With not long to go till the happy Island of Wight event and with a change in the weather, I couldn't wait any longer and decided to camp in the back garden. My excuse was that I needed to try pitching the tent alone and to ensure that my new sleeping bag was warm enough. The reality was that I just couldn't wait!
So, on the Friday evening when I got home from work I set about erecting the tent despite continuous interruptions from family who couldn't seem capable of coping alone: 'Mum, I can't find the tomato ketchup - can you help me?' or 'Mum, I think the computer's on fire' (well not quite that, but there were strong enough reasons to make me traipse back into the house, diverted from the task in hand).
It was getting dark by the time I'd finished and I couldn't wait to get into my sleeping bag and read by torchlight. I had visions of spending a peaceful night in solitude... I lasted until 2.30 am! Something snuffling around the tent perimeter awoke me and as I lay there pondering on what the large creature (I couldn't see it, but it just had to be large) could be, cold fear started to take hold. 'Right, pull yourself together,' I thought, but unable to return to the sleepy Land of Nod I decided to pop back into the house for the loo. As I opened the zip from the bedroom into the lounge (it's only a small tent but I like to pretend it is a grand affair) my sleepy eyes in the semi-darkness made out a pair of large men's shoes facing me. To say I froze would probably be an understatement - I think I started to jabber away in fear before realising they were my husband's old trainers that I'd borrowed to walk across the grass the night before.
I made it back to the house in one piece and gazed in trepidation at the tent looming in the dark. I'd given it a go and proved I was a perfect pitcher - no point in labouring the point after all, so I spent the rest of the night in my cosy bed - away from predators.