Warning: contains the odd f-bomb.
Okay, the title is misleading in by ‘house’ I mean campertrailer and by ‘broke’ I mean completely fucked. But what’s a camping story without a few anecdotes of how it was all a bit awful so that all the non-camping folk can feel better about staying in a 3 and a half star resort and having things like showers and come to think of it, running drinking water??
Anyhoo, last weekend we decided to destroy the camping cherry of some friends- the Duke and Duchess. They’re a bit hoity-toity so when the Duke had a brain snap and bought a 10 man tent, pop up gazebo, camp chairs and the like, Fiela and I thought it would provide quite the laugh to our good selves to accompany them on their maiden voyage into the dirty wilderness. Oh the sniggers we would have as we watched them fight over setting it all up, the smirks as they worried about dirt and the eye rolls as they made all sorts of rooky camping mistakes like not bringing enough alcohol. Being seasoned out-doorsy types and expert level campers ourselves, my husband and I were assured in our status as Alpha Campers. Oh, the fall can be a long long way for the mighty.
It had been decided that since Fiela was working, I would drive the 45 minutes with the camper out to Kenilworth, meet up with the Duke and Duchess, set up and be waiting with an aperitif and canape around the campfire when he arrived in the evening. I turned up and was immediately disappointed that I’d missed the Virgin Campers setting up and that the only tension seemed to be in their expertly pitched tent. No matter, the weekend was but yet young and there was plenty of time to sit on my high-tented-horse and pass judgement on their juvenile camping ways. At which point karma said “Fuck you mole” and bit me in the private parts.
Our camper trailer, a Jayco Swan, works on a pulley system to winch up the roof. One of the cables had failed before and required a bit of bush mechanics (a big stick) to set up for the night and then a lot of swearing and consultation of the manual to fix it the next day (you can read more about this hilarious moment right here), so I wasn’t too worried when one of the cables failed again, just I was ready to unleash my wonderous Jayco Swan awesomeness. Faaarck… But all we needed was a big stick, right? The Duke and I drove into town 10 minutes down the road and managed to get a fence post to prop up the roof for the night. On returning to camp, I realised I’d left the hacksaw at home, so we had to enlist the help of Old Mate from next door who gave us a tomahawk and also some arms with which to help get the roof up. It was all a bit shit.
But the roof was up and I could finally organise our house on wheels and show who was the boss of living outdoors. And no actually, I couldn’t even do that. In between yelling at the kids not to jump, nay not to even sneeze in the camper lest the roof fall down around our soon to be dirty heads, I could not get the door to close. I could not get the van level. I could not get The Boetman to stop whingeing and I could not get the gas to work. I’ll admit I felt pretty disappointed in myself at this stage, but then I had a beer and felt a bit better. And then Fiela arrived and fixed everything in about 10 minutes. Except the camper trailer: turns out one of the cables had actually snapped. Our wheeled house was definitely broken and, despite of our four hour set up time, our perception of ourselves as competent campers was still intact.
Until the next night when Peckerhead and Cam turned up and, by cover of a very dark night mind you, had set up their camper trailer, put their sleeping kids to bed and were sitting around the campfire discussing the drive up from Brisbane in around 25 minutes…
Camping. You learn so much about yourself when you get outdoors and connect with nature. Especially if you’re a smug arsehole.