It wasn't a big ask, moving a couple of marquees that were being hired out for a party, an hour max, we were told. What could be simpler -lots of things, as it turned out.
15.30 up we rolled at the storage unit to a scene of chaos. our leader had not really sorted things out. Various bits of tent were everywhere, things stored in the back of the shed having to be brought out to try and work out what they were and then shoved back in again when they were the wrong bits. Everything being at the far end of a storage container with a portable stage between it and the door. Remarkably it only took about an hour of sweating swearing and getting inaccessible bits out of the back of the unit and we were ready for the off.
Brilliant timing, said our leader he had arranged to drop off the tent at 5 PM.
But he originally said an hour, still never mind all we had to do was take it there and drop it off. What could go wrong...
So on to a flat grassy site we wandered and it was five o clock and there were going to be four people there except there weren't.
Our leader seemed not at all phased or surprised which made me feel a bit err suspicious.
They were obviously setting up for a serious party, the garage seemed to be full to the roof with beers and spirits.
Anyway, how long can it take to put up two tents, not long. Except these were monster marquees. Still it could not take that long could it?
There was of course a trip back to base to get the bits our leader had left behind
In this time frames were built clad in canvas, with alot of straining lifted in the air fitted with sides and sort of pegged down.
3 1/2 hours later, awash in sweat, we had finished.
At this stage I did sort of note that this was quite a windy spot and the weather forecast wasn't brilliant and the tents were a bit exposed. The tents weren't that well secured to the floor either These were all thoughts that went round in my head but, hell, it was only going to be an hour a lot of hours ago and I wanted to get home.
So the weekend came and the weekend went, this morning we had a few plans, none of which included tents and, the phone rang.
Would we be able to go and take the tents down, would not take long.....
ERH, NO, we were busy, someone else could do it. There wasn't anyone else, every time our leader asked for help with the tents no one was available. Now that was a real suprise....
So rounding up everyone who did not have an excuse like going to work, off we went.
Time to take down some marquees!
Well no, the wind had delivered a scene of carnage. Tent positioning had not really been thought through and reading between the lines this had been a bit of a boozy party and when the wind came up no one really noticed or thought to close the doors till both marquees collapsed.
This was really serious, one marquee was way from where we left it and all the canvas was gone.
The other was partially up but out of shape. With the wind due to rise getting the canvas off it and down was an urgent priority.
Things were moving and creaking in a not very encouraging way. Time to get the panels off the frame then, except the roof this could only only happen from inside the tent. On a scale of safe - this wasn't good.
So unpick the sides, up rolled our leader, hmm, if he clobbered that joint apart, being inside it at the time, the whole marquee would drop on my head. Whack, down it came. I was right.
With the wind increasing by the minute giant rolls of flapping canvas were folded and dumped into the trailer as another team set about dismantling the frames.
Now, if some of the bits of tent were needed fo another job that day, logic suggests this would be an ideal time to sort out some bits. No everything went into the van in one huge mess
So other end came the announcement, this mess of poles had to be sorted into their various types so some of them could be transfered to another trailer to go back out again.
Lets make this more complex shall we??
Think I might be busy next time......