|a 15ft Icelandic Ridge tent with sides lifted|
We supervised the girls putting up their tents, three patrols of six girls so three tents. Here's the statistics so you can hold this image in your mind.
They were 15ft long Icelandic Ridge tents. The poles are 3inch round wood with quarter inch thick steel sleeves to join the pieces together each pole being 6ft tall they came in two pieces. The ridge pole was in three pieces.The fabric of the tent is your genuine tent canvas. Sturdy, thick and weighs about two hundredweight, taking all six girls to carry it. The above picture is of the same tent but a different year - they were far more experienced by then. So this is not one of your namby pamby modern tents with
It is usual at a Guide or Scout camp for at least one of the tents to "fall" down so Viv and I were prepared - we're Guides for goodness sake! We sat around our campfire, played the donkey game and sang several songs. I remember "If I were not upon the stage" and "You'll Never Get To Heaven". Then we sang Taps and watched as they traipsed off to their tents, then traipsed down the field to the chemical toilets - all in a huddle because it was dark and the night monsters were going to be out in force. Their torches swinging wildly and lighting up everything except the path to the toilets. Soon they had all put on their pyjamas, snuggled into their sleeping bags and the torches were turned off after a reminder that we were on a campsite with no spare batteries.
OH, I should say at this point that our tent was a good 25 yards away from the girls. Far enough for them to feel all on their own, but close enough to still hear them in the night.
The murmer of voices dwindled to a whisper so Viv and I got into our pyjamas and as I crawled into my sleeping bag she said it
"Well, nothing else can happen now"
You can hear them can't you? those Karma Pixies, all turning their heads at the same time and staring in the direction of someone who could throw a temptation like that in front of them.
"That's tempting fate", I said, crossing my fingers and hoping that Fate was busy happening to someone else.
I was woken by the strange sound of someone knocking on the tent and the squeak of a panicky little girl
"Captain, Captain, oh please come! The tent has fallen down and I'm the only one left alive!"
As my daughter and one of Viv's daughters were two of the occupants of that tent she had our full attention. In fact I went from horizontal in a snug warm sleeping bag to to upright with my wellies on, running up the field in 5.6 seconds. I know because Viv told me later and she knows about such things. In fact she swore that she didn't have to move a muscle and the vortex I created by my speed swept her out of her sleeping bag and into her wellies.
When we reached the collapsed tent two of the other girls were outside clinging to each other and sobbing. I found the front pole, found the guy rope and confirmed my suspicion that this tent had been
"Shine it on the ground to find the pegs".
Viv and I pulled up the posts at each end of the tent, using the guy ropes and it was easy to find the pegs, still in the ground, where the ropes had been simply lifted off them. I bent to put the rope on the first peg
"Catherine, shine the torch on the pegs, not on my face please. Thankyou."
I moved to the next peg position and reached down
"Catherine, don't shine the torch in my face - thank you"
Now to the side of the tent where there were four ropes.
Rope 1. "Catherine, PLEASE don't shine the torch in my face"
Rope 2. "Catherine, PLEASE DON'T shine the torch in my face"
Rope 3. "Catherine DON'T SHINE THE..... thank you"
Rope 4. "Catherine, GIVE ME THE TORCH!"
I went into the tent and hurriedly shone the torch on the recumbent figures within. They were still asleep. I gently woke them - in Charlotte's case I had to bellow in her ear to wake her but they were not unconcious or concussed and hadn't heard or felt a thing. We straightened out the groundsheet and put the other three back into the tent inspite of hints that they would prefer to sleep in our tent. We returned to our tent discussing how to deal with the tent droppers as we knew exactly who had done it. We got into our sleeping bags and Viv began
"you can stop right there," I hissed, "don't say another word unless it's goodnight"
"Goodnight, God Bless" said Viv and then we began to laugh.
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If you want to know how we got revenge then look at this