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AUNTIES - Auntie Nora

We've reached everyone's favourite time of the year: long holidays, sun, sea, and the Smurfs. It's the time of year when you need to get away for the sake of your mental health. Most of us settle for a week in Lanzarote with the kids, but you younger types generally go for something altogether more exotic: mud, must, and music. Hooray for sweaties.

If this is your plan then no doubt you'll need some guidance from me Auntie Al. If it's your first time, you definitely will, and if you've been before, then just sit back go "ah-hmmm" in agreement.

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Firstly, 'Where to sleep'

Take a tent (if you don't, it WILL rain and you WON'T be able to share with anyone else). The rule is the bigger the better.

Remember it may be summer, but it's Britain: it can get nippy. Think about it, you're sleeping under the stars and a piece of canvas isn't the best insulation. Take a sleeping bag and a pillow (towels rolled up just aren't the same), if it's boiling hot, you can always get out of it.

If you ain't got these bits, check out for gear.


Next, what to wear:

Don't bother with posh clothes, don't wear Kalvin Clein, or Tommi Hilfagger. Wear the sort of clothes that are apt for trudging about in the weather (whatever that'll be). I know you're not stupid, but be a good scout and be prepared. Also good footwear is a must, trainers die in the outdoors, and honk, bad.

There's a good selection at


OK, what to eat:

Don't bother taking any food with you, buy it there. You'll find plenty of things to eat, from the ubiquitous hot dogs to the typical crusty haute cuisine. Experience the flavours, the smells (of the food), and the vibe.

It may be a good idea to take some booze for when you initially arrive.


Penultimately, what to spend:

Depends on what you plan to buy, expect to spend between £20 and £50 per day on food, booze and extras.

But here comes Al's 1st rule: don't leave money or any valuables in your tent.

It's really best not to leave any valuables in your tent, but that's not always possible: you don't want to carry everything around with you. So, get a padlock for your tent-zip. They could still slash the side to get in, but it's very unlikely, and for the sake of 50p, the padlock will put them off. Basically, don't be stupid and leave stuff lying around.

You'll see plenty of people who do, and then you'll see them after a couple of hours moaning about somebody nicking their stuff. Not everyone reads Oilzine you know.


Finally, what to take:

To really enjoy yourself and make the most of the experience, take the usual holiday extras.

Something to play with when you're bored (footy, beach ball, Frisbee - great things for making friends).

A radio or stereo, for that late night / early morning campfire sesh.

Johnnies, just in case you manage to pull (shock, horror).

A torch, usually the thing people forget, but always need (if you don't know why, there really isn't much hope for you).

Sunglasses, the essential cool accessory. If it's hot you'll need them, if it's not you'll need them to cover those bags. But be prepared for them to get 'lost'.

Toiletries. Al's 2nd rule: The most important thing in your rucksack is a bog roll.

You will never, ever find any in the portaloos, unless it's on the floor covered in piss.

Other things to take include deodorant, for that morning shower feeling, and toothpaste and brush, at least you'll fell a little cleaner.

Again, those cheap little extras can be found at


Finally (again), what to do:

Enjoy yourself and enjoy other people. Be polite and respect the other people around you. Sorry if that's a bit of a cliché, but it's true. If everyone's nice to one another then we'll all be happy.

And take a sense of humour. Things will go wrong, but that's all part of the do.


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