Oh, the Coleman Event Shelter! The Ritz of camping accoutrements, capable of transforming the most humble tent into a veritable palace of comfort. So much more stylish and weatherproof than your common or garden Argos gazebo, its domed structure well capable of standing up to the frisky winds so common in that part of Suffolk, which can render said gazebo into a sad pile of poles and nylon before you can say “Damn, it’s gusty!”, and its substantial acreage providing shedloads of shade in sunshine and shelter in rain. No more crouching sadly under the gazebo or a jury-rigged awning as rain trickles down your neck, no more struggling to find the space to cook amongst a steamy mass of damp bodies sheltering from the rain. The Coleman Outdoor Shelter is camping de luxe, the fibreglass and rip-stop nylon equivalent of hiring the Tower Ballroom at Blackpool, bestowing upon its lucky owner infinite space with no more need to be bounded in a nutshell.
This year, courtesy of Andy and Rachel, our group became the proud owner of one of these canvas kitchen-diner extensions. On arrival at Latitude we staked our claim to a large parcel of land, circled the waggons (or the Outwell/Litchfield/Vango tents if you’re going to be picky), and then, after a brief and undignified row about the correct way to put it up, we erected (no other word will do) our luxury faux-ballroom. It was enormous. The swift addition of the Miller Heritage Windbreak, inherited from Mac’s parents, to prevent any of the lower orders from pitching on our metaphorical front lawn, and we had the outdoor equivalent of a rock star’s Surrey mansion with helipad, swimming pool and guard dog-infested perimeter fencing. In camping terms, we had arrived!