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

Sunday July 4th 2010 - Exploring the castle grounds

I woke quite early that morning, with the sun shining on the tent and the birds singing in the trees nearby. I was in no real rush to get up but decided to take advantage of the peace and quiet and take the dogs for their first walk while there was nobody about. At first I thought about just walking round the perimeter of the field but then decided to go across the lane and explore round the castle grounds. A path led from the entrance to the showground through a wooded area running parallel to the lane and a few minutes walking brought me to a long and wide lawned avenue, bordered on either side by trees and rhododendron bushes and leading up to the castle itself. I walked right up as far as the wide stone steps in front of the castle and would have gone farther but it was getting time for breakfast so I decided to return to the tent - I could go back and explore some more later when I had my camera with me. Back at base I left the dogs in the van and went in search of some food - I wasn't sure if any of the catering wagons would be open so early, but there had to be somewhere for exhibitors to get breakfast and I was lucky, the first wagon was open so I ordered bacon on toast, taking it back to the van and making my own brew. Then with the dogs on a long lead fastened to the towbar I settled myself outside my tent for an al fresco breakfast in the sunshine.

It was mid morning when I decided to go back to the castle for a proper look round, this time with my camera - by then the sky was becoming dotted with clouds and I just hoped the sun would stay out for me to get some good shots, but by the time I had walked up the lawned avenue it had clouded over considerably and I actually felt a few drops of rain, although they didn't amount to anything. Now some people might consider this to be an odd way of thinking, but when I'm taking photos of scenery or nature I always prefer the sun to be shining; I hate grey clouds, they make everything look so dismal, so mentally cursing myself for not having the camera with me earlier on I decided to cut short my exploration of the castle grounds. After taking a couple of shots from the top of the avenue I made my way to the side of the nearby lake and followed the path which I hoped would take me back towards the lane.

The path took me round the narrow end of the lake and through the woods at the other side, it was a very pleasant walk and I could see that the dogs were enjoying themselves running through the trees and in and out of bushes. I did manage to take a few photos of the lake, though the scenery would have looked so different if the sun had still been shining.

The path eventually veered away from the lake and brought me out not far from the entrance to the showground so I put the dogs back on the lead till I got back to my tent. As I crossed the camping field I could see that a few people from the meet were already packing up to leave, but I was in no rush to go home so I wouldn't be leaving till much later. Back at base I made myself a brew and spent an hour or so sitting in the van reading a magazine and listening to the radio, then decided to have one final look round the show to see if there was anything I had missed on my previous visits. And for once I left the dogs in the van - as much as I love them and like having them with me I do occasionally like to look round a show on my own, and I knew they would be okay for the length of time I would be away. I didn't buy anything from the show other than a sandwich for my tea, though I did momentarily think about having a go at bungee trampolining - had I been with somebody then I probably would have done (I'm daft enough to have a go at anything) but being on my own I decided against it and made my way back to the tent. On my way across the field I stopped to talk to the UKCS member I had been chatting to the night before and she invited me to stay for a brew - by this time the sun had come out again, so after checking that the dogs were ok I passed a very pleasant hour having a coffee and a chat. Then it was time to think about packing up to go home, but by then the show had ended and everyone was making their way out of the showground - the lane back to the main road was very narrow and winding and I knew there would be a long line of slow moving traffic for quite a while, so I decided to have my tea and wait till later on when most of the tractors and engines had left - I didn't fancy crawling along behind one of those at only a few miles an hour!

It was 7pm when I finally started taking the tent down and packing up the van, and once everything was stowed neatly away I took the dogs across to the showground for a final walk round before the journey home. By then the place was almost deserted; the tractors, engines and cars had all gone, the fairground rides were closed and the only people around were stallholders who were packing their goods into vans and dismantling their stalls - the atmosphere seemed strangely quiet after such a busy weekend. As I was walking back towards the entrance I saw the guy from the catering wagon who I had been talking to the day before, he was loading his van up and came across to speak to me. I had been chatting to him for a while when his assistant came out of the wagon - and if looks could kill I would have been dead on the spot! I knew she wasn't his wife, girlfriend or partner as he had previously told me he was single - and yes, I did believe him - but for some reason she obviously didn't like him talking to me! I said my goodbyes then and made my way back to the van, then with a quick check to make sure I wasn't leaving anything behind, and the dogs safely in the back, I set off for home.

The drive back was pleasant and with no delays, and I arrived home just before 10pm - by that time I was beginning to feel tired so after a quick walk round the block I settled the dogs in for the night and took myself off to bed. It had been a good weekend and I had enjoyed it enough to want to go to that show again - but that would be in twelve months time, and as I settled down to sleep I was already planning the following weekend!

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