Monday, August 09, 2010

Bunk Up

I love camping accessories. I have a garage full of lightweight and well-designed outdoor versions of everything else in the house: a miniature table that folds away into a tiny pouch, a dinky kettle, even special matches that light in Scottish weather.

I don’t like camping.

Maude mentioned the possibility of a camping trip to The Lakes with the girls.

‘Imagine Aurora banging in a tent-peg with a miniature mallet. Her own little billycan of cassoulet. Jocasta giggling in the light of the campfire. It would be enough to melt the cold heart of any cynical, grumpy old anti-camper.’

Our trip to Spain was in the early summer. My wife was quite insistent that she couldn’t possibly endure the rest of the holiday without some excursions.

Maude’s face flashed on my Blackberry screen during a ‘catch up’ meeting with Morag yesterday. I excused myself from Morag’s monologue and answered in the corridor.

‘The silly woman won’t accept my card, so you’ll have to pay.’

Unbeknown to me our bridesmaid, Janice, had recommended a campsite near Ullswater.

‘Oh, perhaps I forgot to mention it. I’ve provisionally booked a campsite in The Lakes for you, me, the girls, Harriet and Morton, their kids, Seth and Bella and their two. The woman who answers the phone is obviously the farmer’s wife and can’t work the card machine. Could you call her and sort it out. The place is called something like Sunny Dell. You’ll have to Google it. You’re paying everyone’s deposit. Bye.’

After calling three campsites with names like, but not, ‘Sunny Dell’ I located the correct farmer’s wife and completed the booking.

Last night I took to my room (the garage) for the enjoyable part of the plan: the equipment check. I replaced batteries, put up the miniature table, counted the tent pegs, located the mallet, inserted a gas canister into our new camping stove and lit it with my special matches, made a cup of tea, sat on camping chair and drank tea, inflated an inflatable bed, lay on it for a few minutes, heard Maude calling, put down miniature table, deflated bed, turned off garage light, re-entered kitchen.

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