My mattress is bulbous. Don’t you hate that? You know when the dimples in your mattress that are designed to add comfort and ensure that when you practice extreme sleep ins you don’t get bed sores, are too bulbous, it’s a problem.

I lay there awake, annoyed at my misfortune of having to sleep on said mattress. Then comes the wind, and I’m not just referring to my husband. Camping in our home away from home means we are exposed somewhat to the elements. Wind is noisy, and interrupts my slumber.

And then there is the toilet. Cups of tea cannot be consumed after 1900 hours if I wish to avoid the middle of the night toilet run. There is NOTHING worse than getting out of your bulbous mattress in the middle of the night and walking over to the toilets!

I guess it’s all worth it when you wake up next to the most pristine beach imaginable, surrounded by lifelong friends, we spend our days basking in the sun, playing cards, and eating vanilla slices.

Isn’t God good?

And then there is Tess. Tess is not a lifelong friend, and she was not invited. I wish, quite frankly she would go back to where she belongs, which is, clearly, not here with me.

I huff as I decide it’s time to sweep some of the pristine golden sand off my tarp (don’t you hate the way the pristine golden sand gets into your home away from home stuff?). You know the tarp that we use as a floor under the home away from home table and chairs, where we eat our meals cooked on our home away from home cooker, with our matching occasional use utensils and plastic occasional use plates and bowls, under our home away from home lighting arrangement. That tarp. That tarp needed sweeping and when you have been sun basking and vanilla slice eating it seems grossly unfair to subject myself to such a mundane task as tarp sweeping. But there you have it.

I look forlornly at the tarp and suddenly Tess comes to visit, CLEARLY uninvited. I squish my eyes closed and hope that she will realise she doesn’t belong and go away. But when I open my eyes, there she is.


I first met Tarpaulin Tess in Kolkata. Well, to be more precise I awkwardly scurried past her as she lay on the main street of Kolkata with her newborn, huddled under a tarp. A tarp being her only possession, her only shelter, her only privacy, her feeble attempt at an intimate home for her child.

Go away Tess, you’re making me uncomfortable.

I’m off to the beach.

Isn’t God good?

Well, yes he is, but perhaps in ways I can only imagine because I limit my credit to him to comfortable mattresses, vanilla slices and golden beaches.

He is so much gooder that that, and yes that is now a word.