In front of us, in a state of partial construction, lies the (never before used) four-man tent which we are trying to erect in the middle of a marquee. A tent within a tent if you will. This may seem like something of an odd idea but the reasoning is threefold:
1. The marquee has no floor. Even with my Cath Kidston Self Inflating Mat sleeping directly on grass is not going to be pleasant.
2. The marquee is huge, with an open doorway. I do not deal well with being cold.
3. It appeals to my notions of comedy situations.
I have therefore declared the tent to have been a very good idea, even if I am helping to construct in whilst wearing a sparkly blue dress and high heels.
A good idea, that is, if we manage to get it past the current stage.
"Having trouble getting it up?" says Pint Guy wandering over to where I am stood, clearly keen to mine the situation for terrible double entendre.
"It would seem so".
"I'm going camping this week - to Camber Sands" Pint Guy helpfully informs.
"Right" I reply not exactly sure either where Camber Sands is or how this is going to magically erect the tent.
Five minutes pass. Pint Guy drinks more of his pint without offering any concrete advice. None of us seem able to work out what exactly we're supposed to connect the poles to. The tent remains, tantalisingly close to completion, on the floor.
Finally, the Carpark Guys* approach.
"Need some help?" Carpark Guy One asks.
I wonder if there has ever been a more beautiful sentence than that one. It is almost enough to make me declare undying love.
Within seconds Carpark Guys have worked out where the poles are supposed to connect and have raised the tent. If it were not the early hours of the morning and the bar was still open I would buy them a pint. There are barrels of beer in the corner of the marquee for the party the following evening, they might prove a possible offering if I could actually lift one. Instead we settle for thanks as they return to construting a den out of hay bales at one side of the marquee.
Once we have finished hanging the inner tent and I have settled the Cath Kidston Self Inflating Mat to, erm, self inflate I go to brush my teeth. When I arrive back, I discover there is a plan:
"We're all going to go camping!"
Buoyed by the vodka and the dancing and the fact that we have a fully erected tent there is obviously only one answer I can give.
"Count me in!".
*So called not because they work in the carpark but because, twenty minutes or so earlier, this is where I had met them. As you do.