This blog is a guest post written by Chris Russell who took is young son camping and had an alternative idea about what to do when needing the facilities in the night. You’ll see it was a close call…
We’re having breakfast, finishing off the last of the apple juice. “Didn’t these used to be bigger?” I gripe, pondering the empty bottle. Then it’s time to pack, the possibility of adventure filling every nook and cranny in the brimful car. We’re still heavy with anticipation, father and son ready to take on the world. “Is it far, Dad?” the boy asks, uncertain of the magnitude of our undertaking. “About 9 miles, not far” I reply, wondering just how far the reality will take us.
We sip our drinks next to the erect tent. A tribute to human endeavour, for the price of a few bashed fingers, unbridled patience and a thousand questions. “What now?” I look at my watch. Twenty two hours until we need to leave, the day stretched out before us like a patchwork quilt. Adventure, bonding, the making of long-cherished memories. We unpack our sandwiches.
We fill the day with each other’s company. Every avenue explored, each bastion of wilderness conquered and every last piece of sugar consumed. The night begins its descent, the stove fires into action and the outdoor gourmet wields his spork like a true pro. The pasta sits heavily on six hours of solid snacking. “Ice cream?” Not heavily enough. We make enquiries and skirt the country roads to a local garage.
As the darkness gathers we munch our magnums and I admire the line of bottles. Cheap country cider just desserts for a hard day of being Dad. I sneak a glance. Is he sleepy yet? Donning the head torches for a twilight traipse round the meadow I question the conventional wisdom about fresh air and tiredness. We return to cocoa and stories and I prise the lid of the first bottle, content with the seized day.
We’re scrabbling in the dark. I’d planned for this; the toilet block too far, the pitch too public. “That’ll never be big enough” the other half had mocked as I’d brandished the bottle. The apple juice now gone, but being erratically replaced. Cider, cocoa and a race against volume. The boy can’t get over the novelty, I swear he’s forcing out extra. As the breaking sun warms the tent, I look down at my sleeping son. We did it, I think. I see the bottle, devoid of air, with its review of our night’s work. Sometimes you don’t have to go far to fill life to the brim.