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I'm Jane McIntyre, a voiceover and writer, formerly an award-winning BBC radio newsreader and producer. My blog covers life, love and loss; travel, coffee and chocolate; with some heartfelt pieces in the mix about my late dad, who had dementia. Just a click away, I'm half of the team behind - two empty nesters who whizzed round the world in 57 days.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Drunk in tent

Did you hear that hail? It was bad enough pounding the top of my car roof this morning, but looked a bit grim for the row of tents at our local campsite.No tea brewing, by the looks of things. No sign of life at all, really.Maybe they`d gone for the double zipped sleeping bag option to beat today`s icy blast.

I`d never really believed you could have that much fun under canvas. The ground`s so damn hard. Then a neighbour, who by chance, owned a marquee company at the time, suggested we all bring in the new millennium in one of his. It was massive.The whole street got together; invited friends;shared the catering;booked the posh Portaloos;sorted the sounds--oh and the `in-tent heating` and a fantastic night was had by all. With many more new years eve celebrations to follow, in similar amazing marquees.

You have to get the tent pegs in tight, don`t you? I know this; because at a post party coffee and brandy session round ours at about 3 am one wintry January 1st, I realised to my complete horror that I`d left several untouched *chocolate* puddings on a table in the tent. It was dark. And snowy.The lane was full of potholes. And my skirt was tight and my high heels high. But, like I said, it was chocolate. So I walked--kind of sideways--down the lane, to find the marquee securely zipped up for the night. Like a canvas Fort Knox.There was only one thing for it. I burrowed under the bottom of the tent, and slithered in,like a commando. Not *commando*, you understand, but like one. Covered in mud (it had been a long night, and I was past caring...) I just managed to stand in my heels and locate my chocolate roulade and a banoffee pie, I think.Now.How to get them back out of the marquee....and home (in heels).

I checked (and confirmed) they were still good enough to eat; passed them under the gap I`d curved into the canvas until they rested on a low shelf of snow outside,then followed them through. This had taken about forty minutes. It was another fifteen or so, before I was standing upright, in the snowy field, in heels, with a plate in each hand--desperately trying to keep the chocolate on the china.

I staggered back down the lane, and with mudsmeared hands and face, (there may have been a little chocolate on my face memory`s hazy....)...held my trophies aloft to my guests. As they climbed;waving maniacally at me, into their three, homebound taxis. They were pretty wasted; but believe me, the puddings weren`t.

The field where the marquees used to be has been turned into a plot for a lovely house now, for the same neighbour, so no more parties. But plenty of memories.And an enduring curiosity about life under canvas....

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