Five Go Glamping

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Five Go Glamping is a must-read story full of friendship, romance and self-discovery…. I loved it!’ – Little Northern Soul

The hilarious and heart-warming romantic comedy you need this year!

Glamping Check list

Festival tickets
Double check best Instagram filter
Avoid thinking about work/Connor/five year plan!!

A four day break from her hectic life to relax in the countryside and hang out at a local festival (for free!) is just what Fiona Delaney needs. With her best friends, great tunes and a cool looking hat her Instagram shots are going to look A-Mazing!

Until suddenly glamping starts to feel a lot more like camping and Fiona’s in desperate search of a comfy chair, wi-fi and a chilled glass of wine. But when she finally makes it to the local pub she discovers this trip could be more than just a holiday, it might just change her life forever…

What reviewers are saying about Five Go Glamping

Fun-filled, witty and upliftingFive Go Glamping is a quick read but a memorable one. It features a great combination of friendship, romance and adventure and the story builds up vividly to the extent I felt like I was there myself, watching the madness unfold.’ – Reviewed the Book

‘Liz Tipping’s writing style was great, it was fun, flirty, great characters and kept me thoroughly entertained with some wonderful witty words and some gorgeous heartwarming moments.’ – Kraftireader

‘Believe me, if you are in a need of a book that’s going to make you laugh out loud, has style, glamour and interesting storyline – than do not look any further! Five Go Glamping is what you’re looking for!’ – On My Bookshelf

‘This is an energetic and lively story, packed full of friendship, romance, mishaps and laughs. I raced through the book and I enjoyed Liz Tipping’s style of writing, which made me want to keep on reading long after I should have been in bed!’ – Curious Ginger Cat

Chapter One


It was Saturday. It was bad enough having to
work on a Saturday in the first place but even worse that it was going to be
the hottest day of the year. Worse still because Ayesha had called in sick –
this time saying she had gastroenteritis. I suspected it had more to do with
the fact she’d gone straight out after work last night. I didn’t have any hard
evidence, of course, but I’d seen her Facebook status which read:


‘WTF is KEBab KIngdom shut for!! Nevr shut.
Alwys open. Noooooooo.’


The last ever recorded incident of Kebab
Kingdom being closed before five a.m. is believed to be in 1993 so all of this
suggested she’d had a great night. Apart from Kebab Kingdom being shut, of
course. That must have been disappointing.


But not nearly as disappointing as my own
Friday night. I had been looking forward to it all week and had managed to
escape the office on time for once so I could go home and spend the evening
cooking a romantic anniversary meal for my boyfriend. Connor, who had been
absolutely convinced he would be there around nine, had failed to turn up at
all. He had always worked at the weekends as a club promoter, putting on bands
and DJs and that kind of thing, but this summer he’d been even busier with
outdoor events and festivals. It was hard to even remember the last time he’d
had a day off and I was getting really fed up of it.

I had waited roughly half an hour – keeping
the food warm on the stove before delivering it to the table –, and a further
twenty minutes sat at the table on my own, looking at the clock, willing him to
get there. I eventually started on the now cold stroganoff myself, but simply
didn’t have the stomach for it any more. The food I had spent hours on was
completely ruined but it still looked okay so I took a photograph and uploaded
it to Instagram. It instantly received a flurry of likes and that made me feel
worse because nobody was going to eat it no matter how good it looked.

I’d blown the tea light candles out and
retired to the sofa, having lots of conversations with myself about what time
to go to bed or whether to stay up late and wait for Connor with another glass
of wine.

I’d chosen wine and now I also had the makings
of a hangover. Not the hangover of epic proportions like I imagined Ayesha was
experiencing. Ayesha’s would be monumental. I only had a dull headache with
excessive carb cravings and slight dehydration from three glasses of Pinot
Grigio. Three big glasses, but not quite a whole bottle.

It wasn’t that I didn’t have a social life at
all, it just wasn’t epic like Ayesha’s.

I often went to the pub with Steph and Sinead
and Kirk, but I was trying desperately to save some cash for our own place. This
meant I would only ever stay for one or two drinks, taking advantage of ‘buy
two glasses of wine, get the bottle free’ offers and switching to tap water to
hang onto the pennies.

But it would be worth it when Connor and I got
the keys to our own place. Besides, I didn’t have Ayesha’s stamina for partying
these days.

I wondered whether I would even have the
energy to go to the pub with Steph and Sinead later and thought I should
probably stay in anyway as I had gone slightly over my budget for the week,
splashing out on all the fancy ingredients for last night’s disastrous meal.

And so whilst Ayesha would be at home enjoying
her wonderful hangover, I was stuck at work all day with Doris. Ayesha had once
said that you had to have four cats to go Full Mad Cat Lady. Doris had three.
She was retiring in a couple of weeks and I was pleased she was going because
a) I wouldn’t have to listen to her any more and b) I could apply for Doris’s
job. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do but when I had Doris’s job I would
be even closer to owning the home of my dreams. I had even begun filling out an
application for her role, which asked me to match my skills with those in the
job description. I don’t think anybody knew what Doris actually did, but I knew
she thought she was important and I assumed from that it meant she earned
significantly more money than me.

what’s your job description?’ I asked.

‘Oh really,
Fiona. For heaven’s sake.’ I knew I wouldn’t get an answer out of her.

She actually
didn’t need to reply to me anyway. I already knew what her job description was:

1. At random
intervals exclaim defensively ‘Well, we didn’t have computers in my day’ and
phone the IT people all the time.

2. Accuse
people of stealing yoghurts/biscuits/cakes/pasta salads from the fridge and
insist everyone labels their own food.

3. Steal
other people’s food.

4. Suddenly
become incapable of telling the time shortly after half past one every
afternoon. Say ‘Does that clock say twenty to two or twenty to three? I can
never tell.’ Do this every day, without bloody fail.

5. Say ‘I’ve
been here for forty years’ to anyone who will listen.

6. Never,
ever make Fiona and Ayesha a cup of tea and when they very kindly make you one
complain about some or every aspect of it.

7. Embrace
burning martyrdom by saying ‘I have to do everything’ and ‘I suppose I shall
have to do it myself’.

8. You may
be required to work Saturdays paid at time and a half, even though you don’t
need to as the mortgage on your massive five bed house was paid off long ago.

‘So do you
know what my job description is then?’ I asked, knowing I was pushing it with
interrupting Doris.

‘You ought
to know what your job is after nearly fifteen years,’ she said.

Perhaps I
should know, as I had indeed been here for almost fifteen years, ever since I’d
left school in fact. I rifled through my drawers to find the brown folder with
all my personnel stuff in it and pulled out my original contract. The pages had
yellowed a little bit and I noticed how it had been put together on a
typewriter so it looked like an ancient document. I held my breath as I read
the contract, hoping it would tell me that I did something exciting.

‘I’m an
office bloody junior?’

Fiona.’ said Doris.

Surely I
couldn’t still be an office junior, could I?

But there it
was, written at the top of the page.

 ‘I thought I was one of those customer
services thingy people. Isn’t Ayesha the office junior now? Can you be an
office junior when you are thirty? Is that even legal?’

I shoved the
contract back into the drawer and folded my arms.

This wasn’t
how I thought my life would turn out. I was fairly sure I was meant to have
achieved something by now and at the least I shouldn’t be an officer junior.
The career officer at school had advised me to apply for this job at Dynamic
Food Processing when I’d said I wanted to cook. At the job interview I’d talked
about how I loved Home Economics, and that I’d quite like to work with food,
perhaps in the development centre where they developed the recipes. They’d said
I would need more qualifications for that, but that there was a role in the
distribution centre and I could start off there. They said I may be able to
side step. But it had been nearly fifteen years now and I hadn’t stepped
anywhere. I hadn’t even moved desks. I also hadn’t seen anything resembling
food since I started here. By the time the food arrived for distribution, it
had already been processed to within an inch of its life, dolloped into plastic
containers, covered in cardboard sleeves, and packed into trucks ready to be
sent off to the supermarkets.

As well as
days spent moving figures from one spreadsheet to another, I also spent time
manning the customer service lines. This usually involved people ringing up and
shouting at me. Doris said I spent too long on each call, but I felt it was important
to listen and I had learned over the years that most people weren’t really
upset with their gone off food or the microwaving instructions leaving them
with a frozen lump of chicken in the middle of their meals. Most of the time
they just wanted to let off steam. A burnt lasagne was the final straw for some
people, the thing that tipped them over the edge. I always had the impression
all they wanted was for someone to listen to. So I listened.

I still
hoped that one day I’d be moved to the food development centre where I’d spend
my days inventing wonderful creations. Sadly, the only time I saw any food now
was when I was manning the company’s social media accounts and people sent
pictures of foreign bodies they had found in their ready meals while they
shouted at me in caps lock.

I still
cooked all the time at home. Mainly because if you’d seen some of the pictures
I had, you’d never eat a ready meal again.

On Saturdays, less people wanted to complain
and the phones were fairly quiet so the topic of conversation was always
Doris’s cats. I knew all their names and which cat food each of them preferred.
If me and Ayesha talked about anything, Doris told us off, but talking about
her cats was fine, so we talked about cats a lot to avoid doing work. Today’s
hot cat topic had been mange.

As Saturday working was voluntary overtime, we
were allowed to clock out when we wanted, but because I was saving I felt I had
no choice but to stay and Doris knew this. I was bored out of my brain (which
apparently shrinks when you are hungover) and the afternoon seemed even longer
as I had taken my lunch break at eleven-thirty. I was daydreaming about what I
would cook for my tea and I hoped Connor would be back to share it with me. I
was starving again, so I tore open the emergency Jaffa cakes when Doris got her
time blindness.

‘Fiona, does that clock say twenty to two or
twenty to three?’ She moved her glasses up and down, blinked a few times and
widened her eyes – which made her forehead wrinkle – then squinted. ‘Only, I
can never tell. You’d think the least they could do was buy us girls in the
corner a clock that told the time properly.’

‘It’s twenty to two, Doris.’ I said, for the
sixth time that week. I sighed. I wanted to go home. I wanted to be really
hungover like Ayesha. Or I wanted to be spending the day with the girls, or
Connor if I wasn’t so cross with him.

‘You can always check the clock on your

‘We didn’t have computers in my day.’

‘Do you want tea or coffee, Doris?’ I asked,
with my mouth full of Jaffa cakes. I was desperate to get away from her, even
for five minutes.

‘Coffee. And not too much milk like last time.’

I took our mugs to the kitchen and
half-heartedly rinsed them. There were crumbs in the bottom of Doris’s mug,
even though she hadn’t brought her own biscuits in since 1987. Out of habit I
reached for a third mug for Ayesha when something dawned on me. Ayesha doesn’t
have her own mug. Doris has her own mug. And I have my own mug. And both mugs
have got cats on. Doris has got three cats on her mug.

There are four on mine.

I have gone full mad cat lady like Doris without
even realising it, stuck in this ridiculous job, being sensible and saving all
my money instead of having fun. Right there, at that moment, I was prepared to
fully abandon my savings plans and spend at least a tenner on a ‘buy two
glasses, get the bottle free’ deal down the pub.

‘Doris, I’m going home now. Now.’ I plonked
her extra milky coffee in front of her and struggled into my coat. ‘I don’t
need to be here on Saturdays, it’s voluntary, so I’m going. Now. I am going to
be spontaneous’.

‘Spontaneous? You?’ said Doris.

‘Yes,’ I said.

I could tell by the way Doris was looking at
me that she didn’t think it was possible for me to be spontaneous. I planned
everything. I always knew exactly what I was going to be doing and when. I had
started it several years back when I began My Five Year Plan – a series of
goals I was going to achieve, all designed to make me happy.

My main goal was to buy my own place, so lots
of the sub goals involved how to save money. Doris’s job was also in my target
as a career goal, not because I particularly wanted to do Doris’s job, but
because it would take me a step closer to my own home. The bigger the deposit I
had, the less my mortgage would be, and then I would finally have the freedom
to do whatever I wanted with my life. Perhaps going back to college to get the
qualifications I needed to change my career. And it also meant that Connor and
I could save to get married. Not that he had asked me yet, but it was all in my

My Five Year Plan was divided up into each
year, then month, then week, and detailed exactly how much I needed to save
each week to reach my goal. It had started off in an old battered notebook, but
now I used apps and calendar reminders which bleeped at me to let me know what
I should be doing and when. My social life, working life and even my meals for
the week were planned with military precision. As long as I was working towards
my goals, I was happy, but it did mean there was little time for spontaneity,
which is why Doris was looking at me as though I had gone mad.

I was taking the immensely significant step of
leaving work early on a Saturday and I hadn’t planned for it. Maybe I could even
go shopping and buy something new to wear which I hadn’t budgeted for. I was
going to call Sinead and Steph and tell them we were going out early to sit in
the beer garden.

‘We’d all like to say “hello to spontaneity”
and go and enjoy the sunshine but I’m afraid you aren’t going anywhere at the
moment – you’ve taken your lunch and you can’t take a lunch if you have only
worked for four hours. Sit down, Fiona’. She motioned me to sit. ‘You will
simply have to work the half hour you have taken for lunch and then you can go.
That is, unless you want to leave me to do everything myself.’

Half a bloody hour. She might as well have
said ‘until the end of time.’ I slumped in my seat and sulked, a few minutes
afterwards I realised I still had my coat on – my gorgeous, yellow, coat. Yes,
it was the hottest day of the year, but it was a size twelve Topshop coat so
therefore practically a size zero and I hadn’t got into a size twelve Topshop
anything for two years – this is because size twelve clothes don’t fit you if
you are a size fourteen, like me. I tried to take it off while still sitting
down as if that was a normal thing to do, but I got my arm stuck in a sleeve
and had to stand up which somehow made me even more stuck, so I left one arm in
my coat and sat down. This was exactly the sort of thing that happened when you
didn’t plan for it. I spent the next twenty-five minutes looking at the screen
answering queries while trying to shrug the coat sleeve off while Doris tutted
and complained about her coffee.

When I’d finally worked off my lunch hour, all
enthusiasm had left me. I’d talked myself out of my Great Escape. There didn’t seem
any point going early now.

After I’d freed myself of my coat, I made
myself a hot chocolate in my four cat mug. Then I made Doris another cup of
coffee and dunked a tea bag in it for a few seconds. I don’t know why, I just felt
like it. She said it was lovely and I was disappointed she liked it but also
rather pleased that at least someone had appreciated one of my inventive

What seemed like decades later, it was finally
five o’clock. I left work feeling troubled and upset and decided I definitely
wasn’t working next Saturday as it was a bank holiday weekend and I would
definitely be having some fun!

I made my way down New Street and took a right
at the end to head towards the Bullring markets to pick up some ingredients for
tea. The carrier bags laden with vegetables cut into my hands as I walked towards
Selfridges to catch the bus.

On the way home, I planned what to do with all
the vegetables for the week and wondered if Connor would be joining me to eat
them or if would I be Instagram-ing them with the world without having anyone
to actually share them with. As I was wondering what kind of meals I could cook
for a cat, Connor sent a text with an apology, saying he ‘might’ be around
later. I muttered ‘tosser’ under my breath, but not as quietly as I thought and
an old lady in front of me turned round, glared at me and tutted. ‘Well he is,’
I said.

A year or so ago, Connor absolutely fitted in
with my Five Year Plan perfectly. He was successful, focused, with big plans
for his business, and knew exactly what he wanted. But now, Connor was so busy
he barely had time to see me. Part of me wondered if he wasn’t committed to me,
let alone the plan, but he would always reassure me that he was doing this for
us and our future.

But today I was troubled by it all. Now I had
seen my future as a mad cat lady and with Doris retiring, and the realisation I
had already been working there for fifteen years, I was frightened that if I
didn’t do something drastic, I’d spend the next thirty years at that same desk.
I was worried my five year plan wasn’t working.

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