Friday, March 27, 2009

Set up Thy Tent and Camp

“It’s pretty good for four euros, though…”

George has always thought positively. And one couldn’t quibble; the Amazing Promo! price, an assembly time of three minutes – this Tent was a good buy!

A flimsy pale blue dome of compact dimensions, it has a mosquito-net lining, an aeration window on its summit (knotted orange hanky provided for closing), tiny tent pegs, guy strings, and a Floor! I was particularly thrilled at the latter, being averse to uninvited critters...

I’d forgotten we had this tent. George bought it years ago as a fun-filled spare room for visiting small children. Disappointingly, they always plumped for the futon, and the tent was relegated to the Not Much Use cupboard.

However, George’s current revitalising of his Musical Passions brought it back to mind. This summer promises a multitude of festivals; whether he’s playing at them or attending in Devotee capacity, what handier accoutrement could there be? Apart from an instrument or two...

He painted the Tent of his Youth with stars; it was that sort of an era and offered some hope of spotting it in a field full of quite similar ones. In fact this tent, too, could only benefit from decoration of some ilk…

I’d never been tempted to camp before – lack of loo and hairdryer seemed insurmountable hurdles. Yet, sitting inside this cosy island edifice, surrounded by lawn, bird song, fresh air and the foothills of Mole City, I felt strangely enthusiastic at the prospect.

After all, we could both fit inside it at the same time - lie down even (although George needed the full diagonal). “It’ll be great!” he urged, “inflatable mattress, roomy sleeping bag, torchtoweltoothbrush… what could be better?”

The first festival is at the end of May; exciting music, stalls offering food and Stuff of every variety, a chance to commune with Nature for a blissful weekend… Will I discover an unexpected passion for Tenting?

Hell No!

Luckily there’s a pleasant hostelry close by.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sporty Things

Just who is Jay Spearing?

I happen to know that he is a twenty-year-old Midfield Player for Liverpool, who came on for the last half hour of their match against Real Madrid last Wednesday, and played really well. I know, because at breakfast the next morning, this heartwarming snippet – this giving a chance to new talent – was the bit of George’s Match Debrief that caught my attention and made me smile.

George is a passionate Liverpool fan. Hence, soon after we met, he took me to watch a match; they were playing Stoke, I think - somewhere beginning with ‘S’ anyway. As it was my first ever live match, I determined to concentrate very hard and amaze George with my astute comments.

I was busy concentrating when everyone around me suddenly leapt up cheering and waving. Oh hell! - how had they scored so sneakily? And no replay…

Do you like sport? I like sporty things if they make me laugh; for instance, Cancanning on the mini-trampoline; sploshing about in the sea with an inflatable of some ilk (dinghy, dolphin, waterwings…)

At school, I was strangely good at Netball; in spite of being height-impeded, I could leap up to the net like one of those hunky seven-foot basketball players. And, of course, you could grasp the ball, whereas in Hockey you had to try and hit it with the end of a stick longer than I was.

In Hockey I was also horribly hampered by moving schools half way through the first year. I had learnt the Bully Off chant in a sort of slow motion: “Ground… Sticks… Ground… Sticks… Ground… Sticks… AWAaaaay!” - then the one paying most attention would solidly thwack the ball and set the game off in her favoured direction. At this new school they bullied off so fast, they’d scored before I’d even recognised the instructions.

Worse than that, the six months of growing that everyone else had had since buying their hockey shorts, meant theirs were trendy micro-minis; mine were a draughty tribute to Baden-Powell.

So sports lessons for me and other like-mindeds were generally a time to hide in the loos and compare scant notes on boys and eyeshadow. In post-school years I decided to try being sporty with Badminton; although this involved the tricky hitting-with-appendage, the target at least sailed through the air at a more gentle rate than a Tennis or (heaven forfend) a Squash ball...

Sadly, it it didn’t sail slowly enough for me, and I never graduated from Beginners’ Courses (in spite of taking three sets of them). But I wasn’t the only one. And we Put Our All into those games, hurtling desperately after the shuttlecock, shrieking “Good Shot!” whenever it made it over the net, and retiring to the bar afterwards to discuss our performance.

Definitely a cause for hilarity.