Thursday, 30 June 2011

Two go....?

....CAMPING!!

The opportunity of a long weekend away has arisen towards the end of July. I think, right, get somewhere booked up. Have a bit of a holiday. I set a budget and went about research on the interwebbly. But could I find anything for my budget? Could I cocoa.

Well, the offers were there. But when you actually investigate the offer, you suddenly find yourself caught up in the world of 'having to buy additional extras' or 'all the offers have mysteriously gone, but here's another break exactly the same but twice the price.'

Anyway, after a particularly extensive and headache-making search yesterday lunchtime(in between trying to read a bit of The French Lieutenant's Woman and sorting out the A level poetry choices from an extremely hefty anthology called The Rattle Bag) I suddenly thought, or perhaps my naughty Guardian Angel put the thought in my mind, why not buy a tent and go camping???

I mean, it's got to be a better experience than when I last went camping thirty-plus years ago, surely? Surely it's all high-tech light-weight breathable fabrics and electric hook-ups nowadays? No half-tonne stiff 'n' stinky canvas monstrosity that smells of wet cow if you don't air it regularly and toilet blocks that involve industrial concrete and a hole in the ground. Yes, I thought. That's the thing. For the budget, we could purchase a jolly decent tent AND have a few days away AND still have a tent at the end of it ergo perpetuating a new Much Malarkey Manor Camping History - a tragi-comedy in the making if ever I heard one.

So I said to Andy when he got home from work, 'Let's buy a tent and go camping!' and he said 'Yes!!' because he is very keen on camping and the only tent he's convinced me to enter in the last 7 years has been the marquee we had at our wedding.

Thus we spent a very excitable evening on the interwebbly exploring and evaluating a variety of tents. Little pod ones that you throw into the air and they 'POP' themselves into shape and land on the grass, voila! Or plummet over a cliff if the wind is high, I guess. HUGE twelve people jobbies that probably require their own erection team (no sniggering at the back please). Green ones, orange ones, some as big as your head. So many to choose from. I had only one stipulation - that it had two sleeping spaces or 'bedrooms' as they are known in camping parlance. Andy had only one stipulation - that he could stand up inside it without the top rubbing his head and incurring comedy static. We measured the inflatable airbed to make sure it would fit. Some manufacturers have very odd ideas about how much space is reasonable sleeping space.

And finally we whittled it down to the Outwell Winnipeg 600, which sounds like a motorbike but isn't. It's a 3 room tunnel tent and comes in a smart striped pattern (blue). It has a rain safe door and Sealed Ground System which is ESSENTIAL for keeping bugs and dirt at bay - apparently. It has large panorama windows and a hydrostatic head of 3,000mm which means it can withstand a lot of rain. Well, hurrah for that! Also, there is a You-tube clip which shows you how to put it up. And even better still, it was £130 off in the sale!

The tent is now in our possession. We are about to have a go at putting it up in the back garden. I expect the chickens will help...

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