Cameo’s Two and Five

Camping Cameo 2 01

Dear Reader, if you read of Charlie’s travels in the Isle of Man, you will recall that he twice refers to different Camping Cameos.  I have pleasure in repeating them here to save you searching through your books of Charlie’s.

A farmyard is hardly an ideal campsite, but when a farmyard is the only available place other considerations must go overboard.  It so happened during the wetter part of September 1930, that I found myself wandering around Castletown, Isle of Man, at 11pm.  A farmer’s boy took me home with him and gave me the alternative of a large field containing a fully grown bull, or the farmyard, which was detached from the farmhouse and surrounded on three sides by the field; the road and the shippons covering the fourth side.  I dislike bulls, so I chose the farmyard, found a spot that boasted a patch of grass amongst cobbles, and there set up my outfit.

Whilst preparing supper and persuading myself that a farmyard is not half so bad as it is painted, a terrific snorting just over the wall announced the presence of the bull.  For some minutes I ignored it, uneasily hoping that he would go away, but he worked himself into a frenzy, and I arose to chase the brute away.  It was a dark night but I could see that bull.  He was the largest and ugliest specimen I ever want to meet, and he went mad when he saw me, butting the wall, rattling the gate, and roaring like a cyclone.  I retired to the farthest point in the stockade to debate my future action, then the farm lad came to assure me that the beast was too heavy to get over the wall and returned to his supper.  I was not convinced.  The wall was not high; when I again moved forward to reason quietly with him, the monster placed his forefeet on the coping, and pushed a large stone onto my bike, bellowing murderously at me.  For quite a minute I braved him, then he tried the gate again, turned and dashed away.  There came about half a minute’s terrible suspense, wondering what the dickens he was up to next, till, from the far end of the yard came a fearful snort and another great rattling.  He had found another gate.

No ordinary town-bred mortal could stand that racket for long, so off I hied to the farm and told the boy that there was no room for the two of us there, and either the bull or I would have to go.  He gathered his brothers together, and with dogs went off to round the animal up.  From the darkness came a whooping and a barking, a snorting, a thudding of hoofs, and then – I saw the tremendous shadow of the bull come charging through the open gate.  The beast and I eyed each other for a moment.  I would have flown but my feet wouldn’t obey the impulse, so I just stuck there.  Happily the dogs came just then and the brute thundered off into the far recesses of the farmyard.  From the darkness arose a mighty pandemonium of sound then the boys came and announced that all was well, their prize monster was safely shipponed.  I returned to my supper in a better frame of mind, and as the muffled sounds of the imprisoned fiend died down, I lapsed into tranquillity.

In the warm comfort of my eiderdown, I was slipping into blissful unconsciousness when there came to my ears the thud of hoofs, a snort, and the gate rattled!  I swallowed quickly or my heart would have got out, then I awaited the worst.  The bull again!  Thinking that he must have broken out of the shippon, and even at that moment he must be sniffing at the tent or preparing for a mighty onslaught,  I spent an aching period of dreadful quiet.  The gate rattled again, so at that I arose to sell my life as dearly as possible.  I crept out.  Two horses stood by the gate, and one whinneyed gently at my approach…………      I turned in and went to sleep.

Camping Cameo 5 02

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