Make Mine a Micro Adventure
There is something dull and duly unadventurous about January. The cupboard is bare – I can’t decide whether it is dutifully dry or drily dutiful, but there’s nothing interesting, let alone adventurous in it. The fridge is stocked with Veganuary Veg, and there would be nothing wrong with that if there was some chicken and salmon on the shelf below but, nope, not this year, and I’m beginning to feel like over-boiled cauliflower.
Nancy looks up from her iPad which, in my over-boiled cauliflower state, has crept into the Saturday evening sitting room. Her eyes meet mine, in one of those moments of true connection between us, and an adventure is born.
Nancy, I say, to my tweenage daughter, who is my wingman, always prepared to aid and abet me in various mad schemes – Nancy, we need an adventure.
We have a large garden. It is January, cold and damp and dark. Most people would prefer not to connect the two previous sentences but in my current state (over-boiled cauliflower screaming to be let out of the pan) it only takes a couple of torches and the same number of bivvy bags and teddy bears and we’re off.
A bivvy bag, cheap and cheerful, is like an outdoor coat for your sleeping bag, completely waterproof and designed to keep you dry, with its hood pulled tight, for an outdoor sleepover. I got to know the bivvy bag possibilities in Alaistair Humphreys’ fab book, Micro Adventures. In it, he says this:
My lovely, long-suffering, less keen husband stopped Nancy and I from being completely mad and made sure we took out thermo-rest sleeping mats and a bit of old tent canvas to add to our impromptu kit list – and yes, we are the kind of family that keep such things in a cupboard by the back door, that’s why we give each other presents like Humphreys’ book for Christmas. Meanwhile, Nancy was snaffling chocolate biscuits and weighing down her sleeping bag with way more than one teddy bear apiece. We each dressed up for the occasion – lots of layers and silk sleeping bag liners, the essential item in my handbag when I dress up on a Saturday night.
After all the rain, the ground beneath our sleeping mats was a lot softer than when camping in Cornwall in July and we went to sleep surprisingly quickly, warm and snuggly and cuddled up together with a giggle between us and stars in our eyes.
Inevitably, I woke at 4am, neither stiff nor cold but needing a wee. Resignedly, I wriggled out of my sleeping bag, waking Nancy as I did so. She needed a wee, too. Rooting around for her torch, she found her chocolate biscuits, and decided she needed a Kit Kat more than she needed a wee. She had a point, so I crossed my legs and wriggled back into my sleeping bag – which, as those of you who share a love of camping will know, isn’t easy to do.
And as we ate our biscuits and tried not to laugh because we needed to wee, we were happy, Nancy and I. We abandoned camp and went up to our beds soon after.
Our micro adventure became a blog post as a celebration of the small things that make our lives bigger. In our house, camp kit is as easily located as Kit Kats, but in other houses a den under the kitchen table with rugs and a similar amount of teddy bears and chocolate biscuits could be made into an adventure, if undertaken with an adventurous spirit.
Here’s a funny thing about adventures: I don’t like having them on my own and I enjoy them most with the three other people who come and go in my blog posts – Nancy, my lovely husband, and my friend Thelma. Perhaps what I really love about adventures, what really puts the stars in my eyes, is the connection I feel to my fellow adventurers, who are always, for me, the people I love most.
You can read more about micro-adventures here: https://www.alastairhumphreys.com/microadventures-3/