We’d done it again and managed to serendipitously time February’s bivvy microadventure with a dump of snow. We’d postponed bivvying in a local wood with our friends for the previous two Saturdays because of heavy rain. We didn’t want to dishearten our wee ones with such a wet night so early in the year. However as the last day of February rolled around rather quickly it was now or never.
To vary the view a little I asked my neighbour if we could use her garden instead of our own. Thankfully I have a very understanding neighbour who didn’t bat an eyelid at my strange request and not only offered to leave her back door open for us but presented us with chocolate to keep up moral too. Thanks Ashleigh!
When I stepped outside after dark I knew it was the perfect night. Crisp, cold and clear, snow below, stars above. There are no street lights where we live and little light pollution so we had quite a view. I helped Finn into his sleeping and bivvy bags, then attempted to shimmy into mine. It takes time when you’re wearing so many clothes, still, I warmed up a bit from the exertion of it. Then I laid back and gazed at the stars. Perfect (except for son’s constant chatter). We tracked satellites, saw a couple of shooting stars and spotted constellations. Then I turned over to sleep, Finn still muttering away.
An hour later he was shifting in his sleeping bag and sitting up. Mother mode kicking in I coaxed him back under cover and tucked him in to keep him warm. This repeated about every hour until 5.20am when he needed the toilet. We laboriously extracted ourselves from our protective cocoons and walked around to our own back door. Of course as soon as he was in the house, he wasn’t exactly keen on heading back out into the freezing night again so I returned alone, with a silent sigh thinking that now I might get an hour or two of interrupted sleep before dawn. I did have that chocolate to earn after all. (Alas, it was not to be, by then the rooks in the nearby copse of Scots Pine were waking up). Recent scientific research found that camping out can banish insomnia by resetting the body’s natural clock. Clearly the research was not carried out on bivvying families.
After a dry but bitterly cold night (I could barely feel my toes by morning), a shower of sleet on my face persuaded me to abandon ship and head inside for a cup of tea and hot shower while the boys continued their slumber, softly snoring away.