Every year I find myself back in the same place; the same old smell of cowpat, the same old unceasing grey cloud ceiling and the same old paper thin toilet roll. After last year's experience of 3 weeks in my little messy tent without a single glint of sunshine, I vowed never to return. But then I found myself, last week, driving down the M4 en route to Momentum. I figured it would probably rain the whole time just on account of the fact I took suncream but on the other hand, I did lug my wellies all the way from Sheffield, which pretty much promises some sunshine. So a couple of days in, I'm used to the cowpat smell, a little bit of blue has penetrated the grey and there seems to be a good supply of the usually elusive bog roll and I've almost forgotten why I had previously vowed never to return.
Now, on a scale of 1 to insanely high maintenance, I probably fall somewhere towards the latter. Sometime between the past years spent at guide camp to the now of living constantly in debt due to refusal to buy shampoo under £5, I've lost my ability to rough it true style. I won't beat around the bush here in my admittance that me and Jade's first year at New Wine together included a total of 0 showers. I don't know whether explaining that we were 13 makes that any better or worse. Anyway, nowadays I can't actually converse with anyone until I've showered and applied copious amounts of makeup to cover the tragic camping skin which occurs due to the 3 girls to 1 sink ratio each morning resulting in the lack of the cleanse, tone and moisturise routine.
So each morning at Momentum I took a gung ho run to the showers to begin the painful process of becoming presentable.
Now, this is where, having made it through the cowpat, rain and loo roll situations, my idealistic view of camping got shattered this year. 40 minutes I queued for a shower. 40 whole minutes that could have been put to the better use of something holy- or just make up application. At New Wine, it can be hours before you get to the front of the shower queue thanks to all the mums who take their 5 children in with them and although the children sound like they're having a whale of the time splashing around, it's not so fun for the poor souls standing outside in pajamas waiting for them to finish using up all the hot water.
At Momentum however, the shower queue gets held up for other reasons. As I am standing waiting, having brushed my hair until every last knot has gone, and having made awkward shower queue conversation with the other people in line, a smell wafts past my nose... the smell of hair removal cream. What sort of person takes the liberty of using hair removal cream in the shower with a queue of 6 increasingly late-for-the-meeting people awaiting their turn?! It makes me wonder what other liberties people are taking in these showers that being 3rd in line for one can result in a 40 minute wait.
I, however, the thoughtful and loving person that I am, was in and out of the shower within 5 minutes every day. Although that may have slightly more to do with the shower consisting of a lukewarm trickle of water rather than my selfless character.
I was then lucky enough to get a second shower on the way back to my tent, as the never ceasing grey cloud resumed its position and took some liberties of its own.
And I thought, having survived a year in Tapton, I could have survived a slum but obviously there's some lesson to be learnt which God keeps calling me back to the humble Bath and West Shwoground in order to learn.