Tuesday, 1 September 2009


Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson go on a camping trip. After a good dinner and a bottle of wine, they retire for the night, and go to sleep.
Some hours later, Holmes wakes up and nudges his faithful friend. "Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see."
"I see millions and millions of stars, Holmes" replies Watson.
"And what do you deduce from that?"
Watson ponders for a minute.
"Well, astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. Theologically, I can see that God is all powerful, and that we are a small and insignificant part of the universe. What does it tell you, Holmes?"
Holmes is silent for a moment. "Watson, you idiot!" he says. "Someone has stolen our tent!"

As the rain was absolutely thrashing Wanda's backside and the wind came at us like a freight train we were having a fit of the giggles. I don't know what I have been doing with my life, but I hadn't heard it before... I am not sure what time of night it was; it must have been somewhere around three or four in the morning.

We were both wrapped up in our sleeping bags with Piglet wrapped in Shirl's down smock. "So how did this aging lothario end up with a slip of a girl in his tent in the wee small hours?" I hear you ask. Ah. That's a good question. And I shall try to explain, m'lud.

I last left you grasping a cup of hot chocolate made by 'Nurse' as we watched, seemingly in slow motion, the rescue by torchlight of a chap from the upper slopes of Great Gable. Before long, the balmy evening took a turn for the worse and soon the winds were gusting like cows hitting the tent and then it started to rain. And Rain , And Rain like it had never rained before like there had been a national shortage of rain and now we were stockpiling just in case there wasn't going to be any more Rain for a year or three.

Shirl managed some food, but I was too far gone with complete and utter knackeredness to bother with anything other than some Granola bars and soup, again provided by Nurse from her kitchen in her Akto. After coming back into my ward with the soup, I sensed an air of concern.

"What gives, fair lady?"

"My tent is parked on a bog and the porch is ankle deep in water and I think it's going to float away or sink without trace into the bog."


Nothing for it then. Gentleman that I am, I shoved over and Shirl 'manfully' dragged her mattress and sleeping bag into my tent, which seemed to be above the level of the swamp we had parked Shirl's Akto on.

The noise of the rain smashing into Wanda (for new readers, that's Wanda Warmlite, my little plastic Wendy House) was quite incredible and Shirl tried to record it on her little Dictaphone - we could hardly hear each other lying side by side over the incredibly thrashing splattery maelstrom!

Fortunately, when I was pitching Wanda, I had the foresight to use one of my trekking poles as the rear peg, anchored some twenty inches into the mountain to brace against the huge gusts, so we were secure.

With two and a dog in a torrential storm, I can now see why Gayle & Mick found their Wendy problematical. The increased condensation in the windward single skin end cone is battered away from the sil-nylon and there is a very faint mist (not unpleasant) that starts to dampen things. Not too much of a problem as I just used my pac-towel to mop things up. I also realised that my seam-sealing all those years ago in a freezing night in February perhaps was no longer up to the job as there was an irritating drip which added to the wateriness and hilarity of the situation.

To give her her due, Wanda behaved stunningly. We clipped in the internal storm guys so she was as solid as a rock. Shirl behaved stunningly well too. So did our chaperone, Piglet. It was a very long, sleepless night telling dreadful jokes and giggling like kids.

Quite a perfick getaway!


  1. Hmmmm... will this work? It should do :)

    Here's the recording we made in the tent!

  2. Coo!
    That's clever! I ought to learn how to do that too - but you have a better speaking voice, so p'raps it's better I stick to writing the stuff.

    Move over Bob & Andy! Shirl's coming through!

  3. Heh! I'm glad it worked :)

  4. O the scandal!

    At least in Wanda, the tent fabric wasn't flapping and making a din (unlike a Comp).

    I was wondering whether the crackling/rain sound was actually a multitude of crisp packets, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt!

  5. Oooh, excellent! Written words, and a podcast to bring it all to life, all in one post.

    Nowt like a bit of adverse weather to add to an adventure, is there?

  6. Gayle said: "Oooh, excellent! Written words, and a podcast to bring it all to life, all in one post."

    Is this a first? Has Shirl created a monster New Blog Format? Come on you Techie Bloggers! Is this grasp of New Meeja finally coming to this blog? There'll be one of Darren's Stove Films next!
    Or perhaps not...

  7. I love rain! And not too much gear talk, as most of the conversation seemed to be about eating and drinking! Good one :)

  8. Des said "...most of the conversation seemed to be about eating and drinking..."

    Isn't that what life's all about? Eating, drinking, sleeping and laughing?

  9. Yes, you're right, to be sure and without a doubt. And when you're next in Dublin you might like to visit This happy emporium.(Not sure if links work here...) Not a bad selection for Ireland. We spent some time recently at a tasting session of mostly Irish malts.

  10. Hi Alan & Peewiglet,

    nice to 'hear' from you. Perception can do weird things with you. It's the first time I heard Shirl's voice and it's not the voice I would expect after seeing her picture. I like the sound of your voice Shirl!
    The backgroundnoise (not meaning you Alan) sounds awfull. I've once been confined to the tent for 36 hours in Upper Eskdale, on the other side of Scafell Pike, with only a 5 minute break for the necessary things outside the tent and that's something I don't want to experience again.


  11. Hi Theo: You now have a reinvigorated image of Shirl the wunder-reporter, bon viveur, cook, nurse and Mark Thatcher's Guiding Guru.

    And don't fret - I have spent my life being background noise. It's what I do well.

  12. Excellent stuff. I'm listening to PW's audio track - Julia Bradbury had better watch out.

  13. Excellent stuff. I'm listening to PW's audio track - Julia Bradbury had better watch out.

    Ooh! I'm chuffed now :) I had to look Julia Bradbury up, but I'm off to practise my podcasting technique *g*

    (Word this time is 'inest'. Um...)


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