Camp as Christmas
This morning was a reunion of sorts; it was a 6 day reunion which in the grand scheme of reunions is rather small but it felt big. This morning I did not have anyone’s limb overlapping any of mine, my back did not feel like it had been viciously snapped in several places and I was not wedged into a corner in the foetal position. This morning I woke up in an actual bed, complete with supportive mattress, fluffy pillows and sweet smelling sheets. This morning I was no longer camping.
On the downside my morning vista is not what it was, there will be no refreshing swim in the ocean to wake me from my slumber and my nostrils will have to readjust to toast as bacon and eggs no longer seems justified. Camp clichés were ticked; campfires were lit, marshmallows were toasted and stories were told. Occasionally I snuck off for a swim, a surf or just for the quiet that comes with sneaking off.
In the absence of technology I do what I tend to do and observe, Anna calls it “snooping” but I much prefer observe. I observe the Dad opposite who rocks up in full military gear, barking orders to his child squadron and long suffering wife. It pleases me that he is defeated by his attempts to set up a tent and that it’s left to his wife to show him how it’s done. I observe what feels like every other camper sipping coffee in the morning and curse my forgetfulness for not packing the cafetière. I observe the gang of seagulls that are eyeing up my sausages and strategising ways to make off with the loot. I observed camp set ups that were larger than our apartment dwarfing our humble little tent and wondered if it’s still camping when you have actually packed the kitchen sink?
Our Esky started out life packed with tantalising gourmet goodies wedged between crystals of ice, by the last day it was a slushy mess that housed warm beer and some ham that was right on the brink. Pork belly sizzled, Haloumi was charred, salmon was seared and beef was skewered. Sweet tooth’s were treated to roasted bananas glazed in caramel. I learnt to love the simple rules you must adhere to when gas is rationed and appetites need feeding.
The plump, bearded chap with a penchant for red and white fur also made an appearance. After weeks of “if you don’t do x Santa won’t visit” Max was in a state of shock to find that the big man did show up. Mince pies, carrots and milk were left out as an offering and snaffled by a wombat who must have thought all his Christmas’s had come at once. In a bid to prolong Max’s feverish anticipation I got up on Christmas Day and left a trail of arrows, ‘sleigh tracks’ and carrot crumbs leading down to the beach were a plump stocking was waiting for him.
It takes a couple of days to surrender to the simplicity of camping, to forget about all the other stuff that usually fills your head and to enjoy the simple things you’re surrounded by. Good times were had and memories were formed for both the young and old(ish). There were no baubles, tinsel or fairy lights but this was a very Merry Christmas indeed.
How was your Christmas? What did you get up to? Are you a happy camper?