Escape the bank on your bank holiday

In times of recession one is encouraged to put frugality before vanity and when it comes to how we spend our bank holidays there is no exception. My boss, a terrifyingly frivolous soul with dollar-signs for pupils, chuffs at a single night stay at an Ibis. Why stay in an Ibis for 10 hours (eight of which are spent asleep) when you can stay at a Radisson?! “Dear me, child, I pay you enough to stay in a Radisson!” Er, no you don’t because three quarters of each months admittedly decent pay packet goes into my savings account. But when has money ever been a reason not to enjoy yourself (rhetorical question)?

Nevertheless, whilst my boss languishes in a steam room in some Ritzy weekend retreat with her beautiful family, I have condemned A and myself to two nights of leafy peace in the Lake District under canvas. For a weekend that will cost us little more than £20 each including petrol I think its a win, win, WIN! I am a romantic girl and have visions of rolling out the tent together and kicking in the tent pegs before settling down by the little stove eating boil-in-a-bag curry with a hot mug of tea and a kiss by the lapping lake. The next day we would have a charming gentle hike up the Skafell gradients taking photos, me with my LOMO then setting down for a mug of soup from the flask and some Kendall mint cake. Gorgeous thought. Now even though I know the truth, I am still blinkered by the romantic ideal above.

Arrive late, get crap pitch next to loud family, cannot find tent pegs, cannot get tent to erect, tent goes up but the romance hits rock bottom so sleep on empty stomachs because neither of us is mature enough to ask the other one if they know where the lighter is. Next day, swear as no tea bags then sweaty and stitch-inducing walk before squabble and leave for home early.

We are a couple who ought to thrive in camping-type situations not just because of our very British Scout/Brownie upbringing but because of our outdoorsy natures in general. Drama, however, always manages to eek through the cracks in the accidentally-run-over-tranger when you’ve forgotten you’ve put the bag of cooking stuff on the roof after the car moves off in first.

So, the pain and thwe misery and the wet, wind and cold of camping in Wasdale must have some appeal. Well – a colleague at work had the Millets catalogue and I borrowed it for a read and it inadvertantly made me believe that I am Sir Edmund Hilary and am ready to scale great peaks, pitching my tent on 45 degree inclines and accept that I may lose a toe because of my lust for dragging my arse as high above sealevel as possible.

A mountainside is not, as I would LOVE to admit, my natural habitat. Camping is not something I would usually endure in any situation besides leadership responsabilities in RAF or music festivals nevertheless the urge is pounding inside me to don my big socks and by crikey, climb a big hill. A – I feel – is the victim of my own hair-brained scheme but what luxury it will be to breath the fresh mountain air and explore a little bit of wild countyside. Two full days of Nomadism will be quite a satisfying way to spend a Bank Holiday in England, rather than escaping to a be-cobbled town by the coast spending vast quanities of overdraft on tat and ice cream. That may all sound very British but isn’t enjoying our mountains green even more so? Provided A doesn’t bring his Nintendo DS I think even my Puritanical, Scottish ancestors may approve of the expedition (hanky panky omitted).

So as the double-whammy of May bank holidays approaches I want to take it literally. It will not only be a holiday from the bank but a holiday from money in general. Just the canvas, mountains and eachother sharing a can of sausage and beans. No fancy restaurants, no shopping, no room service. Heaven.


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