Thursday, 25 May 2006

Am i a number?

A couple of girls from the Times came out to do an interview and take some photographs, it never ceases to amaze me that people find this interesting, it poured with rain; absolutely bucketed down. I tried explaining that it is nice really and that normally everything isn't covered in mud and slugs, I think I might have been feeling a bit house proud. Lighting a fire in the rain is always a challenge, it is more of a challenge when people are watching, worse still when one of them is taking photographs. The fire sputtered lazily into life and displayed no enthusiasm to produce anything more than smoke but eventually it was coaxed into some form of life. It did eventually throw start to throw off a decent amount of heat but I was on my own sitting with a cup of green tea and steaming jeans by then.

Mike had returned the poncho he had borrowed and I had just used the last of the water to make tea, there was nothing left to steam asparagus with. It only took a couple of minutes to strap the poncho out between four trees and only fifteen minutes to collect five litres of water, I think I collected roughly the same again in my jeans and fleece by then and was very much in need of something warm and filling to eat.

Bruschetta sausage sandwich

Cook some sausages.
Grill a couple of tomatoes over the fire
Slice a ciabatta in half lengthwise pour a bit of olive oil over the inside and toast over the fire.
Vigorously rub a clove of garlic over both bits of bread, squash the tomatoes onto the bottom piece of bread, bung in the sausages stick the lid on.
Try and find somewhere vaguely dry to sit.

The idea of lying in the rain again as I slept didn't fill me with joy, the sleeping bag was already wet and so it seemed as thought the time had come to construct some kind of shelter; the tarp I was using is smaller than me and the rain comes in and all angles, everything was wet. It didn't take long to put the poncho up and the rest of the evening spent trying to dry out by the fire, if for no other reason than I didn't want to be putting cold wet clothes on in the morning. Had to give up and go to bed long before my clothes were dry and lay back to watch all the drips coming through the poncho before drifting off into an unsatisfactory sleep tinged with wet and shivering.

It struck me in the morning as I put on my sodden clothes that quitting my job might not have been the best plan in the world. Now though I have changed my mind again, I don't want to spend the summer in an airless room with no natural light, eating lunch out of a polystyrene box in front of a computer screen as the phone rings. It is time to escape, to make a bid for freedom.

4 comments:

bushled said...

Just an idle thought, but why don't you get a bigger tarp (unless your inner masochist actually enjoys getting wet)? Glad to hear you've handed your notice in. What preps are you making for your jungle adventure?

Bjorn Wild said...

You've got a hammock which has a tarp on it. You really have no reason to be getting wet. In fact, after a year you could have built a semi-permanent shelter from the surrounding foliage and the tarp. All you need is Google for the know-how (and a bit of practise) Ray mears would turn in his grave, if he were dead.

ODM (Original Ditch Monkey) said...

I have a poncho / basha and can put that up and keep dry no worries, I just can't be bothered. I put it sometimes for fun. The tarp on the top of the hammock is pretty useless, far too flimsy and would not have lasted had it been used. As for a shelter, that would be cheating, a shelter would come under the no "tent rule".

I had a lean-to shelter during the worst of the winter but that was only to keep the wind off and bits of me stuck out of the end when I lay down.

Part of the training for the Jungle will be to become a bit disciplined.

jason palmer said...

Thoreau compromised by getting a job where he worked outdoors, we are all part of the 'system' unless we buy our own land and farm. The industrial revolution happened, the trouble is adapting to it. In the end, it's all a compromise.