The annual Family P camping jaunt is over for another year. And actually, it looks like it could be over in a permanent way for me. Having grumbled and sulked fairly unremittingly through my three day maximum and announced that next year I may only be able to stomach two, Mr P’s rather curt suggestion was that I make it zero and stay at home altogether from now on. Humph.
But seriously, what is it with camping? I can see why kids like it because for them there is always going to be novelty value in sleeping in a bag and eating off a plastic plate, but what in God’s name has it got to offer grown-ups? What are they on, those countless happy campers I see pootling to the toilet block in their Crocs as though there was absolutely nothing to be feared in trying to pass a number two within earshot of a dozen other people, or trying to wash off the previous day’s filth under 15-second bursts of insufficient lukewarm drizzle?
You’re gonna tell me it’s all about the fresh air on your face, aren’t you? That it’s the back-to-nature-ness and spirit of adventure that thrills? Yeah, well as far as I’m concerned, you can pop all those things in your Porta Potti and flush it. Fair enough if you’re looking for a masochistic spin to your summer break, but me, I like to kick back and relax when I’m on holiday, not put myself through a series of unpleasant physical and mental challenges. And actually I suspect that camping isn’t really enjoyed by anyone – it is merely a way for the middle classes to feel less guilty about their comfortable lives by roughing it for a short period every year. Just a theory.
Anyway, here you go then: ten things I hate about camping. Go on – shoot me down in flames, outdoorsy types. I don’t care. I’m booking into a B&B next year.
- Having to erect your own accommodation: Ensuring that you’re sweating, swearing, exhausted, and have generally lost the will to live before the holiday has even started! Bonkers.
- Exposure to inclement weather: It’s not until you’re staying outdoors that you realise quite how unbelievably fecking cold and wet this country is. Even in August. Unfortunately, having an okay time whilst camping is entirely reliant on having okay weather. There is no reliable plan B when it rains, other than huddling together in the tent with a pack of cards and a large bar of Dairy Milk, or sitting in the nearest pub. And on the same subject: being so cold that you’re unable to feel the tip of your own nose when you wake in the morning is not a plus, to my mind.
- Sleeping on an inflatable/sleeping in a sleeping bag: I appreciate this is old-fashioned of me, but I tend to place comfort fairly high on my lists requirements vis-a-vis holiday accommodation and in particular, sleeping arrangements. Trying to pass the night on a steadily deflating plastic mattress whilst encased in a tight nylon sausage skin does not cut it.
- Night-time bladder issues: Seriously, what are you going to do when you’re camping and you wake up needing a wee at night (which I customarily do – at least twice): wake the whole family in the noisy process of unzipping the tent, and venture across the potentially perilous (see number 8), cold, dark, silent site to the toilets proper? Or just take a piss right there in a plastic washing up bowl? Happy choice, no? I plump for the latter – it makes the tent smell bad but at least my feet don’t get exposed to the night air for longer than 60 seconds.
- Communal crapping: Can’t do it. Just can’t. Have to hold it in. Further discomfort.
- Rubbish showers: Would it hurt for campsites to install decent showers? Particularly given that camping makes you muddier, sweatier, and smellier than ordinary, civilised living.
- Warm milk; rank butter; leaking hummus: the joys of catering from a cold bag.
- Fear: Does anyone else find night-time in a tent on a rural campsite ABSOLUTELY terrifying? The pitch black, the utter quiet, the spooky wild animal squawks, the claustrophobia, the sheer bleddy Blair Witchy-ness of it all? And not even the possibility of a cuddle to make it better, since a) I can’t get my arms out of my sleeping bag and b) Mr P has in any case decamped from the marital pod to the tent’s central area due to being six foot two and needing to stretch his feet out.
- Living in chaos: How I love to live out of a car boot! NOT. Tents fall short of my ideal accommodation in many ways but not least because there is simply nowhere to put anything, other than in a general mish-mashy heap in the middle bit. For someone who likes a certain amount of order in life, this is hard to cope with.
- Having to leave all my good stuff at home: I appreciate that one’s family and a pack of cards should be all one needs to achieve perfect happiness on holiday. But by heck, I miss my computer, my telly, my iPod and my guitar when I’m camping. (Did I also mention that I miss my toilet?)