“You mustn’t laugh,” – this was how it started.
“Why?” came the small voice from the other side of the canvas. Then, giggles.
“Because I have a serious case of bed head,” I said.
I dared to pull the zip up and poke my head out of the tent to be greeted by my god-daughter (aged two) and good friend C after their first ever night camping.
To be fair to her, C did a good job of suppressing a smile as she caught sight of my rather glorious bonce and make-up free complexion.
You see, I’d like to think of myself as a relatively low-maintenance gal. I can be in the shower and then out of the house, hair washed and make up on, in forty minutes. Thirty if I’m really pushed. And let’s face it, most people who go camping accept that we don’t look as good while away as we perhaps do when we have the benefit of an en-suite and a full make up bag (as opposed to the tiny one I take when we go away).
Unfortunately, camping brings out the tramp in me. I’m quite happy not to wear a full face of make up (although I draw the line at going totally without make up. My fair complexion means the dark circles are even more pronounced than on most parents and having red hair means I also have ginger eyelashes. The result is that my eyes disappear if I don’t dye my eyelashes or coat them in mascara.) I can also cope with having a shower every other day instead of my usual daily one.
And I’ve discovered girls with long hair (Like C, I might add, who I blessed with thick, blonde locks) have a serious advantage when camping. A quick brush through, scrape it back into a ponytail and you’re good to go. Not so those of us with a cute crop. Oh no. Instead I spend 5 minutes each morning sprinkling water on to my wayward barnet in an attempt not to look like I’ve been electrocuted.
Worse, I have to endure the indignity of the trek from the tent to the toilet block in order to be able to resolve my follicular issues. And those of you with young children, or who have ever had young children, will sympathise, I’m sure, when I tell you that I spent the whole of that journey on day 2 of our last trip, trying to explain to a curious Mimi what happens when you’re electrocuted. It went something like this:
Me: “You see, if you get electrocuted the electricity runs through your body and makes your hair stand on end.”
Mimi: “But how do you get electrocuted?”
Me: “Well, if you stick your fingers in a plug socket or…”
Mimi (interrupting): “Why would you stick your fingers in a plug socket?”
Me: “Well, you wouldn’t, if you were sensible.”
Mimi: “So why did you say that? You haven’t stuck your fingers in a plug socket. We haven’t even got sockets in the tent. There’s no electricity!”
You get the picture.
I at least drew wry smiles from some of the other early risers who were themselves wrangling with the curiosity of their children. Some of the older ones probably asked how that lady had managed to get electrocuted when there’s no electricity in the field.