I had an epiphanic moment on a mountainside in Wales last week. The stars were shining brightly, illuminating the lakes and mountains, a campfire crackled in the background and my husband and I were sharing a late night bottle of whisky.
Did this moment, realising my tiny place in the universe, enlighten me as to the meaning of life, lead to an idea that could change humanity for the better forever or something else of similar gravitas?
Sadly not. My thoughts at the time went more like this: I’m sleeping on a mountainside in a leaky tent and it’s so cold that I have to chip the ice off the tent flaps in the morning in order to get out.
I have eaten stodge for two weeks, my feet are constantly damp and I suspect the scaly skin developing between my toes will turn into athlete’s foot.
Oh, and it’s a six-minute round trip to the nearest toilet, including a steep return to the tent.
There are earwigs in my sleeping bag and every time I have a cup of coffee it’s lukewarm and is either decorated with grass or miscellaneous insects.
My chair is constantly askew and the semi-flat rocks around the campfire are so cold my buttocks are liable to freeze on to them.
The epiphany? I now know I loathe camping and I can no longer pretend that sleeping under nylon (not quite the same ring as canvas) is fun.
Is there a holiday in every person’s life when they realise that they are not the person that they used to be – or even the one that they used to pretend to be?
Half of me felt obliged to grimace through the rest of the holiday ‘for the sake of the children’. But a fairly large proportion of the family wanted to book into the nearest five-star hotel, which would get them away from germs, freezing cold potential earwig-choking hazards.
What is that ‘for the sake of the children’ nonsense anyway? Pretty much everything that I do is for their sake. If putting myself through living hell is for them, what will that do for their sense of self-esteem as they’ll be well aware I’m only there under duress?
Anyway, we survived until the bitter end. Thanks to the whisky.