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

Monday May 3rd 2010 - A car boot sale and the Wyre Way

I woke that morning to more sunshine and the promise of another lovely day. It was still early; too early really to get up but I was feeling peckish so I decided to make some tea and toast and take it back to bed. The dogs woke up when I opened the van door but for once they didn't seem to be too eager to go out - maybe they realised it was still early and wanted a lie-in. It didn't take long to sort out breakfast, and with everything on a tray and a camping magazine to read I climbed back into bed. I may not have been in a five star hotel but this was my first breakfast in bed in the van, and with the cosy red bedding and matching cushions it actually felt quite luxurious. I could have stayed there all day, but after a while the warmth of the sun on the side of the van became a bit too much even with the window open, so reluctantly I had to get up - the dogs were getting restless by then anyway so I knew they needed to go out.

With the dogs walked and the breakfast things washed and put away I sat in the sun outside the awning to plan my day. And for once I decided I would do very little - there was a big car boot sale in a field only a couple of miles from the site, so I would go there first then come back to the site, park up and take the dogs for a long walk in the local area. I could have killed two birds with one stone and walked with the dogs to the car boot sale and back, but I thought I had better drive there in case I bought anything I couldn't carry! So with that decision made I put the dogs in the back of the van, detached the awning from the side and set off.

It only took a few minutes to get to the car boot sale, and once I had parked up I took the dogs for a quick walk round the bottom end of the field before I went to browse round the stalls. There were several long rows of stalls and I walked up and down them all twice but didn't see anything that really interested me. The only stall I did linger at was one run by a young Jamaican guy and which sold strings of brightly coloured beads, knitted hats and many other things pertaining to the Caribbean. It wasn't the items on the stall which caught my attention though, it was the reggae music being played - it was a really catchy tune and soon had me tapping my foot in time to the beat. I asked the young guy what the cd was called and he told me it was a 'Best Of...' album, but as I had never heard of either the singer or the song I was none the wiser. I really liked it though so I asked if there was a copy for sale and there was, so I took a chance that I would like the rest of the songs on the cd and bought it. And that was the only thing I bought from the whole of the car boot sale, apart from treating myself to a cheeseburger and a coffee from the permanent refreshment kiosk - I don't normally eat fast food but I do like to treat myself to a cheeseburger on the odd occasions that I go to a car boot sale, and having been to that one before I knew their food was good. I didn't sit outside the kiosk though, I took the burger and coffee back to the van and enjoyed them in comfort while listening to my new cd, then with the rubbish deposited in a nearby bin I drove back to the site.

Once back on my pitch I re-attached the awning to the van, as I had no intention of driving anywhere else that day, then set off with the dogs on a voyage of exploration. Reaching the path along the riverbank I turned right and headed in the direction of the main road and the hump-back bridge. Alongside the stone-built road bridge, which was only just about wide enough for two cars to pass, was a steel-constructed footbridge and a gate from the footpath opened out onto the end of it. Directly across the road was another gate leading to the continuation of the footpath which, later information told me, was part of the Wyre Way. Getting across the road at that point with two dogs was no mean feat as it was very busy and gaps in the traffic were few and far between, however I managed it eventually without any of us getting squashed and we got safely through the far gate. The path from there led through a small copse of tall trees then back out onto the top of the wide steep riverbank. There was an open field to my right with a large herd of cows dotted about, with their heads down and munching away at the lush green grass - there was no fence to separate the field from the riverbank and it was obvious from the many large and messy cowpats that the animals roamed quite freely, so I had to watch where I was putting my feet. There was a wire fence and a stile across the path at the far end of the field and once I'd got across that I was able to let the dogs off the lead. The grass at that point appeared to be reasonably well looked after and a little further on I came upon a small fishing lake, shaded on one side by tall uncultivated hedges and a few trees. At the far side of the hedges, and a bit further along the path, was another lake, larger than the first one and with a couple of people sitting fishing. Again, this lake was bordered on the far side by a high hedge, and on the other side of the hedge was a strip of land which had once been part of a field but which was now a nicely cultivated lawn dotted with shrubs and small cherry trees, and separated from the footpath by a border of lovely late-flowering yellow and white daffodils and a low well trimmed hedge. At the other side of the lawn the land turned to vast fields stretching almost as far as the eye could see, separated by hedges and trees and dotted here and there with farm buildings. On my left the river flowed slowly and silently and up ahead, on a bend, was a red-roofed farmhouse with a white-painted gable. I stopped walking and just stood there for a few moments, taking in the lovely views and savouring the peace and tranquility of the surroundings - and wondering how, when this place was only 45 minutes from home, I had never discovered it before.

With my reverie over I continued walking, following the river as it wound its way through the fields. The dogs were having a high old time running through the grass and sniffing all the different smells, and it was great to see them enjoying themselves - it makes a walk so much more enjoyable to know that the dogs are having fun. About half a mile further on the fields on my side of the river gradually dwindled till there was only the steep riverbank left, with a lane running parallel alongside. I had no choice but to walk along the top of the bank, with the path becoming narrower and more overgrown the further along I got. Eventually it petered out completely, meaning I had to go down onto the lane, but even with the dogs back on their leads I didn't think it was a good idea so I decided to turn round there and head back towards the site.

By then a lot of clouds had appeared and the sky had lost some of its bright blue colouring, though the sun was still shining - knowing how changeable the English weather can be I was just hoping that it wouldn't suddenly decide to rain while I was in the middle of nowhere. It didn't though, and by the time I had got back to the site the clouds were clearing and the bright blue was returning to the sky. The site was almost deserted when I arrived back - the handful of campers and caravanners who had been there over the weekend had all packed up and gone while I had been out and there was just one caravan left in a corner - if the site hadn't been quiet before it certainly would be now!

With the dogs on their beds outside the awning I made myself a brew and something to eat then relaxed in the sun till the warmth went out of it. The rest of my evening was spent in the awning watching tv, then when it got to the stage where I couldn't stop yawning I took the dogs for a final quick walk, settled them into the back of the van then climbed into my cosy bed for my final night on site.