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Tipi nation

Posted by daveb on July 31st, 2007

Squiffy hides in the tipiSlap mouth with upwards-pointing, open palm whilst saying “ah”.

All who know me will doubtless agree that I am a romantic at heart. I really wanted to give SQ the warmest welcome into our UK tour: Snuggling up in a Native American-style tipi in the midst of the beautiful sunny countryside of the Isle of Wight. Hand-in-hand woodland and coastal walks followed by a glass of the best chilled champagne on the mock chamois sofa within the generously proportioned tipi, our private chef just putting the finishing touches on our individually hand-crafted wild berry parfait desserts whilst the maid cleans away the main-course dishes and turns-down our bed for another night’s cosy, thermally-controlled slumper, with the night sky twinkling through the circular skylight cut-out above our heads. Ah, bliss.

Except, none of what you have just read is true. OK, it is true that we went to the Isle of Wight. And it is true that we stayed in a tipi. The rest of the above is utter nonsense. In fact, what actually happened is this:

The weather insisted on raining nearly the whole time we were on the island. In fact, pretty much the only time the rain stopped was to allow the cold wind to blow for a while. And then rain. Again. Rinse, repeat. Being British-bred, we’re used to a bit of rain. It’s nice to listen to whilst going to sleep. Or watching it out of the window. Sometimes, when it’s raining, I would even dash between our front door and the car to pop to the shop to get some more smokes. I’m no stranger to rain. Or so I thought. Later, I’m going to tell you something that is very important — so please stay with me.

Being on a budget, we had booked the smallest-sized tipi. And small it was. In fairness, it was big enough to play host to a double airbed which the owners had squeezed in to hide the fact the the underlying carpet was absolutely sodden. Unfortunately, said airbed was pointed cross-ways over the slope on which the tipi was pitched, as became obvious on the first morning when we woke-up with a strong affinity towards the lower end of the cone with my nose pressed against the white canvas of the tent and Squiffy’s nose pressed against the back of my pink head. Sadly, it was not big enough to host much else; including one straight-laying daveb (who has now learnt how to sleep in the shape of the letter ‘S’).

Also, you know that hole at the top of a tipi to allow smoke from the central log fire to escape? Somewhat understandably, it works in reverse when heavy rain falls. In fact, if it rains hard enough you’ll get a drip so constant that you could set your watch by it. I slept under a carrier bag. (By the way, fires could not be lit within our tipi. Firstly, they weren’t allowed and secondly we would have had to sit outside the cone whilst watching the mesmorising silhouette dance of some flames about two seconds before the whole unit went up in smoke.

After two nights, SQ couldn’t face the cold, damp tipi nor the refugee worms any more and so spent the final island night curled-up on the back seat of the car, leaving me to suffer the Chinese water torture alone.

We’ll write more about the good things that we experienced over the next few days on the island — it is, after all, a place of great beauty. (Factoid: The National Trust owns over ten percent of the island.) For now though, here is my important learning that I want to share with you — please take a moment to ingest this useful knowledge that I have spent three days to acquire first-hand:

Camping in a damp, pint-sized tipi pitched on a slope near the bottom of a muddy field with a girl that does not like worms is not very fun.

Thanks for listening.


Comment from image masking
Time: May 20, 2015, 2:49 am

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