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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 8 (December 1, 1933)


The Christmas Holiday theme in New Zealand consists of variations on beach, sea and bush; and, given the choice between staying at a seaside hotel or baching it, most of the younger ones choose the later.

The olders and wisers, the mothers who want a rest from cooking and contriving, and the men who like their comfort, choose one of the many comfortable boarding-houses where meals are good and there is an air of cheery, happy-go-lucky camaraderie.

The youngsters and silliers like to get together their own parties, pack up bathing suits, frying-pan, etc., and descend upon some beach cottage, hired or lent by friends or owned by some lucky member of the bunch. The preparations themselves are such fun. First, what will be needed in the way of provisions brought from home, blankets and bed-linen, napery, crockery or cutlery? (very seldom a bach is thoroughly stocked with appurtenances of civilisation). Secondly, who is to bring the necessaries? Thirdly, if travelling by rail, what articles and what weight can go as personal luggage; if by car, how, in the name of Holiday, is everything to be stowed, piled and tied?

Once settled in, the next proceeding is to draw up a rota of duties. Make a list of all the daily chores, group them so that each member of the party does a daily “job of work,” and see that “cook,” for instance, doesn't have to go out for provisions and prepare vegetables while “water” merely carries a few tinsful. And don't forget to rotate the duties—that is what a “rota” is for. Don't let Isabel do all the cooking because she does it at home and is an expert. Let Jack and Bert take their turns and mess about to their heart's content and the undisguised enjoyment of everybody else. You get good food for the rest of the year, so charred rashers or burnt potatoes on the new chums’ days won't hurt anybody. (If you know anyone who is a martyr to indigestion, don't ask him or her to go baching. It's cruelty!)

I am assuming that you have asked only congenial people to go camping with you. We know how one lazy and selfish person can spoil the enjoyment of the rest by shirking. Camping, too, is a means of discovering unsuspected qualities in your friends. A hitherto quiet person may blossom out as the camp jester or an inspired organiser of picnics and hikes. And here's a tip, A happily-married friend of mine has said that the way to get to know people is to see how they react under camp conditions, away from the “dressed-up” atmosphere of town. That's the way he chose his wife—and he's going round recommending married blessedness to all the single people he knows.