Saturday, 9 July 2011

Bread, camping, camping, camping, camping, camping, camping, camping...

Okay, so just before I go into the tale of camping and why right now I think I would never go again if you paid me, I want to show a pretty picture of the bread I made last night!

The loaf and the rolls still in their tin

See how pretty the rolls turned out? And completely by chance they formed a gorgeous sort of pattern in the tin; I was loathe to lever them out of it, they looked so awesome. But that'll be lunch today, and hopefully tomorrow too.

So! Camping... this will basically be a huge long rant I suspect, so don't feel a need to read any of it...

I feel some backstory is needed. Now I don't know if I told you about a certain person's irritating nature, but, well, a certain person had an irritating nature. Let’s call her E. So a while ago we were on one of our pub get-togethers, and on the way there H gave me a warning. I think the conversation went like this...
H: So - about camping, when E was on the phone to me for three hours the other day she asked me to go in her car in the front seat, saying that her nan insisted she 'had someone who could drive with her'.
Me: *rolling eyes*
H: Yeah. So I said, 'No, I'm going in B's car, I'm sorting out directions for her.'
Me: Nice one, well done!
H: Ahah! Yeah well she then said she had to have someone who'd passed their driving test in the car with her, and we realised the only other person who had a driving license was you...
Me: Oh. Great. Okay.
H: Yeah so I'm just warning you because she'll probably ask you at some point about it...

The conversation continued in this slightly boring, pissed off vein for a while, but I won't bore you with any more of it. So we're in the pub, having just collected first drinks, and E turns to me and asks me oh so politely if I would mind going in her car because her nan says she must have someone who can drive and knows about cars with her. Now, let's get a few things straight. First point: I don't know about cars. I don't, I recognise companies and I know basic maintenance form my test and that's it. Second point: other people going know more about cars than I do, they just haven't taken their test yet. Third point: I really don't particularly like this person anymore because she's always doing this sort of thing, and it's dumb and childish. However, i agreed with H that if needs be I would go in E's car because when you're part of a group you have to think of others. Fourth point: E made it clear that she was only thinking about herself in this matter and not about what I want; she just wanted to be able to handpick who went in her car. Quite obviously she hadn't thought about what I might want, or what anyone else in the group wanted. And she carefully asked me, a) whilst the group was together, although everyone was chatting, and b) before I was drunk enough to flat out refuse without feeling horrifically guilty and before I was drunk enough to have a rant at her for her selfishness. So she pissed me off royally I'm afraid because she didn't think about anyone but herself, and she made me feel obliged to go with her. I felt trapped in a corner about it, like there was no choice. I settled with saying, 'I'll think about it,' rather than committing myself to the obligation or the argument. But H knew how pissed off I was that E had the balls to do that to me. So yeah. That's the backstory.

Now to the camping. We all arrive at H's, pack bags into E and B's cars, it's agreed that everyone goes with E except for H who will go with B, enabling B to put her backseats down for more packing room. The drive up was not terrible, but not very reassuring of E's driving ability, especially the point when she said she 'need someone who knew about driving in the car so they could look at the road signs.' If you can't drive and keep an eye out for road signs then just. Don't. Drive. It's clear you don't have the ability to drive safely. And when I mentioned to her that she should be able to look out for them as well as drive, she justified it because it was only her third time on the motorway. No excuse! I get that the motorway is faster, and a little daunting at first. But it's really just a bigger road. And a driver should be able to multitask, it's part of driving! You can't rely on other people being in the car with you!

Anyway! We arrive at the campsite without masses of fuss, and set about pitching a tent. Most of the group had never been camping before. But we get stuck in. It's hard work, it's roasting weather, and it's difficult because the campsite is not the best terrain, being very stony. About halfway through, E decides she can't be bothered to do any more work, and gets up saying to me, and I quote: 'I'll leave this in your capable hands.' Yeah. The urge to punch was strong. I am not naturally muscular, I am not heavy enough to put my weight behind my strength, I was hot and tired and have shit joints from doing ballet for so long. I do not complain. I carry on because now it's expected, and someone has to get the tent up, it has to be put up which means getting on with it. And by the time we've finished putting it up, I get to listen to E exclaiming about how hard the job was and well done everyone, we really worked hard, and how sore my shoulders and knees are.

We start bringing stuff into the tent, and we're stood in the centre of an eight-man tent which has two sleeping compartments at each end, discussing who sleeps where. We have it agreed: H, B and I will sleep in one end, and E, K and F will sleep in the other. But E doesn't like this, she wants to sleep in the other end. So she switches her place and mine. Without consultation, without letting me know until it's done and there's no point in changing it back. Now I don't mind sharing with K and F, I don't. But suddenly I've had no control over anything to do with me, no real say in the matter and I'm feeling a bit like shit, especially as I know that K and F go to sleep straight away but that there will be nattering in the other side where I was originally - and I'm gonna miss out on everything. So I spend a portion of the evening in my compartment 'sleeping' when in actual fact I'm alternating between silent crying because I feel so out of control of myself, and meditating because when I feel this down it has physical effects on me, like difficulty breathing.

So I'm tired and in pain, and miserable and guilty because all these things are making me antisocial particularly as I have to face E's company for the next three days. I hear her saying things and making jokes which are private jokes just between various workings of H, B and me. I feel awkward, I feel displaced and unable to control anything. I don't know where I stand or what to do or how to manage. We go on a walk in the evening, and I trail a little, taking some time for myself. And then, I divert to go to the loos before going back to the tent where everyone else already is. I'm almost back at the tent and I hear E talking about me. Insulting me. Have you ever stood there, hearing someone being rude about you in general - your appearance, the way you talk, whatever, not stuff that you can help and not stuff where you've affected them - and tried to figure out the best thing to do? It's bloody difficult, because you're trying to not hear and hear at the same time, you don't know whether to walk away again and give them a chance to change topic, or whether to walk in there and pretend that you haven't heard what they said, so many choices, and you can't work out what the best action to take is. But it make you feel like crap, because whilst you're trying to work it out, they're still talking about you and hurting you because you can't help but hear.

So that was kind of awful. Anyhoo, camping continues. Miserable weather the next day following a miserable night's sleep where I was rolled over twice by F and then walloped in the face sufficiently hard that today is the first day it hasn't hurt since. I went to sleep last, I woke up first, I'm feeling low after the previous day. But I try, I do. I laugh, I joke, I pretend not to hear E when she makes digs or says something which is nothing to do with her... yeah. We go for a walk in the evening following a pub meal, and that gives me time alone. Upon heading back, we're given the choice of going to the pub or going back to the tent. I choose the tent, not just because I don't fancy drinking, but because it's the opposite option of what E's doing. Which is a stupid reason to choose the tent, but why spend more time with someone when they make you miserable? Having got ready for bed, I ask H if she's free for chatting, since she came back to the tent too and was already for bed; and she is. I end up crying all over her (sorry!) and we work through everything, as we do, and we figure out some action plans which would help.

We're still talking when the others come back, drunk as can be. We end up getting them ready for bed, and I end up sleeping in the compartment with H, B and E since I was already wrapped up in there with H when the others came back. You would think that since the pods are designed to take four people, they would. Not when one of them doesn't move up. So I'm sleeping with my face against the pod wall, and H is sleeping like a sardine next to me because E didn't move other. And B has a whole half of a compartment to snore the alcohol away. I wake up time after time in the night to see E effectively breathing down H's neck. And at one point when I'm lying awake, H rolls over to try to find some room away from E, and opens her eyes, looks at my face mere inches from hers (there's that little room) and mumbles a 'hi' then goes back to sleep.

So the following day we had planned to go to Grizedale forest. But B is sleeping off her hangover and the weather's a bit miserable. So we do nothing all morning. The afternoon brightens up, and we have a barbecue, which is quite nice and good fun. But by now it feels like my moods are infected with crappiness because I just can't keep a smile on my face, I can't keep being cheerful and social. H, bless her, notices and texts me 'walk?' to which I agree. So, having been the ones cooking along with B, H and I go off for a walk leaving E, K and F to wash up. And H and I enjoy the walk; we follow a public footpath by a stream which is gorgeous, and we end up at a park where we play on the slide like children, and H tries out a child's swing, and we end up on the normal swings watching swallows flying right up by us so we can see them in detail. That, I think was the highlight of the trip.

Of course, it being the last night, B gets drunk again, and the weather is crap, with torrential rain all night. It's not as cramped, because B goes off and sleeps in the other side with the other drunk people, so it's just E, H and me. But does E move right the way up so there's room? Does she balls. So H and I sleep right next to each other again, with E moved up a little way. It's freezing cold, and I again get four hours sleep or so before I'm awake and listening to it raining. H is burrowed right down in her sleeping bag. At one point she turns over, and waking up a bit pulls her sleeping bag down until her face appears. She looks round blurrily for a moment, then burrows back down because it's freezing. I'm almost lucky, being up so early, because at about half five it stops raining and I take the opportunity to walk up to the toilet block and shower and do my teeth and so on. All in all I spend around forty-five minutes in there, and about five minutes after I'm back in the tent the rain starts coming down in buckets again.

Once everyone's up (except a drunken sleeping B) we pack the cars up again, and once I've dragged a hungover B out of bed, we pack down the tent. In the rain. That's almost hail. And as heavy as Noah's flood. B of course, not organising her packing early enough, has no coat, no jumper, no nothing to keep her warm and dry. So she is soaked through. Of course, so are the rest of us really, despite all waterproofs, but we at least have other stuff with us to get dry again. We end up driving home with me in my pyjama bottoms, B in her pyjamas, and H in a bin bag dress she made herself. I'm in E's car again, and she dictates the music that's on and sings to it all the way home. I really dislike her voice anyway, because it's really nasal and she sings in head-voice all the time even though it's not necessary. I don't think she's a good singer; I think she masks being a bad singer with these two techniques, and I think anyone could sound as good as she does by doing the same. But she thinks she's ah-may-zing. Feeling miserable because I know I have hours stuck in a car with someone I don't like singing songs I like badly and driving dangerously, I choose to feign sleep all the way home, briefly wondering if I can smother myself with the pillow in my lap. Let me just explain the additional driving problem that makes her dangerous. I don't know who taught her hill starts, but they should be shot. Or she should for not paying attention. When stopping facing uphill, she slows down, down, down - then SLAMS THE BRAKE just suddenly, jerking everyone onto the floor if they're not held down with camping equipment. Then she yanks her handbrake on. When she's setting off again, it's like it's a race to her as to how fast she can accelerate after taking the handbrake off. So handbrake comes off, then she does clutch, accelerator, bite, go. That's wrong. There's no argument; that is just wrong, bad, dangerous driving. And it's scary to be sat in the car helplessly watching her do this dangerous act to you again and again. Particularly when you have a hatred of hill driving. Particularly when since your road traffic accident years ago even tiny minor collisions, prangs etc send you into shock. Yeah.
But we get back to H’s, we unload the cars, there’s discussion over what to do next. H and I both know without discussion that I’ll stay over until late, so she just sends me upstairs to bed. This would really be her brother’s bed but it’s the one she uses while he’s away at uni, and it’s the one we share when I stay over. It’s confusing, I know. Everyone else chooses to go home straight away, much to H’s relief I suspect. So I slept for a few hours, leaving H to do her own thing, which would be laundry and packing because she would be going away again the next day (which incidentally was today). Then I get up, we chat about the experience of camping, both agreeing that at that moment we felt we never ever wanted to go again in a million years.
And that is the story of camping. It’s basically a long rant. Don’t get me wrong, there were some lovely bits: the scenery was gorgeous; the village nearby was beautiful and interesting; the walk H and I went on was really nice; and it was relieving somewhat to be able to talk everything through with H. But the company (besides H) was hard work and sometimes incredibly hurtful; the weather sucked; it ended up costing double what it was meant to; too much food was bought unnecessarily; and I think we didn’t all have the same expectation of what the holiday was about. H and I were thinking it would be walks and trips and that sort of thing, and for others it was about drinking. Which is fine, but if I’d known about that and the cost beforehand, I wouldn’t have gone. Time was wasted when we could have gone to Grizedale forest and played games and done Go Ape, etc. And if it had been good weather on the last morning, H and I were going to get up early, walk into the village and buy breakfast and gifts there. This would have been an exercise in seeing f the others could manage to get up on time and work on packing up without H having to sort it out and organise and do. But because of the rain, we didn’t get to do any of that. Which is a shame. Maybe sometime in the next year I’ll persuade H to go back there with me, and we’ll stay in something with solid walls and a roof and we’ll go to Grizedale forest and do Go Ape and buy souvenirs. Maybe. B asked everyone on the last night if we would do it again, same people same place same everything but the weather. I didn’t want to lie but I said yes. Would I do it again, same everything but the weather? No chance.
So now that I've bored you with my whining and complaining, I feel I need to apologise. I'm sorry. It really wasn't so terrible, but I did feel like crap for most of the trip, and you certainly learn whom you can live with. ut I'm sorry that the whole story was one big pile of crappy complaints. I'll try harder next time.

And that is all for now, I'll leave you to digest all that, and speak soon.

Love love xx

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