13 May 2008

Hi de hi, campers

We survived our camping trip over the weekend and actually had a really good time. Chris says that he now "well likes camping" and that he would go again, so it must have been good.

We got up to the campsite about 2pm on Saturday, after 10 minutes of driving up and down the same road in Plumpton repeatedly missing the turning, occasionally seeing the turning and saying "there it was! there it was!" and then missing it again on the way back. The 'campsite' was more of a field really, belonging to an old lady in a farmhouse, and the only facilities provided were a cobwebby outdoor toilet over the other side of the field and a scorched area for having a fire in. That was fine though, because at least there was a proper toilet if you wanted one, and you don't really need much else.

It didn't take too long to set up the tent, although it was scorching hot and there was no shade. Fortunately a forward-thinking person brought a gazebo with them which we also set up, so then we had shade without having to go into the immediately furnace-like interior of a tent. Quite a few people came in the end, about 20 I think, and Zac had booked the whole field so we had it all to ourselves.

We played rounders once all the tents were set up, and I was pleasantly surprised at my performance. Instead of going out on my first bat or screeching like a girl when the ball came near me, I actually succeeded in a) hitting it, b) running round the little sticks, and c) catching two people out - including one boy (boys are more points, catching out a girl is easier). My team did lose in the end, but I maintain that they cheated because when it was their turn to bat they suddenly had about 5 new players and we barely had enough fielders to cover the bases.

Then in the evening we had alcohol and a big fire on which various dead animals or animal-free vegetarian substitutes were coated in charcoal/ash/grass (due to accidental dropping) before being consumed. Oh yes, and then we nearly died through facial incineration. At midnight when we all started singing happy birthday to Zac, Billy produced some fireworks from somewhere and started letting them off. Not too close to us I suppose, but not the prescribed 25 metres away.

The first one went up in the air and went bang - no problem. The second one decided to fly sideways and explode on the ground - fortunately, and purely by chance, the sideways was into an empty part of the field and not towards the campfire or any tents. Then the third, final, and most dramatic one decided it couldn't be bothered to fly so stayed put on its little stick. It was one of those ones where it explodes, scatters little coloured bits out, and they then explode in a pretty circle in the sky. This is fine, but the key part is in the sky. Our one, having refused to take off, exploded, scattered its coloured bits in a circle that neatly encompassed everyone round the campfire, and they then proceeded to explode all around us. I was TERRIFIED and so surprised no-one was hurt. There was some hysterical laughter afterwards in a kind of "oh my god, I'm not dead" sort of way, and fortunately that was the end of the fireworks.

So I have resolved that I am NEVER going to home fireworks again, not unless they are being done in a very large space where you can stand very far away. I've had two close calls in a row at Ady's house on fireworks night, and now this one too, so I think my luck must be due to run out soon. I had horrible visions of needing to call any ambulance in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere, and I'm just not prepared to run that risk again.

The rest of the evening was drunken but less eventful. We got told off by a neighbour for the fireworks waking them up, then got told off more when he heard someone say "well he can fuck off" as he walked back to his house. Chris experienced going to the toilet outside for the first time in this life, but his second experience of it was slightly marred by him falling over in stinging nettles in the dark, losing a shoe, getting stung looking for the shoe, and then having to come and forlornly ask for help to locate said shoe because he couldn't find it. Bless.

Sleeping was difficult and unpleasant because (I don't know why I was surprised) fabric tents provide no sound-proofing whatsoever so you couldn't go to sleep until everyone else did and then were woken up when the first people got up. It was also weirdly hot and sticky inside the sleeping bags, but freezing cold and condensationy outside of them, so you weren't comfortable wherever you were. The morning wasn't that pleasant really, due to lack of sleep and hangovers, but people didn't hang around long really. We had some breakfast, dismantled the tents again in blazing sunshine which really didn't help the hangovers, and then were home by 12. I have never ever appreciated a shower so much!

So all in all it was a Good Trip, and our tent may yet see another outing sometime. Hopefully somewhere with a shower though.
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