‘Are you the one who left a ring in the bath?’ she asked. Seriously? We’d been camping for nearly 10 weeks in four countries by then and not once had I come across anyone so pushy about ablution cleanliness.
Although the campsite looks big enough for about 12-14 groups of campers, SANParks thinks it’s big enough for 20 so that’s how many they take bookings for. So the couple with two small children were being selfish by erecting two fairly substantial dome tents plus a gazebo in a long line against the perimeter fence, then parking their car alongside too. That was at least two campsites worth of space taken up.
And they weren’t alone in this ballooning behaviour.
So that evening I wasn’t in the most charitable frame of mind when a 30-something woman accosted me in the ablutions: ‘Did you have a bath here earlier?’
And that's when she asked if I was the one who had left a ring in the bath.
‘No, I wouldn’t do that,’ I replied, taken aback. ‘I cleaned the bath before and after, and I hope you’ll do the same.’
That’s telling her, I thought with a smirk.
She didn't reply.
She approached our campsite, ’Did you leave a ring in the bath?’
‘You know,’ I said, stalking towards her, ‘you really need to lighten up. None of us like a dirty bath but we all just get on with it and clean it out before we use it and then again afterwards. Why are you making such a big deal of it?’
She looked at me nonplussed. ‘I don’t understand. I’m just trying to help a woman with a baby who found a ring in the bath.’ By now, of course, I could see it wasn’t the same woman who had spoken to me earlier.
‘But why can’t she just clean it instead of having to hunt down and shame the guilty party? That’s ridiculous.’
She was looking at me strangely.
‘I still don’t understand,’ she said. ‘I did clean my bath – look, here’s my Handy Andy.’ She scuffled it out of her sponge-bag and held it up as proof. ‘All I’m doing is trying to help that foreign woman with the baby. She found a ring in the bath – a diamond ring. It must belong to someone in the campsite.’
I offered profuse apologies and explanations, but she still looked at me as if I were a little unhinged.
I can’t say I blame her.
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