“Let’s head out of town this weekend?” suggests Patrick to his girlfriend Sharon.
“What, to Shags?” Sharo responds. “Again? But we have just been to see your Granny.”
“No, let’s go camping!” Patrick says, a spark in his eye that strikes fear into her heart. “Kevin and Vio are up for it. Just to Naivasha, let’s do it!”
Sharon looks down at her edgy, electric blue suit and metal tipped stilettos that she wears for her glamorous job at the bank. Getting close to nature is not high on her priority list but she loves Patrick, so she agrees. She’s planning out her ‘bush’ outfits as he talks of jerry cans, water and gas canisters. Those cute khakis would work with her gold trainers. And then there’s her big straw hat.
“So then you’ll be in charge of food….” Patrick continues. Sharon looks up from filing her nails, “Ati, what?!”
The day arrives. Patrick has been up since 5:00 am in a quest to locate torches, batteries, camp chairs, grill, firewood and matches. He borrowed a tent from a friend, Joseph, who assured him that it was fully fit for purpose. When Sharo finally appears in sweat pants, she shoves duvets, pillows and seemingly endless travelling cases into the car.
“How’s the food going babe?” Patrick asks bravely. Sharon throws him a dangerous look.
The housemaid is busy boiling eggs and frying sausages as Sharon raids the store for instant noodles, crisps, bread, biscuits, coffee, tea and cartons of milk, throwing them into a kikapu. She then realizes that her remit extends to cups, plates, cutlery, mugs and grabs those things plus a kettle. Why does camping have to be so complicated!
Late morning and when finally in the car the couple’s spirits lift. It’s good to be heading out of town and down into the Rift Valley, albeit with what seems to be all their worldly possessions loaded into the car.
“Can we stop for coffee?” Sharo asks with her sweetest smile as they pass a Java House. “No time,” Patrick says softly. Kevin and Violet just messaged to say that they’ve already arrived and are setting up.
On arrival at the campsite, Sharon picks her way across tufts of earth to greet Vio. Their tent is up under an acacia tree and it all looks pretty manageable.
Patrick locates their tent underneath every single other item in the boot of the car and wrestles it out. It’s only after the contents have been emptied from the tiny bag that they discover that there are no tent pegs and the ground sheet is missing. Undeterred, Patrick and Kevin assemble rods and start putting up the tent.
“Will we really fit in that?” Sharon asks, munching on a pack of crisps while brushing ants off her leg. Her comfortable night with her cosy duvet looks to be in jeopardy.
“It’s fine sweetie.” Patrick reassures as the men take a break to crack open a comradely beer.
By dusk, the temperature has dropped and Patrick and Sharon’s tent is looking very sad. There is a limit to the number of tent pegs Patrick can borrow from Kevin without compromising the structure his friend’s sleeping quarters.
“Damn Joseph. I knew I should have bought a tent of my own.”
The girls have tucked into the vodka to keep out the cold and shriek loudly every time they hear an animal noise. They go together to brave the long drop loo, but freak out at the creak of the door on the rickety old shed and decide that a nearby bush is the better option.
Kevin thankfully gets a fire going but the steaks that Vio brought are quickly blackened on the outside yet raw within, so inedible. The girls start raiding lunchtime picnic supplies for leftovers. There are a few spots of rain. It’s time to turn in. (to be continued…)