What the heck is Bushcraft?
When Alex first told me about his plans to buy a bushcraft Bivvy Bag, I don’t actually think I was listening. In fact, the conversation likely went something like this:
A: Blah blah Bivvy Bag blah blah bushcraft blah blah
D: Mmm, that sounds weird. Oh, by the way, I bought some clothes today…
(Similarly to me, my boyfriend develops fixations on certain things, gets totally into them, and then the phase dissipates quickly. So I thought this would be like any other)
But, then the topic came up again, and again. And a week or so later, he’d gone out and bought one of these bag things.
He was so excited; suddenly so enthusiastic about its impending arrival from Amazon, that ‘hmm’ didn’t really seem a sufficient response anymore.
But it was a bag you slept in.
Apparently, the idea was to nestle inside it with a regular sleeping bag, and you’d be protected from the rain and cold.
That was the theory.
To me, it sounded like hell on Earth. See…
The First Night of Bushcraft
I’ve never been the sort of person who picks outdoors activities. My idea of a good day is when we wander around Cambridge, the wonderful city we call home, popping into boutique shops, having coffee, reading books, spending money. This bushcraft business was brand, spanking new to me.
Alex, on the other hand, had camped before with his family. He’d even been hiking and had gone on walking holidays. But he was never one to go the whole hog and buy all the gear.
See him in the photo below – he’s the one in skinny jeans and trainers. Are you getting the picture?
If someone had quizzed me, I would have said with conviction that my boyfriend liked the outdoors, but he was no mountain ranger/survivalist. He liked his comforts. He wouldn’t go spending hundreds on new hobbies which may or may not last a week.
The Bivvy Bag, he reasoned, was cheap and so it didn’t matter much, and that all seemed fairly rational. I could chalk it up to normal, Alex-behaviour.
But then he told me, one January evening when we’d had a forecast of snow, he planned to sleep in the garden.
This was the moment I thought the guy was utterly insane.
Why would anyone choose to sleep outside in the snow, in a flimsy bag? There was a perfectly good bed ten metres away!
It was completely nuts!
I can’t actually remember if I told him this, or whether I tried to be encouraging. Generally, I try to be encouraging in things he wants to do – partly because he has to put up with my randomness and how I come up with various ideas each month about how to make money.
But this was different. It was January for crying out loud! He could actually die from hypothermia or something.
Alex, however, is a stubborn one. He’s not worried about something as silly as imminent death, so he didn’t seem to care about the snow.
That night, I remember waking up in my bed at 3am, wondering if he was dead. The snow had started – like the forecast said it would. Not masses of the stuff – just the regular UK spots, which never settle. I remember pulling my duvet tighter around myself before reaching to check my phone.
One WhatsApp message.
He’d gone inside about 30 minutes before I’d woken up.
I was glad, to be honest.
The cold had won, but my boyfriend was alive. So, I was happy.
But as I’d nestled back down to sleep, safe in the knowledge that he’d had his fun and that was that, I had no idea that it was only just the beginning.