So where do you pitch your tent when it’s dark and raining and you’re standing in an unfamiliar street on your first night in a new town?
We stood under a streetlamp. We were befuddled with beer. The street was lined with houses. There was an alley made visible by the orange light. It looked very black and could have led anywhere. Maybe someone’s yard with a big dog chained to a wall near the coal shed. A railway line. A cess-pit. But somehow I knew this alley would lead to a safe place to pitch our tent. A secret place on the Quest of Great Celtic Mystery, free from wrestling pacifists.
There are of course stories of friends who have got into difficulties with pitching tents in the dark. My friend Pete once thought he’d found a nice tranquil spot only to discover that he was the focal point on a rush hour roundabout. But Brian and I had got it just right. The alley led to a beautiful meadow with a river running through it. At the edge of the meadow, was the start of a wood. Rising above the trees, the tower of the ruin that we’d seen the day before.
The Quest of Great Celtic Mystery was back on.