Friday, October 7, 2011

On the road again

It's First Friday Column time again. Drum-rolling you over to The Husband...

We’re off camping. Hurray! It’s school holidays so we’re hitting the road north to a national park at gorgeous South West Rocks.

South West Rocks really is the hidden holiday gem time forgot. I suppose I’ve ruined it for everyone now, but the place has the wonderful sleepy holiday air and evokes thongs on hot bitumen, deafening cicadas, salt on sunburn (yes, yes), long hot afternoons and sunset barbecues.

Given the weather in Sydney has been, in meteorological parlance, total crap, it may be more thongs in cold mud and the thrilling smell of damp wool in the musty tent but we’re nothing if not hardy.

In fact, that’s not true at all. There’s nothing hardy about us. A bigger bunch of princesses and nancies has never set foot in a camping ground, and that’s just me.

The Author of Small Things, Simple Pleasures may well be at one with nature when it involves birds and cats, but not so much if it involves multiple legs and feelers.

Let’s just say the Author likes things to be clean, comfortable and good quality at all times. This time last year we were holidaying in Europe and in the quirky little apartment we rented in Paris she had to line the bed with towels lest she come into contact with the sheets which were deemed “nylon-ey”.

We started camping slowly. Our first foray was to Sydney Harbour’s Cockatoo Island, surely the original site to put the glam into glamping. The amenities block could have featured in Inside Out mag and evening cocktails at the Harbour Bar were delightful.

Then we borrowed a tent and took off with friends one long weekend, wine glasses, our own good linen and duvets and lovely Neil Perry braises with couscous around the campfire.

Now the Author realised she’d be warm and comfy with all her things around her she became quite the camping fan. Not that we’ll ever make an assault on the south face of Everest, nor will ablutions ever involve a spade, but we’re getting more adventurous each time.

We have our own tent now – a two roomer with a terrace. Or a verandah. Or whatever the front room of a tent where shoes and eskys go, is called.

Today we even ventured down to a camping store, looked at all the eskys and tents and beds and hats and lights and canoes and bought a natty little camp stove. It runs two burners off a little gas bottle and will be used to produce the Author’s morning coffee and evening hotty –seriously!

We also have a barbecue near our tents, which, to my delight, is wood powered so, yes, I can light fires.

But the weather’s looking a little dodgy so the Author’s getting a little jumpy about an awful situation which could possibly develop and ruin everything. This dreaded possibility is known in camping circles as “getting cold”.

I do hope nobody gets cold. I do hope our new stove doesn’t explode. I do hope our tent doesn’t blow away or the campfire set my mate Peter’s pants on fire. Actually, that might be kind of fun.

I’m sure reports and photographs of our adventure into some of the wildest territory on the planet – the mid-North Coast of NSW – will feature here soon enough.

Wish us luck.

Image is of a South West Rocks sunset taken on a crappy phone. The reality was actually breathtaking.


  1. I LOVE camping, time to be 'slow'. The whole process absorbs me. The only problem with bad weather is if there are children to entertain, otherwise i find it equally as enjoyable and your new tent sounds very comfy. Take lots of sewing too!!! Have fun

  2. Oh the vision of Vera with the nylon-y sheets! Much mirth. I'm afraid I am in her camp re the dislike of camping, pardon the pun. Sticks and leaves in bed with me and all the other yuk does not make me a happy person although I love to read about others happy times around the campfires.
    Hope the weather holds out for you all.