It was raining that morning as I drove up the M6, fine but heavy stuff, and I wasn't looking forward to putting up the awning and getting wet in the process, but I didn't have much choice as there was no other time in which I could do it. This wasn't a camping weekend for pleasure though, I was camping for necessity - I was attending a Caravan Club towing and manoevring course at an agricultural college near Garstang, and even though it was only forty minutes drive from home I had decided to camp nearby to save two lots of driving each day. I hadn't actually chosen the site myself though - I had originally intended staying at Wyreside Farm Park, but I had been corresponding with another UKCS member whose wife was also doing the towing course, and he had suggested that if I stayed on the same site as them he would look after Sophie and Sugar for me while I was attending the course. Well, what more could I ask for? Someone to pair up with on the course and chat to afterwards, and someone else to dog-sit while I was out - it was a no-brainer really! And the site he had chosen was in the same village as Wyreside Farm Park anyway.
There was only one minor problem though - the caravan course started at 8.45am Saturday and I wouldn't have time to drive to the site and set up my awning first so it meant doing it a day early, even though I would have to go back home to go to work at lunchtime then return to the site in the evening. It was 10am when I arrived at the site, a Caravan Club CL which was part of a much larger caravan storage/seasonal site. There was no-one around so I found my way to reception on the main site, only to find it closed and no way of booking in - however, after wandering round the adjacent farm yard I eventually found a guy who said he would come across and show me where to pitch. He did come across but then couldn't find the ehu posts - the back of the site was bordered by a tall thick conifer hedge with the ehu posts underneath, but the foliage was so thick at the bottom it was near enough impossible to find the posts. Now while I think it's a good idea to keep any ehu posts out of sight - they aren't the prettiest looking things after all - I also think it would be a good idea to trim the hedge occasionally! We both searched for several minutes before he found one and showed me where to pitch, then telling me to pay my pitch fee at reception the following day he went off and left me to it.
Thankfully by this time it had stopped raining, so I was able to put the awning up without getting soaked, but because it had taken so long to get onto my pitch I didn't have time to set all my things out inside - I just unloaded them from the van and dumped them in a corner of the awning, then set off to drive back home in time for work at 12.45. It was 8.15pm when I finally got back to the site, and this time not only did I have the dogs with me, I had my cat Tiger as well. Now I wouldn't normally take any of my cats camping, but there was a very good reason for this - Tiger had cancer and was on twice-daily medication from the vet, so I had to have her with me then I could administer it.
As I pulled into the site I could see that the pitch next to mine was now occupied by a large twin-axle caravan, and the sounds of children inside told me that this was Niall and Roz and their family who I was meeting up with. Once I had parked up and connected the awning to the van I set out my things inside, gave Tiger her medication and made her comfortable in her pen - I was just about to put the kettle on when Roz came across and asked if I wanted a brew, so I ended up going over to their caravan for a coffee and a chat. I didn't stay too late though as I'd had a long day and we all had to be up early the following morning, so after taking the dogs for a quick walk round the site and settling them on their beds I checked on Tiger and finally took myself off to my own bed for the rest of the night.
- 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