In Tents

We have been thinking about holidays again and the air is filled with talk of flights and villas, lotions and costumes. There has definitely been a progression in our household when it comes to such things. Only a few years ago, when the girls were easily fooled by the idea that being under canvas was fun, we would prepare for the summer months with thoughts a little less grand. We always tried our best to get a holiday no matter how limited our funds; some times it was fulfilled by visiting family across the Pennines and taking trips out to towns with more sand than sea. Or discovering the debatable beauty of refurbished canal walks hidden behind newly converted waterside dwellings.

Most of our holidays involved camping and as such were a strain on our tempers and our backs. I don’t know what it is about inflatable mattresses but they seem to be timed to deflate at about the same time as you manage to drop off to sleep. Cooking is not much more fun as you try to make a Sunday lunch using one pan and a Swiss army knife. The girls were mostly oblivious to such difficulties and enjoyed the different sights and sounds of outdoor life.

One of our most memorable excursions was to an event on the Lincolnshire showground along with thousands of other families. Having arrived at the site, stressed from a journey with far too many toilets stops and burger wrappers, we attempted to set up the tent. Let me warn you that tents are like Christmas tree lights; they never come out of the bag in the same neat order that you put them in the previous year. To add to this trial I had forgotten to bring the large box of tent pegs collected over our years of camping. Being Friday night on a bank holiday weekend there was little chance of replacements being available, so I was left to wander round the campsite searching for all the bent ones left by previous campers. After losing several yards of skin on my knuckles during the straightening process, we were able to use our temporary abode at the same time as the light faded in the sky.

On the second night of our stay, at about two in the morning, I heard whispered voices on the other side of the canvas. As quick as a dad can, I scrambled out of the tent to see half a dozen teenagers about to run away. I managed to catch one by the arm and began my investigation feeling sure that they must be up to some mischief. The boy shook with a little fear as I quizzed him, 'What on earth are you up to at this time in the morning?' I asked.
'We were playing a game', he spluttered.
'A game! What kind of game?' I said, not satisfied with his response.
'I am not sure if I should tell you', he replied.
'Just tell me what the game was', I said letting go of his shirt sleeve.
'It's called Hunt the Loudest Snorer'.

I should have ended the conversation there but lack of sleep or stupidity had now kicked in.

'And...............who was the loudest snorer?' I asked uncertain of whether I wanted to hear his response.
'I am not sure if I should tell you' he repeated.
'Just say it' I said somewhat prepared for his reply.
'You were!'

I let him go and chuckled as I returned to my deflated airbed.

In the morning I told my wife about what had happened (she didn’t seem too interested at the time). 'At last!' she said with a sense of victory, as if now others knew of her life of suffering.

Her reply didn’t concern me and I did a victory lap around the tent; being a competitive male I take any ‘win’ as an achievement no matter how dubious. As my reward for being ‘The Camps Loudest Snorer’, I re-inflated the airbed and returned for en extra few moments practice of my new found talent.