Perfect pitch: Sarah Moss prefers to camp wild, as here in Glen Etive
Perfect pitch: Sarah Moss prefers to camp wild, as here in Glen Etive Credit: Arterra

We gave away the tent in the great dispersal of stuff when we moved to Ireland in July. I was sad to see it go, but I knew (as with much of The Stuff) that I was sad because it represented what was never going to happen.

三级成人视频I can, I find, measure out my life in tents. A very early memory is the brown floral print on the curtain my mother made to divide the children from the adults’ section of the tent with which we crossed Europe every summer. I lay tracing its patterns with my fingers, wriggling in the down sleeping bag that was too hot in the valleys and too cold at altitude, eavesdropping on the grown-ups who seemed to forget that the curtain gave them only visual privacy. That was the Car Tent, so called because it was too heavy to carry more than a few metres, made of orange canvas and held up by hollow metal poles that it was my job to assemble while my father spread the tent to receive them.

三级成人视频We drove every August from Manchester deep into what was then the Eastern Bloc, camping wild across France, the Alps, Austria, compelled to use Soviet campsites in Hungary, what was then Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Poland… My parents had friends in a union there. I didn’t ask and wasn’t told the details, but there were sometimes things in the car that were to be hidden from the border guards. We slept somewhere different almost every night, with different sounds in the trees or hills or walls, different smells on the air, a different way to dig a hole or find a lavatory, but the morning light through the orange tent and the rubber smell of the groundsheet were always the same.

三级成人视频There were also the mountain tents, which were lighter and smaller, and by then we had two of them because my parents had given up on the idea of curtain privacy. We carried the mountain tents high into the Alps, the Lake District and the Scottish mountains, and camped wild in places I learnt to choose: near a water source, in the lee of the prevailing wind, away from potential rockfalls (we learnt that one the exciting way) and anything you might fall off in the dark.

三级成人视频Mountain tents are useful because you can start the day’s climbing at 6,500ft, making Alpine summits accessible to children who can’t make it from the last road to the top in one day, and I remember the comfort of looking down from the peaks and seeing the flash of the tent on the plateau below, knowing that there was the Primus stove and the Tilley lamp, and my sleeping bag and teddy waiting at the end of the day. I preferred to sleep with the flaps open and my head in the doorway, where I could see the stars and the dark bulk of the hills and feel the weather on my face all night.

My friend and I took one of the mountain tents, by then unfashionably heavy and bulky, on our first trip to Iceland in 1994. It was before there was Icelandic tourism – we went by boat from Aberdeen because there was only one, unaffordable flight each week – and we were students with so little money we ran out of food and ate grass with our noodles towards the end. We couldn’t afford campsites, though every few days we sneaked into one to use the showers.

Moss and a friend travelled to Iceland by boat, aged 19, to camp in the frozen wilderness Credit: PA

We thought we were camping wild, but we were 19 and daft; I’d like to apologise to the farmer who had to mow his meadow around our tent, and hope he would feel that justice was done when we were woken in the brief darkness by the noise of sheep cropping grass beside our heads, which sounds as if the dead are tearing their way from the grave to reach you. The Mountain Tent was refuge for Kathy and me, the place where we lay in the midnight sun chatting and reading aloud to each other, bickering over biscuits and the day, mentioned at both our weddings 10 years later, when she brought in fine black volcanic sand which naturally, obviously, got into our hair and sleeping bags and ears and underwear.

There was also the stormy night when the guy lines stretched in the rain, risking catastrophic contact between wet outer tent and dry inner layer, and I took my pyjamas off so they stayed dry while I ran around the tent tightening the lines naked on the dusky hillside. After that, there was a camping hiatus. I had no money for travel, and by the time there might have been holidays, there were babies and even I have more sense than to go camping with someone in nappies who wails for hours in the night (I’m sure it’s possible. Have fun).

三级成人视频We tried again when the kids were old enough not to mind being out in all weathers, eating primitive meals and finding earwigs by their faces in the morning, but it never really took; I couldn’t work out how to combine routines of family life with the tent. I don’t want lightweight plastic versions of all the domestic impedimenta I work with at home. If I have to chop vegetables and set the table and wash up, produce three meals a day, I’ll do it in a kitchen with hot water on tap, a stove with several burners and an ample supply of 
dry tea towels, which I can put in the washing machine afterwards. 


Summerwater, Moss's seventh novel, is published on Thursday Credit: Picador

三级成人视频If people won’t sleep on the ground, they can stay at home with beds and mattresses, I’m not spending my holiday setting up camp beds and inflating pillows. We all hated campsites, listening to other people’s music and televisions all night, sharing muddy showers and smelly lavatories, pestered by dogs every time we sat down to eat – for fun?

三级成人视频No, if there’s going to be camping I want the real thing, the lightest of tents carried high into the mountains; a boulder to pee behind and a stream for washing; oatcakes, cheese and apple rings for dinner, and I want to lie on a groundsheet feeling the earth with my bones, to listen to the weather, wake at an unfathomable hour of the night because my nose is cold and burrow into my sleeping bag until sunrise wakes me.

三级成人视频After a day or two, I’ll strike the tent and go home, take a hot shower, wash my clothes, cook a proper meal, hang the tent over the washing line in the garden to shake out the earwigs and sand (not, Kathy, that all the sand ever comes out). I’ll put the tent back in the loft, the seed of another adventure biding its time. When I am old, I mean, when I stop cooking.

Sarah Moss’s latest novel, Summerwater (Picador, £11.99), will be published on Thursday. To order your copy, call 0844 871 1514 or