Thursday, 5 June 2014

Will he won't he 2014

So, the news is out.  The BBC, ITN, Points West were all at the press conference.  Reuters have been brought up to speed, and the lucky ones who were in the room at the time have been interviewed, their images bounced around the globe in the syndicated clips from the press.  What are they reporting on?  Of course, the big news from Badock’s Wood:

I am NOT going to camp this year.

Many regular subscribers to this nonsense will know that the will-he-won’t he decision about my Exmouth attendance is an annual internal monologue.  After the success of last year’s camp – which I swore would be the last – I started to waver.  Could I do it?  Could I manage one more?  What would be the ramifications if I did? I just started to think about it …

…when I had a change of heart, and a decisive one.  The amount of grey looking back at me in the mirror made me do it.  No, camp didn’t need me, and there were other people waiting in the wings, trained by yours truly, to take up the baton.  So I had made the decision.  I was happy with it.  I even did the most final-nail-in-the-coffin thing imaginable: I told the wife. 

So that was that.

It was no secret that I planned to pass the baton over to a fellow camper from last year, and a few selected others.  So when one of the chosen informed me one Monday morning that she wouldn’t be going, I had to do some radical rethinking.  Could I really?  Should I really?  Could I tell the wife I had been wrong?

Then, one evening, some of the others started to circle around me.  I sensed a trap, and trod with extreme care.  This could go badly. I might have to agree to something I didn’t want to. Or, even worse, spending money.  As it transpired, we wanted the same thing, ie, they wanted to go and I didn’t.  Negotiations began.  Negotiations continued.  An amicable settlement was reached.  The decision was made again.  It took the best part of 11 seconds.

I should point out at this point that the decision has nothing to do with my feelings about camp:  I still love it, and will continue to support it whether I go or not.  However, people throughout BS10 must have wondered what that strange noise was recently: it was my knees, my back and my right hip breathing a huge sigh of relief when they found out I wasn't going.  

There are, I freely admit it, things I won’t miss.  Such as:
  • ·         Wrestling children into bed on that first night;
  • ·         Telling them, for the seventh time, they do not need another wee at 11.45pm;
  • ·         The zig zags;
  • ·         The smell of the drying room.

However, in making the decision I would not go, it meant making certain sacrifices.  I will miss, miss terribly:
  • ·         Watching the sheer joy on people’s faces;
  • ·         Being a privileged observer of the successes;
  • ·         The excuse to eat clotted cream on a flapjack at any time of the day;
  • ·         Standing in the middle of the sea, with children surfing all around me, and thinking “I did that”.

Those who know me best know that it is this last one I shall miss most of all.

On the day, I shall wave the gang off with much excitement on their behalf, and not a little envy on my own.  But I am extremely happy in my decision, and hope that my small contributions to the event will make a difference.  (And I will still pop up on watersports day.)

Because here’s the truth: when it comes to memories, I have a tent full.  For every hour of sleep lost, I have a memory gained, an unforgettable moment shared, some magic woven.  It’s time for others to be let in on the treasure trove I have been privileged to gaze into for many years now, and I don’t begrudge them a second.    When I see them off the bus on the Friday evening, suntanned faces and exhaustion heavy, but full of new found life force, I will take no small pride in what my colleagues and our children achieved.

Magic is still magic, however far away you have to stand to weave it.

From me, that is all.