On an interweb forum that I frequent on a regular basis there was a question raised by a young person about to visit their first music festival as to what sort of things should they pack to take with them.
I was quite surprised by some of the replies.
Obviously a tent, and something to sleep on, that goes without saying.
But then …”Wet Wipes, Hand Sanitizer Gel, Toilet Roll” …
Its no wonder that our youth are so soft
“A Cheap Mobile Phone, an iPod, Gas BBQ, Toothbrush, toiletries” …
OK, so its a long time since I last did any camping of note, the Bank Holiday of HM The Queens Silver Jubilee to be exact, yes, her Silver Jubilee, May 1977, but our requirement list for camping on a mountainside in The Lake District that weekend was as follows…
Some money for beer
end of list
“A tent” you cry, yes we also needed a tent but one of the lads had a huge big one that he’d scrounged from somewhere and so we all just slept nose-to-tail in that, almost twenty of us in a four berth tent – cosy.
OK, so you wouldn’t expect us to have mobile phones, hell we didn’t even have a phone at home in 1977, and if you’d said “iPod” to us we’d have probably just stared at you awaiting a translation, but things such as toilet roll and probably even wet wipes were in existence, its just that we didn’t take any because, frankly, and if you have a delicate stomach you may like to turn away, you didn’t need them.
You didn’t need wet wipes to wash with because we had a stream to wash in not ten yards away from where the tent was pitched and it was a fresh mountain stream, the water having only just fallen from the sky, fresh, clean and mountain cold and I well recall the morning that five of us crouched down at the streams edge washing our faces and rubbing our teeth with our fingers to clean them with the cool, clear, fresh mountain stream water only for one of the lads to stand up in mid stream and peer around a tree to see a cow just upstream having a shit in the same water we were washing in – it did taste a bit funny too.
Toilet things were taken care of by, erm, waiting until you got home, being of the male variety such things as having a wee could be achieved by finding a handy tree to offload against but disposing of the other effluence just had to wait until you got home sometime during the next week unless you could find another tree to squat behind and a newspaper to wipe up with afterwards – toilet roll was unheard of on a camping trip, proper toilets were for nancy’s.
And yes, its true, I cannot deny this for I have written about it sometime in the past, there was that time when one of our party had to be evacuated by the RAF mountain rescue helicopter and flown to a hospital somewhere more civilised when they thought he had a burst appendix only to realise later that it was severe food poisoning from drinking contaminated water (back to the fresh, cool, clear mountain stream again) but at least it gave us something to laugh and talk about forty years later, what are these kids going to talk about in their dotage when asked if they ever went to any music festivals – nothing – for what is there to talk about when you simply take the entire contents of your house off camping with you, no fun at all.