Sunday, 19 February 2012
There is very little summer where we live, so it is best to make hay while the sun shines, if you will forgive the pun. The typical Kiwi summer involves camping. And lots of it. Even if you just go a few miles down the road (which actually works out best for us, because then we can cut and run if it all turns pear-shaped), the point is that you go and spend a lot of time in a small canvas space, eating sand and bugs alternately with your meals and peeing outdoors in the dead of night (no ways am I going to walk through the campsite in the early hours of the morning to the loo - I don't care how good I am at whistling a happy tune! There might be a rabid possum hiding out there in the bushes). Ahh, the good life!
But what makes camping even better is taking along a number of friends, all with their own kids, who then can form a pack in combination with yours' and roam the park as a group, getting up to nonsense and mayhem and generally having the best time of their lives. This trip, together with the Sweetpea's Kung-fu buddies, was no exception.
The pack formed early and was on the prowl before you can say "wild beasts". The youngest was my Little Miss Snoopy, who will be two in a few months, followed closely by double trouble and then a few older kids and culminating with the height of cool, a young man of about eleven or so, who obviously knew everything and no one else was about to persuade him otherwise. He was the youngest member of the kung-fu team and obviously had a lot to prove. He was dressed in the height of fashion (odd for a camping trip, when the point appears to be to get as smelly, dirty and bedraggled as possible) in bright green jeans, so tight they could have been body-painted on, a shocking pink, lime green and sort-of orange sweat shirt, and was accessorised with a bright green watch. You have to have chutzpah to dress that cool, I thought admiringly.
The sun set over the shrieks of over-excited kiddies, and eventually we put them to bed and retired for the night, accompanied by the usual restive squawks of the bush at night, the three or four outside excursions to “look at the stars”, and the general lack of sleep that goes with any good camping trip. However, despite the night, when we woke the next morning Paddy was bright and bushy-tailed and scooted out of the tent into the fitful sunshine as though said tail was on fire. For a few seconds, all was quiet, then we heard the most blood-curdling shrieks coming from outside the tent. We rushed out to see what the matter was.
There he stood, wailing his disappointment to the mountains. “What is wrong?” we asked anxiously, running over the possibilities of insect bites/dogs/fearsome creatures in our minds.
“Rainbow boy has disappeared!” he cried dramatically, “and I will never see him again!”
“Rainbow boy”, who had all this time been having his breakfast out of sight, came sloping around the corner, looking slight worse for wear at his new appellation – after all, he was the height of cool, surely?
“What a cool name for a superhero!” I croaked with my best attempt at sounding admiring. I shot The Stare at the Sweetpea to back me up.
“Yes," he mumbled, looking uncomfortable – "so cool!”
Rainbow boy (as he will now forever be known in Kung-fu circles), began to perk up a bit, and soon they were all playing as before. I did notice, however, that he had taken off his “coat of many colours” by the time we left for home.
Thus is a nickname formed for life - I doubt that the kung-fu guys will let him live that one down in a hurry!