The Tent, the Bucket and Me, Emma Kennedy
I’ve never been a camper. My husband and I don’t believe in it. We tried glamping once and it wasn’t a good move. Despite having a blow-up bed, a proper duvet and an Aztec throw, we were absolutely freezing and I clung to his back like a koala all night, trying to keep warm and failing. I also thought, as a glamping/camping virgin, I’d sweetly lay my pyjamas out on my glampy pillow, before we went off festival-ing (80’s bands. Can I just put it here that Go West are still AMAZING?), only to return at 3am to find them, to my virgin horror, damp through and hideous. It was my second camping experience. The first was Guide camp, which also left me pretty unimpressed and with a lasting fear of chemical toilets…
Anyway, Emma Kennedy and her mum and dad used to go camping a lot, in the 1970s. Every camping holiday they took ended in complete disaster, and this book tells all the sorry tales of their adventures.
It is HILARIOUS. I read some of it while watching 90 Day Fiancé with my husband (how addictive is that programme, by the way? Well, not so addictive that you can’t read at the same time as watching it, but you know what I mean…) and kept bursting out laughing, which really annoyed him, but not enough for him to ask me what I was reading as that would be, like, indulging me. Some of these camping stories are unbelievable, and often quite revolting (they make the time I fell over and got covered head to foot in mud at Brands Hatch seem incredibly tame), but the way Emma writes about them is very, very funny indeed. If you need cheering up, or want to read something funny before bed, or have disastrous camping stories of your own that haunt you and you want to read about someone far, far worse off, then this is the book for you.
I loved the 70s nostalgia (I actually gasped when I saw the mention of the book Fattypuffs and Thinipers) I enjoyed the writing and I found the relationships between only child Emma and her parents, Tony and Brenda, really quite endearing. A great read!
*Next memoir: On Chapel Sands, by Laura Cumming