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The Vanishing Tent - Writing Workshop

We were quite an odd bunch of girls.  I suppose my pal Vivienne was the uniting factor.  Ladylike and feminine to the hilt, Vivienne was seldom seen in public without heels and eye make-up.  The rest of the gang consisted of me, the best friend who tried to fit in, Tara, Vivienne's office pal, a feisty Cyndi Lauper clone sans the pink hair but with  all the attitude and  the third person in Viv and Tara's office trinity,  Claire, a sporty, outdoor type, an actual girl scout leader.  She brought along her friend Liz, a fellow girl scout.  In a car borrowed from Claire's dad, we headed to Wexford from Dublin, for a weekend of camping and fun.

"What's going on?  Camping is about roughing it, not getting all dolled up,' said Claire, eyeing Vivienne's bag suspiciously.  It was stuffed with cosmetics, hairsprays and conditioners.  Vivienne just giggled and said nothing.   After a long drive, we found the camping site and Claire and Liz got busy putting up the tents.  Tara,Viv and I tried to help out, but the truth was we felt a bit 'in the way' beside these expert girl scouts.  So we concentrated on what we did best.  Getting ready to go out that night.

After getting  ready, we headed to a local hotel where there was a good disco going on.  There was a bar and plenty of good music.  We danced all night.  Unfortunately we weren't terribly impressed by the local talent.  Come to think of it, they probably weren't too impressed with us either.  C'est la vie.

Around midnight, when the function was winding down, we noticed that there was a thunderstorm going on, and that it was pouring outside.  We were worried about the tent.  But Claire and Liz assured us that a whirlwind wouldn't blow it down.  It was firmly in place, they declared confidently.

Right then a row broke out between the manager and the cloakroom attendent, who had become extremely drunk during the evening.  The attendent lost his temper, told the manager to go to hell, and stormed off.  Now there was a major problem.  At the very hour of the evening when the punters just wanted to grab their coats and bags and just go, no one had any way of knowing whose coat or bag was whose.

The manager had the coats and bags brought up to the stage, where the hotel staff held up coat after coat and bag after bag for hours and asked 'whose is this?  At 2 am we still hadn't recovered a single item.  Vivienne lost her temper, jumped up onto the stage and rifled through the coats and bags.  Our possessions were restored in minutes.  We took our leave and headed home to the tent.  It was rather wet on the way back.

We were hoping that the tent would still be standing but we were in for a let-down.  A rather large one.  The tent lay on the ground, soaking wet.  Disaster!

Not quite. At least we had the car to sleep in.  All five of us, sitting upright.  I can safely say it was the worst sleep I ever had.  I was bleary eyed the next day and had the worst pain in my neck I ever had.

My memory of the rest of the weekend passes in something of a blur.   I know we dried the tent on a bush and thankfully the weather the next day was fantastic.  We just bought drinks and stayed in the tent the next (and last) night and I remember we had a lot of fun.  We went home the next day in good spirits.

That camping trip may have been a bit of  a disaster but I still get a laugh out of that experience twenty five years later!

This post was inspired by the  Writer’s Workshop at the blog Mama’s Losin’ It. I looked at the current week’s  prompts and got inspired by the  third prompt “Describe a Memorable Camping Trip”.  Hence the post!

This post originally apppeared on Write Away on WordPress on 28/7/2010

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