The Evolution Of Dance

Sep - 24 2014 | no comments | By

The evolution of dance is as long as the presence of man on this planet. Perhaps one of the most elusive of arts to visualize, dance is used, among other reasons, to express emotion, as a form of worship, as an act of healing, and for artistic expression. Dance does not leave behind concrete proof of its existence in the form of cave drawings or tools, but it’s presence throughout human history cannot be ignored.

Ceremony

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From the earliest recorded history, dance has been used in ceremonies. Actually, there really is a 9000 year old rock painting of people dancing in India, and a tomb painting in Egypt that depicts a couple dancing, has been dated about 3300 BC. The earliest writings about dance are from India, in which a dance called the Natya Shastra is described. This dance, as described in the manuscript, is still around today, and is considered a classic.

Ancient writings in Sri Lanka dating back to 543 BC speak of wedding ceremonial dances, and classical dance of that area typically have very intricate rhythms.

Healing

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Dance has also traditionally been used as a form of healing. Civilizations all across the world have used dance to enter trances and states of ecstasy which are supposed to ward off evil spirits that were suspected of causing illness. The Dance Macabre of the middle ages reflects this purpose, and was intended to ward off the black death.

Expression

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It is surmised that dance was used before the written and spoken word as a form of instruction. Before the written word, dance was used to teach the myths of ancient civilizations, and the dances were passed down much as stories.

The earliest written record of dancing in Europe was in Homer’s “Iliad”. He explained the chorea, from which the word for designated dance move evolved in the form of “choreography”. The chorea was a system of dance moves, each of which denoted a particular emotion or passion. These passions would be communicated to the audience through the recognized gestures, and they were often recreated in art of the era.

Modern Dancing

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Modern dancing dates back to the 1700s but obviously has evolved into more modern and completely different branches. Ballet was developed, built largely on the passions of ancient Greek dance. Dance in India, by that time, had become somewhat vulgar and was banned by the British. However, ballet continued to grow in popularity, and court dance was also very popular. Due to the clothing of the era, most court dances involved large gestures and posing. Ballet is still very popular among children and is taught around the world today, just need to make sure you have the right dance accessories!

The last century has seen a great deal of change in dancing, perhaps more than in any other era. The beginnings of the 1900s saw independent dancers begin to break loose from their partners in modern dance forms, and now, it is not unusual to see people dancing without a partner at all.

Folk dancing, court dances, ballroom dancing, and other forms of dance are rising in popularity. As people strive to become more fit, they have found satisfaction and expression, as well as social interaction, in various forms of dance.

The History Of Bude

Sep - 22 2014 | no comments | By

Bude is a picturesque town on the ocean, located in the northern part of Cornwall, England. The beaches of Bude face a part of the Atlantic Ocean called the Celtic Sea. This popular Victorian era watering hole and resort has remained a draw for those wanting to enjoy beautiful beach and surf. The surf, especially, draws in surfers from all over the world, with the power of the Atlantic behind the surf that beacons.

Surfing

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Bude is actually the home of the surfing industry in the UK. It really began in the 1950s, when young Australians, recently relocated due to WWII, discovered the surf in this picturesque area. They formed the Surf Life Saving Club in 1953, and to this day the town takes pride in its support of the surfing society. There are varieties of challenges in the surf of this area, making it an ever-changing landscape with plenty of choices of challenges.

Romantic Settings

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The beaches were so popular during the Victorian era that the railroad led there, just for the middle classes could enjoy “sea bathing”. In addition to the attraction of the sea, the wild surroundings helped to fuel details that accompanied Arthurian Legend.

Beaches

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The beaches at Bude are legendary, from the wide beach at Widemouth Bay to the striking cliffs at Sandymouth Beach. The sand was once used by area farmers to amend the thick soil of farms.

Not only are there several terrific beaches that draw visitors, there are numerous coves that bear exploration. The beaches at Widemouth Bay, Crooklets, and at Summerleaze draw the majority of surfers. However, the more experienced surfers often enjoy the rockier climes of Sandymouth, NorthCott Mouth, and Duckpool.

Weather

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The Atlantic Ocean, with its notorious fury and damaging storms, succeeds only in creating fabulous surf at Bude. The size and anger of the Atlantic produces some of the best, long swells that break into great waves on the beach.

While winters are predictably cold, wetsuits keep the most dedicated out on the surf. The sunshine during the rest of the year brings out the beach combers and picnickers, too.

Skill Levels

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Since Bude is basically the home of UK surfing, it has established a great range of skills groups for surfers. Beginners can learn techniques at Crooklets. Surf schools like Bude Surfing Experience provide soft-shell boards that help beginners get started and build strength and confidence. They are lightweight, buoyant boards that make it easy to ride waves.

Visit Bude

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There is plenty to do in Bude besides surfing, too. Visit Bude Castle, which is a heritage centre. Take a tour of the Bude Canal, or visit the lovely boutiques in town, dine in some of the nicest restaurants, and kick back in comfy inns and pubs. You can stay in comfortable lodging near the beach as you go coasteering and surfing, or select a comfortable bed and breakfast with full view of the meadows in the area.

Bude even has its own rugby and football clubs, and is the birthplace of George and Arthur Mills, both authors.

The History Of Yoga

Sep - 16 2014 | no comments | By

Yoga may surprise you. Many people think of yoga as being a series of “funny positions” during which you are supposed to meditate. However, there is much more involved with yoga. It is actually an umbrella word that encompasses physical discipline, religion, and several forms of philosophy.

What is Yoga?

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The word “yoga” actually refers to the idea of “yoking” together the mind and the body of the practitioner. The first record of the practice of yoga dates back to the year 1500 BC in India.

In Hatha yoga, the physiology of the human body is defined in 3 categories: the physical, the subtle, and the causal. The “Self” of the person, otherwise known as the atman, is in five layers, visualized much like the layers of an onion. These five layers each have energy flowing through them. These five layers, or “sheaths” are:

  1. Food (the physical body, made of flesh and bone, fat, skin, and filth)
  2. Energy (in the form of breath – the life that animates the body)
  3. Mind (also includes the senses; makes the person who he is and can be changed)
  4. Wisdom (the intellect, influenced by senses. Can change, has no self-knowledge, and is not always present)
  5. Bliss (the innermost sheath, only expresses itself during deep sleep)

Besides these physical traits of the human being, there is the subtle traits, which are made up of energies that course throughout each of the layers. These energies flow throughout the layers, or sheaths, and encounter meeting points called chakras. These meeting points can become clogged or polluted, causing illness, mental distress, or any of the other problems that the human being encounters.

The Practices of Yoga

There are many different practices of yoga, as it has both Hindu and Buddhist roots. The word, itself, has multiple meanings. However, it is, in general, meant to describe the yoking together of the human body, mind, and spirit to attain balance and full awareness. The goals of this yoking may be to attain better physical health, emotional healing, or spiritual purity. The different types of yoga typically have different goals, such as those mentioned here, and others.

Westernized Yoga

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Yoga came to the western civilizations in the mid to late 1800s. This was during the height of the Victorian era, in which England had a presence on every continent on the planet, and the strange and unusual animals, plants, and sciences of the world were all showcased in the UK. Swami Vivekananda taught the philosophy of yoga to the era’s leading transcendentalists, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Throughout the remainder of the 19th century and through the first half of the 20th century, westernized yoga focused on the transcendental feature of meditation and “getting in touch” with the “inner self”. However, the later part of the 1900s saw a growth in the physical discipline aspect of the movement.

Since the late 20th century, yoga has been seen in the West as an excellent physical exercise and stress maintenance discipline for people of all ages and physical abilities.  Fitness boot camps that feature yoga have been becoming more common over the past 10 years and are springing up all over the British countryside.

 

The History Of The Clothes Dryer

Sep - 15 2014 | no comments | By

I grew up with a clothes line. I took it for granted that all sheets, towels, and clothing were stiff once they were dry, and smelled of fresh air. I also expected that most laundry had fly-specks. Our clothesline was so low that the bed sheets would almost brush the tops of the grass. Now I realize that Mom had Dad build the clothesline that way so my sisters and I could reach the lines at a younger age, and help out with that chore.

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One day, after Mom had hung a huge load of laundry on the twin lines, she returned to the house and looked out the window just in time to see our bird dog, Queenie, pull the very last item off of the line with gleeful abandon. This was one of the downsides to your standard washing line. After the outdoors clothesline we went with an indoor clothesmaid.

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A few years later, Mom was in a foul mood because it was her anniversary and she hadn’t gotten a gift from Dad. When, lo-and-behold, there was a knock at the door and the postman (there was no other delivery company in those days) delivered a brand new electric clothes dryer! Mom burst into tears. Of happiness, by the way.

That is our family history of the clothes dryer. As an adult, I’ve never had to use a clothesline, thank goodness. But, the first electric clothes dryer first appeared in 1915 – long before we got our labor saving device.

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In fact, the early 1800s saw the invention of a ventilated tub that would be rotated over a fire, spit-style, to dry clothes. For generations, the “automatic” clothes dryer was used only in commercial situations, for textile manufacturers and hostelry.

However, two things conspired to put electric and gas clothes dryers in private homes. These were the end of World War II, and the rising significance of women in society. The end of the war brought about not only a needed outlet for technology, but it also brought about a post-war boom. More people – at least, in the winning countries – were making more money than they ever had. The middle class expanded as more people moved up in economic ranking. The expanded middle class meant that more people were in a position to afford heretofore unaffordable luxuries.

In addition, women had kept the country going while the men were at war, and they were not to be denied when the war was over. While women’s work is never done, it can sure be aided by technology.

As far as I’m concerned, though, I’m just glad I don’t have to sleep on fly-speckled sheets, anymore.

The History Of Plants As Decoration

Aug - 12 2014 | no comments | By

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From the beginnings of recorded history, plants have been used for decoration. Excavated ruins of Pompeii have elaborate mosaics portraying colorful flowers and huge olive and shade trees. Exhumed mummies from pharaoh’s tombs have plants, herbs, and seeds incorporated into the shrouding that wrap the bodies, and the tombs themselves often have bulbs and seedlings of the royal’s favorite plants included, so they can journey to the afterlife together. Thus begins the convoluted history of plants as decoration.

Plants as Decoration: Bring the Outside In

Some of the purposes of decorating with plants stemmed from the desire to bring natural beauty indoors. The legend of the Christmas tree is a perfect example of this. After seeing the night stars twinkling in the branches of a pine tree in the forest, a man cut a tree down and brought it indoors for his ailing wife. He tied candles to the branches to simulate the twinkling of stars, and the Christmas tree was born.

 

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Even the ancient Greeks believed in the benefits of indoor plants. They believed, correctly, that plants purified the air. Therefore, when anyone was sick, they would bring plants in to absorb the illnesses present. Today, a scattering of plants in the home helps to reduce the risks from formaldehyde, radon gas, and many other chemicals used in construction materials. In fact, businesses often keep living plants in their offices and waiting rooms for that very reason – just a few judiciously placed plants can completely cycle all the air in a building every 24 hour period. Keep in mind, too, that plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen into the air.

Outdoor Beauty Comes Indoors

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The custom of cut flowers was first recorded in ancient Rome, when Anthony gifted Cleopatra with cuttings from fragrant gardenia bushes. This desire for fragrance, color, and texture has been recorded throughout history, and plants serve the role quite well. Cut flowers continue to be one of the most frequently given gifts across the world, and are appropriate for any occasion from birth to death, from wedding to anniversary to birthday.

Potted Plants

Even the Roman Coliseum had potted plants in the atria. Palm trees lined the Roman baths, and every villa of note had its own atrium with both potted plants and gardens. This ultimate version of indoor gardening was a symbol of wealth and health, and in the minds of the citizens, elevated nature to its deserved ranking in human priorities. To this day, plant pots take a significant place in our homes.

Interior decorators today often say that there should be an element of nature in each focal point in a room. Potted plants play perfectly into that scheme, providing height in corners or as frames for elegant furnishing, or as texture in a carefully planned still-life. The colors available in foliage, as well as size and textures, make them some of the least expensive accessories for your home.

If you decorate your home and office with plants, you are right in step.

The History Of Fitness

Jul - 16 2014 | no comments | By

You’ve probably heard the old saying, “only the strong will survive”. Survival of the fittest is steeped in Darwinian tradition, leading humans to think that the gene pool favors those able to either fight or flee. Historically, this may have been true – one would have to be in pretty good shape to survive in the wild, surrounded by saber-toothed tigers. You would also have to be in pretty good shape to be a hunter-gatherer. Perhaps that is why, in the early days of recorded civilization, most humans had a life expectancy of around 30 years.

Mileage

Nomadic peoples will travel as much as 20 miles in one day to not only provide for their clans, but to visit other tribes. Celebrations such as games and dances last for hours. Historically, primitive peoples lived this way, and some tribes do to this day in less modernized parts of the world.

Around 5000 B.C., the Persian Empire claimed ownership of all male children as soon as they turned 6, and, as a matter of training, required extensive physical commitment in the form of riding, marching, and even javelin throwing. As the affluence of the Persian Empire advanced, the level of physical activity declined, as did, ultimately, the empire.

Philosophy

 

As civilization has advanced, so has motivation. Humans learned to farm and ranch, raising their food so that they would not have to pursue it. Granted, there were the workers who still toiled daily tending crops and flocks, but the emergence of land ownership lead to actual “down time” for human beings. In different parts of the world, this lead to more free time, which meant more thinking. Clever philosophers observed that some diseases became prevalent with the decrease in activity. Diseases with internal organs, probably diabetes and heart disease, became more prevalent. This, probably around 2000 B.C. gave birth to the first recorded exercise regimen. In China, Confucius recommended physical exercise and in India, the beliefs springing from Hinduism and Buddhism pushed people toward a level of physical exertion for the sake of exertion.

Yoga and Kung Fu were developed during these times, and were the first forms of exercise recorded that did not involve putting food on the table. It is estimated that 24 million people today participate in these two forms of exercise, alone.

 

Time Passages

Through the centuries, civilizations have risen and fallen. It is interesting to note that the more “civilized” a nation becomes, the less fit the citizens are. And equally interesting is the fact that the conquerors are typically less civilized, and more physically fit.

Modern Fitness

People today work to keep themselves in shape, requiring motivation that is not based on survival. The most common way to do this is through accountability. With a workout partner or personal trainer, people are more likely to stay with a regimen.

With the impact of computer and communication technology in today’s world, online trainers and training websites like https://youronlinept.co.uk/ have begun to fill the gap, providing accountability and coaching from the ether, much like the philosophies of ancient China and India. Online personal training and diet plans are the next step towards keeping fit, whether your short on time, or willpower, online personal training is a great way to organise and stay in shape.

The History Of Surfing

Jul - 14 2014 | no comments | By

Surfing is one of those things that you just know would have been around for thousands of years. I could imagine even the cavemen of yesteryear interested in whether they could ride with the current of the waves. It is assumed that the origin of surfing began with bodysurfing. This is the practice of riding a wave without any bouyant board or other assistance. It allows you to ride with the wave down to the shoreline. Surfboards and Bodyboards are actually a fairly recent development in the lifespan of surfing. Surfing is said to have begun in pre-contact Hawaii, it is also said that Peru had its fair share of wave riders.

Surfing In Writing

Surfing was first written about by a chap called Joseph Banks, who had travelled to hawaii on the HMS Endeavour with Captain James Cook. It is said that surfing had been part of Polynesian Culture, long before the Europeans were ever in contact with them. The leader, Chief Ali’i was know the be the best wave rider in town, he also had the best surfboard made from the best timber. It seemed that the working class and the ruling class were seperated not only by their wealth, but by their surfing skills. The working class were not allowed to ride on the same beaches as their richer counterparts, although they would gain notoriety from their surfing ability.

Classic European Interference

Of course, Hawaii could not be left alone to carry on their sinful ways. Missionaries had to be sent from Scotland and Germany in 1821. These lovely missionaries discouraged surfing aswell as many other Polynesian traditions. By the time we hit the 20th century, surfing as well as most of the other Polynesian traditions had all but vanished.

Revival Of The Sport

Hawaiians began to revive surfing well into the 20th century, and managed to re-establish the sport. The revival is said to be linked to boosting tourism and  travel. Jack London wrote about the sport after his visit to the islands, and Duke Kahanamoku “Ambassador of Aloha” helped expose surfing to the rest of the world. The 1960s is when surfing really hit the bigtime, with the release of the film “Gidget” Surfing really went mainstream, moving surfing from an underground culture into a national fad. Surfing has been popular eversince, and there are even more crazy ways to ride the waves. If you’re interested in taking up surfing, why not take a look at the adventure activity centres in Croyde, they’ll offer you the opportunity to do what you need.

              

The History Of Civil Engineering

Jun - 30 2014 | no comments | By

From the ancient Egyptian pyramids to the Millau Viaduct, the history of civil engineering is a fascinating read. Here are some of the highlights of this ever-evolving science.

What Is Civil Engineering?

Civil engineering is “the branch of engineering concerned with the design and construction of such public works as dams or bridges”1. Most people remain blissfully unaware of the extent to which civil engineering affects their daily lives. However, the slope to the roads you drive, the cross-bracing in buildings in which you work, and the scenic pull-overs you enjoy in national parks are all made safe by civil engineers. Water and energy systems are designed by civil engineers, as are other public works such as railways, airports, and ports.

Pyramids

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The great pyramids of Giza are the iconic versions of a perfected technology. However, there were many failed attempts before the long standing skyline was created in this desert.Several scholars translators and translation companies state that the hieroglyphs  The pyramids are also missing their pearly white look as well, it is said that they originally had a shiny limestone coat. The exact angle of slope, the footprint area, and construction methods were developed over several lifetimes. Pyramids exist all over the world, in most cultures. The familiar smooth-sided versions of Giza are in contrast to the step-sided pyramids of other cultures.

Aqueducts

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The Roman aqueducts are legendary for their civil engineering, for many reasons. First of all, the Roman arch was perfected with these structures. The placement of a keystone in each arch secures the structure, and is still in use today. However, the slope of the aqueduct is crucial to success, and provided the technology for all water transmission in the future. The slope necessary for optimal water flow is physics at its most basic, yet requires mastery of surveying. The steady, gradual slope over many miles is acquired only through masterful civil engineering, surveying, and construction. The development of electronic pumping stations aids modern civil engineers, but the process is still the same.

Modern Civil Engineering Wonders

The viaduct in Millau, France, is the tallest bridge in the world. You’ll often find yourself travelling above the clouds on this breathtaking bridge. Taller than the tallest building in France, this suspension bridge breaks several world records.

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The Tide Barrier Project in Venice, Italy, is another wonder of the modern world. While Venice is the city of water, the tides have wreaked havoc with this incredible engineering success. Added to this is the fact that the city is sinking. The tide wall is comprised of 80 walls built on hinges. Each wall is about 6500 square feet, and designed to be raised to prevent flooding.

The world’s tallest elevator is in Zhangjiajie, China. This glass, exterior elevator is over 1000 feet tall, and located on a cliff over a valley.

The longest underwater pipeline runs from Norway to England. This gas pipeline, when completed, will supply England with 20% of its needs for natural gas. The engineers have developed methods for laying 8 miles of pipeline every day, despite temperatures far below freezing and violent storms.

Whether you drive on roads that successfully shed flood waters, or enjoy a cool drink of water from the kitchen faucet, you are benefitting from the long traditions of successful civil engineering.

Why Should You Find Yourself A Hobby?

Jun - 24 2014 | no comments | By

Boredom, in some people’s opinion, is the root of all evil. “Idle minds are the devil’s workshop”, and this has never been more true than today. With all of the electronic aids to getting our work done, we often find ourselves with extra time on our hands. The need to fill that extra time with something leads us to settle for anything that will keep us busy. What can you do to battle boredom? Take up a hobby!

Changing Times

 

When I was growing up, hobbies were for rich people. That’s because, in our perception (as non-rich people), only people who didn’t work all the time needed a hobby. Little did I know that those “rich people” probably put in as many if not more hours than we did. They just had the money for a hobby.

Times have changed. Hobbies are not expensive any more, unless you want them to be. Here are some great hobbies that you can participate in, and determine how much money you are willing to spend as you go.

Scrapbooking

 

In the United States, scrapbooking has become a booming business. Women have always sought ways in which to render useful items for the family that are done in an artistic manner. Crochet, quilting, and tatting have traditionally been the “useful” hobbies for women. But, with digital photography, we now have ready access to photos. We can pick and choose which photos we want to archive, and even edit them in the comfort of our own home. As photography and the printing of photos have become more common and less expensive, we have the ability to scrapbook more and more of our life experiences. There are shops that have all of the equipment you need to dress up your albums.

Exercise And Excitement

 

Exercise is also a great way to stop yourself from getting bored. Exercise has a lot more benefits to it than most people know. It can help prevent depression, increase lifespan and much more. Exercise doesn’t have to be boring either. Instead of taking a bike ride or going for a run, why not take yourself to an activity centre for some entertaining action? You could end up zipwiring, coasteering, rock climbing and much more. You’ll have your own personal adventure and I guarantee you will enjoy it, so why not make it a hobby?

Drawing And Painting

Drawing and painting were also once reserved as private lessons for the entitled. However, these crafts have been taught in public schools now for decades. In addition, you can find community classes, private classes, and even commercial enterprises that teach you how to draw and paint. Thousands of people are learning the pleasure of developing their artistic abilities and manipulating mediums to create pieces for their homes and offices. Create an art gallery in your hallway with your paintings. Hang them from floor to ceiling, and you’ll find a new appreciation and pride in your blossoming talent.

             

Learn An Instrument Or A Language

It has been proven that there are only 2 ways to actually increase your IQ. That is through learning an instrument or learning a foreign language.

Some of my best music students are adults who have never played an instrument. These adults have always wished they could sing, or play the flute, and now they are learning how! The great thing about adult students is that they have no delusions about being famous or influential. They just want to complete themselves, and learning an instrument is the fulfillment of a dream. As long as they enjoy the process, the hobby is serving it’s purpose.

A Look Back At 1950’s Camping

Jun - 09 2014 | no comments | By

Ah Camping, One of my passions. I love getting back to nature and leaving all my devices switched off. There’s nothing quite like being out in the wilderness with your tent, and a tin or two of beans. These day’s you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who actually camps properly. You’ll see mothers and fathers and their kids with Ipads, Iphones, Nintendos and laptops, and it just makes you wonder, why even go camping if you’re just going to do all the things you do at home, but in a tent. It just seems a bit silly to me. Camping is all about the experiences you can have without those things. So why not take a real camping trip, and leave all that luxury camping UK to the others?

Talking about luxury camping, if you were going camping back in the 1950’s this is about as much luxury as you could get apart from buying a full blown campervan These two seem to be having a nice time with some high quality fold out chairs, and they are very smartly dressed for two people who have just erected a tent. The Volkswagen Type 2 (also known as the Bus (US) or Camper (UK)) Was first released to market back in 1950, so this could have been the ideal era to go camping with a van.

Of course camper vans had been around for a while, but the VW camper really was the start of something special. Just take a look at how ugly this bedford CA camper is.

Tent’s were also another story, they did not have the lightweight materials that we have now. Our modern tents have all kinds of fancy components.

Modern Tent

We have a few different varieties too. For instance, we have single skin/Single Wall which has only one waterproof layer, the rest is comprised of the roof and the walls. These are prone to condensation, so some tents use a combination of breathable fabrics and waterproof ones.

Old Tent

Older tents were obviously a different story. The most common of the tents were pup tents. These tents were a small version of a ridge tent and they were made for around 2 to 3 people. These tents often had two poles at each end, ranged in an A shape, this allowed easier access inside the tent. Some of the models of this tent had horizontal poples joining the top ends to support the centre of the tent.

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