Date: Tuesday 6 July 2010.
Site: Back garden lawn, Trent valley, Nottinghamshire.
Weather: Sunny, occasional cloud, cloudier by late afternoon. Forecasted light rain showers did not materialise.
Temp: Max 23ºC Min 14ºC.
Wind: WSW 7 mph.
Distance walked: 30 metres.
Test gear: Hilleberg Akto solo backpacking tent, GoLite Quest rucksack, Therm-A-Rest NeoAir mattress.
Other gear: Vango Venom sleeping bag, Petzl headtorch, Silva compass (unused), Coleman F1 Lite stove (unused), first-aid kit (unused), book - The English Path by Kim Taplin (unread), Apple ipod (unlistened-to), pyjamas (well, they were handy, since I was so near the house - but they were quite 'cool' ones, no Paisley pattern, honest), teddy bear (only joking).
Dangerous wild animals seen: none.
19.00: Stride purposefully with near-empty GoLite rucksack to inspect tent already erected earlier that day. Seems OK. Firm, stable, and unruffled by ever-so-slight breeze which had been teasingly playing around garden a couple of hours beforehand.
19.30: Quick dash 30 metres indoors for start of Uruguay v Holland World Cup semi-final. I have £1 on Holland to win!
21.30: Seem to have stayed indoors to watch whole match - instead of preparing 'Wayfarer' dehydrated meal on camping stove! Never mind. I'm really hungry now.
21.31: Seems a shame not to eat in kitchen left-over shepherd's pie and veg from last night's meal. Yum! (Plus a few cans of beer from fridge.) 'Wayfarer' treat will have to wait till another day!
22.00: Dark now. Stumble 30 metres back to tent, entangling feet en route in hosepipe left uncoiled on patio. Damn and blast! Luckily emerge unscathed - so no need for emergency first-aid kit stowed in top flap of new GoLite rucksack.
22.04: Fall headlong into new Hilleberg Akto tent, landing rather heavily on new Therm-A-Rest NeoAir mattress. But all OK. Tent upright, and mattress still full of air, though glowing a lurid, phosphorescent kind of yellow. Or is that my imagination? Who cares. Tired, so strip off, put on extremely 'cool' cotton pyjamas (normally, on proper backpacking trip, would take warm, technical, synthetic, wicking, figure-hugging, skin-moulding, sexy black undie-things, it goes without saying) and burrow into Vango Venom sleeping bag (not new this, but tried and tested many times in past, and now recently washed - the down lofted up brilliantly!)
22.09: Oh, forgot to tell you - Holland won match ... which makes me £0.67 better off!
22.35: Wake with a start after falling asleep almost immediately. Reason becomes clear as toilet flushes once more from within house. Looks like everyone (lovingpartner plus mother-in-law who's staying with us for few months) is up and about and making all kinds of noise. There's also muffled boom of TV. With me out the way, I bet they're all catching up on reruns of Desperate Housewives.
23.55: Wake up again. Regret drinking beer. Clumsily unzip inner tent (my fault not tent's) and stagger outside for pee. Apart from this, only sounds are frog plopping in pond, next-door cat yowling, lorry gearing up from nearby road junction, distant aircraft, and late-night drunk making indecipherable (well suppose could be mystical if I were in better mood) clamour from pub car park. Ah, the peace and quiet of village life! No noise from house, however, and no lights on. I bet they've both finished off case of wine and gone to bed.
00.30: Awake again, dammit! Why does filling toilet cistern sound so incredibly loud from garden? So they must have drunk wine after all. Bastards!
Much later: Why is ground so hard? Who tampered with air valve in mattress? Why do I still feel hungry despite eating left-over shepherd's pie and veg? Why do I need go pee again? Is this normal or prostate-related? (More likely beer-related - yes, I know.) And while we're at it, what is the meaning of life? (Did anyone discover this while I slept?) Even more important - which team shall I back to win World Cup final on Sunday? After all my Caminos, must support Spain, I think ...
Even later: Dawn breaks. A blackbird sings. All's well with the world. I rub my eyes and sigh sleepily but contentedly in my sleeping bag. Nothing like waking up in the Great Outdoors. Even if that Great Outdoors is your own back garden. And a garden in dire need of some serious gardening. Or so I'm told. But, in the meantime, I'm lying here at peace with the world. I look at my watch. 5 am. A cool, still air. With two blackbirds singing now. All is well. Yes, all's well.
Later that morning: Oh, and to conclude the Backyard Backpacking Trip Report: all items performed magnificently. Oh, yes. Great tent, great rucksack, great mattress. Great everything.