If you’ve read Night out, Part 1, you’re probably curious about how my very first winter night out was. First of all, I was too excited to feel tired and I didn’t want to lie there awake, without being able to sleep or read a book, so I didn’t go out until just before 11 p.m. I didn’t take all that much with me into the tent, only things that were necessary and a few things I thought might come in handy. I couldn’t find our thick foam sleeping pad (it has disappeared somewhere), so I doubled up with two self inflating sleeping pads instead, one on top of the other, to keep the cold from seeping up from the ground. My new sleeping bag and my pillow went on top of them, and I stuffed the woollen socks, sweater and tights that I wore on my way out, inside the bottom of my sleeping bag to keep them warm. I put a torch in one of the tent pockets – it was pretty dark in there – and a bottle of water next to me in case I got thirsty.
The extras I brought along were ear plugs, eye pads – you know the ones you get on airplanes – in case the outdoor lights came on and disturbed me (they come on every time someone walks past the house), a knitted cap to keep my head warm and the house key if I needed to go on my nightly trip to the toilet. So far so good. And then it was lights out.
It took me some time to adjust to my new sleeping bag. It was wide enough – actually very wide – which I appreciated a lot because in our summer bags I feel quite constricted and always find myself crawling out of the bag. That would not have been such a good idea here! The thing I had to get used to was the tiny opening for my face.
I still have to figure out if my face should stick out of the hole or stay down in the bag with the hole hovering above. I tried different settings during the night depending on how cold my face got or how much air I wanted. I used the ear plugs because the cars on a nearby road were a bit annoying. I didn’t use the eye pads since it was pretty dark all night long. I didn’t use my cap either – I did think about it a couple of times when I turned over and my ear felt a bit cold because it was exposed – but I had left the cap outside my sleeping bag and didn’t want to risk it being too cold and having the opposite effect of the intended. All in all, I had a decent night’s sleep, quite warm and snug, and not at all in need of the toilet. Now that was a nice surprise!
At 7 a.m. I felt a bit of a chill, so I hauled my clothes out, put them on and went back to sleep for another hour, waking just after 8 a.m. I lay there for a while, ear plugs out now, just listening to the birds and enjoying the light in the tent. Pretty pleased with my little experiment, I’m now looking forward to a prettier setting, a fire, good food and hopefully some good company!