Monday, September 23, 2013

An English Camping Trip

The headmistress asked me if I’d go camping with some of the girls this weekend, to which I readily agreed. I was provided with camping supplies, which were tied in bows with ribbons (the headmistress is always put-together, and I can’t imagine her camping). And I set off to Derbyshire.

English camping is a funny thing. Instead of going out into the wild hinterlands, campsites seem to pop up in random fields and lawns. Our first campsite was the lawn of a hostel, next to a café. Dozens of tents were set up in the field, and everyone was laboring over boiling water with candles and things.

I realized that despite the fact that I’ve been camping hundreds of times, I’ve never set up a tent. It is usually my brother or some pedantic person putting poles together and so forth. My first attempt included some artistic revisions that I had made to the instructions (because the writing is so dull that even in desperate circumstances I couldn’t finish the page). After I set up the tent I got bored and ate all of my provisions.

I wanted to give the girls some s’mores but the only trees in sight were protected by little fences. So I had to break off some branches in secret, and we roasted marshmallows over candles. They don’t have graham crackers in the UK, so I had to use digestive biscuits.

I went to pubs, went shopping, hiked a bit (the countryside is beautiful), and I got to explore Chatsworth House on the last day (where they filmed Mr. Darcy’s house in Pride & Prejudice). There was a hedge maze on the grounds! I was filled with excitement upon entering the hedge maze, like the children who went in with wonder in their eyes. But after ten minutes I was mumbling, “$&#!ing hedge maze!”

It was different, but definitely an acceptable way to go camping!