Wednesday, November 13, 2013

No One Likes Swans.

There's an article at the Daily Mail about the [unfortunately named] Meek family and their year long challenge to do 100 outdoor adventures in lieu of tv viewing. Most of the ideas were pretty good, but there were a few I wanted to expound upon:

1. Slacklining (walking on a rope between two trees)
We own a slackline kit. It's basically webbing like you see on backpacks strung between posts or trees. It's surprisingly fun.
2. Scooter Safari
Scooters are fun. They're like a hybrid between a skateboard and a Zimmer frame but still really dangerous. 
3. Caving
Code for: spelunking. Sounds awful.
4. Spend the night in a hammock
Anyone else get motion sick in hammocks, or am I particularly delicate?
5. Canoe down a river
I do this! I am (as you are about to discover) rather outdoorsy. I even own a puffy vest, the universal sign of an adventuring, outdoorsy type. More often I wear it while watching tv.
6. Adventure led by the girls
An adventure led by my girls always leads to Cumberbatch. Wait? What? Were we talking about something?

7. Sleep in a wood
8. Watch rutting deer
"Maybe I don't know the real definition of 'rutting.'" I thought when I first saw this item. Turns out I do know the definition. Furthermore it turns out that some people think animal sex is the stuff of great childhood memories.
9. Learn survival skills
The local militia would be all too happy to teach my children skills for surviving  in a post apocalyptic society. But I'll pass.
10. Sleep on a beach
"This sounds like a great idea!" said someone who doesn't know about sand fleas.
11. Forage for a meal
Hunting mushrooms? Robbing birds' nests? Berry picking? Dumpster diving?  I'm not sure I want to do this one.
12. Support a cause (Comic Relief)
I support Comic Relief by watching these clips several times a year:

13. Snorkelling
14. Go for a reptile ramble
No. NO! NO!!! I consider not seeing reptiles the hallmark of a great hike.
15. Find a private beach
16. Climb the Eiffel Tower
17. Kayak Safari
First there was a safari on the scooters, not there's one with kayaks?
18. Camp in a city
18.5 make friends with the indigent and the streetwalkers
18.6 get tested for tuberculosis
18.7 decide to stay in school and get advanced degrees in finance 
19. Swim in a natural pool
BUT DO NOT SWIM AU NATURAL IN A POOL! You will be arrested. Don't ask me how I know this.
20. Sleep in a cahutte
"What, pray tell, is a cahutte?" was my reaction. From perusing this site, I gather cahuttes are cabins with canvas for roofs. 
21. Coasteering
Another one I had to google. Wikipedia says it is "a physical activity that encompasses movement along the intertidal zone of a rocky coastline on foot or by swimming, without the aid of boats, surf boards or other craft."
Translation: bobbing along in the water.
22. Orienteering race
23. Outdoor birthday party
24. Walk on high ropes
25. Make a rope swing
26. Sleep in a Bivvy-Bag
[we'll return to this topic when we hit #43]
27. See a henge from sunset to sunrise
The nearest henge to me is the Keppel Henge in Wiarton, Ontario. Road trip, anyone?
28. Sleep in a family-size sleeping bag
I have pre-teen boys, so NO!
29. Kayaking
Which is different from the Kayak Safari listed in point 17 because it's -- erm...well, I don't know actually.
30. Community work
31. Climb and abseil
Abseil is British for "rappelling." This sounds like fun! Provided that the course is installed and inspected by professionals and the operators are well insured. HEY! I enjoy outdoorsy fun, but there's no reason not to be safety conscious.
32. Sailing
33. Walk a peninsula
34. See a puffin
35. Watch wild seals
Watch wild seals?! I'm there! Can I bring my friends, Mr Hakapik and Mr Bourdain?
36. Play conkers
I bruise easily. No.
37. Go off-road hiking
I think this is a contradiction. You can not hike on a road. That's just regular old walking. 
38. Sleep in a shelter
My house is a shelter! 
39. Climb an epic summit
40. Camper-vanning
I am beginning to suspect that the Meeks also set themselves the goal of making nouns into verbs. Random verbising/verbizing makes me pissy.
41. Cook and eat in the wild
42. Wake and run
This sounds like a stage direction from the Hunger Games' script.
43. Bivvy by a river
Translation: sleep in a bivvy bag (a one person tent not much larger than a sleeping bag) next to running water and spend the whole night trying not to think about how badly you need to pee.
44. Tag team cycle trail
45. Learn a constellation
Pfft. Big Dipper -- easy peasy.
46. Whittle (carve) while you walk
Or whittle while stationary and avoid going on an "adventure" to the ER after you slice your finger to the bone.
47. Sub-zero camping
"There won't be any  bugs!" my husband says every winter when he tries to con me into going camping in the snow. 
48. Snow walking
In Canada we call this "walking." Or "going on a snow safari." No. Not really. Unlike the Meeks Canadians don't affix "safari" to activities to make them sound cooler.
49. Floodlit swan feed
When I was seven I tried to feed the swans in Stanley Park and one of them chased me. I hate swans.  
50. Discover local history
My extensive viewing of Time Team leads me to believe that in England all you need to do is turn over a rock and you find a Roman coin or a Viking longboat. Lucky bastards.
51. Find a summit
52. Go without electricity for 24 hours
I wish I lived in a place where prolonged power outages were less common, because then I might be  enthused with this idea.
53. Weaseling (climbing between gaps in rocks)
Translation: practice hiding from marauders when they invade your village. 
54. Night-time descent
55. Eat nettle soup
My mouth is tingly just thinking about it. And not in a good/Cumberbatch way.
56. Enter a race
57. Explore rock pools
58. Cook on a beach
59. Dam a stream
This one pisses me off. How it is an adventure to fuck with a river's run? Why destroy fish habit and a stream bed? Doesn't that encourage erosion of the banks? 
60. Explore a cave
How is this different from "Caving" which was item 3 on this list? It's almost like the Meeks are exaggerating the difficulty or originality of their adventures? Huh. 
61. Explore a wreck
Show of hands: who is now humming the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald?
62. Find a waterfall
I rolled my eyes at this one, then I reminded myself that not everyone lives in the Rocky Mountains. I'll own my geographic bias.
63. Take on the elements
64. Body-boarding
65. Wild river swim
66. Mountain biking
67. Going to the toilet outside
The Meeks are totally dialing it in with this one.
68. Go behind a waterfall
Sometimes in the shower I stand behind the spray and pretend I'm doing this.  The real thing would be even cooler.
69. Coastal walk
70. Music festival
Dirty hippies, loud music, and mud. I'm too old. 
71. Visit a landmark
72. Walk to a tidal island
This list is making me feel badly about living my life hundreds of kilometers away from the seashore.
73. Sleep in an eco-tent
This one intrigued me, so I googled and found out that "eco tent" translates to  "cabin that operates like a youth hostel."
74. Spot red squirrels
75. Climb a ‘matterhorn’
**cough** same as #51 **cough**  And #39 **cough**  Cheaters **cough** 
76. Walk down a river
Where I come from this is called "wading." It usually involves slipping.
77. Geocaching (GPRS treasure hunting)
78. Clean a beach
One time in Cuba I found a used tampon on the beach. I'll pass on this one. 
79. Scramble
This is fun. Because it ends with a long slide down a scree on your butt. It's actually very satisfying.
80. Walk around a city
81. Orienteering
82. Night-time wood walk
83. Snow hiking
Is this really any different from adventure 43 "snow walking?"
84. Cook with snow
85. Visit a suspension bridge
86. Three peaks in three day
This sounded impressive  until I remembered the Meeks live in England where speed bumps are considered peaks.
87. Climb a winter summit
88. Ghyll scrambling (walking through gorges)
I googled this one, too. It appears to be sliding over waterfalls while wearing a helmet. Do the English not have waterparks?

89. Make meal for mum on Mother’s Day
Go one better: clean up after yourself on Mother's Day. That's my idea of a treat.
90. Play in snowdrifts
91. Backpacking
92. Tracking and mapping
93. Visit London
94. Build a bridge
95. Crabbing
96. Night walk in a forest
97. Off-peak camping
98. Skiing
99. Climb indoors
100. Tentsile (hammock-like tent)
With this adventure the Meeks have cured their children of claustrophobia! I hope.  

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 

Are you inspired to get out more or are you more in love with your television set than ever before?

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 

Update: Shit. My husband wants to buy a tentsile. Grrrrrr.


  1. Just desire to say your article is as surprising. The clarity in your post is simply excellent and i could assume you’re an expert on Northstar Campers.

  2. Definitely more in love with my television.

    The clarity in your post is simply excellent and I could assume you're an expert on . . . appreciating civilization.

  3. I suspect that "Snow walking" (#48) means "snoeshoeing." And so, your girls are Cumberbitches, are they? Good taste!

  4. "Snowshoeing," of course. The government is going to revoke my citizenship for misspelling that.

  5. I don't think it's possible for me to be more in love with my television, but I certainly have an increased fear of the Meeks. Also: totally telling the children we are going on a Snow! Safari! next time they complain about having to walk to school in the winter. And also: "adventure" to the ER after whittling - SNORT.

  6. I did not know that a henge was a thing beyond Stonehenge.

  7. DEER PORN. I do not want to see rutting deer. Or rutting anything else. There are a few things on that list I'm good with - skiing (x-country only though), outdoor birthday party, London, walking around a city (I do that daily because I live in one? That seems like a lame part of the list.), rope swing (maybe). I have hiked to the top of a few mountains. Wow, I'm so outdoorsy (NO). Most of this list makes me feel just fine for not doing any of those things because cold and scary.

  8. The Meeks are kind of idiots. Take the kids camping for a week and you'll get most of these things. Rather than making a list they need to just live life. No? Just seems silly and pretentious. Your comments were great, however.

  9. I'm in for anything that includes beaches, sun, sand but generally only if it means laying on a deck chair and having chilled beverages close by. Cold things - nope, just not going to do those.

    Apropos of not-this-post: What happened to comments on Quoth the Raven?

  10. ! was going to no/yes on each one but you don't need to hear me saying NO 100 times, do you?