20th Aug2011

On solo camping

by Dutchcloggie

I am at the Green Man Festival in Wales. In an impulsive moment, I signed up as a litter picker in exchange for a free ticket for the weekend. 5 shifts of 4 hours over 5 days is not too bad and I thought it would get me out of the house for a bit.

Over all, it is not too bad so far. I was very worried about camping on my own. I have such incredibly wonderful memories of camping with Jane in various places. Wales, France, Cornwall…

The tent I am in right now for example. I bought it in 2007 in Truro, Cornwall. We were camping in a tiny dome tent and the rain was relentless. We could not even make ourselves a cup of tea in the tent. We spent a lot of time lying in bed. One morning I woke up and the rain finally got to me. I told Jane to stay in bed whilst I jumped in the car, drove to Truro (30 minutes away), bought a tent from Millets, put it up next to our tiny tent and told Jane: we have a new home, please continue your snoozing in the big tent. A great impulse purchase and how we loved having it.

Or our trip to France in 2009. Only a few months after the end of Jane’s radiotherapy. She was still rather portly, easily tired and a tad slow. It was a beautiful trip, spoilt slightly by her being sick in the car on the way to Dover, due to having started chemotherapy. The trip was the best holiday we ever had together. The weather was great, we cooked togehter, went on cycle trips, spent 2 days bodyboarding at the Cote Sauvage until we were both absolutely shattered.

After Jane’s death, I just could not see myself ever camping on my own. Well, here I am. And although things are ok so far, it is every bit as I feared it would be. Not that I am crying all the time, in fact, quite the opposite. But I just can’t get myself to do anything. I have to do a 4 hour shift today at 6 but I can’t even be bothered to go to see the festival until then. It would just be me sitting on my own in a large field full of happy people, feeling very lonely.

Yesterday morning, during the soundcheck, they played a Crowded House track to test the sound. And although I have been singing along to “Fall at your feet” quite a few times since it was played as the final song at Jane’s funeral, this time, I was completely caught out, hearing it so loud, played from a massive stage. I did not bother trying to hide my tears.

The thing that is hardest to deal with is the indifference. I am not having fun, I am not hating it. I could go home, I could stay. It would make no difference to me. I do things I enjoy and I have moments with friends when I am genuinely having fun. But as soon as I am not busy doing something, I am hit with a big feeling of indifference. Nothing really matters. I don’t really care about anything.

Apart from one thing.

I really miss having Jane around to say: “I love you” to. I miss that feeling you get when you know your love makes someone happy. I miss making someone happy. It makes me feel alive.
At the moment I am not really alive. I am just living.

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