September 13th 1981

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 1
View of the lake from our field

A cold night, so that I only slept after some effort.  Nonetheless, I was up early, at about the same time as the sun, + my activity woke Val+ prompted her to move out of bed before too long too.  First I fetched some water from the pipe in an inflatable water carrier we’d inherited with the car (it was bloody heavy) + improvised a sort of sink out of an old piece of open trough that was up on a stand.  Then breakfast, + then we started to collect fuel for our fires to come.  An easy task – the field has clumps of pine trees, throwing down hundreds of cones.  Also the bottom twigs of many of these trees were dead, + could be snapped off for easy kindling, plus there was much wood just lying around, either broken-down + rotten fencing, or old stump pieces, etc.  When you add to these facts the condition that the whole lot had been dried by the sun until it was crisp + brittle, we had lots of perfect fuel.  We accordingly spent some time collecting a whole lot of it, so we wouldn’t have to worry for some time.

We lay in the sun for a while – yes, hot again – had lunch, took a quick trip to the local shopping centre for no very good reason at all, then returned home + spent some time building an extension to our tent.  We took our sheet of plastic, + spread it out so that it extended straight back from the tent, continuing the same shape.  We used the rear tent pole for one of its poles, made another from a log, which we hammered into the ground, then fixed grommets – we’d bought a pack earlier to fix the ruck + finally had a use – around the corners + pegged it all down.  We were pleased with it – it looked water-tight + made a good home for our food, bags, etc.  We then built a fire + cooked the remainder of the hot dogs – this time with some onions.  We were eating early because we were going out this evening – to a drive-in movie.  It was quite a way away, we had a bit of trouble finding it, we were still early, the first customers.  Expensive too, since the sound was over the radio + we didn’t want to switch on the ignition to use ours, we had to hire one.  It was a double horror bill – the first “Maniac” appalling – one long badly-acted cliché.  By comparison the second – “Silent Scream” – better.

Shame that our first ever experience of a drive-in movie was so disappointing.  I don’t recall there ever having been such things in England when we were young, though outdoor screenings have recently become quite the thing… though we’ve never been.  Neither Val nor I have ever been much of a fan of horror films, but we didn’t have a lot of choice.

Not sure you needed quite such a blow-by-blow account of our building work, but obviously it was important to us at the time.  Me at the time.

  1. Pamela J Blair

    Your tent extension description reminds me of the “Van Life” videos that so many people are putting up now (many of which I watch), where people describe down to the tiniest detail how they’ve outfitted an old or new van with all the niceties of home. They’re so proud of their creations!

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