From A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
It would be useful – I wasn’t quite sure in what way, but I was sure none the less – to learn to fend for myself in the wilderness. When guys in camouflage pants and hunting hats sat around in the Four Aces Diner talking about fearsome things done out of doors I would no longer have to feel like such a cupcake. I wanted a little of that swagger that comes with being able to gaze at a far horizon through eyes of chipped granite and say with a slow, [wo]manly sniff, ‘Yeah, I’ve shit in the woods.’
It’s time I learned to fend for myself. It’s time I learned to barbeque in the woods.
In Australia, a barbeque, or ‘barbie’, usually comes with a gas bottle and a nice wooden stand. They even have wheels, and look a variation on the theme of this:
And heaven forbid, they are so easy to use that in many a household, women commandeer the humble charcoal-maker that worldwide is the domain of men. (I’ll just point out, women are less inclined to create charcoal on a barbie).
Now, I’ve also previously mentioned the drought in Australia. As a result, it’s been illegal to light a fire in the bush, for, like, ever. The Aussie bush is predominantly eucalypt, thus there’s quite a bit of oil hiding in the leaves. One carelessly lit fire on a breezy day can potentially burn half of Sydney.
But I digress. So…
Imagine how excited I was when enidd suggested that we all go for a barbie in the woods (ohh err I’ve never been to the woods before, only the bush!), get the man to light some sticks, and we all sit around and eat shashlyk, or potentially, Stalin.
Now. Who is we all? Let’s just say, it was a real blarty (blog party).
The blarty consisted of enidd and the man, sarahemily and HDF, Olechko, Mr Olechko and bubba, and of course, Little Miss Moi and her beloved Mr Moi. Not to mention, the late afternoon cameo from Olga, the very brave dogwalker of Stalin and Fluffy.
Unfortunately, enidd got sick and decided not to come. Boo hoo. At the same time the man broke us the news, the rain started to bucket, and for an instant, it was really quite conceivable that our blarty was going farty.
However, with true pommy weather optimism, the man found a patch of blue sky and convinced us that this was the sign we were all waiting for – the weather would be fine. So we piled into the cars and took off to the island.
The island is Trukhaniv Island, and is a huge, empty, grassy and treesy island in the middle of the Dnipro River. It’s covered in dirt tracks and full of big fat ditches, which are especially fun to drive someone else’s car on. :o)
There’s not really much to say about the BBQ itself, except that we drank lots of fizz (Cricova – a newly found Methode Champanoise Moldovan bubbly) and got a bit pizzed. We also drank beer (the Olechkos gave us a Ukrainain and European beer tour without leaving our seats) and red wine. We ate lots of meat from sarahemily’s shashlyk, and endured a few rain showers (perhaps by then, I was too tipsy to care).
Australians, despite our tough talk, are really a bit ninny when it comes to being outdoors (OK, well, just me). Australians like to picnic on the beach – where they arrive first thing in the morning to nab a picnic table and camp out for the rest of the day. Said picnic table is usually within safe walking distance of a dunny block. So my biggest worry was where we were going to go to the toilet.
But. I have conquered all. Now I can say we shit in the woods. (OK we didn’t really, but it sounds better than saying, ‘I did a girly wee behind a tree trunk and even had to take a roll of loo paper and a can of air freshener’).
And now it’s time to call a halt to a long and rambling post.
Here are some photos to wake you up and help you envisage what a tough bird I’ve become. Enjoy!