I never really took into account all of the stuff we’d have to do after we got back from camping. Had the weather obliged us this would have been limited to chucking a few clothes in the washing machine and emptying a couple of bags, but that’s not how it was for us.Oh no, we’d put the tent up in the rain, and taken it down in the rain and what felt like a Force 5 gale. So we arrived home damp and steamy – so much so we’ve nicknamed it damping.
We knew we’d need to dry out the tent. Heaven forbid we cause it to get mould and lose it’s waterproofing on the first trip, but it feels like we’re playing Russian Roulette with the darn thing.We put it up during the first break in the weather, around 10 hours after we arrived home. It was meant to be dry overnight and until after lunch the next day, so we figured that would be enough time for it to dry thoroughly.
Just getting the thing up in the garden was a feat in itself, given that technically the tent is bigger than the footprint of our grass. So we lashed guy ropes to bits of deck, fence panels and pegs wedged into decking. It wasn’t pretty – it looked like a flourescent orange web woven by some drunken spider – but it was up and it was stable.
As the winds picked up we watched through the French doors as it billowed away and hoped we’d done a good enough job so that it would still be there in the morning.
The next day dawned bright but damp. I could see the condensation on the fabric. But it looked like the weather would be dry so we crossed our fingers. Luck was not to be on our side though, and it rained mid-morning until just before lunch. But finally that afternoon it dried up, and the tent was soon deemed dry enough to be brought inside.
There was just one problem. We’d dried the footprint over the washing line before putting up the tent and it was nicely packed away. That meant the bottom of the sewn-in groundsheet on the tent had been sat on the damp grass for a day, so we’d have to dry that now too! I was starting to feel like some Dickensian washer-woman.Now, our tent is 7.2m x 3.5m. Would you have room to dry something that large all in one go? So we set about the camping equivalent of origami, folding the tent in the garden, draping it over the dining table and chairs, then wiping it down and re-folding it to air another part. This took the best part of an hour until we were satisfied that we’d done all we could to beat the odds.
After two attempts at folding it small enough to go back in the bag, we had finally conquered the animal that is our tent. We sat back, satisfied smiles on our faces, and gazed around us… at a dining room destroyed, furniture everywhere, and grass and mud coating the floor. This trail of destruction continued from the front door to the back, claiming pretty much everything in its path.
Time to get the Dyson out then. I’m really selling this camping lark to house-proud Husband aren’t I?