Let’s skip the boring bits and get straight to the meat of the matter.
Catherine got me diving lessons for my Birthday last week. So Wednesday night we headed out for our first one. I loved it. Breathing underwater was a bit odd, and I’ve never had as big a build up of phlegm as after breathing through only my mouth for over an hour. Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to the next session in a couple of weeks. Ideally, we’ll go to the south (any south, France, Africa, America, Holland will do as long as we can dive a bit).
Unfortunately there are no pictures of the session, something I will try to remedy as the weeks go on and we get more confident underwater.
In other news, Matthijs and I had cooked up a little plan I may have alluded to at the end of last week’s post and luckily for us the weather played ball. What we needed (and got) was a 24 hour window within which no rain was forecast.
I should clarify. We live in the Netherlands, where in winter it is perpetually cold and wet and the nights are reasonably long at this time of year. We are both more or less city-dwellers with no wildlife or survival experience. We fancied an outlet for our “wild” selves that was more substantial than a saturday stroll in the woods. It seemed fitting then, to go on a microadventure and spend a night in the forest. But because that would be too simple, we figured we would head out without a tent.
Over the past few weeks we made several lists of things we might need, and they usually got pretty silly. By silly I mean adding things like a venom kit or bear bells to ward off the wildlife. But actually the “real” part of the list was pretty simple: tarpaulin, hammocks, sleeping bags, some rope and a cooker. Head out and see what happens.
And at 13:30 on Saturday, that’s exactly what we did. We packed two large backpacks into Matt’s car and drove off down the motorway towards a (legal) campground in the forest near Austerlitz (yes, the battleground).
On the way we got the odd rain shower, but nothing too extreme. We parked up, visited a local supermarket for meagre rations and headed off into the woods (in the opposite direction to where we were aiming to go).
We left the path and headed into the scrub, looking for a spot to pitch our camp, which we found, and then immediately decided on another spot. We also picked a dedicated “loo” and set about building up our camp. Once set up we got out the cooker and brewed up a cup of tea. Promptly followed by an improvised game of cards (we played UNO with a standard deck), then immediately we cooked our dinner, had another tea (this time ravioli flavoured) and then played another card game. I surprised Matt with a tin of beer. Which made him a happy man, as he was previously lamenting our lack of bringing brews.
Then we decided it was cold and time for bed. It was 8 oclock…..
We both lay in our hammocks for about an hour reading and then nodded off. All things told, there isn’t actually much to do in the forest once night has fallen, and as our attempts to light an (illegal) fire had failed miserably (it was like trying to set fire to a wet sponge) we didn’t even have a campfire to sit around. At about 11:30 we were both awake again, and a bit cold, so we decided to warm some water up and make noodles, as well as fill some bottles to put near our feet at the bottom of our sleeping bags (that helped a lot!). We fell asleep again, until about 2:20, where we repeated the charade and made some tea, and reheated our bottles.
That time, I’m sure I heard something sneak past the camp, as too many sticks on the forest floor broke in quick succession. Never mind, it didn’t eat us or any of our stuff….
We repeated the drill at 5, which by now we had down to military precision, and got back into the hammocks one last time until 8. Though we woke at about 7 and laid still enjoying the forest around us getting lighter (and the noise of the nearby highway getting louder).
Then, we made breakfast by frying off some bacon and pouring ourselves a large cup of coffee. We then started to clear our camp and tidy, having another coffee, finishing the tidying and heading back to the car.
There is an enormous amount more detail I’d like to share, but all in good time. Rather than just write, I’m working on some video footage we gathered to put together something mildly coherent and entertaining. We came up with a name for our “show”, and are working on putting together which we hope you’ll find entertaining. This being said, we ended up with about 4 and half hours of raw footage. But below is a preview of the first installment of “Two Twits with No Tent”. We hope you’ll look forwards to more, but ultimately, we’ll probably film more whether anyone likes it or not. 😀
Till next time!