On going camping
The other day we popped into Halfords for some wiper blades and to look into buying a bike for Scaryduck Jr.
For reasons I still haven't quite fathomed, we walked out with a tent, four sleeping bags, two airbeds and a gas cooker.
We are, I fear, about to go on a camping trip.
After I made that vow, and everything.
We went on far too many camping holidays as kids. Back in the 70s, Spanish beach holidays were still a luxury, and were very much out of the question on the grounds that they simply weren't the kind of thing our kind of people did. Before we got the tent habit, it was two weeks in Southend, and like it, Sonny Jim.
Lulled into a false sense of security by the scorching summer of 1976, we bought one of those frame tents that look a bit like a house, set it up in a field and spent two weeks in Swanage.
This was followed by years spent in muddy fields "not too far" from the toilet block, diverting the rivers of rainwater that flowed freely through our tent, the only entertainment being watching the dog lick his genitals and the daily joy of trying to start a damp car engine.
One awful week in Tenby, where our tent was actually washed away with all my sister's hair care products and none-more-black Goth outfits was the final straw, and I vowed - there and then - never, ever to sleep under canvas, ever again.
Vows have a habit of wearing out, and two dozen years later, I was tricked, TRICKED into buying a tent, which we put up in the garden. No mean feat - we haven't got a lawn.
Family camping holidays were always, always sensible affairs. We would drive to the target resort, and then pull into random campsites, my father having the final say, rejecting each and every site that looked the remotest bit fun. We would always end up in a former cow-field with three other tents and washing facilities that would cause a riot in a Third World refugee camp.
Then we'd sit, bored shitless, as Dad got his fishing gear ready by the light of a Camping Gaz lantern, for the following day's end-of-the-pier adventures.
At the far end of the field, you could just make out another, equally bored family, watching as their father prepared hundreds of pounds worth of fishing tackle that wasn't going to catch anything either, and then we'd help each other push-start our cars.
And at the end of every camping trip, we would lift the groundsheet and be assailed by The Smell. The smell of two weeks' worth of warm, damp, dead grass, slowly rotting beneath our feet. A smell that would be loaded into the back of the car and driven 200 miles back home, and would be the abiding memory of any holiday.
The other smell came from not changing my clothes for a fortnight.
I thought I had done my fair share of camping out. Not so, it seems. Although we have perfectly good house to live in, I am, clearly, genetically pre-disposed to sleeping in a tent.
God, I can't wait.
On the lack of a Thursday vote-o, in which an officially mental not-as-funny-as-he-used-to-be Duck comes out fighting
A lack of a vote-o this week, as I've been all over place AND going off my rocker with one thing or another. Tomorrow's Tale of Mirth and Woe will be the bamboo pole up the anus (copyright Lord Likely, 1853) to those You're-not-as-funny-as-you-used-to-be types who have been leaving trolls recently without the courtesy of a return email address.
Officially classed as a Grade C Mental by my local NHS Trust, I am told that I will only get to the front of the waiting list if I start setting about a few people with a chainsaw. This could be the chance I've been looking for.