Saturday, 4 October 2008

A rainy day in the tent.

Today has turned out to be quite interesting so far. We awoke to find the first frost of the Autumn had landed which was quite reassuring as we were very cosy in bed despite the freeze. The group of Duke of Edinburgh goblins that arrived last night were leaving gratifyingly early, grumbling and regretting staying up, screaming and scampering about the place until 3 this morning. I am kind of looking forward to the winter in that we will have far fewer neighbours each weekend.

We then resolved to go to a trendy camping shop and equip ourselves with fleeces, waterproof shoes, head torches and extremely sturdy tent pegs. Why would we purchase hardcore tent pegs I hear you ask. Well, the toilet tent decided it was feeling a bit tied down by the whole arrangement and made a bid for freedom, tearing free of its puny anchors and making a dash for the hedge. It is the perfect combination of low footprint and high wind resistance to make it deeply untrustworthy and almost guaranteed to fail.

A small fortune later, TLB and I are newly shod and looking like we are sponsored by North Face. They also had gloves and shoes and hats that I really like but they are all plastered with the flinking logo so I didn't buy them. Maybe I could get them to sponsor me, I might feel like less of a fan boy if they were paying me. Damn these companies and their highly functional logo spattered garb. TLB was almost completely free of any clothing adapted to her new lifestyle and we had to put that to rights.

We got home and while the stove was cold, we decided to clear the flue of the chimney and fit the new flashing, the unmelted one that is. I also spent 10 minutes attatching the guy ropes that hold it solid as it looks like the wind is picking up and may be here to stay. The tent feels very solid in the wind, occasionally there is a small eddy in the vicinity which will force air down the chimney and blow smoke into the tent.

There have been a few problems with the stove, I am not sure if it is my unreasonably high expectations but the quality of the flue has not been as good as I expected. Aside from the melting of the flashing, I am a little bothered by the seeming flimsiness of it, having already seen it glow cherry red once whilst we were cooking. I have been considering a few strips of fire proof blanket to lag the pipe and insulate it from contact points but I am going to have to find out if it would burn us down or not.

It is a learning process and I am sure we can overcome all niggles, the stove is a very good source of heat and I think we would be utterly miserable without it, in fact we are very cosy. Later on today, we have been invited by our benevloent landlords to a night of skittles at the local village hall with BYO booze and a barbecue. We are both a little concerned about being asked where we live. At the moment our location and status is a closely guarded secret, we have various degrees of cover story depending on whom we are speaking to.

Any casual camper can see that we are pretty well bedded in, when asked by them we tend to tell them that we are staying for a couple of weeks whilst I am working locally. As far as the farmers are concerned I am on a three month contract working in Reading and everyone else gets told nothing. I visit the garage around the corner frequently and engage in casual counter chat with the chap who works there. I dread the day that he asks me where I have moved in as I will lie.

The reason for this secrecy is pretty obvious. We have effectively no security and depend on everything we have which means that we cannot afford a break in, or rather an unzipping. There are also a lot of small minded people about who would complain if they knew that we are holed up here semi permanently, and that would almost certainly threaten our ability to stay here. Technically the farmers are breaking the rules by letting us camp here so I am keen to avoid attracting and attention to him or us. Time will tell how easy this is.

In the meantime I am going to save my insights into the best wood to burn and the relative merits of tent pegs for another day as my battery is running out and I have to put on the lamp as it is getting dark.

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