It was a very grey afternoon that day and I was just hoping it wouldn't rain, as I intended doing a spot of garden camping. Now given the fact that I'm not a child, camping in the garden might seem a bit of a mad thing for an adult to do, but I'm not the first camper to do it for one reason or another, and I certainly won't be the last. And there was a method in my madness - I wanted to try out a recently-purchased new tent.
The previous weekend I had gone to a large camping store in Manchester; I needed some new tent pegs and it had been a couple of years since I had last gone there so a visit was long overdue. After buying the pegs and looking round inside the store I went to the outside undercover display area to browse round the tents - and even though I didn't want a new tent, or even actually need one (my dome tent had only been purchased a few months previously), I was very impressed with a particular model. It was a small-ish, easy to erect, tunnel tent with a separate double bedroom at each end and a central living area, and just tall enough for me to stand up in, and out of all the tents on display there was just something about it that attracted me. It would be ideal for me and the dogs - I could have one bedroom and use the other bedroom for them and anything I wanted to store, or leave out one bedroom and just have a large living area instead. The more I thought about it the more I was attracted to it, especially as that model was on offer at a greatly-reduced price, but as I hadn't got enough money with me to buy one there and then I decided to go home and think about it.
And thinking is just what I did - I spent all weekend trying to justify having one and talking myself out of it, then went back to the store the following Monday and bought one! The sales assistant had advised me to put it up as soon as possible and check to make sure it was ok - and what better way to do that than camp in the garden for a night? I wasn't camping in my own garden though - I was pet sitting at a large house in the country, and as I was sleeping there anyway it was an ideal opportunity to try out the tent in quieter surroundings than home. The garden is huge, and there were at least a dozen places where I could pitch the tent, but I finally settled on a flat area of lawn to one side of the house and set about erecting my new purchase. And it really was easy to put up - just four flexible poles all the same size for the main body of the tent, then the bedroom pods clipped into place afterwards - and it didn't take very long at all. With the carpet down, the bed made up and my table and chair in the living area it began to look like a real home from home, and the more I looked at it the more I loved it and couldn't wait to spend the night in it.
I decided that as the dogs would be sharing the tent with me they may as well help me to try it out, so after taking Buddy and Murphy for a walk (they were the two dogs I was looking after) I drove the three miles back home and returned a couple of hours later with Sophie and Sugar and their beds. They get on great with Buddy and Murphy so while the four of them played round the garden I made myself a brew and a sandwich, and even though I could have stayed in the house I took them outside and sat in the tent to read my book - fortunately the garden is quite secluded and isn't overlooked, or anyone seeing me might have thought I'd lost the plot! After a while I called the dogs and went back indoors, where I spent a pleasant evening watching tv before letting the dogs into the garden for the final time; then after getting my flashlight from the van I settled Buddy and Murphy on their beds in the kitchen and took Sophie and Sugar across to our 'home' for the night.
Once in the tent, and with the door zipped up, I put the dogs' beds into the 'spare' bedroom and settled them both down, leaving the bedroom door unzipped to about halfway down so they could partially see out but couldn't get out. Then I got into my own bed and settled down to read my book till I was ready for sleep. The surrounding silence was broken only by the sound of the water which flowed down the rockery into the fish pond, and the occasional hoot of an owl somewhere in the trees down the lane - and even though I had a perfectly comfortable bed in a nice room in the house I was quite happy to be in my tent in the garden.
- Hi! I'm Eunice and I live in Bolton, Lancashire, with my two dogs Sophie and Sugar and an assortment of cats - well it used to be Sophie and Sugar, now it's Sophie and Poppie. I first began camping back in 1997 when my then partner took me to Anglesey for my birthday weekend. We slept in the back of the car - a hatchback - using the cushions off the settee at home as a mattress, and cooked and brewed up on a single burner camping stove. The site was good, the views were great, the weather fantastic and I was completely hooked. Following that weekend we got a two-man tent and some proper accessories and returned to Anglesey two weeks later, then over time we progressed to a three-man tent followed by an old trailer tent, then a new trailer tent, a campervan and finally a caravan. When my partner decided that the grass was greener on the other side of the street - literally - in April 2009 and I suddenly found myself alone after fifteen years, I decided there was no way I was going to give up camping and caravanning if I could cope on my own. This blog is the story of my travels, trials and tribulations since becoming a solo camper - I hope you like it