I am now back from my summer holidays, and therefore back to my blog.
I always have mixed feelings about these holidays. I know that everyone wishes you a ‘happy break’ but to be truthful there is a lot of stress, mainly because the rest of my family is into camping.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not adverse to camping, however now that I am a year or so away from 50 I think that I am a bit over the whole ‘yes it’s uncomfortable but it’s fun’ thing.
And it’s not like I haven’t camped before. My most cherished childhood memories are tied to three months a year when I was living in Italy being at a camping site (in Italy there is school of Saturdays, and was somewhat compensated by quite long summer holidays). So one month in Lake Iseo, one month on the Adriatic and three weeks travelling around Europe with our trustworthy caravan.
Of course there are lots of differences between then and now. Firstly is that there is lots of difference between the level of comfort a caravan and a tent provides. I actually used to love being in the caravan all warm and cosy in my bunk and listen to the rain outside. The experience is different when there is only a layer of canvas between you and the elements and you are at ground level.
A major difference is also the wonder of childhood when sleeping in a tent is exciting. My son’s cousins were staying at a five star resort with en suite bathrooms and plasma TVs in every bedroom and a huge one in the lounge and they still came to us for sleepovers.
Of course as a child you don’t realise that most of the work of driving, setting up, cooking etc. is done by your parents so no wonder my memories are so idyllic.
Another thing is that I am happy to be uncomfortable if there is a point to it. During Easter I used to go with some friends to remote national parks in Victoria where camps had no electricity and the toilets were big holes where the mathematically inclined could calculate the distance between their anus and the pile of other camper’s shit by counting the time taken for their do doos to depart their derriere and plop below. But this was necessary if I wanted to experience the wilderness and untouched natural beauty.
It is a different matter if we have a camping version recreation of Bayswater with children called ‘Abbey’ or ‘Brenton’, big boats and nylon Australian flags stuck on the poles of the tents.
A week is OK, but for me the novelty gets very thin after that. Fortunately my partner understood this and suggested that we rented a house for the second week. The house we got is humble. A typical fibro shack built on steel stilts but it has everything you need. A very comfortable queen size bed, a fridge, a kitchenette, a telly, comfy chairs and a simple bathroom with a shower you don’t have to share and therefore can use without wearing thongs.
When we arrived and settled in the cool change arrived and as I was hearing the wind and the rain lashing on the roof and the window at night I brought the doona closer to my ear, thought about those people back at the camping site and thought ‘poor bastards’.