They all seemed to have that same glazed look, glassy eyed they inched their way around the showroom floor, peering into every nook and cranny, examining every centimeter of every item on every shelf.
They all wore khaki funnily enough, long or short khaki pants with a miscellany of pockets, long or short sleeved light khaki shirts all branded 'Land Rover' or 'Columbia' or 'North Face'.
They reminded me of a certain trance I get into when I enter a garden shop - that blank, witless look that only a new plant can induce.
But they were not in a garden shop, they were customers in a 4 x 4 Mega World shop in Johannesburg.
HeeHoo was one of them, he too had that trance-like expression on his face as he shouldered his way through the bivouac section. The merits of camp-craft v motor home were discussed ad nauseum, and camping experiences and escapades were volunteered at length!!
Every cargo net was studied with grim intent, and every cam buckle strap was glossed over for hours. Camping people are a breed apart, this is not a hobby !! This is a science!!
Dutch ovens, poitke pots and the resultant equipage are compared, contrasted and checked in minutiae, whilst gas cylinders and cooking equipment are examined in laborious detail.
But then onto the BIG BOYS toys!! The accoutrements for the chosen motoring piece. Are you a Land Rover Man A Range Rover Man or a Land Cruiser Man Hereby hangs a thousand questions and a million assessments. The rivalry between the three brands is fierce and intent, only a real Man's Man can enter into one of these hallowed discussions.
HeeHoo can get glassy eyed over a bull bar for goodness sake!!
He also knows a thousand demerits and merits over the glories of tow bars, and such was the depth of the discussion that he ended up with a tow bar on the back and also one on the front of his Cruiser!! Maneuverability forwards or in reverse, of one's trailer, motor home, cabin cruiser is an all absorbing topic it would appear....
Amongst the things we did buy, were two camping stretchers....On our Mana trip we 'almost' had a 'domestic' over the stretcher issue.... Heehoo had a real affinity with his old canvas army stretcher, you know those khaki ones that roll up around those stiff iron poles Yes - that very one!! I refuse point blank to sleep on one of those, I mean they are of an extremely venerable age and pretty musty smelling!!
And so I cunningly left his precious stretcher behind 'accidentally' in favor of two foam mattresses. Well, one would have thought I had left the matches behind!!
And so two camp stretchers were procured (which still need foam mattresses at any rate) so not much space saved in this purchase!!
Flood lights, fog lamps, winches, compressors, roof racks, Engel fridges, lighting accessories ...all were fondled gently, lovingly, almost caressed as these 'Landy Lads' progressed their way through this most revered of all stores in the Man's World!!