A lot like a dog with a bone, Joe can’t help himself. As soon as you so much as utter a friendly conversational line like ‘yeah, I don’t think it’d be that bad camping here in winter’ it’s like you just wandered into an Amway meeting. He’s all over you. There’s no escape.

I was almost saved by the fact that we drove into Sigulda under the cover of darkness, and at first we couldn’t find the camping ground he’d had in mind. Unfortunately he persevered and I found myself standing in front of a rather bemused middle aged camping host and her cat explaining that we wanted to sleep in our car at her campsite.

‘So you want to stay in a cabin?’ she said, attempting to understand the madness.

‘No, no, no, we’ll stay in our car’ said Joe, gesturing to Bob who was shivering outside. ‘We just need a camping pitch.’

‘Okeeeeeyyyy…’ she said, ‘but all the kitchens and showers are closed. Because now it is winter season.’ She stressed the last point, as though we hadn’t been outside recently. Then she thought for a moment and turned around to a pine shelf covered in keys. She picked one from its hook and put it on the counter.

‘This is for cabin 4.’ She said matter-o-factly. ‘You can use the shower and toilet, and use the kitchen for your cooking.’

I was under no illusion that what she was really saying was ‘You poor girl. Your boyfriend is obviously insane. Here, take this key and sleep in this nice warm cabin instead. Go on. It’s free.’

We wound around the empty site and found a spot. Then we sat in the front seat drinking a bottle of Chilean sauvignon until either of us had the courage to go outside and start setting up the back of the car for sleeping. I love camping.

Finally, in a sprint effort, everything was pushed into its new home, and we were cooking dinner and listening to ‘Moonraker’ on audio book, and all the wine was gone. And then we settled into 3 layers of clothes, sleeping bags and doona, and only my cold nose showed through the layers. And it was a very cold nose.

We woke up, heroic, and extremely cold, and the light of day showed that, yes, we were the only people who had been mad enough to camp in Latvia that night. Bob’s refridgerator-like metal walls were covered in ice, so it was actually colder inside the car than it was out, but for whatever reason, we decided that we would stay a second night. They did have a traditional sauna on site after all…