When we flipped the lid on the Camp-o-matic to initiate a pre-summer test run of our famous five-second tent-pitching routine, there was a sickening, tearing sound. The ancient, faded blue canvas finally decided it had been stretched and abused enough, and it parted company from the fibreglass base on the trailer. We sat on the grass in disbelief, staring at the sorry sight. Our beloved tent on wheels – that had seen us through our heady days as newly-weds; accommodated babies, toddlers and teens; provided shelter for Rhythm and Vines extras, and was to see us through our retirement years – had abruptly given up the ghost.

‘What now?’ we wondered, in a state of shock.

The Camp-o-matic with its smart new canvas and windows with fly screens

Well, we clearly couldn’t survive the summer without the old girl so we packed her up and trundled along the road to consult Sam, the canvas wizard.

He took a good look at her and gave us some heartening news. Not only could he renew the canvas but his team would wave a magic wand and make her better than ever.

With our annual Anaura Bay weekend coming up fast, there was a sense of urgency which Sam fully grasped. He allocated the task to master canvas man Tony who just happened to be a Camp-o-matic owner himself with a real affinity for the dear old things.

Tony came up with some clever modifications to the original design – extra zips, insect screens and a new window or two – and called us within a few days to come and witness the rebirth. We were absurdly excited to see our new khaki-coloured tent taking shape on top of the trailer.

The Anaura Bay Motor Camp is right on the beach

Two weeks later, we collected our ‘born again’ Camp-o-matic and shortly thereafter, we were driving up the coast to the Anaura Bay Motor Camp with our mates.

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