How I Survived Living In A Field For 2 Weeks

There is a beetle on my desk.

I have imported him all the way from Wales, by accident of course. I recognise him instantly, because I’ve spent the last two weeks sharing a tent with his friends and family.

I had no idea where they came from, but they found their way into my tent at the beginning of week one and apparently never left.

When I arrived at work on Monday, complete with three bags of camping kit and dirty washing (some VERY dirty – see below) I must have accidentally unleashed him into the office. Oops.

From A Field, Wales:

Every time I look down there is something small and black crawling on my leg… or the ceiling… or my notepad. In fact, looking around the mess of stuff I’m lying on (clothes, dry bags, dirty socks, sleeping bags, carving knives…) it’s hard to find something without a beetle on it. I don’t know what they are or how they got in, but they fling themselves recklessly into the air at the slightest nudge, without any regard for where they might land.

It’s the beginning of August, but it feels much more like November. The drizzle has been constant. Not every day, but persistent enough through the two weeks to make me glad I bought waterproof suncream.

My phone has been off since I arrived. I don’t use my phone much. It’s an ostentatiously stoic Nokia, the plastic casing turned brittle with age under a chipped coasting of Year 7 nail polish. This, friends, is why you won’t find me on Instagram or Strava or whipping my phone out when the going gets socially awkward.

But, being in Mountain Rescue means I have to have that phone on all day every day. Having it permanently off is a relief – I’m not entirely sure which bag I’ve even left it in. It’s like switching that part of my brain off for a bit. There is, unsurprisingly, no WiFi in the field… or 4G or even signal for most people. Although I find it liberating, it’s funny to watch some of the children get technology withdrawal symptoms on day 2.

I’ve also had my watch off since we got to the field. There’s a clock in the cook van and you’re woken up every day by a small child with an old school bell running around the tents. There’s basically no need for a watch – except to make certain you’re back in time for afternoon tea and cake. Nobody minds if you’re a bit late.

Back To “Normal” Life

Now that I’m back, the contrast is very apparent. I’m always running for something. There’s never quite enough time to get between the items of my day… and they won’t wait for me. I went to lunch yesterday without taking a watch and realised I had no idea when I needed to be back. The clock tower outside work is helpfully stuck at 9:45 all day every day. So instead of eking out the last minutes of my lunch break, I had to come in early to be sure I wasn’t late (I guessed by how long it took me to eat my sandwich).

My last fortnight has been spent almost entirely outdoors. We’d eat breakfast on the field, dinner on the field, lunch wherever our adventures took us. On a few occasions, we’d be still sitting outside in the drizzle – in that ever so British way – because it wasn’t quite raining hard enough to drag everything into the marquee. Sometimes we won. Sometimes we got very wet.

What Have You Been Up To Emily?

Lots! But at the same time, not so much. It’s not like I’ve been on a huge adventure across the continent. I’m not quite old (grown up?) enough yet to find sitting around relaxing a fun way to pass the time. Here’s some of the things I did – look out for post about some of them coming soon!

  • Carved a wooden spoon out of a piece of green oak
  • Finished knitting a dragon (yes, really)
  • Ran my first ever 5K Obstacle Course race – we had to crawl through skips full of mud and I just couldn’t wash it all out in a field with a bucket and travel wash!
  • Went to Go Ape for the first time – review piece coming (worth a read if you’re like me and think it might be a bit naff for anyone who mountaineers or climbs)
  • Made plenty of camp fires, complete with marshmallows and dampers
  • Went to a swimming pool in full waterproofs just to get a shower…