THE RED TENT


Karoo 2 Coast 2013 004

I really love my friends.  They are funny, compassionate and most of all, they do not take themselves too seriously.

Our tight little group of 6 friends are all different ages, different home environments, different interests and completely different career paths.  But we gel and we have lots of fun.

We call ourselves the Bokkies, bit stupid isnt it?

Anyway ………. by some quirk of nature 4 of our group ended up at the annual Karoo 2 Coast cycle race.  Remember the one ………. 100 kays of hell from Uniondale to Knysna “not for the faint hearted!”.

1 of the Bokkies was actually entered into the race and the 3 lazy couch potatoes left were drivers and support for our husbands.  We each traveled with our siblings in tow.

To say the least finding accommodation in Uniondale the night before the race, is near but impossible unless you book a year in advance.  So to get us all in one place we decided to opt for the campsite on the local high school grounds.  It wasnt cheap, R250.00 per tent for the night and a tent is enough to fit a single mattrass in it and that is it!  You dont get bedding, just a tent and a bare mattress.  Each family books two tents, one for the adults and one for the kids ……. a squash but it was only for one night.  Oh …….. you also get the use of the outside school showers and loo’s – 2 showers and 6 loo’s.

We get there, unpack, check bikes, gps, go-pro’s and tents and all amble down to the showgrounds where 5000 odd other cyclists, families and friends are all converging.  We eat in the massive hall and then amble on back to tent-camp for a good nights sleep.

At about 6 pm we started getting the inkling that the night was going to be cold and I mean really cold …….. as in low single figures or minus figure cold.

Frans and I realise very quickly that it simply wasnt going to work having Jamie and Rosie share a single mattress in a tiny little red tent so we give our tent to Rosie and we pitch our own little tent next to our car – about a 100 meters from the red tents.  We have our last cup of coffee, say our goodnights to all our mates and snuggle in for the evening.

But boy did a lot happen after dark ……….. this is the story

Now (lets call her) Bokkie 1 has a complete aversion to public toilets and bathrooms.  They scar her.  She keeps an “emergency” kit in her handbag of hand sanitisers, toilet seat cleaning sanitisers (didnt know you got these!), wet wipes, tissue paper ……. the lot …… just in case she may have to use the public ablution system.  A school toilet in the middle of a rugby field is a nightmare for her.  Porta-potties are out of the question.  So in the middle of a sub-zero degree night when she wakes up and has an urge she knows she is in trouble.

She prods her hubby …….. “Honey please come to the toilet with me I’m scared” .  The bathrooms are quite far from the tents.

“Dont be scared”  He reassures her “Just scream if something goes wrong and I will be there in a flash!”

So off she goes, clips her headlamp on, and leaves the zip on the tent unzipped and goes to the loo.  She ran to the loos as if her life depended on it.  She forgets her “emergency bag”, but all she want to do is get back to her nice warm tent.

Now getting to the loos is a piece of cake,  returning to her tent was another story.  She dashes out of the toilets and looks at the sea of red tents with dismay.

“Which one is ours?”  She thinks “Oh!! thats right I left the zip open”.  She carries on running up and down, even listening for the heavy snorer who, as luck had it, was in the tent next to them.

Just as she was going to scream her hubbies name she spots the unzipped tent.  Opens the flap and sees that her hubby has wrapped their beige and white duvet completely around himself AND he has positioned himself in the middle of the mattress.

“Where am I supposed to lie now”, she says sarcastically.

So her hubbies feet, which are now his head, raised up and says “ya ya ya”, she quickly looks at his head, which should have been the feet and notices the face is not quite the same as her hubbies.   At this point she blinds the poor oke with her head torch.  “Can I help you” says the feet, head ……….. whatever!

“Oh Figtree”    Screeches Bokkie 1 and stumbles out of the tent that wasn”t quite hers.

Two tents down Bokkie 2 wakes up with the same urge.  Now she has a real problem, she is sleeping with her 5 year old little boy ……. and if she leaves and he wakes up, leaves the tent, gets lost in Uniondale ……….. .  Now what can she do?  She starts fumbling in the dark and feels or rathers smells something familiar ……… baby powder ………

“Ummm ……. this could work”.  After some amazing acrobatic and contortionist movements the deed is done.  But what to do with the bottle.  Under the mattress it goes.

Next to the car, I have refused to remove any item of clothing because it is so cold.  I am in the tent sleeping with all my clothes, even my tekkies, beenie, hoodie the lot.  Frans is mumbling that he has never slept next to a “Bergie” before.

At about 3 am there is some loud knocking on the tent.  I sit up scared to death …… The uniondale ghost?

The tent is like an igloo ……. it is totally covered with a sheet of ice.

“I’m cold” , Says the ghost

“No shit sherlock!”  I reply to ghostie who sounds remarkably like Rosie.

“ROSIE!!!!!”  I question

“Yes Mommy”,  She must be really cold to be calling me Mommy.

So I crack open the tent, and in my bergie clothes bundle her into the car.

The next morning we all wake up.  Jamie stretches as says …… “What a great nights sleep”

Bokkie 1 refuses to leave her tent.

Bokkie 2’s Hubby asks ……….. “Sweetheart …….. wheres the baby powder??????”

 

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