Sunday, 3 February 2013

Man up! Go camping

I thought you outdoor types might like this from one of my other blogs.

February is the month for sitting by the open fire, cooking up stews and telling stories, but we don't all have the time.

Every week, Dan's friends Holly and Kathryn come over after school on Tuesdays and we usually do messy play or something to get Dan to interact. This week we decided to go camping. I think they call it Glamping now, but that's more like taking your house on holiday with you. This is the reverse; getting back to the basics, but indoors.

Here's what you need:
  • pop-up tent
  • small logs
  • LED bicycle lamps
  • Orange or red tissue
  • Saucepan and play food or marshmallows and popcorn.
  • Hot chocolate
Our local supermarkets and garages (they are almost the same thing; one is a petrol station that sells food, the other is a grocers that sells petrol) stock heat logs, which look like the legs from IKEA rejects.  They are logs made of recycled wood. What's good about them is that they have a square section, so you can build with them. (Also beavers don't seem to steal them, unlike real logs.)

The best LED lights are the flashing, red sort. Three is enough, but ten would be better. Steal them from the bikes your kid's friends leave on your drive. The tissue paper can be yellow, orange or red, or you could use plastic wrap of some sort, or even someones under-garments. The point is to see what you have in stock, don't spend any money!

I was so impressed with our indoor fire-pit that I thought about making them commercially and selling them through Toys R Us or perhaps on-line. My wife said that I would have to make sure that they didn't burn, were non-toxic and had no splinters; so I thought I'd make a wooden prototype and then get it moulded in plastic. Guess what? The Americans beat me to it. But the product that you can find on the web is a poor comparison to the ones you can make yourself, so why bother? They even sell you two plastic twigs with two plastic hot dogs and two plastic marsh-mallows. I think you can find your own twig, unless you live in the Sahara or the Arctic.

My commercial dream extended to books of recipes and spooky stories, then add-ons like dress-ups and CDs of ambient sound. Guess what? The Americans beat me to that too.

I think camp-fires are part of the American psyche while in England we have electricity.