In the summer of 1999 I went to Year 6 summer camp. I was 11. It was the last year of primary school and I'd known about the annual camp since about Year 2, and worried about it since year ..2. I suffered from devastating homesickness and cried at sleepovers across the street from my house. Spending 5 days away from my mum in the next town was going to be horrible and I didn't want to go. At the same time, perhaps the same masochistic streak that made me start running made me want to go to the camp so that I would have achieved something. If I didn't go to camp, I'd have had to have gone to school on my own, and the younger years would have known that I was too much of a wuss to go to camp. So my mum got me some camping stuff and deposited me at Kearsney Abbey in Dover and then left me there. It was like a scene from a movie as she drove off, except there was no music. I'm sure mum didn't want to leave me there because she knows what a first class wuss I was and that I didn't actually want to go. But she left, and there I was.
Awful thing #1:
The day before I had been at my mum's friend's house while they babysat me.Their dog,- which I'm sure was actually a minion of Satan since most dogs like me and I didn't do anything to anger this one, because I saw murder in its eyes – bit me in the face. The FACE, while I was putting my shoes on. I had bite marks on either side of my nose and I guess I was only lucky that I didn't lose an eye. So when I arrived at school camp, some girl I sort of knew came up to me, analysed my face and said ”your face makes me feel sick”. Thanks.
Awful thing #2:
I may have mentioned that I suffer from emetophobia, a fear of vomiting. Oddly, I'm far more afraid of other people throwing up than I am of throwing up myself. Upon arrival at school camp one kid puked into the campfire. Good aim there, Billy. Apparently there was an epidemic of some bug. Honestly, I nearly shat myself there and then.
Not awful, but bad advice, mum:
We were supposed to sleep 6 to a tent and mum had advised me to sleep at a right angle to everyone else along the side, so that when everyone came in the tent with their shoes on, my sleeping bag and stuff wouldn't get dirty.
I dutifully bagsied the spot, went to sleep feeling successful and woke up outside the tent. There was not enough room in the tent and I got moved to another tent with only 3 people in it.
What the hell kind of crazy-ass tent is this?
So I knew two girls in the tent, but I didn't know the third.Life in the new tent didn't start so well. One of the girls, Rebecca, was a hypochondriac and had bought an entire first aid kit. That's okay, but she left a tube of witch hazel open and the great heifer trod on it and it went all over our stuff. Thanks. I didn't get much sleep in the new tent either, because the first night, the girl called Rachel woke me up at 2 in the morning and told me she was cold. I'm sorry Rachel, but what was I supposed to do about it? Hug you? Let you in my sleeping bag? Also, you went straight back to sleep and left me with insomnia. Thanks.
On day three, after making sure Rachel went to sleep with extra clothes on, girl-I-didn't-know woke me up. I opened my eyes and saw her face very close to mine – you're ugly, by the way, especially at 3am – and she said ”I don't like you.” Thanks. Could you have told me in the morning? I definitely don't like you now. I said fine, and told her as much, and tried to snuggle back to sleep. But no, she had a comprehensive plan of how she didn't like me that she wanted to tell me. I don't know how the other two didn't wake up, maybe they did. But they didn't help. I listened to how her brothers were going to do me in before I sucked it up and threatened her back, which seemed to shut her up for the rest of the week. Cow. I could have taken you in a fight.
Only good thing at camp:
So there was a field nearby and it had a horse in it.
I took solace in this horse and spent free time trying to get it to come near the fence so I could stroke him. Since I was the first once to notice him, I named him Mr. Ed. Unfortunately some other kids found me and the horse and promptly renamed him something stupid like Carrot and pushed me out of the way. He definitely preferred my name for him, though.
Another good, but naughty thing at camp:
I may have also mentioned that I weighed a lot some years ago. We were playing some annoying game that involved some sort of cardio exertion and I was obviously bad at it because it was summer, I was fat and had then-undiagnosed asthma. A kid called Craig came up to me and started taking the piss. I was used to this, since I was bullied most of the way through primary school, but he wouldn't sod off. He just kept going. So I picked up a massive branch and thumped him one with it. Turns out I broke his arm. He screamed and cried, and people laughed at him. He shouted at me that I'd broken his arm and I'd go to jail. I put the branch down, and when the teacher came to see what was going on he said ”For goodness' sake Craig, stop lying. Stacy wouldn't do anything like that.” Muaha. Craig got a broken arm AND detention for lying.
Don't mess with me, biatches.
At the end of the 5 days my mum came to pick me up and asked me how it went. I told her I hated it and she let me buy a CD. For all that trauma all I got was an S Club 7 CD and a paper certificate that said I'd completed the camp. Not. Worth. It.