Monday, August 28, 2006

Summer is over

So how was your summer?

04.45 this morning, summer is over, the alarm clock ensured that I was aware of this fact! After showering, shaving, dressing, and consuming a cup of coffee it was time to return to my place behind the counter of the Corner Shop. Curly's wife and children were still warmly wrapped up beneath their duvets, blissfully unaware that summer has ended, the sky was grey and the streets were damp, there was a hint of menace in the stiffening breeze, and boy didn't it manifest itself throughout the day with short, sharp, and heavy rain showers!

Once again, during my two week holiday away from the Corner Shop, we had taken to the great outdoors, slept under canvass, enjoyed fresh air and exercise, cooked on calor gas and charcoal, and were surrounded by those who had recently found this "new craze" for camping. Promoted by cheap deals for tents at Asda, Argos, and Halfords, it seemed to us that the British had become weary of foreign travel, fearing of the terrorist threat, and uncomfortable with lengthy airline check ins, and decided instead to invade the countryside with their new "toys". Our family has a long history and tradition of camping, having been introduced to it as children when my parents looked after a youth club at St. Judes church in Alice Street, South Shields. Later spells camping with the boy scouts confirmed an already favourite summer "jolly."

But this year things were markedly different, there is without doubt an influx of newbies from the towns and connurbations invading our favoured campsites, there is a growing fashion for needing pitches with electric hook ups, these people cannot live without their miniature fridges, cannot cook without a microwave oven, and cannot manage without a television! They arrive in their 4 X 4 off roaders loaded to the gunwhales with all of the home comforts, it's a shame that some of them couldn't find room for the settee and favourite armchair! They bring so much to camp that the best part of their first day is taken up with unpacking the Landrover Freelander and recreating "home". They are forever restless, and cannot sleep at night unless thay have a raucous alcohol fueled party into the early hours (which of course cannot start until at least ten at night when the barbecue charcoal is finally ready to cook on.) Luckily these people cannot adjust to life in the countryside and therefore arrive on Friday lunchtime, sleep most of Saturday morning, and spend Sunday packing everything away again.)

As for us, a slot in midweek is more attractive, we have a particularly favourite site just outside of Ripon in North Yorkshire, just over an hour drive from home. It is a very friendly site with very clean facilities, free hot water and showers, an onsite bar with entertainment, games room for the children, two good sized adventure playgrounds, a football pitch, riverside walks, and a good mix of statics and tourers, additionally the town centre can be reached in twenty minutes on foot. So we had some of that, the weather was kind, the food was good, and I was awake by six most mornings! Strangely a few days at home in my own bed resulted in me staying there until 9.00 a.m.!

So, are you one of the new "in - out crowd" getting used to the tortures of camping so comically put by Jim White in this article in The Telegraph, or were you off to Turk..BANG! (That'll teach you to stay at home next year :0) )

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Born in 1956
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