Sunday, 5 February 2012

Carry On Camping

Having joined in with each and every month's Sunday Storytelling during 2011, I was a little miffed with myself for missing the very first one in 2012.  Hey ho - never mind - here I am with some tent tales for February.

In my quest to make pages for my BOM I was looking through old photos and found yet another photo of me stood by the apple tree in our front garden.  It seemed to be the place to stand - I have a variety of photos of me with every length of hair, wearing new school uniforms, trouser suits, emerald green hotpants, yellow T-shirt and matching knee length socks (nope never going to share that one!) and also me in my Guide gear:

Me in a 70s girl guide uniform

I loved being a guide and worked towards several badges for baking, local history, path-finding, sewing etc.  I remember one of the most exciting things about our weekly meetings was being in the school building in the evenings! It had such a different atmosphere at night: all those echoing corridors and tempting cupboards!  The really brave amongst us even peeped into the boys' toilets!

Guiding also gave me the opportunity to go camping.  My family had long ago decided that they preferred proper beds, rain-proof roofs and indoor flushing toilets so I had never been camping before.  I went away with them for a weekend camp first to make sure that I could cope with life in the wild and happily signed up for a week long camp near East Grinstead (my friend Claire may well be revisiting the very same site this year with her Guide troop).  Back in the day there were fewer rules and regulations about health and safety and so some of us were transported, along with tents, cooking equipment, food and bags in the back of a furniture removal van!  We all thought it was very exciting but my present day self is aghast at the thought of it!

The high spot of the week for me was falling asleep under the stars when it was our patrol's turn to sleep outside the tent.  I also enjoyed tying sticks together to build "tables" and "shelves" for inside the tent - they generally collapsed if you walked too close to them or lashed out an arm in the middle of the night but it was something to rebuild during the enforced post-lunch rest hour: we didn't have to sleep but were to stay in our tents off our feet!  The latrines were at the other end of the field and, while not off-limits during this time, crawling across the field was a bit of a nightmare as the cows had only recently vacated, leaving surprise packages here and there!  Wellington boots were required footwear as they didn't let the ooze anywhere near your skin and were quickly rinsed clean if you missed a step.

Less happy memories include the rain coming into our tent on the first night - nobody had told us NOT to touch the inside surface and we thought it was strange that the more we touched the bigger the drips of water ... until it was practically raining inside the tent and we had to decamp (literally) into the First Aid tent for the rest of the week.  The weather improved, allowing us to sleep out, get stung by wasps that crawled inside our wellies and dried off the top of the cow pats making them less gooey to tread on.  Unfortunately that also meant that they could be picked up (exposing the still oozy, smelly under-surface) and flung at other people, sometimes rather too accurately - I never have quite forgiven a certain "friend" for aiming at my head instead of my boots!  YUK!
 
Want a less filthy tale?  Have something smutty sunny to share yourself?  Pop over to Si├ón's place for more memories.

P.S. The page prompted by the photo is already done, but has to wait a while as it's using the only-just-announced-outside-the-Master-Forgers February Counterfeit Kit!

P.P.S, It's now up on my blog here!

31 comments:

Jane said...

You've just reminded me that I went to that camp way back in the dark ages. Please, please, please show us the hotpants!!

Miriam said...

I love this story! it reminded me of my first holiday away with the school but we were youth hosteling. The same lack of H&S guidelines though!! Another vote/request for the hot pants please.

furrypig said...

I love reminiscing with you! I was in the Girls Brigade tho! Also I am surprised that you would pick the boys loos to look in I would have been far more interested in the staff rooom! Or the Head's office (but would probably have been too scared to go into either!!) lol xxx

alexa said...

I've loved reading your memories of your younger days - there seems to be a theme emerging this month in the Story Telling Sunday of how things were so much more casual In Those Days than now! and yet we all survived ... :). Looking forward to the page.

Peachy Stream said...

Brings back terrible memories of a certain bell tent at guide camp. Followed only by the equally awful ridge tent. It too rained inside and our "gadgets" (aka bag holder aka sticks tied together) fell down. Still, lots of fun! Great story, thanks for inspiring a memory x

happysnapper said...

i love readin gyour stories you are a great story teller perhaps you should be working on a novel.

Chipper said...

You have reminded me of one of my school trips. Great story. I am really enjoying all the stories this month.

Lynn said...

I too was a guide - I went on one camping trip and hated it. Funny thing is now we camp as a family I love it! Anyway my daughter is now a guide and loves it. She went on her first camp last summer - her favourite bit was sleeping underneath the stars! Great that you have a photo of you in uniform.

S said...

I was never a guide (or girl scout, as we call them). And I was only foolish enough to go camping once, with a fool of a boyfriend it turns out. Thanks for sharing your story - and good job on finishing the layout too - just like a good guide would do.

Alison said...

Great story Jemma....I didn't even stick 'Brownies'...and I reckon I wouldn't have been a 'happy camper'
Alison xx

K said...

lmao, throwing cow pats around ... ewwwwww!!!!!!!!!!
We wanna see the photos Jem, come on Jem, show us the photos ;-)

heart.hearth.home. said...

What wonderful memories of time at camp, though the cow pat incident sounds pretty messy. Great storytelling.

Mary B said...

Love it especially the cow pats
but I have a request and I am sure that everyone else wants it too THE PHOTO OF YOU IN HOT PANTS PLEASE PRETTY PLEASE PRETTY PLEASE WITH KNOBS ON

Lizzie said...

Cow pats - ewwww!
I also went camping with the Guides. I remember one disastrous weekend camp, when it rained non-stop for two days. The senior guides and Young Leaders had to do all the cooking and bring our meals direct to our tents, dishing them out inside and collecting our plates for washing up in the kitchen tent. We spent our time sitting in the tents, singing all the songs we knew, playing cards and board games. Even visits to the loo were a major operation, as we had to don wellies, raincoats etc before we dared to venture outside. I don't think anyone has ever been so pleased to see their parents at the end of a camp!

Great camping story, Jemma - thanks for some laughs. And just how many photos do you have, I wonder, of "Jemma under the tree"?

scrappyjacky said...

That photo could easily be me....and I have happy memories of camping with the guides.

Sian said...

Oh, I love it! This has brought back so many happy memories of my own years of Guiding. My uniform (which I still have somewhere) is the same vintage as yours - I always loved the hat becasue I thought it looked like something a fancy air hostess would wear. I was a Swallow..see, you have got me going now and I haven't even started on the camping yet. Thanks Jemma. I love it!

Melissa said...

What fun memories & a cute photo. How neat that you have photos of you in that same spot at different times - that would make a neat connections layout - Me & the Tree through the years.

Allycat x said...

Eeeeewwwwwwww! Thanks for giving me a giggle & another vote for the hotpants!!! There has to be an 80's themed LO for that photo!!! x

Kirsty.a said...

I have so many happy memories of Guide camps - a lot of them at that same site in East Grinstead!

Angelfish said...

I loved reading your memories of camping with the Guides, but I *really* want to see the emerald hotpants!

CoventryAnn said...

Loving the girl guide photo, brings back so many memories, esp the hat!!! I have none of me as a guide....in fact very few photos at all from my teens. I do recall hideous camping trips, including one during the August weekend of 1976 when the drought broke and we were flooded out of our tents!

Missus Wookie said...

Ah knee socks ;) I remember them and camping with girl scouts then guides. Wouldn't it be fun to have a collection of those apple tree photos on a page. Might actually manage to look at the counterfeit kit sometime this year - always inspiring.

JulieJ said...

I can't believe you camped when it was dry enough to sleep outside the tent!!!! We usually had to lash ours!!!
You've certainly sparked some memories here for future story telling sundays - I hope I have time to join in next month.

Helen said...

This brought back memories of camping with a friend as a young teen and also my Dad telling me that they were never bored as kids as they used to make fun for themselves. When asked how he replied that they used to flick cow pats at each other with sticks! Lovely story from you :) and you know I'm asking for that dodgy photo too!

Amy said...

I have many a memory of interesting school camping experiences ... they are not always the most hygenic of excursions!

Maria Ontiveros said...

I think I only went on one girl scout campout, and what I remember most was the slightly older son of one of the leaders who went with us, brought his guitar and charmed us all! LOL!
I do have fond memories of working on badges with my mother.
Since I've seen the CFK already, it's fun to think about what your l/o will look like.
Rinda

Ifa said...

eugh, that wasn't nice. are you still friends ? I remember my camping trip to the very wet Brecon back in my school days...are they ever dry there ?

Kai said...

Oh, I remember fondly the girl scout camp out that I went on as a kid... rain and all. We had a science teacher come with his telescope and I was able to see Saturn and Jupiter through it! Great story... prompted nice memories.

Shirley said...

I could not resist popping over here after seeing your lovely LO on UKS.
A great read and so many happy memories.
It was certainly a great time to be growing up in although at the time it did not always seem to be that way.
Thanks for sharing your exploits.

Cheri said...

Your story only confirms my resolve - I do NOT like camping! But I did enjoy the story! :)

Louise said...

your story made me smile and brought back some long forgotten camping memories.