Sunday, December 10, 2006

Some Reasons Why...

Although some of my readers are fellow fans of the outdoors it is not true for all of you. Indeed after two of the girls at work (my fellow teachers Emily and Agnieszka) found this site I've had regular questions about why I actually like this stuff. In order to provide a more detailed answer I've decided to make a post about this today.
I've always been interested in woodcraft/bushcraft/survival or whatever it has been called at a given time. As a young kid I liked walking and farm related things and in my case it has never really worn off. Some of it may be genetic as my Grandfather was a King's scout and my Dad went on to become a leader after his own time there. Neither has ever given me any direct encouragement though. At about the age of 8 I discovered the local library had a copy of Lofty Wiseman's SAS Survival Handbook and used to read this regularly. I have the Collins Gem version with me here still! Over the years I've added books buy Hugh McManners and Ray Mears but neither have the same place in my affections.
Through my early teens some time was spent making small fires in the garden, shooting air rifles and crossbows and fishing in small streams. Nothing that special but I've never completely abandoned the hobby.
From about 16 years old to 19 I was involved in the American Civil War reenactment groups previously mentioned. As much as I enjoy military history this has never been a real favourite of mine but it wass available and, in the beginning, not too expensive. Most importantly it got me from camping in A-frame tents to sleeping under shelter tents and fly tents (19th century tarps) and eventually in just a big woolen blanket. Of all my reenacting kit the woolen blanket is the only item I really miss - it is hard to find a proper wool blanket that is at least 7 foot long!
What I really enjoyed in reenacting was the camaraderie of sitting round a campfire. It is what I miss the most and woodsmoke always takes me back to it. I tried a few other groups where there were more craft activities but as a young man on my own very few groups actually tried to make me welcome.
At this time I was at university and began to read more and more about both stone age archaeology and field sports. Unfortunately most outdoors publications in Britain are for the multicoloured nylon rambler rather than those who want to blend in. I ended up getting into reading Shooting Times and Countryman's Weekly regularly - I still do when I'm in England.
Since moving back to Poland, with the deliberate intention to do more in the outdoors I've been happy but frustrated. I'm gradually building up my carving and mushroom hunting skills and have got my hands on most bits of kit I'd like.
It has been a very frustrating term as the school I work for is very zealous about preparation and paperwork. Weekends have disappeared all too easily but I expect the new year to give me some more free time.
At the moment all I need to find is a wood I can light fires and camp in and someone daft enough to enjoy going there with me occasionally!!
Sorry to have rambled on but this'll save me from telling you all next time you ask.


torjusgaaren said...

So, how is it to be an outdoorsman in Poland? It would be interesting if you wrote a little more about it.

Are you allowed to roam freely or do you need special campsites? What game is there to be seen? Who is allowed to hunt and fish?

Would all be interesting to know. I know that most of Western Europe has rather restrictive rules in outdoor life, but never heard about the Eastern side.

I have this wild idea that Russia is very unrestrictive this way. Maybe it is because of it vastness. Do you know?

agi said...

Aight, after ur explicit explanation here we ain't gonna waste ur precious time askin' why are ya interested in woodcraft and stuff :P
Seriously, it must be cool to have such a great passion for something lasting that long.