Last week, Darcy and I decided we were going to have an ‘outdoor’ day. Which in itself got me to thinking, when did enjoying the outdoors become something that is such a feat that it becomes an abnormal day?
When I was a kid, if you wanted to have fun, you went outdoors. From a younger age it was outdoors to throw a ball against a kerb, having boundaries from one lamppost to the next and riding our bikes from said lampposts and hoping your mum wasn’t poking her head out the window when you crossed those boundaries. As I got older, the boundaries got bigger and it was off into the woods to build fires, to skate parks and various sets of steps around the town that we could do tricks over on our skateboards. Older than that, it was off to the fields on a Friday night for even bigger fires, a bottle of white lightening and a badly rolled joint, both of which got passed around a group of at least ten of us until we all could pretend that we were completely wrecked.
The point is, it was always outside. Before the invent of iPads and Netflix, you wanted to do anything, you went outside. And now, going outside has almost become unheard of. To the point where, I ask Darcy if she’s wants to go for an adventure in the woods she looks at me as if to say, ‘Why on earth would I want to go walking in the woods? Wont I get eaten by a bear or something?’
Well, that was that, off we went. Straight to Mountain Warehouse for an outdoor, wildly luminescent coat (for some reason Mountain Warehouse don’t sell any other kind) and some other essentials. As is always the way when I go into one of these shops I went a little Bear Grylls on the situation and started buying things that perhaps weren’t entirely necessary. I don’t think the pocket medical kit, firelighting flint, para cord, waterproof sleeping bag and solar shower were essential for an afternoon in the woods in Hertfordshire but never the less, they made the cut. However vital to the plan was the small stove, some gas, and a couple of sporks. (For those of you who might be unaware a spork is a marvel invention incorporating both a spoon and a fork into one fantastic piece of engineering. See picture below)
The next stop on our journey was Tescos for some ingredients. I thought actually attempting to catch, kill, skin and cook some sort of animal was perhaps a little much on Darcy’s first camping experience. And this way there is no inherent risk of E-coli so its a win win. We bought some diced beef, carrots, onions, potatoes and stock, bagged it all up and made our way to the woods.
Once we scoped out a suitable area for the occasion, Darcy was buzzing to make a fire. Not sure whether this is a good thing or bad thing but either way its part of the camping game so we mapped out a fire circle that she wasn’t allowed to cross, I explained to her what a skin graft was to enforce this point and we got to it. Before long we had a fire on the go and some camp stew bubbling away in the pan. The afternoon was a huge success, we chilled by the fire, ate camp stew and most importantly, there wasn’t an iPad or a TV in sight. Darcy had the best time and now can’t stop going on about more camping trips. I am over the moon because I can now start converting my shitty transit into a fully fledged camper van, and neither of us got Ecoli.