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I have come to the conclusion that going camping is one of life's great exposers of truths.

Camping has never been a part of my family vocabulary; growing up we stayed with relatives, or rented cottages and caravans, so my experience of camping was reserved for my twenties and consisted exclusively of visits to sporting events of varying kinds. My sleep was made possible by alcohol, high octane fumes and dancing until the early hours, and I viewed anyone who chose to go camping without these accoutrements with a healthy degree of suspicion.

I still do, even though I am now one of them.

I try very hard to see the benefit of sleeping under canvas, but after several nights of trying to persuade my over tired children to indulge in some sleep, while the radiant summer sunshine beams down and turns our tent into a giant glowing uterus, I have to admit I come up short.

I appreciate that there are people who feel grounded having nestled into mother earth for a solid 12 hour stretch, but after three nights of discovering every rock, twig, gradient and puddle on the forest floor, my eyeballs begin to itch, and I am not much fun to be around.

No really it's true.

I hate being too hot, too cold, being coated in dust, but the clincher for me, the absolute deal breaker, is the nightly internal dialogue between my nailed-to-the-pillow overtired head, and my overfull bladder. I'm not overly fond of playing russian roulette with my internal organs, but not am I keen on the ballache of getting up, finding my shoes, a torch, the toilet paper and then hoping I don't lose my balance over the long drop.   

I suppose the logical question at this point would be to ask why I put myself through this drama if all I'm going to do is complain.

Well, the answer would be threefold:

First; I am British. We are nothing without complaints.

Secondly, because of moments like this  


and the rope swings, and the campfire curries, and the adventures, and the climbing, and the "smarshmallows" and importantly - no, vitally - the fact that I get to make memories with my amazing whānau.

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