Square bottomed with two entrance points, it looked cozy and hobbit-hole like. It boasted that it could comfortably house two people. Two people with desirable BMI's, no luggage and possibly a foot shorter than the norm.
I found a video clip of the tent being tested. It stood pegged on a golf standard green in the middle of a warehouse. Suddenly, out of a network of overhead pipes, reams of water started pelting the tent. Wind machines ticked over, emitting shrill shrieks as they spun, plummeting the tent in all directions. It was a fabulously high tech and carefully engineered mini cyclone. The tent stayed stoutly secured to the ground. The interior bone dry. Yes, that would do just fine I thought to myself.
The clincher of the decision lay in the tent's ridiculously reduced sale price. I didn't for a moment question why the company would be drastically cutting prices and selling this style of tent to clear. I was more focused on picking a colour. The green fly of my tent was such a fabulously fluorescent it could have only be camouflaged if pitched in a discothèque celebrating a St Paddy's inspired Mardi Gras. Not exactly the colour for concealment. If anything it was more like a beacon in the night, herding nefarious types to our campsites.
Once on the road and with a fistful of bent and broken aluminum tent pegs, I realized that this camping malarkey would be hard work. During preparations I had anticipated that next six months would amount to an adventure of Enid Blyton proportions - endless rays of sunshine, snugly woodland creatures, lashings of ginger beer and sugary cakes.
My Enid Blyton vision of life on the road
Not imagining for a minute the possibilities of tent eating ants, thistles and thorns. The discomfort of pitching on concrete or in quarries. Or the dangers of getting trampled by herds of cows or goats, suckled by millions of mosquitoes,enquiring machine-gunned militia or bone-chilling temperatures.
Despite looking lush and green, thistles are in terrifyingly plentiful portions (Germany)