The Mislaid Mojo

Somehow over the last month my mojo has gone awol. I’ve looked high and low for it and nothing has turned up. Until this weekend…

This always seems to happen to me when I’m approaching a period where work takes a back seat and backpacking takes to the fore. The initial euphoria of knowing I’ll soon be able to knock myself out with as much walking and camping as I can bear, then replaced by the realisation that I still need to get through the remaining work weeks first. And it’s at that point that time slows down. The desire to maintain fitness and keep walking through a dismal winter evaporates in the knowledge that it doesn’t matter as I’ll be making up for it later. And so two weekends have passed when I’d sort of intended to get out and break my wild camping duck for 2016, and on both occasions I’ve passed through lack of inclination. I simply couldn’t be arsed.

There is another factor that this time has contributed to the lethargy – my other hobby, art, has been taking off a bit more recently (more about that on a future occasion), and to the extent that the forthcoming break from work will be a bit different to my previous ones. I’d have expected this would have acted as a bit more of a spur, what with my tail being up already. But it hasn’t proved so.

The breakthrough came last weekend. Some talk with my daughter about a camp ultimately didn’t yield a camp that weekend, but it did generate a semi-promise to accompany me if I went the following week. And so it came to pass…

Along the Mardyke #sh

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Conscious that this was her first wild camp, the focus was on making it fun – the true horror can wait for another day! But I did still want a leg stretch, and so we had a little 5 and a bit mile bimble across the fens to get to the camp spot selected. Packs were laden with winter sleeping bags and the menu had been carefully planned. Even so we reached halfway and started to regret the lack of biscuits and other generally unhealthy snacks. My daughter keen to point out that “next time” we mustn’t forget such essentials. I took this as a good sign.

Late afternoon in the Essex fens #sh

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We approached the planned camp spot, had a good look out for anyone else around and then rocked up at the site. The new Garmin Virb was set up to record the tent pitching, and it was sods law that I then discovered the tent pegs were right at the bottom of my pack, leading to lots of faffing about, all of which came through on the final video.

First camp of the year #sh

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Darkness fell and sausages were cooked. Beer and apple juice were consumed. Cake and custard followed. Pheasants stirred in the trees, foxes made “girl in a horror film” screaming noises. The sound of distant thumping music floated over towards us. A perturbed look on Little Miss Hillplodder’s face at all of the unsettling sounds. Calm returned and as the temperature dropped, an early night was called.

A foggy start, but heigh-ho I'm trying a time lapse anyway #sh

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I never sleep brilliantly on the first night camping and so was awake early. A slight sense of light was enough to make me stick my head out of the tent, straight into mist. Bugger. No sunrise today then. I set the camera up anyway as I still needed to practice using it more. I got a few seconds of misty darkness turning into misty light. Eventually I stirred the other camper, bacon was cooked and we packed up for the short walk to the pickup point.

The camp was declared a success, but conditions were laid down if there was to be a repeat: nowhere with any form of noises, and less walking effort. That’ll be easy then!!

It was good to finally get out – the work week is always better if I’ve been out for a walk, and even more so if there’s been a camp too. The duck is broken and I’ve found a renewed keenness to maintain it. I don’t know where it was hiding, but my mojo seems to have snuck back.

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