It occurred to me, after our trip to Pickering last weekend, that many of our friends and family simply don't understand camping. They look at you incredulously as you tell them that you chose to sleep out of doors with only two thin layers of nylon fabric between you and the elements (not counting sleeping bag and/or underwear - just so you know). For me it's partly the adventure of having to get by without some of what you would ordinarily consider regular parts of your everyday life: television, en suite, running water. It is also deeply relaxing to sit outside your tent in the warm evening air watching bats dart after aerial insects; and listening to the gentle murmur of conversations from neighbours. There is however one rule that ought to be etched into the DNA of every camper: canvas does not have the same sound deadening properties as brick or stone. This is important if you snore; if you and your partner are amorous; or if you suffer from flatulence: going indoors out of politeness to release a gaseous emission is pointless.
As in much of life, gender stereotypes have their place amongst the members of the Camping and Caravanning Club and in order to understand the camping psyche it is perhaps instructive to look at how men respond to the call of the great outdoors. I was amused to see how the uber-masculine four wheel drive fraternity extend their Stoneage chest beating to their camping:
"I have the biggest and best unit on this site (a caravan is known as a unit)"
"Yes, but I trump your caravan with my Mitsubishi Shogun that could tow two of your caravans"
"Damn you, but wait, my Outback barbecue trumps your Camping Gaz griddle"
"Curses, yet I see that you only have terrestrial TV in your unit: observe my satellite dish...."
And the sun sets on this scene that, bar the details, has remained unchanged since man dragged his first partner by the hair into his cave.
On the subject of camping adaptation's, I found it necessary to make a couple of small adjustments after I discovered that I had forgotten to pack cereal dishes. Throughout the history of mankind man and beast have lived in cooperative partnership; you will see in this photograph that the partnership in my case extended to sharing eating utensils: yes that is the dog's dish; and yes I did wash it thoroughly first.