It is 3:42 AM and I am clinging on to my tent for dear life. It is the first night of a long weekend spent camping in The Gower, and there is an apocalyptic storm raging around me.
I awake to discover something amiss with my tent and emerge to discover that four years of Glastonbury trips has left it a little worse for wear; bent and lost pegs have rendered my place of shelter for the next three nights utterly useless, and it has almost ripped itself loose from the ground.
In spite of the turbulent storm swirling around me, I clamber out and attempt to adjust some pegs. Suddenly a bolt of lightning strikes the next field only 150 meters away. My cursing is drowned out by a deep roll of thunder as I dive back into the tent.
Minutes later the wind arrives, buffeting me from side to side. I am acutely aware that the only thing stopping my tent from disappearing down the south coast of Wales is my slender form, pinning the canvas to the floor in feral desperation. At this point I begin to wonder why I had bothered to make that two and a half hour drive, paid to cross the Severn Bridge, and used a day of holiday for a long weekend with a far from flattering weather forecast.
Bitter salvation suddenly arrives. Our gazebo gives way in the wind and clatters my friend’s porch in two. Once he has finished fixing his tent, he turns his attention to his unlucky neighbour, whose tent is nearing take off with its sole inhabitant still inside.
Not only did we survive the storm, we were blessed with a weekend of glorious sunshine. To our smug satisfaction, we heard rumours that the rest of country hadn’t fared so well, and we were bombarded with concerned texts from various family members. We, however, enjoyed one of the UK’s most remarkable beauty spots in wall to wall sunshine.
Against all odds, we managed to enjoy the natural wonders of South Wales’ finest peninsula. We dived in the Blue Pool – a natural rock pool, which legend states has no bottom – and we scrambled across to The Worm’s Head, a beautiful formation that can only be accessed by foot at low tide.
As I drove home through the rolling valleys of the Welsh stretch of the M4 on Sunday, I realised that if I understood rugby then I would agree with the romantic assessment that Wales really is God’s own country.