Early morning sunlight filters through dew-kissed trees. A slight mist wraps around the base of the neat lines of caravans that caress the forest’s edge.
The remnants of a moon sits in a lightening blue sky, that grows more golden with every passing minute. Bleary eyes are sparkled open by the majesty of the moment. I’m at one with nature.
This is the kind of morning when you know, without question, that there is nowhere on Earth you would rather be. Nothing can ruin the moment. And then…
So, I’m walking back from the toilet block in this ‘I love the world and everything in it’ kind of trance, humming to myself Louis Armstrong’s What A Wonderful World and generally feeling as if life doesn’t get much better than this.
And then I pass this one caravan with an awning, just as the – presumably hungover – occupant emerges to line up the alcoholic achievements of the previous night. I’m not wanting to stare, yet I’m embarrassingly unable to take my eyes off the blissfully unaware miscreant.
First, four bottles of ‘Old Bombardier’ ale are lined up on the ground in front of the van. Then two bottles of Pinot Grigio.
‘Someone had a good night,’ I think to myself, and start to walk away. But the exhibitionism continues, and I freeze as more trophies are lined up neatly next to the wine.
I’m slightly embarrassed, because I remember my own feelings of privacy invasion when a neighbour revealed that she regularly scanned the contents of my glass and bottles recycling box.
“You’ve been drinking a lot of Prosecco lately,” she accused me one time we met. “Something to celebrate, have we?” How very dare she!
Some years ago, there was a phase of Hollywood celebrities having their bins raided, and the contents dissected and analysed in double-page full-colour in the trashy magazines.
I remember the shock and disbelief that rampaged across the internet as it was revealed that, among the flotsam in Tom Cruise’s garbage – a man then at the height of his Mission Impossible cool – was the packet from a battery-operated nasal-hair clipper.
And yet, back on my campsite, I’m unable to prevent my eerie fascination with the spectacle unfolding before me. A bottle of Southern Comfort. Two more bottles of boutique beer. Some bottles of tonic… a slight pause… and then the gin that accompanied it. Three bottles of Rioja (not the Gran Reserva, I note, snobbishly), another bottle of Old Bombardier…
I’m starting to scan the curtain-covered windows of the caravan for signs of a large party of revellers within. But no, just one man and a Jack Russell.
And so a simple question formulated as I finally made my way back to my own van: are such overt displays of over-indulgence on a campsite ever acceptable?
Or should our dog-loving, drink-loving fellow camper try to sneak all the night’s remnants into the recycling bin while no-one is looking, like the rest of us?
Visit Martin’s website for information about him, his books and his property training weekends, and follow his adventures on Twitter.
I’m not wanting to stare, yet I’m embarrassingly unable to take my eyes off the blissfully unaware miscreant