Friday 11 January 2013

From Wight wasps to Territory turtles

It's so hot! This time last year we were all whingeing about what a crap summer it was - not realising then that it was going to get even crapper - but this one is the business. Of course, now I'm complaining about the sofa being too warm to sit on, especially nursing a laptop radiating heat, and have been hunting through the wardrobe for cooler and cooler clothes to wear. Today I happened across a strappy sundress that was bought for me in Cheltenham about 30 years ago and which, oh yes, still fits just fine; and I was reminded that I wore it on a camping holiday on the Isle of Wight during which at a pub one night I found a wasp in my lasagne. Possibly cannelloni. Definitely wasp, though.

The last time I slept under canvas was in Australia, three years ago, when I experienced both ends of the scale: first, in the Gawler Wilderness in South Australia, where I had a four-poster bed on a wooden floor with an attached bathroom and an unexpected and very welcome hot-water bottle to snuggle up with in the chilly Outback night. That was after an evening spent sitting by the campfire with my own shovelful of embers underneath my chair to warm the (w)hole of my body as we chatted under a sky full of the brightest stars. Outside of our little circle, it was silent for a hundred kilometres in every direction - I do love that, about the Outback.
And then a few days later, I was up in the Northern Territory, campervanning around in a cheerful group, taking turns with the tent and the bunk in the campervan, with noisy frogs just the other side of the canvas and, on the last night, donkeys hee-hawing somewhere close. That was at an Aboriginal arts festival at Barunga where there'd been music and story-telling and dancing into the night, people coming from all over to watch and to take part. The moon was full, it was warm all night, there was a great vibe going and, best of all, we'd already tried the long-neck turtle baked in its shell a couple of days earlier at another festival at Merrepen, so we didn't have to eat it again. I tell you, I'd rather eat wasp any day.

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