It was a nightmare almost from the start. Once the rain started, it never seemed to stop, but we carried on and as long as we could keep the three of us and our bedding dry, we managed for several weeks. The tent served us well, but sadly some of the sites didn’t.
We pitched in one field only for it to convert to mud in heavy rain, which then turned into one humdinger of a thunderstorm, so we ended up sleeping in the car (metal tent frame and lightning strikes do not mix) . Maggie curled herself up into the tightest of balls in the smallest of spaces, giving us the maximum room to spread out, which wasn’t much.
The bad weather went on for over a week. We were in Wales so rang a friend in Bristol to ask if we could dry out on his lawn. He was marvellous. We arrived in very low spirits with a box full of groceries for him to a warm house, comfy beds, and a hot meal, with the invitation to stay as long as we needed to. It took several days to get the tent completely dry, then we were off again.
We headed for Cornwall this time and had a few days with good weather. We looked around Truro and Newquay, and started to discover that Estate Agents there have a different understanding of the English language to us. We wanted a detached property, with garden and off road parking for at least 2 cars, but all they seemed to want to sell us was a terrace, semi, or flat with a courtyard. They also didn’t seem to believe we were cash buyers, or that we had the money in the bank ready to purchase one. One agent even herded us towards the door as he thought we were wasting his time! (We never went back)
Once a week, we’d go to a launderette and have a ‘wash day’. Our clothes were practical rather than fashionable, so as soon as the tee shirts came out of the dryer, we folded them quickly so as not to worry about pressing. We’d do our bedding as well, as we firmly believed that although we were ‘on the road’, we had no excuse for being dirty or sleeping in dirty linens. Hygiene to us was paramount and after the episode with the estate agent that day, even more important that we looked clean and presentable when making initial enquiries.
We moved on to another pitch in another area and came back one evening to find water running round the tent like a shallow moat, and although the contents were dry inside, the weather was getting worse, so we had to unpeg, lift and move it. The site owner gave us a hand, but we didn’t stand a chance, so again we were loading up the car and wondering where to go next.
On Anglesey though, we nearly came a cropper. We’d been in the car most of the day, were tired, hungry, and it was getting windy. The first camp site we stopped at was horrendously expensive at more than twice what we had been paying, so we moved on to the next one. And the one after. It appeared that all rates were the same, so as it was getting late, we stopped and pitched at the next one. The only free space was next to a hay stack, but at least it was close to a shower block and gave us some form of shelter from the wind. Or so we thought until we tried to put the tent up.Hubby nearly took off like a hang glider, and we had to put storm ropes on the inside as well as the outside of the tent. We always had more rope and tent pegs than were necessary and ended up using everything we had available. We didn’t bother putting up the beds in case we had to move quickly, and slept in our clothes in the sleeping bags on top of one of the duvets with the other over us. Maggie, bless her, was ‘on duty’ all night, softly growling every time the rats came too close. It was one of the worst nights we had ever experienced , and the next morning we were up, showered, breakfasted, packed up and back on the road by 6.30. Maggie slept most of the day on the back seat of the car.
We moved across country, and the rain followed us. We were so fed up, and the thought of putting the tent up again in the rain was soul destroying. We decided in a car park as we were eating a hot takeaway to find a B&B that would accept the dog, and look at our options in the morning.
Warm, dry, rested and fed, we checked our funds and ringing our friend, decided to go back to Bristol and dry out again. It was there that we discovered some of the tent poles had become bent in the heavy winds on Anglesey. It thus weakened the frame and the canvas could become too heavy for it if it got wet again.
There was nothing else for it but to get a replacement tent, and we opted for a smaller 3 man tent of a more modern design.