Let’s Go Camping

Let's Go CampingThe sun will burst forth from the sky, a massive hydrogen joy jism. The trees will glow a beautiful summer green and a light breeze will play through the air like a metaphor for freedom. At night, we can tell stories around a campfire and accidentally burn someone’s face off with a molten marshmallow. It will be fun.

WILL IT? Will it? Will it? Will it, REALLY? Will it? Will it? Well? Will it?

NO. Because Camping is shit.

I’ve only been camping about a dozen times, so I don’t claim to be an expert. But I do claim to be RIGHT.

The last time that I went camping will coincidentally be the last EVER time that I go camping. It was in Scotland, and it rained. Oh, God, yeah. Of course it bloody did. That didn’t stop every other masochistic twat in a 100-mile radius from descending upon the very same campsite, though. It was horribly overcrowded.

The entrance had a wooden shack with a bewildered old man in it, as all good wooden shacks do. As my friend and I approached, he happily waved us in, taking £7 from us as we passed.
“Oh, well fuck, this is great!” I exclaimed to the man in the shack, “We’re actually staying for two nights and we each have our own tent”, I continued to explain with far, far too much honesty, “PLEASE! OH GOD! Take £28 from me to cover twice the number of days and twice the number of tents!! QUICK. FLEECE ME.”

Once past the entrance, it became obvious that there was fuck all space for my friend and I to pitch out tents. Except.

Except.

Except for that mound, OVER THERE.

The mound of grass was topped with a drain cover, which of course meant that I was now seriously considering the prospect of pitching a tent directly over the top of sewerage. Did I mention it was raining?

wet tentIt was pissing it down. Of COURSE it was! There is nothing more depressing than putting up a tent in the pouring rain, particularly when it’s the first time you’ve ever put up a tent. I’m one of those people who, when trying to fix something around the house, will proudly show off the number of “spare” parts that are left over, once I declare the job complete. For example, the light fitting in my kitchen is currently twisted at a horrible angle and could fall down on anyone at any moment. However, I do have an unusual piece of plastic with a hole bored through it and I have three spare screws. They may come in handy, some day.

Anyway, tents. It was a one-man dome tent that uses a couple of pieces of flexible wire to hold the shape of the tent once taut. They also serve as bloody brilliant catapults, which is why my tent was flung several feet into the air on at least two occasions. Meanwhile, my “friend” was listening to his I-Pod inside what appeared to me to be the most beautiful tent ever to have been erected.

I eventually got the bloody thing to stand up, clamoured inside the canvass womb and realised how soaked it was inside. I fumbled around like an angry bear until I managed to pull on a set of spare clothes, but in the process, they were also soaked through. I then tried to sleep. WAIT! I didn’t mention that there were power-lines directly over us. Well there were. So the only sounds I could hear were those of buzzing electricity and the electro-magneticl march of brain cancer.

Oh, and then there’s the waking up. I peered out of the broken canvass zip hole like a 1940’s Londoner peering out from an underground blitz bunker to see people who are actively enjoying the process of washing their genitals in a stream. Like it’s normal. People who enjoy camping have dirty anuses. Fact.

Stuff the fucking £28, I left the next day. FUCK IT.

If there’s anything worse than people who enjoy camping, it’s French people who enjoy camping. I borrowed an “RV”. If you’re old, “RV” is American speak for a “Recreational Vehicle”. In other words, a bloody big camper van.

This all took place in Canada, parts of which are astonishingly bloody French. Not just Quebec, either. Fuck, no. Large SWATHES of New Brunswick, too. Everyone knows how campers are exhibitionists, flapping around showing everyone their genital soacked flannels. Everyone knows how the French are exhibitionists, flapping around showing everyone their genital soacked flannels. It was genital soacked flannel overload. And in French. With campers. I’ve never seen so many “washbags”.

I have no idea where the hell we were, except that it was near the border of Quebec and New Brunswick, and lots of French people were yelling at me. The person who sold us a pitch had sold us one for a tent. Whether this was malicious or not, I don’t know. But I believe that it was, with a kind of religious severity. The size of the pitch made it incredibly difficult to park a vehicle in a spot 10 times smaller than the actual vehicle, especially as it was surrounded by obstacles which included:
A picnic table
Another RV
Two trees
A French man trying to offer parking guidance through the medium of Charlie Chaplinesque mimed steering a dance.

Sleep was next to impossible thanks to whatever bizarre festival was being celebrated in this back-water. The campsite was decorated with hordes of Halloween related paraphernalia. I checked the date numerous times, and it was definately July, but Halloween was apparently upon us. French campers sang English language pop music with the kind of expertise one might expect from Round One of The X Factor hosted in some shithole of a town. Luton, perhaps. I cried until I was exhausted enough to sleep. Big, haunted, terrifying sobs and tears the size of Greece.

Over the years, I have experienced the following shenanigans whilst camping:
Attacked by three Blue Tits that I was taking photos of for a school “Nature Diary” project.
Almost hit by a car in the middle of the night on a pitch black road whilst trying to escape from Somerset.
Woke up, put my head out of the tent and found myself in a completely different field to the one I fell asleep in.
Inexplicably woke up in an orchard, surrounded by Tunisian children who threw apples at me until one struck me in the face.
Been chased by a ghost across a car park.
Had a man scratch his nails across my shower door in a communal shower block for a full two minutes.

You can follow Stu Hall on twitter

This article was originally posted to teamfishcake.co.uk
Image Credits: Title Image Stu Hall, Tent Image The Jaswi

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