Monday, 22 August 2011

Our camping holiday - in pictures

Our friends J and C have a new tent, and are keen to go camping with us. We agree on dates, but, for various reasons, the designated campsite is only about an hour's drive from their home.

We arrive at their house on Friday, ready for our camping weekend, to find J and C less than enthusiastic about camping after all. The weather looks threatening, and Mr A and I have had to make plans to see Mr A's family on Saturday which would leave J and C a little high and dry.

Our huge tent nestling among apple trees and large bushesSo we pitch our tent in their back garden. We are used to this kind of thing. I find that the new tent is pretty easy to erect, with a similar footprint to the old tent, but is absolutely enormous inside. It is a Tent Tardis.

As J and C have never erected their new tent, we decide that they might as well put it up in their garden as well. That way they get to see how difficult it is and whether there are any missing pieces. Mr A and J also get to compare the size, shape, facilities and features of their respective tents in the way that men seem to like to do.

J and Mr A contemplating the rolled up tentJ inspects the instructions in anticipation of the work ahead. Mr A has never read any instructions in his life and is not about to start now. His body language says, "Come on, just unroll the thing and we'll work it out." J has watched a demonstration of how the tent is erected on YouTube, but can't really remember the details.

The tent laid out flat on the lawnThey unroll the thing. It is enormous, and seems complicated.

Mr A and J inserting the fibreglass polesThey start to insert the poles. I am sitting with C drinking tea inside a gazebo, which is why the work of J and Mr A is framed by curtains. We taunt the gentlemen gently yet fruitily, using the words 'erection' and 'poles' a great deal.

Mr A and J lifting the tent into shapeThe poles are inserted into their mountings, constructing the tunnel shape of the tent. All appears to be going well.

The tent takes on its tunnel appearanceThe tent starts to take shape and its configuration becomes clearer. What is not clear is how to support it while the pegs are inserted into the ground. [On this point, J is particularly proud of his repair to a rubber mallet. We are impressed, and inspect the mallet closely. Mr A generously allows J exclusive use of the mallet - I suspect that Mr A is not convinced that the repair will hold and doesn't want the head of a rubber mallet flying off and hitting him in the face.]

The tent appears to have collapsed. J has his hand to his head.Oh, dear. This didn't happen in the YouTube clip. But it is a minor hiccup in a successful operation; the tent is soon erect and securely pegged out.

Mr A and J in the tent interiorThe final touches are made to the inside of the tent, which has two bedrooms, a storage system, large windows all around the porch, and is about a third bigger than ours. Mr A is very envious of the windows, which he compares to those in our tent - ours are too small and high to see out of when sitting down. However, Mr A 'wins' on the matter of the awning, which is included in our package but not in J's - his tent has an awning, but no poles to hold it up.

Mr A with the gas stove and potsJ and C decide that they won't be sleeping in their tent, given that they have very comfortable beds in their house, so the tent is taken down again. Mr A and I are very keen on sleeping in tents, even in people's back gardens, so after a very pleasant evening and dinner, we retire to our accommodation. In the morning, as is customary, Mr A takes care of breakfast. As is also customary, breakfast consists of spicy noodle soup. Close up of breakfast ingredientsThe packet of noodles and stock is supplemented by courgette, mushroom, radish and Polish ham.

The finished product: two bowls of noodle soup After breakfast, we pack up the tent because we are committed to going to the campsite whether we are accompanied or not. However, we return to J and C's place after the family visit to find the weather clement and J and C with renewed enthusiasm for camping after all. We will meet them at the campsite, since we are ready to go and they are still hunting for all the necessary bits and pieces.

Side view of the tent with dodgy poleWe erect our tent at the campsite. Of course, we are experts by now. But disaster strikes. As I stretch the 'canvas' to fit one of the steel side poles, it bends in my hand like putty. Mr A attempts to bend it straight again, but with limited success.

Close up of repair with tyre level, strap and tapeLuckily, a man who doesn't read instructions usually has enough inventiveness to come up with some bodge, and a solution is found in the shape of a tyre lever out of the car, the strap that holds the spare wheel down, and some micropore plaster tape out of my first aid kit. For the first time in all the years I have known him, Mr A did not pack gaffer tape for our trip. Unbelievable.

The rest of the weekend passed without photographic documentation. J and C arrived and put up their tent, Mr A set up the fire basket he'd brought from our house together with a supply of logs, and other friends even turned up later to sit around the campfire with us. On Sunday it rained quite a bit in the morning, but we went for a walk in the afternoon when it was sunny, and then came back and sat around drinking tea and chatting some more in the late afternoon sunshine.

Mr A enjoying a drink in the sunshine

No comments: