Gramping and ramscootering: Lucy Mangan takes on more of your submissions to

I once wrote this about camping, having been forced to undertake the activity for the first time by an editor with pages to fill and sadistic urges to satisfy. “It’s insanity, is what it is. For thousands of years mankind has sought to improve his condition; to protect himself from the elements, to develop a way of life that amounts to more than a constant search for food, warmth and a decent place to defecate. And now that we have, at least here in the affluent western world, finally managed to attain such exalted heights, what do we do? We go camping. We take the active decision to abandon comfortable, fully plumbed, brick dwellings and go and live in a field in a nowhere-near-waterproof-enough shell and fend for ourselves once more.”

I felt the same when, a few years ago, “glamping” – glamorous camping and I believe the world’s first portmanteau oxymoron – was invented and I was required to test that out too. There was a tipi instead of a tent and a compost toilet instead of The Woods. This did not improve my opinion of it to any measurable degree.

Now – now there’s “gramping”. Submitted by moneill, it means…well, have a guess. What’s the one – maybe two, depending on how you count them – thing(s) that could make camping or glamping worse? That’s right – camping with two generations of your family. Children and your parents, their grandparents. You, your parents and their parents. You, your children and their children. You see, whichever way you slice it, that’s still one noxious-looking cake. Run fast, my pretties, run fast, run far.

Run almost as fast and as far if you come across a “spornosexual” (thank you, contributor Tommy). This is a blend of “sport”, “porn” and its creator Mark Simpson’s previous coinage “metrosexual” and means a man who has taken his grooming and other habits to the next stage. Which is all absolutely fine. The problem is that the image chosen by most media outlets to illustrate this phenomenon with two men from TOWIE clad in – and only in – half-thongs. Which sounds relatively innocuous in print so I can only urge you as I wipe my screen clear of eye-vomit not to Google the image. There are some things you can’t unsee. Just be glad I did it for you.

If not, it should be enough to “ramscooter” you good and proper. According to Fredstar007 this is a Scottish word meaning “to cause panic”, although I’ve noodled around a bit online and in my Grandma’s old Scots-English dictionary and I think it’s primary meaning may be “to drive away (in terror)”, though this obviously would involve a fair bit of panic if you were doing it properly.

Make sure you are not “sqwabing” when a ramscooterer descends, intent on making you his ramscooteree. For this (submitted by Benjie) refers to the practice of pushing down the backs of your shoes and walking on them, like children do for amusement and adults do when they are too knackered, drunk or both to put their shoes on properly just to go to the loo/make a cup of tea but the tiled floor in either case is too cold to go entirely without. In either case, it will slow you down considerably and maybe aggravate the whole ramscootrification.

See you in a fortnight. Be careful out there.

Other Articles

Words matter: thoughts on language and Black History Month

The work of historians is increasingly emphasising something that many in the Black community have known for a long time: the profound influence of Africa and the Caribbean on British culture. Last month, I began a PhD and my research is focused on mahogany in English country houses. Chippendale cabinets… Read More

Blah-blah-blah… 6 unusual words when you’re lost for words

The climate emergency continues to be an urgent challenge for the planet, with a whole wave of new words entering the dictionary to describe its impact and influence, from single-use and plogging to climate strike. Last week, Greta… Read More

Celebrate National Poetry Day

This year’s annual National Poetry Day, the thirty-eighth, falls on Thursday 7 October. National Poetry Day (NPD) was founded in 1994 by an arts charity – the Forward Arts Foundation – and has gone from strength to strength, boosting, inter alia, sales of poetry: the graph… Read More