Monday 7 September 2009

Whey Hey Camping Days

Legendary is my fondness for Mexican waves, especially after bubbles. But the camp fire shenanigans of Camp Doe 09 took it further: Mexican leg waves are the next big thang. And I missed it!

Some years ago The Giggler tried out a caravan in the field of the martyr-formerly-known-as-Supersis. Never knowingly missed out, Captain Chaos and I decided our families would jump in. Then Inspector Gadget got wind and so it spread. August bank holiday is also the whizkid’s birthday which is celebrated each and every year in a bigger and better way. With tents.

Tents bring out the best and worst in people. In my separated life I’ve had moments of remorse. Especially in regard to tents. Current or otherwise, husbands have their uses: He-who-no-longer-has-to-be-adored kindly raised our roofs for us, before withdrawing to his office in Madrid. The rain and wind did its worst as Captain Chaos pitched up. The designer came with her ex-husband’s tent. A younger sipped wine as her elder sister pitched alone in the dark, save her little lids holding torches. Some fit and healthy young couples sent their dad a day early to pitch tents (with pegs forever lost at festivals). Fair? No. Funny? Yes!

Camp Doe 09 was the ‘Whey Hey’ year. Funny the first time, the refrain wore thin as the echo hit full hilt in the wee small hours. It came into its own hilarity again when Supersis clambered from her bed, down to the field, just to shout at the whey heyers. I heard nowt of this as I slept soundly. In the house. For I am neither a natural nor happy camper. Being offered a bucket as an ‘en-suite’ is not my idea of luxury. I have two tents, but the bed-hopping lids and their cousins left me no space. Anyways, suffering from wobbly legs from mass-catering (next year there’s a rota) earns you a place inside. So in I went. Hence I missed the leg waves. And a bed indoors means no need to get off your face in order to face a night in a tent.

Camping is an acquired taste and a bit close to nature for me. But I learnt even when your tent is pitched by the water trough, The Farmer is right and the goats do keep away. I also learnt about Hot Dogging (not be confused with another activity). Under canvas, with your butt on the ground and your bod squigged between two semi-vertical airbeds, you are, a hot dog.

Other lessons: marshmellows roasted on an open fire are hot, in a toxic way; experienced campers bring earplugs; after sun-down a collection of cold, drunk, teenagers can nearly always be found by the log pile; and warm drunk grown-ups can be found round the ever larger camp fires. Hence the earplugs. And that’s before the snoring. There weren’t so many kum-bah-yah moments as whey hey away we go gems.

The hint is in the title. Sadly, the ‘just-for-fun’ quiz was taken seriously. Well done to Hinge for organising and Bracket for steady judging, in the face of fierce criticism and heckling. Thanks to our two favourite nieces (I have a lot of favourites) who excelled with prizes from their generous clients. Prizes were awarded for all sorts, as well as to anyone under 16 who turned up.

Boyfriends of favourite nieces need to learn our family ways. Team games involve fair play. For some, cheating is way of life and is, therefore, fair play. Good sportsmanship? This is the real world. Get over it. That said, it wasn’t just the finishing line that was crossed: an Aunty (who is also a Grandma) knocked over her darling nephew in the egg and spoon race. Ok, so he is in training for a military career and should be able to handle it. The video evidence makes compelling viewing. And since when are hands held on top of eggs? Next year, despite what Supersis says, the tug of war will be made of sturdier stuff and the girls will win. The secret weapon this year was the ‘drop’ on the codeword. Oh how the girls love to laugh and play to see the boys fall over. Fair play to you all. Boys should play like girls. Learn to stump the bases properly lads and you won’t be excluded. And a certain boyfriend (of favourite nieces) should stop blaming my cooking, or feigning tiredness, and handle it. Or abstain. Being sick as a dog, inside a tent, is neither big, clever, nor funny. And whey hey boyfriend! So what if my gorgeous boy is 5 foot 10. Tis no reason to hand him a beer. He is only 11!

A weekend within the bosom of your family and the differences surface. Supersis feeds the lids sweets loaded with chemicals, whilst I bake healthy veggy muffins. As she says, they are not hers to settle down. Some kinda twisted revenge for our invasion of her patch? But the country air is doing her good; she threatened eviction only once this year. Captain Chaos also showed a new side as ‘ed of ‘elf and safety. I mean where's the danger in The Farmer throwing 16 kids in a golf buggy round a bumpy field, at speed? The Farmer’s night-time nature walk, with all the dustbin lids, probably wasn’t as respectful to nature as he intended. As I’m sure that poor baby hedgehog would agree. The little-uns only tried to show him some love. My field observations: dustbin lids are like puppies - so long as fed, watered, exercised and given hugs they are happiest in a pack.

The ‘Don’t Wake Pete’ game didn’t work. Too ambitious perhaps to expect all the lids to sneak next to the snorer, and have their picture taken. Damn those flashes. Although I think the every-lid-on-site bundle made up for it.

On the last morning the Sergeant Major demonstrated how simple and organised breakfast for 60 can be. He’s definitely in the catering corp next year. Morning glory it generally wasn’t. How do some manage to look so slick in their PJs when hungover and not so fresh from their field beds? A clue is the age. Under 20 and 30 look a lot better than the over 40s. I'm dreading the over 50s bracket.

Vis-à-vis the above para: some seem more para about the Internet age than others. After extreme pressure, I removed some perfectly reasonable pictures from Facebook that a woman of a certain age perceived to be unflattering. For the record: privacy on t’net is a nonsense darling.

Whey hey for Camp Doe 2010.


daveyc said...

hurrah! you're back...

mothergoat said...

cheers dave, hows the hand?