Bird’s Eye View by Editor Debbie Davies

Well, we couldn’t pop it, pull it, stretch it, kill it or do anything else with it and it lay spread-eagled on the grass in a huge tangled mess of canvas and poles while we got even wetter and colder.

Note to self: Do not make fun of man in life and suggest in newspaper column that he may struggle to put up new tent before attempting said activity oneself!

In last week’s column I hinted that my very capable and clever partner, who I am now keen to point out has never been camping, was going to struggle to erect our new tent. How funny would it be, I tittered, if we had to ask fellow campers for help!

How amusing, I mused, if a big, strong man could not erect a little two-man tent. So this week, after eating copious amounts of humble pie I am prepared to admit just how very unfunny and difficult it is to erect a large canvas structure, especially in torrential rain, and in the absence of a bevy of boy scouts.

On Friday night a friend of mine organised a corporate hospitality event in Cambridge and I agreed to help out. The weather on Friday night, you may remember, was near apocalyptic. In fact, we arrived at 6pm, the heavens opened five minutes later and by 6.15pm we were soaked through and freezing cold. But the car was unloaded and all we had to do was get the gazebo up in time for our guests who were due to arrive at 7pm. We borrowed the gazebo from a friend who assured us ‘it just pops up’.


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Well, we couldn’t pop it, pull it, stretch it, kill it or do anything else with it and it lay spread-eagled on the grass in a huge tangled mess of canvas and poles while we got even wetter and colder.

After 10 minutes of pulling and shaking the gazebo and shouting at each other I rang the friend and pointed out in the strongest terms that this thing was not going to ‘pop up’. She calmly asked if we had pressed the buttons on the legs and inquired as to whether we had yet heard a clicking sound.

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As this is a family newspaper I can’t report what I said next, suffice to say I did point out that she had not mentioned buttons or clicking sounds, but thanked her anyway. Five minutes and a trapped finger later we manage to get the thing up and by 7.05pm we were basking in the glory of outdoor pursuit heaven.

Everything is easy when you know how and I wish I could say that packing away at the end of the night was more straightforward, but it wasn’t, it was equally as hellish.

Then to add insult to rain-soaked injury as I shoved the last of the tent pegs in the gazebo’s canvass storage bag I discovered the instructions!

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