14) The wild camp, Doctor Who, and “The Pounce”.

“Lions and tigers and bears, oh my.” – Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz.

Hi girls and boys, I hope you’re well.

My wild camp went well, if a little cold and wet, but it’s autumn! Something I didn’t know, to add to the enormous list of stuff Anna should know but somehow doesn’t, is that it isn’t actually winter until later in the month of December, the 21st. Our guide was superb and we wanted for nothing, although Clair was a bit lost without her wi-fi, being a slave to the facebook and hand-rectangle. The trudge to the site was all uphill which is great for the thighs but next time I’ll take less in my rucksack. I don’t need ten tshirts and three bras for two nights. Here in the UK at this time of year we lose the light at about 3.30pm, so in a forest that time is cut by a half hour or so but as we arrived at 12 there was plenty of time for us to mess around putting up a tent. I’m a tent virgin, so our man, let’s call him Alex, looked on and gave us tips from the fire he had magically built. Clair and her hubby go camping but use a campervan from the 60’s, kettle, light..electricity! Eventually however the tent was up and with everything stored away, we huddled round the fire. We had brought a range of food with us, but the pasta was the easiest to cook and after having a bit of a forage Alex came back with mushrooms and wild garlic. I can’t recall having a tastier meal for a long time. As I’ve mentioned he likes to see if he can record paranormal activity, so set up his gear as we prepared for bed. There was a stream to wash in, which was.. invigorating! There’s only so long you can go without a wee, and you’d think I’d be able to ask such a simple question as what do we do for number 2, so eventually I did so and was shown the procedure. Oh..I see! No bidet then?

We all went to bed, Clare and I sharing a tent, and eventually a sleeping bag, well, two zipped together as it was a tad chilly. And no, we didn’t do anything but have a chaste kiss, after all she’s a married woman! We’ve had a moment in the past, but literally a moment, five seconds? A look, then a kiss we both instantly regretted. Well it was I that had the moment, my gaydar completely failing as it so often does, but we remain great friends and I did look stunning(?!?!) as a bridesmaid at her wedding. Don’t all bridesmaids looks stunning? I will one day be the bride, however will I contain myself?

Sleeping bags are not something I’ve ever looked into. My first sleepover with Ellie, Abby and a few others was in mum and dad2’s house, with indoor sleeping bags, but they were made for youngsters. I had never thought of those being different to outdoor bags, but the range and types would take a week to sort though. Of course you’ve go to read and watch reviews, but then there are the “paid for” type where the person has been given the item to review. You never see a bad comment that way. In any case, if you’ve been given an item rather than buy it then it has no value to you. Yes you can tell us if it works as advertised, but you can’t tell somebody if you think it is worth the cost. How can you trust reviews anyway? Companies employ folk to type up glowing reviews of their wares on the likes of Amazon, so it’s best to ask a person that performs the activity associated with the item, in my opinion anyway. I’m not one for brands, you can have a perfectly lovely bra from Primark, so why spend an eye-watering £478 on these?

Our Youtuber guide has asked us not to say who he is, as he wouldn’t want to be inundated with requests for the same experience we were given, but Clare knows him personally…what, you thought we had gone into the forest with someone we saw on the internet? I’m daft, not stupid.

But our outdoor sleeping bags plus bodyheat kept us cosy, and there are higher specifications for colder weather in much the same way as the tog system operates for a quilt. The one-person narrow, coffin-like tent as seen below might be fun!

All the better to bury you in, my dear.

The forest does indeed get very dark. As someone that grew up in cities you don’t appreciate just how dark. At Tynemouth I can stand on the beach at night and look out to sea which is dark-ish, but the lights of the shore are still there, reflecting on the incoming waves. There’s also the aroma of fish and chips to contend with, always a distraction, while in the forest we have pine..and pine..oh oh what’s that…more pine. By the time you go home you smell like an air freshener.

We were up at 6 the next morning, although I was awake most of the night listening to the noises of the forest… owls, foxes, deer, and the wild man of Kielder.. allegedly. I’m quite ok with animal sounds, I’ve stayed on Skye enough times to be able to hear something without panicking. The deer rut noises can be horrific! No spooky goings on were recorded though, and I can’t for the life of me imagine why.

I MUST have a shower or bath in a morning, so immersed myself in the stream, my my, hello world and hello Mrs Sheep that was looking at me from the field. It is recommended as a way to wake up. It certainly raised a couple of points.

After a breakfast of bacon and eggs, we packed up and set off for the next camp which was about a two mile walk. The autumnal countryside is lovely, the colours stunning, and the few people we saw were all smily smily. We had lunch at the reservoir then on to our pitch for the night, overlooking the water. Stunning, I could have sat there all day with Alex telling us about the countryside, what to look for and what to look out for. That night the tent went up with no problems, we ate a meal of trout and potatoes, with freshly picked greens followed by another night under canvas or whatever tents are made of, but this time with the flap open to see the stars. Heaven, literally for some. A dip in the reservoir before breakfast, oh I’ll be back for some more of this.

This is all in preparation for my solo camp. I’ll go to the same places of course, I don’t fancy going off-piste and finding myself waking up with a soggy bottom, for all of you GBBO watchers. I’m not going to invest in all of the gear just yet, there’s no point unless I like the lifestyle. And the range of equipment out there is vast, a quick Google shows at least a million types of tents. Nothing can harm me apart from maybe an aggressive field mouse or a sheep with a taste for pale blondes. I’ll keep you informed.

I’m a minor fan of Doctor Who, caused mainly by dad2 who was a collector of the VHS cassettes and later DVD’s. I wouldn’t say that I watch every episode nor do I know every character, but can dip into it. The older versions are better than the flashy, cash-rich episodes, in my opinion, Tom Baker and Jon Pertwee outdo Christopher Eccelstone and Jody bloody Whittaker on most occasions. What’s not to like about Pertwee and Jo, oh Jo, wow.

I did like Peter Capaldi though. John Hurt would have been great. I’ve a Dalek on my kitchen window keeping guard over the sea in case of Cybermen attack, and in Durham an older-type Cyberman in my attic window, looking out for Daleks. It’s always best to be on both sides of the fence, I feel.

For all the blather about Whittaker empowering women, she being a rolemodel, etc, I see little of it. And it’s not like we’ve not had strong women in the programme previously. River..helloo! Leela, the superbly sexy Sarah Jane, Martha, and Donna, of course. If you’ve never seen Catherine Tate’s comedy series, then you’re missing out. What a facking liberty.

Catherine Tate and her Nan creation.

Sadly for every good one, there’s a bad one. Rose, (dear god, did we have to have that slapper in the role?) nearly put me off the programme for good, and then there was Bill. Dear BBC. When writing a lesbian into a series, did you not think of asking an actual lesbian about it? So twee it was toe-curling, she likes girls you know, why make it a thing? Mention it once and get on with it. Got to have inclusivity. Indeed we do, but don’t forget that the vast majority of watchers just don’t care about it, they just want to see the alien bested. But then this is the same London-centric BBC that cast a non-Geordie as a Geordie in an episode. We do have actual Geordie actresses! Yes I may miss out on a minor plot wrinkle when I fast forward through Bill’s dialogue, but the programme is better for it. Then there’s Nardole, Arsehole or whatever, the Doctor Who equivalent of Jar-Jar Binks. I also ff through his bits in Bake-off. Matt Lucas. Not funny.

So onto the current Doctor. Yes, she’s pretty. I first saw her in Trust Me, where she played, now bear with me, a nurse that wanted to be.. a doctor. So she steals an identify from her best mate, a doctor who is emigrating. Not her passport you understand, just her CV. Cue Jody in Edinburgh, job as an A&E doctor, but seemingly somehow bypasses the whole ID thing until a few episodes in. How is she receiving wages? I’m fairly sure the NHS HR department need to see something before they let you loose on the public. Yet she was more believable in that than her current role. Like all recent Doctors though, she talks too quickly. Why? There is only so much sci-fi-babble one can take, and if it’s delivered at such a speed to make in unintelligible… This is why I have to dip in and out. There’s been a bit written about her Yorkshire accent but to me, literally an adopted northerner, it isn’t a problem. Did we have subtitles when Rose or Donna spoke about “anyfing”.

Of course I will watch the episode at new year..Daleks AND Captain Jack, why not, and of course I will receive shit for writing this, “Whovians” being a.. erm.. special bunch. I find that the American viewers that are the most rabid, but I have to ask myself if they think it’s all real, poor lambs.

Imagine there’s a street, and on that street stands a house. You’ve many a house to choose from on this street, but this has special appeal. In this house there are a few rooms, occupied by both girls and boys. As in life, some of them are polite, some not, some are quiet, some are shouty. Both types are telling each other of their interests. Nobody is going to like everyone’s interests, that would make for a boring world. Sometimes you’ve got to leave the room, as the interests are not to your taste. Perhaps taste is not the word… On my clothing there is a badge outlining my age, interests etc. It’s free for all to read, and there’s even a button to press to let you see more, on a separate, bigger badge. Even the first badge appears to be too much for some, “TL;DR” being an acronym I hear a lot. A few can articulate well, and introduce themselves properly, although “How are you?” seems to be the default. Something more inventive wouldn’t go amiss. Just a simple hello is good. If I was anything but fine, would I be in the house in the first place? “Well actually I’ve just discovered my toes have all fallen off but thought I’d pop in and say hi anyway…”.

Some however, insist on sidling up to you and whispering in your ear. You have no idea why they do this. It isn’t as though they can’t talk openly as after all, the house is designed specifically for that. The whole, “I’m shy thing”…no. If you were to say hello in the room, then you’ll soon be in a chat. At the very least it would allow people to know you aren’t a wallflower, room decoration, a lurker, a Silent. (Definitely not The Silence, Doctor Who fans.)

Sometimes you can go to the address, but it seems as though the house isn’t there. A blank wall presents itself. I had thought that this was a partly-paid for house, but it seems the foundations must be dodgy. At other times when you do have access, you can be happily ensconced in a room when it seems as though everyone stops talking, but slowly you realise that it’s you that has gone, with only your name remaining as the house seems to think that you’re still there. You leave and re-enter, causing people to ask “where the fuck” you went to, getting all shirty when it was the connection/website/real-life intervening. Just relax.

Down the corridor there are more rooms, one for men, and one for women. This one can be full of girls but nobody is speaking. Then again, it can be all talky talky, but very cliquey, some may say clucky. Here you may find people living out their real lives, complete with all of the dramas they contain. My ideal place would be somewhere your real life worries can be left at the door, but hey. Lately there has been a new room, softly spoken people, mixing in a non-shouty way. It’s nice.

There is one more problem though, and that is The Pounce. You can open the door to the house, and the millisecond you are you over the threshold people begin to say hello and begin telling you not to trust that one, or who they argued with yesterday. I appreciate a welcome, but I’m not even in a room yet! At least let me get my coat off, cup of tea, read messages, take a look look about? Now I’m all for a message, love them in fact, but wait a few mins eh? I enjoy a Pounce, but sloooowly.

One day I’ll just up and leave online forums if this continues.

As ever, thanks for reading.



3rd of December, 2020


1 thought on “14) The wild camp, Doctor Who, and “The Pounce”.”

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