Pitching Post Summer

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Fly On The Wall/s

Our curious columnist continues his exploration of the big thoughts behind all the small things…


Joe Thomas


Yes, the days are getting shorter, but it doesn’t have to take a dark turn

The cars headlights broke through the darkness and rain, the tarpaulin sheet at our shoes bonding us in the unholiest of tasks. Sinister thoughts swirled through my mind as I looked upon my beloved, thoughts that blamed her, thoughts that would have been utterly foreign only 24 hours before. I saw in her own eyes a murderous gaze, whilst I was already post mortem and planning my legal defence. No court in the country would convict me, not if they new the circumstances, not if they knew why, not if they had ever taken down a tent…

Yes, perhaps I’m being little melodramatic but it is the truth, though not a fact, that taking down a tent is torture, it tears apart families and ruins relationships. Even in past tense, past tents send shivers down my spine. How could a space big enough to sleep a family of four possibly fit in a bag a fifth of the size of a single bed? If it were the 16th century tent makers would be tried for witchcraft. Despite the utter misery of the de-pegging, un-poling, re-rolling and bagging back up, there is something more, something else, something deeper. Perhaps it is the sub-conscious thought that beyond the plastic, zips and string is the rat race and the return to normality.


Taking down a tent is to deconstruct summer, piece by piece and put it away, it is the revelation your holidays are over and the monotony that Monday is calling. Closed will be the beer gardens and gone the impromptu pints, lost will be al fresco dinners and BBQ’s, yes, the schools are back but so is the traffic. In our own fair city we have already seen symbols of summer 18’ vanish. The teapot of the Fringe is long gone, taking with it the laughter laced morsels of delicious street food, past has the excitement and child like wonder of the Micklegate Soap Box Race and soon to be returning to history is the White Rose Rotunda. A tragedy to mark the final act; alas poor York of summer I knew thee well. Woe is life.

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But wait, maybe I’m thinking about this in the wrong way, putting down a tent means you don’t have to sleep in one, it means you can go home and have a bath, watch TV and lets not forget the joys of indoor plumbing. In fact tents are awful, small and cramped, too hot in the day and perishing in the night, good riddance. Now I think about it, it’s all a matter of perspective; no more drunk blokes stripping topless, no more wasps at your dinner table, food no longer burnt outside and raw in the middle, yes the traffic is back but so are the schools!

Just think of the things to look forward to, the simple pleasure of wearing more then one layer, the humble joy of stodgy stews and hearty dinners. The incoming cold means you can burn your bikini, so second helpings for everyone. Longer nights also means the drama will be scripted as reality TV is out and crime thrillers are in, the only half naked bodies on the box will be dead ones. Closer to home is no different, York is an Autumnal city anyway, it needs a fog to brood, it needs dark gloomy pubs to match its dark gloomy beers. And that reminds me there is one tent still to go up, the York Beer Festival tent! 


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  • Paul Carrington
    September 28, 2018 at 10:26 am

    Great piece of prose. Witty, quirky yet informative. I found myself nodding in acquiescence as I too remember the ‘joys’ of Tenting in the great outdoors. Joe’s take on the ‘small stuff’ in the goings-on in York shows a deep understanding of the heartbeat of the city. Already looking forward to his next post.

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