Under canvas

Camping in Cornwall, 2008

Camping in Cornwall, 2008


The rain pitter-pattered on the tent fabric.

The sound was so gentle and hypnotic Lisa began to drift back off to sleep. She needed the loo but the portable potty was full of the night’s waste. She would have to venture outside to the facilities. The word seemed absurd. Facilities. There were two composting toilets, three recycling bins and one tap with water so fresh and cold it froze your brain. The tap dripped all day and night and a muddy pool was forming underneath it.

Lisa crawled out of her sleeping bag. She put her socks on from the day before and reached for her boyfriend’s sweatshirt. Her rain jacket lay in a crumpled heap at the foot of her airbed. She put it on and pulled the hood up over her head and zipped herself in. She pushed and tucked her long hair back into the neck of her coat.

Her boots were by the entrance. She slipped them on wiggling her toes in the cold of the rubber. The act of unzipping the tent entrance cut through the quiet of the morning. She turned and zipped the tent back up before crossing the field her body bent forward against the wind and rain.

She climbed the hill to the loos wishing she was back home in her own bed with a flushing loo a mere ten feet away in a warm, dry bathroom. She pulled open the wooden door and a heavy odour of human waste filled her nostrils. She covered her mouth and nose with the sleeve of her coat. Sawdust was supposed to be sprinkled down the loo into the pit in the ground but the bucket was empty. The site owners wouldn’t be up for another hour. She needed a wee now. This would have to do.

Feeling brave? Want to share your story? In the words of one Disney princess, Let it go, in the comments below.