Quad Camp Camping
I do enjoy camping. Yes, it’s a bit of a pfaff; everything is a bit of a compromise, nothing is quite perfect, it can be cold, uncomfortable and a bit of a chore. But all of that is kind of fun. Maybe it’s the primal accomplishment of surviving less than ideal conditions that satisfies the inner caveman within us? Whatever it is I do enjoy it. Not that modern camping is anything of a challenge or an accomplishment. I don’t even have to put up a tent. Really it’s just a matter of parking my van and plugging it into the electric hookup. Once that’s done I have proper electricity, a fridge and even gas to cook on – that’s more than we’ve got at home. There’s a toilet block with showers just 100m from my pitch and with the weather set fair there’s really no hardship at all. I’m still camping though and that’s fun right?
The fact that I don’t seem to have a tin opener does make things somewhat more challenging, but ‘hey ho, that’s what camping is all about’.
It’s actually really easy on my own too. There’s plenty of room, things are easier to keep tidy and organised (I like tidy and organised) and I can do what I want when I want without upsetting anyone, without waking anyone up and without bothering anyone. There’s not even anyone there to mock my constant cleaning and tidying or even the fact that I sweep the camper floor every 5 minutes! My OCD is mine alone.
So, after dinner it was time to chill in the van, write a couple of blog posts ready for publication and get ready for bed. There’s absolutely no phone coverage here so there was no wasting time on the Internet, no emails to worry about or answer, no messaging loved ones and no tending to my armies on silly games that I play. As a web developer and someone quite heavily invested in tech I’ve always been quite proud of the fact that I’m not on my phone all the time. I resisted a phone with an always-on data plan for years and was quite proud of my ability to switch off. Unfortunately such things are ubiquitous these days and I do have one. I have gradually become more connected more of the time and do use it to keep in touch. I thought it would still be easy to switch off, and it would be were Anna and Morgan here. But now, forced to do so, and all on my own it would be nice just to be able to send a goodnight text message. It would be nice to upload my days activities to Strava, and it would be nice to be able to publish the blog posts I’ve written. None of that’s possible though so I get the camper ready for bed and by 9:30pm there’s little left to do other than read a book and listen to podcasts.
I’m hoping therefore to get a good nights sleep. The bed is comfy, there’s plenty of room and I’m nice and warm. Everything is quiet. I’ve even turned the fridge down so that it doesn’t make noise overnight. I start to nod whilst reading my book so decide it’s time for sleep. Despite nodding just two minutes earlier I just can’t get to sleep though. I’m rubbish at sleeping! I doze a few times overnight, but never fall asleep properly. The cold I’ve been keeping at bay over the past few days seems to be taking hold too. I’ve now got a headache and feel a little bunged up along with the general malaise and sore throat that I’ve had. In fact the sore throat is now quite painful and swallowing is difficult. I console myself with the fact that such things always feel worse overnight and I’ll be fine in the morning.
At 4:30am I give up pretending to sleep and get up. Don’t you just love camping!! At this time of day the toilet block is mine alone. The ducks snoozing in the grass give me a dirty look as I pass them. Back at the camper I rearrange things and get the kettle on for coffee and porridge. We’ve moved on from the wonderful invention of pot porridge’s to make our own homemade instant porridge. It’s easy, just mix porridge oats with some sugar and some powdered milk, whizz it all up in a food processor and put it in a pot. Breakfast whilst camping is then just a matter of adding boiling water to some of this in a bowl and hey presto, delicious, healthy, steaming hot porridge in seconds. I love camping!!
Hot food and drinks always make you feel better and when they are made in a field with views over a lake as the sun rises what could be better?
They don’t help my cold though and I still feel fairly ill. Worse still it’s got to my chest. Anna will no doubt tell me off when she reads this but as I have no reception that won’t be for a while yet. If I waffle on long enough she may not even read the whole blog post so I might even get away with it. But, ever since I had pericarditis quite a few years ago now, any viral infection seems to flare it up. My theory (which is backed up by some research I’ve done on such matters) is that the virus that originally caused the pericarditis is still present in my pericardium. When I’m fit and healthy my immune system keeps it under control and all is OK. However, if I have some other viral infection such as a common cold my immune system gets distracted. It has other things to worry about and antibodies to produce in order fight off this new invader. The virus that causes my pericarditis seizes it’s chance and attacks whilst my immune system’s defenses are down and my heart starts to hurt. It feels as though it’s rubbing against my rib cage. Not much fun. I think the inflammation means my heart has to work a little harder too so it makes me feel a little tired and breathless. Certainly not what I need on a Quadrathlon training camp.
The plan for the morning is a short (30 mile) bike ride at 9:30am. I can’t sit around and not join in so I decide to see how I get on. Jean seems to be a little worried that I’m going to find it all too easy and low key anyway. I’ve already discovered that I’m a fair bit faster at swimming than everyone else, but wasn’t surprised by that. Jean keeps saying that I’ll be considerably faster at everything else too and shows concern that I might not get much from the camp. I’ve reassured her that I can do my own thing if I want and can always make things harder by doing extra if I feel like it. Besides, I’m trying to make it all about pleasure rather than performance these days. Although with the latest viral developments I think that maybe a nice easy paced bike ride will be just the ticket. No racing up the hills and doubling back to do it again today. I think instead I’ll just pootle along with everyone else and give my immune system a chance to do its thing. More coffee, a vitamin tablet, ibuprofen and some time spent fat-fingering this article on my phone and before I know it, it’s 8am and time to start getting ready. It’s a glorious day already. My bike and the hills are calling.