I’m just not a camper.

Because I had set the tent up two nights in a row, and because my daughters – who had talked all of both days about sleeping in the tent – chickened out both nights, I slept in the tent last night.  It seemed a shame to let an erected tent go to waste.

It took me a long time to get to sleep on the little, narrow stretcher bed.  I tried to tell myself that I was enjoying listening to the sound of the tree as it shifted in the wind – you know, getting all existential and shit – but the damn stretcher bed really was friggin’ narrow and it felt more like I was aiming my body at the bed rather than just lying in it: at any moment I might miss and end up on the ground.

After that I did fall asleep, and being stuck on my back I probably snored.  Without Cathy there to back fat pinch me awake I can only assume.  I like to think I gave the cats, possums and hedgehogs a diversion to the usual night sounds: a throaty, regular death rattle penetrating the darkness.

I woke up in the bright light of morning and staggered back inside the house to find that it was 5.30am.  If I had been more than a quarter conscious I might have reflected on how sleeping outdoors makes you more in tune with the cycle of lengthening days, and the routine of planting and harvest, but I was more concerned at it being 5.30am and my vertical status.  I crawled into the spare bed in Rosamund’s room and got in two more hours snoring.

When I went to the doctor a few years ago to talk about snoring, the doctor explained how as you get older the muscles in your face, jaw and throat get weaker and that this can lead to snoring.  I feel like he used the word flaccid.  There’s no way to use the word flaccid in a positive sense.  Try it.  You can make anything sound bad.  For example: “Jack won Lotto and received 22 million flaccid dollars.”  See?  It even makes 22 million dollars sound bad.

I waited for the doctor to give me advice about how to counter this naturally, but he moved on to tell me about the various rubber mouth guard things you could purchase, or the different sprays that may or may not (probably not) perform miracles if you jetted them up your nose.  What I had imagined he was going to suggest were a series of mouth and throat exercises for upper palate toning or, perhaps, a canine chew toy of some kind.

My overwhelming impression from my visit to the doctor was that snoring was like baldness: if there was an actual cure no one would snore, and no one would be bald.  In the meantime there is a multi-billion dollar industry in selling snake oil.

And camping equipment.

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I wrote a book called Kaitiaki o te Pō