I have searched my computer but now realise that I haven't scanned the pages of my early scrap books so I don't have a picture of our little brown and orange tent to show you. I do have a picture of the tent we bought to replace it
This has the dual purpose of giving us a run through of the procedure and getting all the swearing at each other done before we go public on a campsite. There were only a couple of occasions when Mr M snapped at me and I stood with my hands on my hips and gave him "the look". Then he would apologise for snapping and I would apologise for snapping back, he would tuck his hands into his armpits and huff like a sulky kid and make me laugh and the tent would be up and it was time for a cuppa. We now knew the tricks of getting it up and down as though we had done it a hundred times so we wanted to go some where and play with it. After all there's no point having it if you don't use it, is there?
We looked at a map, looked at the date and realised that the august bank holiday was coming the very next weekend but Mr M's shifts meant he was off for the weekend after that.
|Different place but still a man and his Jeep|
Oh yes, we packed the Jeep and set off for North Devon We had decided that Ilfracombe (pronounced in our family as Ill frack ommm beee, although I don't know how that started.) was our destination of choice. We found a campsite on a hill that had level terraces for tents and caravans, a swimming pool a shop and the promise of bacon rolls at breakfast time. We found our marker and set up the tent in record time. We arranged it so that we could rollup the flap at the end of the tent and sit inside looking out across the Bristol Channel. Fabulous. And then it started to rain. This is where we discovered that tents that have sloping sides and roll up doors are useless in the rain because you have to roll the door down or the rain comes right into the tent. We rolled down the door and realised that our tent had one window. This was part mesh, part clear plastic and was behind where we had put the stove. We had to roll the flap down on that because the mesh let the rain in. So it is 4pm on a September afternoon and we are sitting on our chairs in the green gloom of our tent not able to read because it is too dark and too early to put a light on so we went and sat in the jeepfor an hour and then went into the town for a meal. We came back and got ready for bed, read for a while, all the time listening to the rain beating on the tent. We watched the pool form on the roof even though the tent is curved. Then I needed the loo. This is when a campsite on a hill stops being fun. We put on boots and waterproof coats grabbed the torch and Mr M escorted me to the loo. We struggled back up the north face of the Eiger to the tent and realised that during our brief stroll the wind had picked up a little too. We went to bed. We woke about three am because I needed to go to the loo. same procedure as before but the wind had died down and the rain had stopped so we could see the lights of Wales across the water - calling us home. We went back to bed and when we next woke up it was light and we could here the people around us washing dishes. We got up, got dressed. I could stand up to put my knickers on which was lovely we unzipped our door and stepped, blinking in the white light, out to a scene of complete chaos.
The people around us weren't washing dishes they were bailing out their tents. The wind had picked up again and two tents had blown apart during the night. the people behind us had an inch of water in their sewn in groundsheet and were wrestling with sodden sleepingbags and soggy clothes. We helped where we could before going down to the cafe for breakfast. It rained again while we were there so when we climbed back up to the tent we sat in the Jeep for a while, Mr M reading his book while I wrote the holiday journal. It stopped raining for a while and suddenly Mr M looked up from his book and said "I could be doing this in the comfort of my own home, in my own chair, shall we go home?"
"The tent is dry let's get it down before it starts raining again" said I. So we did. 45 minutes later - see how that trial run helped us - we had everything packed into the Jeep and we were on our way home. We got home Six hours later! because what should have been a two hour run was hampered by Barnstaple and the M5. We had forgotten about holiday traffic on the motorway on a Saturday.
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