“Look at it this way,” Noel said as he took the green waterproof fabric from the little bag and tied its strings to the chairs and sofa, “for the price of a night in a hotel, we can stay away as many nights away as we want, wherever we want.”
“But it’s a tent,” I said, stating the obvious, even though the dining room was too narrow to accommodate all the sticky-up bits and the offending item looked more like a collapsed sailboard. “And a small one at that.”
The tent wasn’t small, it was bijou. In fact, it would sleep three, so would fit us and the cat, if he wanted to come with us, Noel said. That was all very well, but where was the bathroom? And the kitchen? And where would I plug in the hairdryer? And where would the car poo? Noel’s been to a lot of very loud rock concerts and I don’t think he heard me.
“Here’s the plan,” he said, inflating the Thermarest and laying it out in the tent. “We drive up to the Lakes after work, hike up to a Very Pretty Place, travelling light, carrying our tent,” he emphasised the prettiness of the Lakes, as if I needed convincing.
“But they look rather good from a hotel,” I protested. “And they have jolly nice toilets and real beds. They even turn the sheet down and put a chocolate on the pillow,” Noel had another of those rock concert loss-of-hearing moments, these were becoming too frequent, maybe he needs to take up one of those hearing aid offers in the unsolicited Saga magazine he gets and immediately bins .”When we get there, we can eat and then take pictures of the sunset,” he said wistfully. The evening meal, it turned out, would be reconstituted risotto cooked on a camping stove in the Great Outdoors. What could be finer? I have a list….
Following the photography session, we get to go to sleep really early – and wake up early, possibly even before we’ve fallen asleep, to enjoy leftover reconstituted risotto and photograph the dawn. We wouldn’t need to set an alarm, the sunlight would sear through the thin sheeting. Oh good.
I’m not made for camping, I need toilets, showers, a coffee maker (though none of that instant stuff) and somewhere I can stand up, but I promised I’d give it a go, though for a maximum of one night. And it would have to be warm and rain-free, so nothing this summer, then. Cat on the other hand, seemed taken with the tent and wouldn’t move out even when Noel took it down. Maybe we should just put it up in the garden.