I finally retired from
working just before Christmas. My current contract expired at the end
of January, but my boss had asked me to stay on and I'd agreed to
continue working until my birthday at the end of April.
Unfortunately, we were overtaken by events as the company was unable
to obtain parts from suppliers due to the delays caused by Brexit and
we ran out of work to do. As always, contractors go first and we were
paid off. This wasn't a problem for me as I was paid up until my
original contract would have ended anyway.
I haven't been for a
touring holiday on the bike since A Trip Round the Neighbours in 2017 and had been promising myself a good trip away when I
retired. I've worked out a list of places I'd like to go taking in
numerous countries and lasting for about six weeks. I'll be writing
more about this later.
Back in 2019, I went to
the Cropredy Convention and enjoyed it so much the I
immediately bought a ticket for the 2020 event. Unfortunately Due to
Covid-19, this didn't take place but my ticket is still valid for
this year's event.
Trevor Horn Band
Hackett - Genesis Revisited
Circus of Dreams
Convention & Friends (inc Full House)
Bar Steward Sons Of Val Doonican
Moly & The Crackers
(No poster for this year's event yet, but here is the line up)
My plan was as I was in
the South of England, to head for the ferry after the Convention and
head off of my tour. However, I found an interesting festival nearby
the weekend before Cropredy, so bought a ticket for it as well. Wickham Festival
Going to festivals means camping but I intend staying in hotels for the rest of the trip and
didn't want to carry camping gear on the bike for weeks. So, I
planned of using camping gear that I didn't mind discarding after the
festivals. I have an old sleeping bag and map that could be
discarded, and planned on buying a cheap tent. Out of interest, I
looked on Amazon for their cheapest tent and found this one: Link When I first looked it was only £14, so bought one to
see what it was like.
Well, what did I expect
for £14? The fact that the bag tore down a seam when I tried to get
the tent out tells you all you need to know. It's a small, very
cheaply made single skin tent. I'm 172cm (5'8”) and can only lie
out in it diagonally (just)! Seams aren't sealed so would leak in the
rain! My friend's children are going to have fun playing in it in
their garden, it's really just a child's play tent!
(Ignore the broken fence - a victim of the recent storms!)
Next I looked online
and saw this tent on Go Outdoors' website. I went to my local
branch for a look at one. Due to Go Outdoors' strange pricing policy,
the tent was £60 instore but £29 online??? (Plus £5 for their
membership card if you don't have one) Ordered it online and it
looked a lot better when it arrived.
I was impressed when I
got it. Seems reasonably well made and thought out. Pitching is a bit
time consuming and fiddly, even on a calm day in my garden. On a
windy day in an exposed location would be a bit more of a chore. It
has 3 shockcorded glass fibre poles (2 are longer than the third but
they and the tubes they go into are colour coded – nice touch) and
you erect the outer first. (handy when it's raining). Inner hangs
inside the outer with loads of toggles and loops. Once up, it is very
stable and roomy inside, easily enough room for two people. Lots of
nice features like good ventilation with insect mesh, pockets inside,
the porch has a proper floor, and the inside is very opaque making it
quite dark inside (ideal if you don't want to be woken up at dawn).
Logo of their opaque inner
Instructions printed on a plastic sheet stitched inside bag - neat idea!
All in all a very good
tent and well worth the money, especially if you buy it online. Only
real downside is that it's a wee bit big for a bike when packed
(54x16x16cm), but it can go across the back of the saddle.
More about the trip