage, you forget that there are two of you in it? Two people with completely different ideas and views on life. And you know how, sometimes, you have to cross over to the other side in order to make another person happy? Well, that’s marriage, isn’t it?

Back in January, HRH was saying that we needed to break out of our rut, be more adventurous, and be open to new ideas.

‘What, in the bedroom?’ I asked nervously.

‘That’s always welcome. But what I mean is that you don’t seem to be open to new things anymore.’

Uh-oh. I felt an argument coming on and I crossed my arms defensively. ‘How do you mean?’

‘We’re acting middle-aged.’

‘But isn’t that what we are?’

‘Well, we don’t have to act like it.’

The conversation continued over a bottle of red and, somehow, I agreed to listen to an idea and love it instead of dismissing it immediately.

‘Let’s go camping,’ HRH said.

Er. Huh. Um. I pictured the miserable, damp camping trips of my youth. Even as a kid, camping was something I never embraced and HRH knew that. Over the years, he has been on an evangelical mission to convert me. Albeit, rather covertly, lurking quietly on the sidelines and biding his time.

‘See, I knew you’d say no,’ he said.

‘I haven’t said a word.’

‘But you will. I can tell by that look on your face.’

‘Let’s go camping!’ Without thinking, I blurted it out. That’s the problem with me.

You know how sometimes your spouse says one thing and you hear something different? Ahem. In an effort to wrap my head around the whole camping thing, I did some research. I read about a London family who stayed in a Moroccan-themed yurt. It was spacious, luxurious, and totally cool. I could picture us there. And then I read about glamping. That would be a fantastic compromise, a way to ease into the whole camping concept. We could stay in one of those little huts all kitted out with Cabbages & Roses decor. And we could pick up a Daylesford Organic hamper.

But the buzz stopped there. HRH booked the campsite. In the New Forest. He unfurled his musty old sleeping bag. ‘This baby travelled with me when I cycled to India.’ Yeah, I think there’s still a bit of Kazakhstan mold clinging to the inside. He pulled out a leaky old tent and some tin bowls and cups, something the inmates might bang on the tables to signal an uprising. My imaginary glamping trip was tarnished by visions of refugee camps. But HRH was not to be thwarted. He did what I would have done and I grudgingly admire him for it. He blew the dust off the plastic and went shopping.

The camping gear arrived and filled up our hallway and Reception room. HRH bought so much that he had to get a Thule box for the roof of the car. And a bike rack. On Saturday morning, at the crack of dawn, the four of us will be heading to the New Forest with a 6-man tent complete with wall to wall carpeting and a walk-in closet, a kitchen, four bikes, one dog, food, clothes and wellies and the Royal Hound. In a Prius.

My god, what was I thinking? It's possible that I'm making myself sound kind of high-maintenance here, a regular princess. And I'm really not. It's just that I'm more of a city girl. I don't need 5-star hotels in exotic beach locales with Frette sheets on the bed and room service for breakfast (actually, that all sounds pretty nice). I think what puts me off about camping is the whole shower and toilet thing. And bugs. And mud. But HRH, Truly and Scrumptious are excited. And one of the rules of agreeing to something new is to enter into it with a joyous spirit and have a positive attitude. I will not moan (too much) or cast dispersions or in any way dampen the enthusiasm of my family. I’ll zip my lip. Wish me luck! I’m sure it will be great. And I'll probably end up loving it. See? Positive attitude.


  1. Here's hoping the weather stays dry and the bugs are few! Can't wait to hear about it when you return.

  2. That could be me-I feel the same way! Good luck and I hope the weather is mild. The positive attitude will go far with HRH.

  3. Really well written; I was laughing throughout this. We went camping last summer and yes we too had to buy a Thule box for the top of the car! Are you my twin sister separated at birth? Fortunately, my hubby does not own a sleeping bag that has traveled the globe with him.

    Ok what helps me is just totally getting into the mindset--embracing it completely and seeing it for what it is: roughing it without an option. i.e. the showers at the campsite may be cold and drippy but there is not an option to just go somewhere else. It usually takes a day or two, then its more or less ok.

    The part I find the very most difficult is when you stupidly pitch your tent under the trees where the crows are nesting and therefore wake at 5 am everyday to the sound of crows arguing above your head. I could even cope with the slowly deflating airbed. The students playing loud music and the dad nearby who shouted at them to shut the F up, I could cope with. I just really really hated the crows.

    Yes, I am recalling our camping holiday last summer!

    Just avoid crows and you'll be fine. Don't forget photos for us :)

  4. Blimey good luck! A couple of years ago the husband and kids persuaded me to camp in the woods at the bottom of the garden and I've still not forgiven them!

  5. Noble Savage - let's hope!

    Suester - I agree, a positive attitude is everything...

    Michelle- oh goodness, crows were not on my list of things to worry about. But now they are!

    muummmmmeeee, Oh no--don't tell me. Was it really that bad?!

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  7. lol... this post really made me smile. I hope you are now converted to camping? In a few days we will be chucking our tent into the car to head over to France, Belgium, Holland and Germany for a camping/road trip. I have to say I love the whole outdoor thing - that feeling of being out completely in nature, the smell of eggs cooking on the burner, even the rain on the roof (until it leaks through - ha ha) ... but certainly yurt camping would be tres cool and a good compromise ;-) Looking forward to hearing how you got on!!! x

  8. Looking forward to the camping update... ;)

    An award for you over at mine by the way...come and see! x