About Me

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Hi! I'm Eunice and I live in Bolton, Lancashire, with my two dogs Sophie and Sugar and an assortment of cats - well it used to be Sophie and Sugar, now it's Sophie and Poppie. I first began camping back in 1997 when my then partner took me to Anglesey for my birthday weekend. We slept in the back of the car - a hatchback - using the cushions off the settee at home as a mattress, and cooked and brewed up on a single burner camping stove. The site was good, the views were great, the weather fantastic and I was completely hooked. Following that weekend we got a two-man tent and some proper accessories and returned to Anglesey two weeks later, then over time we progressed to a three-man tent followed by an old trailer tent, then a new trailer tent, a campervan and finally a caravan. When my partner decided that the grass was greener on the other side of the street - literally - in April 2009 and I suddenly found myself alone after fifteen years, I decided there was no way I was going to give up camping and caravanning if I could cope on my own. This blog is the story of my travels, trials and tribulations since becoming a solo camper - I hope you like it

Saturday August 29th 2009 - Garstang and a thunderstorm

The sun was shining when I woke that morning, and after putting the kettle on in readiness for breakfast I took the dogs for a walk up the lane to the marina next door, where I could let them off the lead in the nearby field. Once they'd had a good scamper round I made my way back to the caravan and sorted myself out some tea, toast and marmalade, and breakfasted at leisure over a few chapters of the latest book I was reading. Then with the pots washed and put away, and the dogs on their line so they couldn't escape, I walked the couple of hundred yards to the little baker's shop at the end of the lane to treat myself to one of their delicious cream cakes for later on. However, when I got into the shop I was met with such a divine-looking array of cakes and pastries that I didn't know which to choose. So with no-one around to call me a greedy pig I bought two - one for lunch and one for tea. I could start the diet the following day!

Back at the caravan I got chatting to the couple on the next pitch, they were regulars at the site and remembered seeing me when I was there in May - they were an easy couple to talk to and I passed a very pleasant half hour with them. After lunch I decided to take myself and the dogs for a walk into and around Garstang, and visit some friends on the way. Their house backs onto the canal and I would be walking past anyway so I thought I may as well call in - there was no answer to my knock though so maybe they were both at work. I continued along the towpath to the next bridge then went up onto the road in the direction of the town. Not far from the town centre my walk took me past the Wheatsheaf pub - now although normally I have no interest at all in pubs, either inside or outside, I thought this particular one looked quite attractive and certainly worthy of a photograph.

The couple I had been talking to that morning had told me about a nice little spot on the river which I hadn't known about before, so I headed along the main street in that direction. Access to the riverside was through a car park - I had been past that car park in May but had never known that the river was at the other side of it, so I was very pleasantly surprised when I got there. There was a bend in the river at that point and a wide, well kept grass bank led down to the water - a couple of sandy 'beaches' lay along the water's edge, and some children and a dog were playing in the shallows. Across the fields on the far side of the river I could see the ruins of a castle in the distance - the same castle I had seen in May while cycling along the canal towpath. Ruined castles intrigue me greatly so I made a mental note to see if I could find out how to get to this one and look round if I could.

A path ran parallel to the river in both directions and at first I was undecided which way to go, but the sky was clouding over and starting to look a bit grey so I opted for the way which would take me back in the direction I had come from. It was a very pleasant walk and the path brought me out at the main road on the outskirts of the town, a little way from where I had started off. From there it was only a five-minute walk back to the canal and onwards back to base. And I arrived back at just the right time - I had only just settled the dogs on their beds and put the kettle on for a brew when I heard the distinct sound of rain on the caravan roof. Looking out of the window I could see that the remains of the blue sky had rapidly disappeared and everything was now dismal and grey, and from that moment on the weather went downhill with a vengeance.

Not wanting to venture out again while it was raining I settled down in the caravan to watch some tv - and that's where I ended up staying. The rain became torrential, pounding the roof of the caravan with such a noise that I had to turn the tv up - resigning myself to the fact that I wouldn't be going out for quite some time I made myself something to eat, then tucked into my second cream cake of the day with another brew. The rain lasted a couple of hours before it eventually stopped, only to be replaced by thunder and lightning, so as a precaution I unplugged the tv and disconnected the aerial. Fortunately the dogs weren't bothered by it, they were curled up asleep on their beds and Sugar was snoring for England. After a while the lightning flashes got less and the thunder rolled away into the distance, so as it was still fine I thought I would grab the chance of taking the dogs for a quick walk round the site. And that's when I noticed it - the awning roof, at its lowest point at the front, had collected all the rain water which had run down from the top, and the section of canvas between the two sets of front roof poles was sagging downwards with the weight of the swimming pool it contained. This was right over the door, and had I unzipped the panel to go outside I would probably have had a sudden and unexpected drenching. I had to get rid of that water before I did anything else, so using the soft-bristled long handled brush which I kept for cleaning the caravan I pushed the canvas upwards, allowing the water to run off over the front and to the sides - it took a few attempts but eventually it was clear and I was able to unzip the door.

I fed the dogs then clipped their leads on and took them for a quick walk round the site - and I'd only just got back to the caravan when the second deluge of the evening arrived. Thinking that maybe I hadn't got the canvas taut enough, and that's why the water had collected over the door, I went round the awning trying to tighten up all the poles to prevent it from happening again, but I couldn't tighten them any more than they already were so I just had to hope for the best. It rained so hard though that it wasn't long before another swimming pool had collected over the front of the awning - I thought about just going to bed and leaving it like that, but then wondered how much worse it could get if the rain continued, so for the second time that evening I pushed the canvas up to get rid of the water. By the time I'd finished I'd just about had enough of the weather for one night, so I settled the dogs on their beds and retreated to mine with a book, hoping for better weather the following day.

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