I am, and always will be, a townie. While I appreciate that the countryside can be beautiful, peaceful and calming, it's really not for me; I much prefer the bright lights and loud noises of the city. So when N decided to arrange a camping trip for his birthday, I was decidedly underawed.
It wasn't, forunately, as bad as I thought; I had a fantastic weekend and I think I managed quite well without the internet, TV and...walls. Actually, that's a complete lie, and I respect you too much to lie to you. I'm sorry. The truth: I was completely rubbish and should not be allowed out of the concrete jungle. Bear Grylls I am not. Setting up tents, for a start, is a chore - especially when the ground beneath is so muddy you can hardly stand. That's something I like about houses; they generally come pre-assembled, ready and fit for habitation. Not so the tent, which requires assembly then reveals a sizeable insect community that has somehow survived those long months in the garden shed.
The first night was rainy, cold and dark and I was incredibly, stupidly inebriated. Towards the end of the night, the end of my night anyway, the group realised that I'd been missing for 25 minutes, and a search party was sent forth. N found me in the toilet block, hugging the hand-drier for warmth and escorted me back to the tents. I went to bed - not to sleep, just to lie with eyes wide open wondering what exactly was walking around outside. I wasn't expecting a bear or anything, but when you're out of your comfort zone, even badgers start to seem menacing.
The second night was less rainy, less cold and less dark. This was mostly because we figured out how to turn the electricity on and so the 'get back to nature' element of our camping trip went straight out of the window. Electricity gave us light. It gave us heat. We stole a picnic bench and installed it in our gazebo. We even, in the true hunting and gathering spirit of our country-dwelling ancestors, ordered a Chinese takeaway. In short, we may as well have booked a hotel.
I'm not meant for the great outdoors. I'll never be able to do without walls, a bed, central heating. I'm too attached these creature comforts and little luxuries to find sleeping on the floor enjoyable. Give me supermarkets that don't close, a mind-boggling transport network and brick, glass and steel. I don't care if I can't see the stars or see through the exhaust fumes. Just don't make me sleep outside again; the badgers might get me.