Tent – A Memoir

I hate mess and I hate stuff, I like things to be neatly put away out of sight so I have a clean living space. Having things this way helps to make me feel calm and content. That said I am a complete paradox because I find it very difficult to part with inanimate objects sometimes hanging on to the strangest of things for some deep rooted sentimental value.

It’s fine to hold on to certain things for sentimental value, I have a Thank You card my mum gave me for organising her surprise 50th birthday party, it’s over 10 years old, I will probably hold on to that for the rest of my life. But other things I hang on to are just plain stupid. For example: my tent.

I have owned my tent for around 14 years and it has served as my home in many a field, be it a camping trip or a festival. If tents could talk I’m sure mine would have some epic stories to tell. After 14 years’ service enduring the Northern British weather it is very much past its best. A very wet September night in the Lakes District proved to me that it is no longer watertight. Despite knowing it’s past its best for some reason I just can’t seem to throw it away.

I live in a very small one bed flat so space is at a premium, I really don’t have room to store a defunct tent. The good times has with that tent in tow are locked in my memory, I need to keep telling myself that, they’re not going to leave me just because the tent goes to the giant campsite in the sky. So to help me let go of what is quite a ridiculous hoard I’m going to share some of my happiest memories with the tent.

Spending the school summer holidays sleeping in the garden and my Dad getting annoyed it turned the grass yellow. My friends would join me some nights; we felt like such rebels sleeping al fresco and trying to scare each other to death with ghost stories.

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My first ever festival – Leeds Festival – it was a hot, hot, August bank holiday weekend. I was so young and naive back then, lots of fun was had but it certainly wasn’t wild. My addiction to music festivals started right there.

My second Leeds Festival and my best friend Lizzy snapping one of the poles and putting a hole in it tent… not to worry though, mum to the rescue on my return with the handy sewing skills, she fixed it good as new.

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My third Leeds Festival, returning to the tent to discover the idiots camped next to us had covered it in ketchup and margarine. Somehow, it survived and I managed to get it clean and maintain its waterproofing.

More Leeds Festivals, V Festival and Kendal Calling. Fewer memories from these funnily enough, but I always made it back to the tent!

The tent was home for two nights in the Yorkshire Dales, pre and post the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge. Two friends, my brother and I hiked the 26 miles in aid of the British Heart Foundation and raised over £1000. I was pretty lazy back then not into fitness and it was a hard slog. I had lost my mum a year before and although I never told anyone explicitly really I was doing it for her and that kept me going even when I was lagging miles behind everyone else.

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The Killer Hedgehog! Camping in France while on a climbing trip my friend Jess and I woke with a start thinking the tent was being raided by an axe murderer only to find it was actually a hedgehog raiding through our food bag in the porch. I swear to god that thing sounded like it was 6ft long!

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