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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Camping

Despite what feels like every other car displaying the indicator of unintelligent, bad, incompetent and discourteous driving



Some people are want to be away from the people's game. Despite us being a football nation there are those that will spend what is predicted to be a glorious weekend, weather wise anyway, in the most remote fields in our union.

Camping is having somewhat of a revival. The country is due to have its summer over the next 4 days. Horrifyingly I've only been able to have Pimms O'Clock for the last week and now only days away from Mid Summer's eve... and I've seen approximately 6 evenings of sunshine and countless evenings of drizzle.

Camping when I was a kid was damp fields - chemical toilets and communal showers where you might often find a strange bearded gentleman who'd end up hovering in the showers what I perceived as much longer than necessary.

Now however you can have two forms of camping, the first "executive style" with self building tents popping out at the push of a button or the tug or a cord, that appear to be more like condos on two levels and a garage like structure, to stop the SUV getting muddy.

Then there is a normal style of camping more akin to the real thing. Although still much nicer than camping of yesteryear. Outdoor shops are popping up all over the high streets ad shopping malls up and down the land, promising you cleaner air, better views, communing with nature and in my book some kind of rash in a hard to reach area.

These stores seem to have all been claiming to have been founded just after the gold rush.. It's all rip cord, wind proof, breathable, feather feel and air filled nowadays. Camping used to be cheap it isn't now. I was dragged around my local Outdoor Store recently by a colleague who likes "Outdoor Pursuits" and he was looking at a beautiful Berghouse coat for the princely sum of "£299" - and Ted Baker didn't even help design it, the Maltese one would not approve.

I'd always wanted to go proper camping when I was a kid. You know get out, with a tent in the middle of some national trust reserve, I know you're not allowed to, details details. Build a fire, cook baked potatoes and sleep under stars. However when recently I was offered the opportunity to venture out on the Penines I bottled it. To be fair the weekend was already underway and it was one of those few sunny days we've had so far.

We'd have ended up packing in a rush, trying to throw stuff into a bag, picking a destination and trying to find out how to get to the destination. Picking which food to pack, trying to work out what you can get away with cooking on a fire without unleashing and unknown army of bacteria on your immune and digestive system. Not for me thanks. I'll stick with trying to follow the Volley Ball tournament that got underway Friday evening, come on England.

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