Firstly, don’t panic – Gary isn’t a human! Gary is the name of our gazebo! (Yes, we know we are a bit odd – maybe that’s why we like sleeping in fields when we have perfectly good houses with beds?!).
Gary join our camp equipment family in 2019. You can read about his arrival here. He has worked hard over the last few years – he’s been a sunshade and a rain protector, he’s been battered by the wind at many campsites, been dusted in frost, held puddles of rainwater on his roof and once got weighed down by a pile of hail stones! Over lockdown he put in extra hours turning gardens into outdoor rooms hosting dinners, lunches, tea parties, beers round the fire and even a hen party. Every time he gets bowed down, he bounces right back up – literally! Although we don’t leave him up in high winds unnecessarily, it is fun to watch him be pushed right down by the wind and spring back up a moment later!
Hard work takes it’s toll and Gary developed a tiny hole along one of his seams. We hope he has many adventures ahead of him this summer, so we wanted to repair it as straight away before it got worse.
Step 1: purchase some ‘seam grip’ and some ‘tenacious tape’
Step 2: working on the inside, clean the affected area with hand-sanitizer
step 3: cut a little strip of tenacious tape, just bigger than the hole. Peel off backing and smooth over hole, pressing down firmly.
step 4: now clean the outside with hand sanitizer.
Step 5: apply seam grip over the hole. Leave it to dry a little bit.
Step 6: cut another strip of tenacious tape and apply on top of the seam grip
Hopefully Gary is now almost as good as new and looking forward to hosting many more adventures!
R & L
PS You can read our other thoughts on gazebos here.
Last time I put the gazebo up the pump wasn’t working well. I remembered that when I’d last used it, before Christmas, I was suspicious it was getting less efficient, but this time it was clearly not right! I remember blogging saying I could put it up by myself in no time at all. It was now hard work and taking forever – the pump and I were both out of puff!!
I emailed outwell explaining that I’d bought the gazebo in 2019 and was disappointed the pump had stopped working – could they send me replacement valve to fix it? Yesterday I received a parcel – a brand new cyclone pump!
This morning I tried it out – and the gazebo positively sprung up!
This pump is better than the original as it deflates as well as inflates and somehow cleverly pumps both when you pull the handle up and when you push it down. So although I wasn’t impressed the first pump broke, I am very happy with the replacement – thank you Mr Outwell!
I have been enjoying making use of the gazebo in the garden to enable me to meet up with friends but still be compliant with lockdown rules. I don’t have a garage for storage, so in the boot of my car I have what looks suspiciously like a body bag that contains the gazebo! (I’ve never actually had the mis-fortune to need to see a body bag, but it’s what I imagine one to look like!)
We’re realistic, we know our limitations… and we know that we will never manage to fold up the tents neatly enough to get them back into their original bags, so we buy oversized ones and don’t worry about it. We fold them how we fancy and pop them in.
Thing is that it means you can then easily forget what’s in each bag. Especially if you rearrange your packing system and the bag you used to use for one thing now contains something else! So, what we needed was labels.
And here’s what I made:
Brightly coloured in a variety of shades to aid recognition and laminated to make them waterproof!
It’s a bit of a shame not to be able to put my groceries in the car boot because it’s full of gazebo in an oversized bag… but who knows, one day there might be a gazebo-based emergency?! It’s never happened yet, but if it does then I’ll be just the woman for job!
Sadly we can’t go camping yet.
(Well not anywhere other than our own gardens … and I’m afraid my garden isn’t exciting enough to be worth the effort!!)
… but I have started getting in training! I put this up in 15 mins – all by myself!!!
Super fast inflatable gazebo!
I can assure you that Snoopy dog was no help at all… he only came out afterwards to inspect my work!
Tomorrow morning my neighbour is hosting a socially distanced prayer meeting in her garden… and there’s a chance of rain. Hopefully now it will be able to go ahead whatever the weather!!
It did make me nostalgic for camping trips… hopefully not long now.
PS you can read our review of our much loved inflatable gazebo & the other gazebos in our lives here
The real tents are back…
our tent set up at Barefoot Campsite
I know you’re keen to know about the new campsite we tried out last weekend.
It certainly scores well in terms of an attractive setting…
Situated in a bend of the river Thames in Oxfordshire, Barefoot Campsite certainly is pretty. We were fortunate to have riverside pitch. Somehow the white noise of the weir was oddly calming, distracting us from the normal campsite sounds of what was a pretty busy campsite.
View from our pitch
And not only can you enjoy the view of the river, you can swim or kayak too. We hired kayaks from the campsite and paddled upstream to the pub for a drink.
Kayaking on the River Thames –
This is a well organised campsite, but unfortunately that means it comes with quite a lot of rules! They were enforced in a friendly manner, but I was asked to alter where I’d pitched my gazebo and move my car 6 inches to the left (someone over-estimated my ability to park with any degree of accuracy!!). The booking process was hard work and for a campsite that is clearly fully booked every weekend of the summer, they could do with more toilets…but they get away with it, as it really is a beautiful location!
sunset (over other people’s tents)
See how we scored it!
Following our recent experiences, we have lots of opinions on gazebos & we thought we’d write you some posts to share them!
Things to think about when purchasing a gazebo
- Wind is the enemy of gazebos! Look for a design that will stand up well to the wind, both in terms of a good pegging arrangement so it doesn’t blow away and a frame with some flexibility in it, so it isn’t damaged if it bends a bit.
- It’s a pain to have to keep ducking to get in and out. And particularly if you are a tall goat you want to be able to stand up straight inside.
- They are always smaller than you think! Before we purchased, we marked out the size in our back garden and placed chairs around in a circle to see how many people we could fit in. Would be sad if you were the goat left out in the rain!!
- There are different levels of waterproofing available. If you are after something that’s tough and hardwearing, look into this.
- Doors/sides. In the UK the rain doesn’t just come down – sometimes it’s horizonal! The option to be able to add a door or a side can mean that you are able to use the full area of your gazebo in the rain. It is also useful to shelter from the wind.
- Gazebos can be quite a challenge to put up – a 3-dimensional jigsaw requiring several people with Mr Tickle length arms to complete! If you are going camping on your own, or if your fellow campers are child-sized or arriving later, an inflatable one could be a good option.
- Some gazebos have floor straps which are trip hazards, watch out for this.
- Ok we admit it, we have become camping snobs. But if you’ve got to look it all day you don’t want it to be a jarring colour – tan, grey, pale green are all acceptable. Blue, red, multicolour are not. Feel free to disagree, but just don’t pitch up next to us & spoil the view!!
- Light attachments. This isn’t a deal breaker, but it is lovely to be able to attach the fairy lights to the gazebo!!
- They are expensive, so think about your purchase carefully!
R & L