Wednesday 19 February 2014

Size Matters

I suggest you do not read on if you are offended by student rag mags or other school boy type humour. Do students sell rag mags anymore? I once sold dozens in Shrewsbury one Saturday back in 1976 or 1977.  The next week the headline on the front page of the Shrewsbury Chronicle was "Police Probe Obscene Mag Claims".  Oh how we all laughed. I still have a copy of that magazine and it still makes me snigger.

A little while back Mrs Fellbound was watching television with the nice teenage girl who lives with us. I say the nice teenage girl who lives with us because that is how I thought of her when I first married Mrs F.  After being married for some weeks, and having interrogated Mrs F with some incisive questioning  (eg "just who is that nice teenage girl who sleeps in our spare room?") I discovered that she is not just any old teenager who had decided to move in to our house but is actually my step daughter. I was rather relieved when I learnt that, because I had been worried that she might start organising raves  and things in my study. For those of you who, like me, are well over 50, I should explain that a rave is what we used to call a party, but without Party 7s and packs of 20 Benny Hedgehogs and a pooled record collection, but with added people and illicit substances and music that you can't sing along with.

Anyway Mrs F and Miss F were watching Call the Midwife or some such, which, incidentally, is not my idea of pleasant Sunday evening viewing.  I have only watched this programme a few times.  Indeed, before then I had assumed that Broken Waters must be a place on a Native American reservation in the mid west of the US of A, but Miranda Hart's unbelievable character, in which she impersonates Joyce Grenfell, put me right on that.  Unfortunately.  There are some things middle aged men do not need to know.

I digress. Not wanting the graphic details of child birth to spoil my Sunday evening, I popped up to the bedroom, got my equipment out and started to check it was all in good working order. as I plan to use it a few times this year if Mrs F will let me.  By now it was 9 o'clock so I called her up to seek her advice.

"It is plainly too small" she said.  Now, if I hadn't known better I would have thought there might have been a bit of a sneer in her voice.

"But I reckon if I get the technique right it will be ok", I replied.  "I shall practice".

"Look", Mrs F, retorted, " when you have a hard day ahead of you the last thing you want is to be faffing about with something that small first thing in the morning. It will take you ages to get it in, and if it's wet you have no chance. Trust me. Size does matter."

Well as you can imagine I was pretty down hearted by this time, but Mrs F then put on her kindly voice, the one that she reserves for small children and elderly relatives who are getting a little confused.  She told me that she had seen just the thing on the Internet. She would order some and she reckoned that it would all be sorted well before the 2014 TGO Challenge.

Well Mrs F has now done her stuff and I am, indeed, 'well sorted'.  What I simply can not understand, however, is why it is that so many tent manufacturers make their stuff sacks for their tents so small.  It is absolutely straightforward rolling the tent up and putting it away when it is spanking new and you have just checked it out on the sitting room floor.  But try repeating that when there is a wind blowing and it's tipping it down and you are kneeling on the heather or in a rapidly forming bog.  My superb Tarptent Scarp 1 was let down by this fault.  We couldn't find a supplier of silnylon in the UK to make the new bag, but purchased some rip stop nylon from Pennine Outdoors. It is a little heavier than the original bag but at least I will not have to fight with the thing on a Scottish hillside this May.

As Mrs F made it I shall not provide instructions. It is only a bag, after all, much though it is appreciated by me. But I believe "Knit 1, Pearl 1" came in to it somewhere.

Now that's what I call a tent bag