Sunday, July 26

Wild Camping. Really WILD.

You find me in tired and emotional state.

Well more tired really, having recently returned home after a night's camping with many differences from my normal sort of venture.

Firstly - Mrs JH came along, which meant pressing into use an old Lichfield 2 man tent that I'd wildcamped with back in the late 1980s. Just the once. Two man. Too large. Too heavy. Nuff said.

Let's ignore its construction (pathetic), its colour (blue), and the apology for an extension that would have difficulty giving shelter to a gnat on a diet.

Secondly - Method of Travel.
Not a long walk in for this trip, as we each motorcycled to a pub/handy field on the Somerset\Wiltshire border.

Thirdly - Gear
A chance to root around in the attic and press back into use bike panniers mostly used for a pre kids motorcycle tour in the South of France (A one week trip, financed on a credit card overdraft to the tune of £70 outgoings & covering, if memory serves, around 1,800 miles)
The rest of the sleeping, cooking etc kit was easily requisitioned from the mountain of backpacking kit, before being carefully stuffed into large bin liners, and then into said panniers.

(No change from old times there then)

Total weight?
Who cares. Let the bike worry about that.
As long as the front wheel remains on the tarmac.
Well mostly.

Next - camp location? Flat field, well grassed but squelchy underfoot. Which after a few hours meant mud everywhere. But pub sited 90 seconds from the tent. Or 5-10 minutes if the post pub zig-zag route was chosen instead.

Water source?
Cold water tap in the pub toilets.

See above.

See above.

Disdaining my usual source (MP3 Player) on this trip I turned to conversation (human; mostly) & a live rock band playing from Quite Early to Very Very Late.

The occasion was an invite to a local bike club social event. A chance to meet faces old and new (And blow me why are so many of them in the old category nowadays! Where are those pimply faced youths tasting the guilty pleasures associated with a biker lifestyle. Who will replace us old buggers as we start to shuffle off The Scene/The Planet)

A decent evening. Good natured & varied company, albeit a little full-on for certain parts of polite society, but hey that's all part of the gig. As HST said, 'Buy the ticket, Take the ride'
Good honest truth, even if presented over bluntly for some at times.

A reminder of people & pasts. And in one case a most careful and tactful discussion sliding deep into in-depth counselling, as inadvertent words triggered, for one individual, all too painful memories of an indescribable loss, and a personally shattering & utterly natural human reaction. But a life now rebuilding after a period of loss both mental & physical, but with a world view irrevocably tainted.

Early hours of Sunday. A return to the tent. Head-down oh-sleepy-me time.

The burbling noise from the pub in the background. Inevitable late night chatter from some nearby tents.

It is a Very Small Field.

It is a Too Small Field.

2 a.m. Two loud conversations from separate corners of the field.
1. Margaret Thatcher, pros and cons. A discussion involving right wing leaning supporters & individuals from the mining areas of Wales.
You can imaging how that one tumbled along. Spirited was putting it mildly.

2. Relationship resolution after a couple of pints too many.
Made Debate #1 sound quite appealing. Debate #2 finally terminated by the sound of a loud slap, courtesy of the female party, & a caution for the male party concerning current public behaviour.

3.30 a.m. Woke in a sweat. Feeling nauseous. Definitely not alcohol related (I'm an experienced paced imbiber at such soirees)
That uncertain period of lying still, hoping it would pass. Then the rush in the dark for discarded clothes. A rapid exit from an unfamiliar tent tumbling out into the muddy pasture and night dampness to transfer stomach contents (Exhibit A) to a handily placed hedgerow (Exhibit B). Repeatedly.
Recycling at its simplest.

Currently listening to - Loud group discussion at field bottom, all (happily) blissfully unaware of my discomfort.

5.00 a.m. Still bloody talking. Bastards.

9 a.m. Bleary eyed, rising all too swiftly from the depths of wandering sleep. Coming up too fast, a diver with a bad case of the bends. Eyes pop open wide.
Sod it. Get up & go home time.

How could such a well natured & easy tempered social occasion turn into the unbalanced bedlam of the post pub close down?

A Wild Camp indeed.

Trip Report Tip.
Considered as we both rode homeward, under rain laden clouds, our bodies jaded from lack of sleep (and in my case lack of stomach contents)

For some people not (over) drinking alcohol is a lesson that continually seems to pass them by, despite the all too obvious personal impact it has on themselves and their acquaintances.

Not to say their future prospects of enjoying solid food, in certain cases.

And yes. I did enjoy it.

But next time I'm taking a bloody Taser as part of the kit.


Lol,the things folk do for fun.
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