You know how I said, less than a day before I left for camp, that none of us were likely to be experiencing the sex-in-a-tent phenomenon any time soon? Well, kindly pass me the salt to put on those words - for I am about to eat them.
By coincidence, our three cars pulled up to the entrance to the camp site on Monday afternoon at exactly the same time as a Belgian guy on a bike. He seemed friendly enough, and as he was travelling alone, we got to talking, accompanied by a little gentle teasing of one of our number (who I'll call scene girl), who seemed rather impressed with his muscular physique. Standard Woodcraft practice, really; find a new person, immediately matchmake. We're all in our twenties, after all.
As the camp began to grow in terms of tent numbers, and the day continued to draw to a close, the Belgian guy - who, as it turned out, was only staying for the one night en route to Brighton, and had pitched a single two-man tent - quickly became a de facto part of our group, partaking of pasta with sauce, cheap cider and bad jokes along with the rest of us, all the while glancing at scene girl, and learning (among other things) her name. I can't have been the only one thinking that some sort of tryst would be on the cards between them, surely?
The night went on, the fire burned lower, and I eventually decided (the fact that it was 1:30am helped me make this decision) that it was time to get some rest (even though it was clear by now that I wouldn't sleep). I bade my goodnights to everyone still up - including scene girl and the Belgian guy - and retired to the tent.
Since there were so few of us, we'd made the decision relatively early on to all sleep in the same tent. Robinson and my friend-who-is-a-teacher were already there when I bedded down, and everyone else (with the exception of scene girl) followed soon afterwards. Predictably, Mane and the young raver were the last two in.
"Where's scene girl?" asked Mane.
"It's not difficult to guess," replied the young raver, after checking to see that everyone else was asleep (or, in my case, pretending, part of my sleeping bag over my eyes to shield the fact that they were open). "Best keep that a secret, okay?"
I could hear his grin, and allowed myself one. So, after all our jokes and sly suggestions (and one mere day after expounding upon the idea in excruciating detail), it was happening to one of us. What were the odds? Well, good for her, I reasoned. Well played. (Well indeed.)
However well scene girl played it, however, what she hadn't clocked (or didn't know or care about) was the ability of sound to travel at a long distance over a wide, empty open space...
I was probably the first to hear it; in between the snuffling snores of Robinson, the deep breathing of Mane's brother and the mooing of the cows in the field next door, my alert ears picked up the unmistakeable sounds of sexual interaction... although I wasn't the only one to be partisan to this, judging by the whispered conversation I then heard, three inches from my head.
"Did you hear that?" chuckled the young raver.
"Yeah, boy!" laughed Mane.
"Jesus, she's loud!" replied the young raver, before both of them collapsed into fits of the giggles, at which (as if to contend with this) the muffled squeaks increased in volume and tempo.
Torn between anxiety and amusement, I fought off the urge to join Mane and the young raver in their incredulous laughter, and continued to feign sleep, a wide grin spreading over my face as I listened to the sounds of my friend having sex, segueing into the beginning stages of midnight rain, shifting silently into a more comfortable position to do so as my halo began to glow.