home sweet home

“You’re camping?”
“Er … yes.”
“In a tent?”
“It beats camping without the tent.”
She looked confused. Which was odd, because she was the campsite owner, so you’d think she’d be used to random people turning up for the weekend with their tents. Then again, she did make me a cup of tea while I was pitching up, which was jolly nice of her.

The following day, it snowed. When it stopped, I posted a short note for the following day’s geocaching event, along the lines of “the snow’s stopped now, the snowploughs are out, stop worrying, the roads’ll be ok.”

And I got the response, “Camping out in this weather … hardcore!”

So I cooked dinner, ate dinner, washed up after dinner, and wandered up the village to the pub. Where I got talking to a very nice pair of old ladies, who expressed their disbelief that anyone would even consider camping in winter.

And then off to the event the following day – another “Brew without a View”, this time up Buckden Pike. All good fun, in a snowy sort of way – and yet more comments along the lines of “you must be nuts, camping in this”.

I suspect people were imagining the evening to have involved some sort of exercise in extended suffering, intrepid explorers huddled round the fire with ice forming in their beards, shivering and wondering who to eat first. The reality, needless to say, was far more comfortable, in that I spent the evening comfortably cocooned in layers of fleece and down, enjoying a bowl of doritos and a glass of vin tres ordinaire by way of a first course, catching up on my reading and mentally debating which of the three available flavours of curry to have for dinner. Suffering definitely wasn’t on the agenda.

On an organised campsite, camping only a minute’s walk from the car, suffering SHOULDN’T be on the agenda. If it is, you’re doing something wrong. Weight isn’t an issue, not when you have four wheels and an engine to haul it with, so cold weather just means you bring more kit. Huge sleeping-bag? Check. Extra foam mat? Check. Three cans of curry? Yes, you indecisive eejit.

Which is why, when people describe me as hardcore, I feel a bit of a fraud.