Sindy and Barry had borrowed a tent for their first weekend trip together, the only problem was Barry’s slightly odd brother Neville was coming too, much to Sindys annoyance.
The journey through the countryside to the campsite was interrupted by the strained silence of Neville squeezed uncomfortably into the tiny backseat of Sindy’s little car.
“Are we nearly there yet?” Barry was getting impatient and a little bit excited.
“Soon, I’m sure this is the lane.” Sindy had only vaguely looked at the route but left the map at home.
It was getting quite warm and no one had brought a hat
“This is it, Snake Hole Farm and this is the campsite.” Announced Sindy triumphantly, although it was in fact a field with a crudely painted tent sign nailed to the gate.
Neville grunted, eager to get out and stretch his cramped legs, he was a man of few words.
They seemed to be the only campers this weekend, Sindy wasn’t really sure what to expect as it was her very first time, luckily the lads had their military training and were experts in all survival techniques.
Being the only female Sindy immediatly assumed dominance and started a tirade of orders and tasks for the lads
“We shall pitch up here, no not there, I want don’t want to see those horrid cows in the next field, nasty smelly things.”
As they dutifully unpacked the trailer, Sindy got her priorities in order, furniture, food and refreshments.
“Hurry up.” She commanded, wanting to get settled so her holiday could properly begin.
“Barry, do be careful with the hamper.”
“Neville…put it on the table, here.”
“Now get the tent up just there.” She pointed impatiently before the boys could catch their breath.
The sun was rising higher and there seemed to be an awful lot of assorted poles in the trailer
“Have you got the instructions Sindy?”
“Oh is that what it was? I think I left it at home.”
“Hmmm.” Barry and Neville exchanged a look as they gazed at the folded heavy canvas tent. A serious challenge, both intellectual and physical was about to be undertaken.
“Tea’s ready.” Although she had just poured it out of the flask, the lads were grateful for the break but without the instructions they were really struggling.
Sindy whispered close to Barry’s ear,
“I don’t want your brother in the tent with us, tell him he can sleep in the car.”
“But Sindy, there’s no room in…..” She glared at him with her big blue eyes.
“Yes dear.” he dutifully replied, anything to keep the peace.
An hour or so later and the boys were still struggling with the ratio of poles to canvas, Sindy heard lots of new words that they’d picked up in the army, she quite liked the sound of ‘Twatting bollox’ but had no idea what it meant.
She was so glad she could help by supervising their efforts, a bit like a site foreman (although she had no idea how to put up a tent) She thought it would be alot easier if it could magically pop up, I don’t know, does that sounds a bit far fetched?
Eventually they asked her to help by holding up the very important key pole, she wasn’t sure it was actually doing anything but loved being useful, it gave her a superior sense of purpose (and kept her quite for a short while)
As the sweat dripped off their frazzled brows, the intrepid brothers yearned of a long cool pint in a country pub.
“Any beers in the hamper Sind?” Barry asked hopefully.
“No, I forgot them, we have squash?”
Lunch was a much appreciated luke warm yet dry buffet washed down with weak, tepid slightly stewed tea from the other flask.
Neville spent a good while sharpening his rather large (and most probably illegal) knife, to the disapproving glances of sweet Sindy.
She caught Barry’s eye and motioned towards Neville with exaggerated eye movements, Barry looked at her questioningly so she had mouth ‘Tell him’. Poor Barry, this was an uncomfortable situation as now, after many hours, the tent stood taut and firm; he couldn’t have done it alone, although the instructions would have really helped.
“Er, Nev…” He began.
“This tent is as sound as a house Baz, we’ll be safe and cosy tonight.”
Barry handed Nev his kit and sleeping bag but couldn’t bring himself to banish his big brother from the tent. ‘Sindy will be so mad’ he though.
“Why have you got that spade?” She asked quizzically.
“Digging the latrine” Nev replied matter-of-factly.
“Oh!” Sindy hadn’t really thought about that side of their trip and she began to worry, she’d expected a toilet block and showers at this campsite, now she realised why it was so cheap.
Neville put up a wind break behind the trailer and began digging a hole.
While Nev was out of the way she asked,”Did you tell him Barry?”
“Err, not yet Sindy.”
“Well don’t leave it too long.” Barry thought she was being a bit cruel but all wanted was a quiet life.
Sindy couldn’t wait any longer and was the first to relieve herself behind the windbreak. She loudly whispered,
“Barry, can you throw the toilet roll over here, I forgot it.” Not wanting to draw too much attention to her bodily functions, Sindy was always ladylike.
The afternoon whiled away quietly with everyone enjoying the sun and peace of the countryside, Barry even got a chance to read his big book, Nev’s knife was now razor sharp and Sindy sizzled some sausages for their dinner.
Unbeknown to the relaxed trio an unwelcome visitor slithered silently into the cool shade of the tent.
At long last the meal was ready with beautifully fried sausages, Neville even offered to cut the burnt edges off but Sindy got a bit territorial and shooed him away indignantly.
As Sindy was changing out of her grease spattered polyester slacks disrceetly in the tent, all of a sudden a movement made her shriek a blood curdling terrified scream.
The lads came running to her aide, their highly tuned fighting instincts took over, in an instant Nev had siezed the snake away from the still shrieking Sindy.
“It’s alright, calm down.”
“KILL IT, KILL IT!” She shouted, trembling in panic.
“It’s only a harmless grass snake, you know there aren’t any dangerous ones in England?”
“It’s …horrid, it was going to bite me…” Sindy was nearly in tears.
Neville let it go gently to slither off into the safety of the long grass.
“Its not like the monster pythons in Burma…” Nev shuddered at the memory then went quiet again, he never really spoke of his time travelling and Barry never asked.
Barry tried to calm his almost hysterical girlfriend by taking her for a walk around the field, she clung to him trembling and thought he was ever so brave and gallant.
Left alone in the quiet of the warm summer evening Nev pondered the days events while smoking one of his special home made cigarettes.
Now fully recovered and looking forward to a nice snuggle with her handsome boyfriend, Sindy made a pre bedtime trip to the wind break.
“Here’s the spade if you’re taking a dump” Nev made her jump as he lurked outside the tent.
Poor Sindy was rather flustered and refused the shovel distastefully.
How could she make him sleep in the back of the mini now after he’d saved her from the evil snake?
She couldn’t…. but she made them check every inch of the tent before getting in her sleeping bag.
“Night night Barry.”
“Night night Sindy.” Both the brothers replied in unison.
The next morning started alot earlier than Sindy was used to, with the dawn chorus at 4 o’clock and the cows mooing incessantly in the next field. Not that she slept much hearing the unfamiliar rustling of ‘things’ close by, she was really quite exhausted.
What had taken the boys hours to erect only took minutes to pack away.
“We’ll know for next time though.” Barry was pleased to say.
Will there be a next time?
Oh dear, the cars wheels had sunk firmly in the earth so the two strong men heaved and pushed with all their might.
“Neural, is it in neural?”
“Handbreak Sindy, take the handbreak off!”
“No need to shout.” She mumbled through gritted teeth, releasing the handbreak quietly.
Finally after a concerted effort they managed to get the mini out, which should have been an easier job than it was.
Homeward bound, Sindy couldn’t wait to enjoy the privacy of her own bathroom, next time she’ll find a proper campsite with showers…and toilets
©Juliette Dodd 2020