Blog : Posts tagged with 'camping'

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In The Wild

In which we spot someone camping without a camp site


Not having chance for a Proper Summer Holiday for the second year running, we’ve been thinking what we can do with a long weekend away, or even a short weekend away. A bit of wild camping seems like it might be in order. It’s illegal just about everywhere in England,* but “just about everywhere”, for some mysterious traditional reason, doesn’t include the Dartmoor Commons. So, we can zoom off to Devon on a Friday, find somewhere to park the car then hike off into the moors until we’re out of sight of a road. Pop up the pop-up tent, make sure we’ve got food and a trowel, and enjoy a couple of nights in the wilderness.

Ambling around Bristol, though, we’ve noticed recently that not everybody bothers to go that far. The other evening, we noticed somebody camping in Totterdown, on St John’s Lane. Well, we assume that’s what they were doing: a tent had popped up in the bushes. The following morning: someone camping on the Portway, underneath the gorge’s cliffs. Either it’s one person moving their pitch, or inner-city wild camping is the latest trend. Personally, I’d rather travel a little further from home; but presumably, they’re not that local. I think we’d still prefer a pitch on Dartmoor, though.

* Insert “Get off my laaaand!” here

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It’s all in the timing

In which we are not as wet as we might have been


Last weekend, feeling like we needed a holiday, we went away and pitched the tent. And it rained. The tent, fortunately, didn’t leak, but we ended up with great puddles round the door, a wading trip whenever we wanted to go in or out. Our last morning, we looked out to see ducks sitting and paddling in the water.

Still, it could have been worse. For no particular reason, we’d decided to visit Somerset. If we’d gone a week or even half a week, we’d still be there now, camping by a river. And we’d be rather deeper in the water.

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Everyday life

In which the truth gets told


The last couple of years, I’ve posted “guess which bits are true” posts on April 1st.

I didn’t particularly feel like trying to fool anyone this year. Things have been a bit too stressful, lately, for me to spend much time writing here; for me to spend much time writing true things, never mind about making things up.

Work has been rather busy lately; a lot of upheaval. I’ve heard it said that when you see people under stress, it can bring out new qualities in them. It hasn’t seemed true, to me. It’s pushed people to become more extreme versions of their ordinary selves. The tetchy people are tetchier, the people who flap around panicking panic more, and the arse-lickers use their tongue ever more often. And, on the other hand, the nice friendly people are just as nice and friendly as ever.

At least everything else is going well. And we didn’t get too snowed-in, camping. I could tell it was a good sign when K – who had never been camping before – started saying “the next time we go camping, we’ll have to…”

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Typical

In which we’re weatherbeaten


Yes, typical. I write something about how unreliable the long-range weather forecast is, and what happens? It’s right for once. And the short term forecast – no snow in Wales – was wrong, too. We had a weekend of rain, sleet, snow, hail, wind. When I started to put the tent up, and was engulfed in a cloud of hail, I should have known it was a bad sign.

Still, the tent didn’t leak very much; and, by wearing all the clothes we’d brought at once, we kept warm. Roll on the next camping trip!

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Predicting the future

In which we worry about the weather


It’s a hard thing to do.

The other week, as there’s a long weekend coming up, I booked a camping holiday, in Wales. Only a day or two later, the news outlets started running stories about how awful the Easter weekend weather was going to be; wind, rain, sleet and snow. Oh dear.

There’s still snow on the forecast for Northumbria; but the forecast for the Welsh weather, though, has got noticeably better over the past few days. It’s gone from sleet, to showers, to sunny periods. And I’ve noticed this happening before. There seems to be a tendency now for the forecasts to be more extreme further off, before calming down as the date approaches.

Which is statistically what you’d expect, of course. Extreme weather is, by definition, unlikely, and shorter-range forecasts are always more accurate, so any extreme weather in a long-range forecast is likely to mellow as the forecast gets closer. That doesn’t stop the news jumping on any forecasts of horrible blizzards, though. I’m still worried that the snow forecast for the north Pennines is going to creep southwards over the weekend.

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Breaking camp

In which it’s time to go home


I’m always sad when a holiday’s over; when it’s time to pack up the tent and drive home again, leaving nothing but a little patch of yellow-white grass behind.

And then back to the office, where little has changed* and I have a big pile of work waiting for me.

* except for the Office Gossip’s resignation

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FP asked me to post this

In which it rains


It is of course pissing down. We are loitering within tent.

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Enough

In which we go away for a while


Time for a holiday – the tent’s ready, the car’s all loaded, and we’re going camping. Someone will be looking after the site whilst I’m away, I promise.

The mother was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to see at night. She didn’t think I was taking enough torches. I pointed out I had a small torch, a big torch, a medium torch, a wind-up torch, a strap-to-your-head torch, and an album by “heavy stoner pop” band Torche.* That’s enough torches.

* Not to be confused with an organisation called The Gay Conservatives, who apparently used to have the domain name www.torche.gb.org.

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End of term feeling

In which we prepare for a break


It’s not only Friday again, but it’s my last day in the office until July. Hurrah! Come Sunday, I’m off down to London for a week, to mooch around museums, go to a Shimura Curves gig, do some geek-shopping, and generally get up to nefarious stuff. I’ve already arranged to meet a few intimidating internet people, who, I suspect, are not to be trifled with;* but if anyone else would like to stalk meet me, get in touch.

Fertility Newsflash: there are now two regular readers of this place who are expecting babies around Christmastime. Congratulations to Archel and Matt, the latest to announce their pregnancy.** Clearly, this is a good thing: regular Symbolic Forest readers are bound to be far more intelligent than the average, so if you have children, they will be smarter too. I’ll shut up now before I turn into Robert K Graham.

Big Dave is away too at the moment, having gone off camping in the Lake District. As he’s never been camping before, and I have, he asked me what advice I had.

“The top piece of advice?”

“Yup.”

“It’ll piss down. No, really. You’ll go off, set up camp, and it’ll piss down the whole week. Take plenty of books.”

I hope his tent isn’t leaking.

Oh, the other pregnant reader is still a secret, by the way. But as she never leaves comments on the site anyway, and doesn’t hang around any of the bits of the internet that most of you readers come from, there’s no point me telling you who she is.

I seem to have lost interest in anything political at the moment. I’m back at my default state of “meh, they’re all awful,” which means I really don’t care to blog about any of it. Which is a shame, because there are so many terrible things about the state of politics in this country. Both parties are but a shiny layer of media gloss covering an authoritarian heart of darkness; Tony Blair’s shiny paint has pretty much worn off now, but Cameron’s is still fresh and tacky. There is so much I could be doing, too; so much campaigning you can do from your own home. I need to pull my finger out a bit.

Talking of fresh paint, the Secret DIY project is coming on with leaps and bounds. The big bit (that you didn’t see) is taking a bit longer because it’s awkward to handle, but the short bits (that you did) are ready for their final coat of paint. More photos soon, but probably not now until I get back from my holiday. Keep coming up with guesses as to what it is – my favourite so far is “an actual Ugly Stick”.

Blogging will start off on paper, next week, sitting in a café with a cup of coffee and a notebook. Very civilised. I’ll try to get online regularly and keep updating, though. A week of sitting in cafés, with coffee, cake, and … well, all the other stuff you get in cafés, will do me the world of good.

* The Plain People Of The Internet: “Hey! No more private jokes that we don’t understand!”

** Well, Archel’s pregnancy, at least. It’s not like you can take turns to incubate it for a week.

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End of the year (part one)

In which we remember what has happened


I was planning to write two whole posts about all the great things that had happened to me this year; but then, I realised I couldn’t actually remember many.

To be honest, I can’t remember much at all about the first half of the year. I went camping. Um, that was about it. So, the first thing on the list for Things To Do Next Year will be: try and be more memorable! Aside from one camping trip and one trip to London, all I can say about the first half of 2005 is that I went to work every day.*

The defining memory of the first half of the year: sitting in the restaurant of a bargain-price London hotel,** at breakfast, not being entirely sure what to do, because it was the first time I’d stayed in a hotel. That was at Easter, roughly.

* Well, five out of every seven at least.

** at least, I was assured that £85 per night is a bargain price for a London hotel. As it was on expenses, I wasn’t particularly bothered. I did, of course, take every opportunity to use the phrase “don’t worry, I’m on expenses” even though I hardly dared actually put anything onto my bill.

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