Happy campers are welcome to it

MY KIDS and grandkid went camping for a few days last week and it was the maiden voyage for the little fellow heading towards his first birthday.

First time out of the comforts of his own room and I do wonder what he thought of camping - whether it's all it's cracked up to be.

My first go at sleeping away from my own bedroom was not camping but a cubbyhouse I had talked - well, actually pestered - my father into building on the farm.

He built me this house with a wooden floor, weatherboard sides, windows with shutters, a tin roof and a little porch. He made an area for a camp fire so I could cook potatoes in their jackets for dinner, and I was all set.

The project took about three or four weeks, as he did it after a hard day among the pineapples, and it took me about four hours on my first night in there to pull the pin and head back to the safety of my own bed.

I am not sure whether it was a possum, a bandicoot or a cat coming through the window over my little, fat, pyjama-clad body and out the other window that did it, or the scratching sound under the floorboards, but I didn't hang around to find out.

To my dear old dad's disgust, I never ventured back to my cubbyhouse after dark ever again and I think it also mentally scarred me forever about camping out.

I never went camping until I was about 15 when some mates and I did the Duke of Edinburgh Awards, because it was time off school if nothing else. In the trekking part we got lost and camped on the side of a creek, and in the middle of the night a cow put its head in my tent and mooed and I basically had to change my shorts.

Strike two for camping, followed by strikes three and four, which involved raging storms and cyclones that I have written about before, and added to my mental anguish regarding camping.

My very last attempt was, funnily enough, a trip to Fraser, where we circumnavigated the whole bloody island searching for some secret mud crab legend spot. We didn't find it but camped beside a creek in the mud and did find the biggest mosquitoes in the world that not only attacked at will, but flew through the tent like a squadron of zeroes.

Camping, you can bloody have it.



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