I woke to another lovely morning, just the sort of weather that makes you wish you didn't have to pack up, but unfortunately I had to go home as I had to be at work at 12.45 lunchtime. After I had taken the dogs for a walk I put some tea and toast on then breakfasted at leisure, sitting in the sun outside the awning. The one remaining caravan had left the site very early on so I on so I was entirely on my own in the peace and quiet of my surroundings. A couple of the resident chickens wandered over to say hello so I threw them some bits of breadcrust - I don't know if chickens are supposed to eat bread but they didn't refuse it and they didn't keel over and snuff it after they'd eaten it so it must have been okay for them. Anyway, it was Weight Watchers wholemeal so it was definitely a healthy option!
With breakfast over and the dogs on their anchor so they wouldn't get in my way I started to pack everything up. Leaving the bed made up I put the larger items on top of it and the smaller ones underneath, and in just over half an hour everything was packed neatly away. The next job was to unpeg the awning; it didn't take long to get the pegs out using a claw hammer, and with the two side poles removed from the inside all I had to do then was unpeg the three guylines running over the top of the van. With those released it was a simple matter to push the back pole and the whole thing collapsed forwards onto the grass, where I removed the pins from the pole ends and working from first one side then the other I slid the poles out of their sleeves. Spreading the awning out a bit more to keep it straight I folded it and rolled it and - wonder of wonders! - it went back in its bag with no trouble, along with the poles. And it had come down an awful lot quicker than it went up! So with the awning and box of pegs stowed away safely, the blinds removed and the dogs settled on their beds in the back of the van I was ready to leave for home. And that's when I hit a big problem - the van wouldn't start.
I turned the key four times but there was absolutely nothing, the battery was dead - strange, as it was a new battery and it had been fine when I went to the car boot sale the day before. Then the blue display on the front of the radio made me realise what had happened - when I had ejected my new cd from the player the previous evening and it had reverted to radio there was a song playing which I don't like so I had turned the sound right down to nothing; then after I had put the blind up in readiness for bed later on I had forgotten to take the key out of the ignition. So the radio had been playing silently for over 12 hours and had flattened the battery, leaving only just enough power to operate the windows. I sat for a few minutes and considered the situation - I was all alone on the camping field, with a van which wouldn't start and an hour and a half to get home in time to go to work. I thought about phoning the RAC but then decided that would be the last option as they would probably take ages to arrive - I would try to get some help closer to hand first. I walked over to the farmhouse to ask Penny, the owner, if she knew if any of the residents in the statics could start the van for me using a set of jump leads - and she came to my rescue herself. Jumping into her own 4 x 4 she drove across to my van and produced a set of heavy duty jump leads which she proceeded to connect to my battery - and after a few revs of her engine my van finally started. It was such a relief as I had visions of being stuck on the site for hours - and although it's a very lovely place to get stuck on I really did have to get home. After thanking Penny for her help I sat in the van for a while with the engine running to give the battery chance to charge up a bit, then released the dogs from the back and took them for a final quick walk round the field. Looking back from near the entrance my van looked rather lonely, parked there all on its own with the rest of the site unoccupied except for a group of resident chickens who were pecking away at the grass.
With the dogs walked for the last time and settled back in the van I set off for home - thanks to Penny and her jump leads I hadn't been delayed too much so I would still just about be in time to get to work. As I closed the site gate I looked back at the field and felt as though I was leaving a little piece of heaven behind - and I promised myself that at the earliest opportunity I would be back.
- 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