By: Blonde Two

I think I have told you about my love of all things tenty.  In our half-way-up-the-stairs camping cupboard, there are tents of all sizes from my tiny one man back packing, seven peg, coffin to our family, quick erect, six man dome.  I love all of them – they all contain happy memories.

There is one tent, however that I have never owned.  During my days as a Scout leader, I had a proper Scouty, canvas frame tent as my kitchen.  I loved this tent, I knew each stain on its walls and which window needed an elastic band to stay open.  Everything had its place and it was my domain.

I don’t know if you have ever noticed, but the best thing about an old canvas tent is the smell – if you stand on your own in one long enough, you can smell every person, every bowl of porridge and every bacon sandwich that has ever been there.  It is a truly wondrous smell and, I am a bit ashamed to admit, makes a tear well up at the lovely memories every time I smell it.

In our early Ten Tors days together, Blonde One and I had to make do with an old Blonde family tent for a Base Camp kitchen.  It was a bit of a squash but everybody got breakfast.  In more recent years, I decided to call in a favour and borrow my old Scout tent.  The first time I was reunited with “Old Green” was an emotional moment for me – my Scouting days were very happy ones and it still smelt exactly the same.

This year, the tent situation has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous.  I called the Scouts and asked to borrow “Old Green” again.  Then the powers that be at work finally decided that we deserved our own mess tent and bought one for us.  Finally I had a kitchen tent of my own.  Bizarrely, this new arrival seems to have christened itself the “Scout Tent” despite never having been near a woggle (yes, I have several).  At the same time, a very kind lady with a catering firm offered to lend us one of her marquees.  This offer was too good to turn down as she also offered people to pitch and strike (does anyone else still say ‘strike’?) it for us.

Anyone who has ever been to Okehampton Camp at Ten Tors tent pitching time will know how frantic it is and how little space there is available for each group.  Tomorrow is likely to bring some tricky decisions – I have cancelled “Old Green” but we will still have to decide exactly which tents we are going to pitch.  “New Scout” doesn’t smell right but she only needs us to give her a bit of history and splash a bit of bacon fat up the walls and she will be fine.  Of course, this all may completely academic – have you seen the weather forecast!!!