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 July 16th 2011 - Tent up, tent down, tent up again

It was another gloriously sunny morning and I was doing exactly as I'd promised myself I would do - returning to Anglesey for another weekend. When I arrived at the site I was quite surprised to find the barrier was raised so I drove straight through even though the warden wasn't around - seeing her brother outside his van I stopped to have a word and it seemed the barrier had a fault so it had been left up temporarily until he fixed it, but he didn't mind me driving straight in. The pitch I had vacated only a few days before was now occupied as were all the others on that part of the site, but just round the corner was another field and when I went to have a look I found there was no-one in there and just two hook-up points about halfway along the hedge line. That would do for me, so I parked up, took the dogs for a quick walk round then set about putting up the tent. 

With the tent up and well pegged down I connected up my hook-up cable so I could plug my fridge in before I did anything else, but found there was no power coming from either that socket or the other one on the post. As I hadn't yet booked in I walked down to reception, which was now open, and after paying my site fees I mentioned the lack of power to the warden, who told me that those two hook-up points are privately owned by the people who live in the house across the field, and they were only turned on when certain groups used the field - so it looked like I was going to be without power for the weekend. However, the warden did say that there would be several campers leaving that morning so if I had a scout round I would probably find a vacant hook-up point somewhere. So that's what I did and as luck would have it, at the bottom end of the small field where I camped in April/May, I found four young men in the process of packing up their tent and belongings. But I was now faced with a problem - hook-up points on the site are limited and can't be booked in advance so are used on a first-come-first-served basis; this particular spot was quite a distance from where I'd originally pitched and there was the great possibility that in the length of time it would take me to take the tent down and get back there somebody else might have arrived and taken the hook up. So not leaving anything to chance I legged it back to the tent as fast as I could, wound up my cable and threw it in the van then drove back to the other field and plugged it into the hook-up point while the four young men were still packing up, though I did explain what I was doing and asked if they minded, which they didn't. Then I drove back to the first field to get my tent - and if ever there was a competition for the fastest time to take a tent down then I would surely win it. Grabbing my claw hammer I went rapidly round the tent pulling out the pegs as fast as I could and throwing them into the peg box, then with the poles out of their sleeves I bundled the tent and the groundsheet together any old how, threw them into the middle of the van and drove back to the other field. The young men were just in the final stages of packing up so I parked at the end of the field and waited, and as they drove off the pitch I drove straight on - result!

By this time I was more than ready for a brew but I wanted to get the tent back up as soon as I could so I got to work straight away, and just over an hour later my 'house' had been built, carpeted, furnished and the bed made, and I was ready for a major chill-out. I put the kettle on then and made my much needed brew, and while I was sitting outside the tent three different lots of campers drove down the field looking for a space with a hook-up point, so I was glad I'd done what I did even if it was rather hectic. And I don't think I could have chosen a better pitch on that part of the site - nice and level with trees on three sides, it was rather like being in a quiet cul-de-sac.

It was after lunch when I thought about going out somewhere but after my rather hectic morning I didn't feel like driving too far so I decided I would just go up as far as Moelfre and Lligwy beach to let the dogs have a run. The lane leading down to Lligwy beach is on an incline and as I drove down and neared the end I got a great view of the bay and the beach. I parked on the lane rather than in the car park - the lane is free, the car park isn't, also the ground is very rough - then with the dogs on the lead I walked down to the dunes and through to where the stream runs across the beach to the sea. The dogs were free then to run about and explore - at one point Sophie disappeared in all the long grass and I was just beginning to wonder where she was when she popped up on top of a dune further along, with her ears pricked up and her tail wagging. If dogs could talk I'm sure she would have said "Ha! Fooled you!"

When the dogs had had a good run round and explore I returned to the van and after using the car park to turn round, as the lane was fairly narrow, I made my way to Moelfre where the car park is at least free. With Sophie and Sugar back on the lead I headed down the hill past the beach and up the other side and along the cliff top path towards Moelfre Island, stopping every so often to take some photos. When I reached the end of the path and the very stony beach I sat for several minutes on a large rock, just taking in the view and enjoying the sunshine. There was a path which skirted one section of the beach and seemed to veer off across a nearby field, and several people were walking along it - I wondered if it might be part of the Anglesey Coastal Path, and made a mental note to explore along there another time. Walking back to the van along the cliff top path I turned a corner and was met by a lovely view of someone's garden. There was a row of cottages at least a hundred yards away with their lawned gardens all leading down to the path, and with its abundance of flowering shrubs and hedges this one garden seemed to be rather pretty. Unfortunately there was a rather solid stone wall in my way so it was difficult to get any really good photos but I managed a couple - maybe next time I pass that way I'll get some better ones.

Back at the van I gave the dogs a drink then headed back to the camp site, stopping off at the supermarket on the way to get something for my tea. With the van parked up on the pitch and the dogs on their beds in the shade I opened a can of Coke and spent the rest of the afternoon sitting in the sun outside the tent - I'd done enough for one day, I could explore somewhere else the following day.

Monday July 11th 2011 - Going home

I woke to another gloriously sunny morning and a very warm tent - reaching round the side of the bedroom pod I unzipped one side of the back door and tucked the flap round the leg of the nearby table to let some fresh air in. The van was parked immediately behind the tent with only about four feet of space between them, so being out of sight of anyone else I lay there for a while just listening to the various camp site sounds. Eventually though I had to face the fact that no matter how sunny it was I had to pack up and go home later on - there really should be a law against work getting in the way of camping!

First off was a dog walk round the site then a breakfast of toast and marmalade and a good brew, followed by a few minutes dealing with my sore leg. The blister had burst during the night leaving my skin coated in a yellow crust  - yuck! - and feeling very tight, so a bit of soothing bathing was in order. With that done I spent an hour or so sitting in the sun outside the front of the tent, during which I spent a few minutes chatting to my next door neighbour, then I made a start on packing things away. I wasn't in a particular rush to go but the weather was too nice not to take advantage so I wanted to leave plenty of time to take the dogs down to the beach before I set off for home.

One of the things I like about my tent is the fact that it has a front and back door - with the side door of the van open it was an easy matter to transfer things straight from the tent without having to continually walk round, and it made packing up so much easier. It was just after mid-day when I finally left the site, and after calling at the nearby petrol station for some diesel and a couple of cans of Coke for my journey I drove down to the beach. I had to keep the dogs on the lead until I got past the dog free area but once I was away from there I let them off so they could run about and explore as they wanted while I walked along by the water's edge. All too soon though it was time to head back to the van and hit the road, and as I drove across Britannia bridge and left Anglesey behind the decision was already made - if the weather was nice I would be back at the end of the week!

Sunday July 10th 2011 - More water and a sore leg

I woke that morning to more sunshine and a sore leg. It had been mildly itchy down the shinbone the previous night but I hadn't thought much of it, however that area was now not only swollen and very itchy but also quite painful down the sides of the swollen bit. It would seem I'd been bitten by something the previous day - probably a horsefly - although I hadn't been aware of it at the time. Whatever it was it had certainly made a meal of my leg, and the itching was driving me mad. After I'd taken the dogs for their first walk of the day I put the kettle on and made some breakfast then soaked a spare new J cloth in cold water and sat with it on my leg to ease the itching - it did help and the itching subsided after a while to something more bearable.

It was late morning when I finally went out and my first port of call was the big car boot sale on the Anglesey showground. I wasn't looking for anything in particular, just having a mooch, but it would be nice if I could find a mouse ornament to add to my collection - unfortunately though there were no mice anywhere, and nothing else metaphorically jumped out and shouted "Buy me!" so I got round the whole sale without spending so much as a penny. When I got to the end of the last row of stalls I took the dogs up to the far end of the showground where there was no-one around and let them have a good run round off the lead before putting them back in the van. My next stop was Penrhos Coastal Path and Pete's Burger Bar for one of those cheeseburgers I like so much - that area is very popular and when I arrived I couldn't initially find anywhere to park as all the spaces were full but as I drove round the car park a vehicle reversed out from a space and drove away so I was able to get the van in there. Just in the nick of time too, as when I got out of the van there was a line of half a dozen cars all pulling into the car park with every driver looking for a space. I went across and ordered my cheeseburger and coffee then took them back to the van where I sat in the front passenger seat and enjoyed the view - and as always the cheeseburger was excellent.

From Penrhos I drove up towards Holyhead then took one of the minor roads in the direction of Trearddur Bay, stopping first at one of the little bays just before it which was another place I had only ever photographed when the tide was low. By the time I got there the tide had turned and was on its way out but there was still enough water around to make things interesting. Parking the van on the roadside grass verge at one side of the bay I clipped the leads on the dogs and set off towards the other side, which wasn't far. There were several families on the beach and the resident ice cream van and burger van seemed to be doing steady business; quite a few people were in the sea and as I stood looking at the view a convoy of brightly coloured kayaks came round the headland and headed towards the beach. The whole scene was very colourful and I was glad I'd stopped there.

Back on the road again I stopped briefly to take a couple of photos at a very small deserted cove where the sea was quite well in, then again at another small bay where a handful of people were on the beach and in the sea. My next stop was at Trearddur bay itself, the sea was quite well in there and I spent quite a while watching a guy on a tractor towing boats out of the water and up the slipway. There was a small shingle beach near the end of the slipway so while I was watching the boats I waded into the water to see if it would soothe my itching leg. Unfortunately, though I didn't realise it till later, as a result of my paddling the camera lens got splashed by a couple of water droplets so the next half dozen photos had blurred patches on them - that'll teach me to remember to put the lens cap back on when I'm not actually photographing something!

From Trearddur Bay I headed in the direction of Aberffraw, which entailed crossing Four Mile Bridge, and I was more than happy to see that for once there was plenty of water around so finding a place to stop at the side of the road, and having wiped the camera lens clean, I spent ten minutes or so taking a few more photos. As I walked back to the van I stopped for a minute to watch a group of teenage lads jumping off the bridge into the channel below, judging by the sound of the splash as each one hit the water it must have been reasonably deep there, but it's not the sort of thing I would be brave enough - or foolish enough - to do.

When I finally got to Aberffraw time was getting on and I didn't fancy my chances of seeing much water by then, but as I parked the van near the bridge across from the village I could see that my luck was in. The shallow stream which ran past the village and out across the beach to the sea was now a great deal wider and deeper, and the boats which would otherwise have been grounded were floating on the end of their mooring ropes. I did consider walking right down to the beach but it was quite a distance from there so with the dogs off the lead I walked down just far enough to take a few photos before I turned round and headed back to the van.

My final stop of the day was inland as I was on my back to the camp site via various country lanes - my route took me close to a site where I knew another UKCS member was staying, so just on the off-chance I decided to call and say hello. I had never met her before, though I knew her name was Kate, so as I pulled into the site, which wasn't a big one, I thought the best thing would be to find someone - anyone - and ask if they knew her. As I parked the van I could see a tall guy outside the awning of a caravan just across the way so I decided to ask him - and he turned out to be Kate's husband. I think Fate must have had a hand in that one! Needless to say, Kate was very surprised to see me and once she had introduced me to her family and her three lovely dogs she offered me a brew and we all sat chatting outside the caravan. They were so easy to get on with it was as though we had known each other for years - the time flew by and before I knew it it was 10pm and almost dark by the time I hit the road for 'home'.

As I headed across the island towards Benllech I realised I was notching up another personal 'first'. Usually at that time of night I'm safely ensconced in my tent, now here I was driving round the winding unlit country roads of Anglesey in the dark for the first time and enjoying every minute of it. Approaching the outskirts of Benllech where the road was now lit by street lamps I saw just ahead of me a hedgehog ambling across the road - having no wish to run the little creature over I stopped to wait while it crossed and I only moved off again when I could see that it was safely on the other side of the road. I like hedgehogs and I always feel a touch of sadness when I see one that's become a victim of the road - this one could eventually end up the same but at least it was safe for the time being.

Back at the tent I gave the dogs a very late tea-cum-supper and took them for a quick walk round the site then made myself a last brew and some toast which I took to bed with me. My itchy leg had become a bit more swollen and had developed a blister the size of a ten pence piece - the whole area was now quite painful so I was glad to take the weight off it. Other than that though I'd had a good and varied day and got some good photos from everywhere I'd been - it was just a shame that I had to go home the following day but I would be back again soon.

Saturday July 9th 2011 - It looks better with water in it

It was another sunny morning and 6am saw me leaving home for a weekend down on Anglesey. The weather forecast earlier in the week had promised a good weekend and it seemed for once it was right so I was going to take full advantage of it. I had left the van packed up from my previous weekend at Elvaston Castle so I'd only had to add a few bits and pieces the night before and I was ready for off more or less as soon as I got up. A good friend of mine thinks I'm completely mad for setting off so early but when the weather's good I like to take advantage of it as much as I can - I can lie in bed when it's raining. Also the roads are fairly quiet so I can enjoy the driving more.

The journey down was easy and I made good time, in fact I got there sooner than I expected which was too early for the site warden to be around. I didn't know how long I would have to wait - I couldn't drive straight onto the site because of the barrier - so I parked up in the waiting area and took the dogs for a walk round while I looked for somewhere nice to put my tent, preferably with a hook-up point available. I found a very pleasant corner not too far into the site so I decided to carry my tent across and start setting up - I could pay for my pitch later when the warden was around. However, just as I was getting the tent out of the van a guy came across and asked if I wanted to drive through - he turned out to be the warden's brother who had a static van near to where I was going to pitch, he'd recognized me from when I've been there before and was willing to open the barrier for me. That saved a lot of hassle and within a couple of minutes I was parked on the pitch and putting the tent up, while the dogs stayed in the back of the van out of the way. 

When everything was finally sorted out I went to see if reception was open - it was, so I paid my fee for the two nights I was staying and got a pass for the barrier, then it was time to get some breakfast. Although I could have made some toast and a brew I fancied something a bit more substantial - I had noticed last time I was there that a new cafe had opened up in the village so I decided I would drive down there and give it a try. The cafe is in a small group of shops with a car park set back off the main road so at least I could leave the van where I could see the dogs while I was inside. I ordered a small all-day breakfast with a milky coffee, it was very nicely cooked and was just enough for me - any more and I wouldn't have been able to eat it all.

With the inner woman finally satisfied I called in the nearby Spar supermarket and picked up a free tide table from near the counter. A great majority of the photos I have of various places on Anglesey have all been taken when the tide has been out, simply because that's the way it was it the time, so my mission for the weekend was to revisit some of those places and take some more photos with the tide in - assuming of course that high tide would be at a convenient time. Back at the tent I put my chair in the sun and with the dogs on their bed in the shade of the van I sat down to study the tide table. It would be just my luck that high tide for later that day would be too far into the evening but it turned out to be mid afternoon, so I had plenty of time to relax before I went out and plenty of time for taking photos when I was out. Next I had to think of where to go - there was a place near the Menai bridge called the Belgian promenade, which I hadn't heard of until recently, so I decided to have a look round there and also cross the Menai bridge on foot, which I had never done before.

Just down the road from Menai bridge is a Waitrose supermarket with a car park so I decided to leave the van there while I explored - and to justify being there I went into the store and got a couple of magazines and something for my tea later on. With the dogs on their lead and the camera round my neck my first port of call was the bridge itself - and what a fantastic views I got. It was so clear that I could see right along the Menai Straits in both directions, and although I couldn't take any photos to the south as I was shooting directly into the sun I got some great shots looking to the north. The edge of the little town was spread out in front of me and immediately below me was a large grassy area at the water's edge - further along I could see the white pier at Port Daniel and in the distance on the other side of the straits was the pier at Bangor on the mainland. Of all the times I've been to Anglesey that was the first time I'd seen the Menai Straits from the bridge and I was really impressed with the view.

Once I'd walked the full length of the bridge and back again I set out in search of the Belgian promenade - set back off the road close to the bridge is the Anglesey Arms pub with a small parking area in front of it and leading from there was a narrow lane heading steeply downhill towards the straits. Down at the bottom I was very pleasantly surprised by what I found - there was indeed a pedestrian promenade, tree-lined on one side and separated from the shore by a stone wall on the other side. Almost below the bridge there was a rather unusual house - the bottom half of it was stone and the top half was timber, and it was built right at the water's edge. I just hope the owners have a very good damp proof course installed!

The promenade followed the contours of the land and round a bend was a cove and St. Tysilio's church on Church Island, which was linked to the promenade by a walled causeway. The church itself was situated to the left of the little island and a very pleasant and well-kept sloping graveyard with a war memorial at the top occupied the rest of the land. Following a narrow path from the gates I made my way round the edge of the island to the church, stopping at one point to look back towards the bridge and take some photos - and it was then that I saw, tucked away in a corner underneath the trees, a very tiny grave. It looked to be quite old and I assumed it was the resting place of a baby, but when I looked at the inscription on the headstone I was surprised to find that it was modern, dating from 2002, and with the name of E.T. it must have been someone's pet. Cat or dog, who knows, but there was a fresh pot plant on the gravestone so it must have been much loved and remembered. I couldn't go into the church as it was closed so I climbed the slope to the memorial at the top of the cemetery and took a few photos, then made my way down and headed back along the causeway and the promenade to where I'd left the van at Waitrose. Although the parking there was free there was a time limit and I didn't want to go over it and find that a supermarket official had given me a ticket.

From Waitrose I drove through Menai Bridge town itself and headed towards Beaumaris. The road ran parallel to the straits although there were houses and trees between it and the shore, but as I rounded a bend I caught sight of a brilliant view through the trees and that was it, I just had to stop. Luckily there was a bit of a lay-by up ahead so I pulled in there and walked back along the road to take some photos. I'd actually taken a few shots along there several years previously but the tide had been out at the time - this time, with the exception of a few small islands and sandbanks, the place was full of water. It made such a difference to the view and I got some great photos.

I was so pleased with the shots I'd just taken that I couldn't wait to get back to my tent and download them to my laptop to see what they were really like. It was getting on for tea time by then anyway and I was feeling rather peckish so I abandoned my idea of going to Beaumaris, turned the van round and drove back through Menai Bridge town to pick up the main road back to Benllech. Once back at the tent I made a brew and a couple of sandwiches then connected the camera to the laptop and downloaded the afternoon's photos - and viewing them afterwards I thought the last few just had to be some of the best I've ever taken while on Anglesey.

I spent most of the evening sitting outside the tent, reading a magazine and watching the camp site world go by, then as the daylight started to fade I took Sophie and Sugar round the site for their last walk of the day. An hour of tv followed then I made a final brew, and with the dogs already settled on their beds I snuggled into mine with metaphorical fingers crossed for another great day to come. 

Monday July 4th 2011 - A field to myself

It was yet another warm and sunny morning, far too nice to go home but unfortunately packing up was inevitable. I wasn't in too much of a rush though so first off was a good dog walk round the site then it was time for some breakfast, though I use the term loosely. Not having any source of power there had been no point taking my camping fridge, and without the fridge I had no butter or milk therefore couldn't make any tea or toast - which was why I'd got something from over at the show on the previous two mornings - so my breakfast that morning consisted of a mug of instant cappuccino and a couple of apple and raisin cereal bars. It was all I needed just then though, and I could always call somewhere and get something better once I left the site.

With the dogs on their beds in the shade of the van I spent much of the morning sitting in the sun outside the tent but eventually I couldn't put off the inevitable any longer and I made a start on packing up. I only had my bed, chair, portable loo and one small table to deal with so within an hour the tent was taken down and everything was packed neatly away in the van. When I finally looked down the field I found that the last two families had left while I had been busy, and apart from some marquees which belonged to the showground the whole place was now empty. I had just enough time to take Sophie and Sugar for one last walk across the field before I left, then having settled them on their beds in the back of the van I put a cd on and drove slowly across the field for the final time.

The journey back was an easy one and I was home for 3pm, with plenty of time to get myself something proper to eat before I had to think about going to work. I'd had a great weekend, met some nice people, visited friends, and got some good photos which would be downloaded to my pc as soon as I got back from work - and when next year's Elvaston meet is arranged my name will definitely be on the list!

Sunday July 3rd 2011 - Castle grounds and dancing diggers

I woke to another sunny morning and lay for a while listening to the birds twittering away in the hedge behind me and enjoying the comfort of my new bed. If I had one slight niggle it was that even under my 4-inch thick mattress I could still feel the bar running down the middle where the two beds joined together, but it wasn't a major problem and could be fixed next time out by the addition of some form of padding under the mattress. Other than that I was lovely and comfy, and for the life of me I couldn't think why I hadn't thought about having a proper bed ages ago. I finally got up when the tent got too warm with the sunshine and as soon as I moved the dogs were up and waiting to go out. Having pitched towards the top end of the field and a bit away from 'civilisation' I was able to let them have a good run round off the lead, then it was over to the showground to get some breakfast from the same catering wagon as before.

Back at the tent my companions from the previous evening were all up and about so I stopped by to say good morning, and during conversation I found out that the laughter of the previous night had come about because one of the dads had tripped over a guy line and sprawled full length in front of the tent, then just as he'd picked himself up had tripped over another one. It sounded so funny that I almost wished I hadn't gone to bed when I did! After chatting for a while I decided that as it was such a nice morning I would take the camera and have a walk round the castle grounds to see if I could get any good photos. The weather last year had been a bit hit and miss and I didn't really get any decent shots so now was the time to rectify the matter - I could go back to the show later on.

A couple of minutes walk from the showground entrance brought me to the bottom end of The Ride, the long lawned and tree-lined walk leading up to the castle itself. At the top I turned left and took a look round the formal gardens with their hedges cut into different shapes then went across the front of the castle and spent quite a while down by the lake. It seemed to be a very popular place and even though it wasn't yet lunchtime there were several families having picnics on the grass, and the tea room round at the back of the castle was keeping busy.

There was one feature in the castle grounds which I wanted to see and that was the golden gates, but having looked at a map they seemed to be quite a distance from where I was so I decided to leave those for another time. I did think about going round to the other side of the lake and walking through the woods but then decided against it as I also wanted to call on my friends Shelagh and Ken who lived just a couple of miles down the road. I had called a couple of times last year but they hadn't been in, and I didn't want to pass up the chance of calling again while I was in the area, so having taken enough photos to keep myself happy I made my way back to the tent. After giving the dogs a drink I settled them in the back of the van, checked that everything was ok with the tent, then set off for the two mile drive to Alvaston. And I've often wondered why that area of Derby is called Alvaston when the area round the castle is Elvaston - very confusing. I wonder which came first?

It only took a few minutes to get to Ken and Shelagh's - their house is one of a small group of nine set back off the road and as I pulled up onto the tree-shaded grass I could see their car parked on the drive so hopefully they were in. Leaving the dogs in the van I went and knocked on the door - nothing happened and I thought I was going to be out of luck but I knocked again and a few seconds later the door was opened by Shelagh. She was really surprised to see me and said they were sitting out in the back garden and had only just about heard the knock. She invited me in - and the dogs as well - and took me through to the back garden where Ken was equally surprised to see me, then she made a coffee and we settled down for a long chat and a catch-up of all the latest news and gossip while Sophie and Sugar mooched about round the garden. I mentioned having called last year and they said that they had been on holiday then as I'd originally thought. They were really impressed with my van and my solo camping life too, as the last time I'd seen them I couldn't drive and hadn't even thought about learning. I spent a good couple of hours with them and could have stayed longer but I wanted to get back to the show to see the dancing diggers, so eventually I said my goodbyes, put the dogs in the back of the van and set off back to the camp site.

I arrived at the showground's main arena with a few minutes to spare and managed to get a good place by the barriers at the front so I had an uninterrupted view of the display. The sky had clouded over somewhat by then and at one point it looked like it might rain but thankfully it stayed fine for the display. The dancing diggers are a group of five huge JCBs from a local plant hire and excavation firm and their operators do all sorts of weird and wonderful things with them, from driving round in formation to tipping them over on their sides and tilting them with their fronts facing steeply upwards or downwards. When they went over on their sides it was hard to believe just how far over they did go as it looked like they would end up on the ground at any second. The balance and precision were really something and testament to the experince of the operators - one wrong move and there was the very real possibility of serious injury or even death. And when they were tilted up, using the buckets and backhoes for balance, they went so high that another full size JCB could be driven underneath them - the hydraulics on these machines must be superb to enable them to go up so far. The finale of the display was when a couple of full size vintage steam rollers, one pulling a trailer full of passengers, were driven underneath. It was a great display, and just the sort of thing that I would like to do myself - in fact three years previously, after having seen a guy on his own doing a similar sort of thing at the Oswestry show, I had thought about buying a JCB in partnership with someone else and doing exactly that, but with both of us having various commitments at the time nothing really came of it. Needless to say, if I ever do get chance to do it I won't hesitate! 

With the digger display over I made my way to the sandwich and cake stall and got something for my tea then had a last look round all the stalls and exhibits before everyone started packing up. The was one stall run by a charity which rescues owls and another one featuring rescued parrots and their various relations - I didn't buy anything from either stall but being a total push-over when it comes to anything to do with animals I did give each charity a donation. The only thing I did buy from one stall selling accessories was a pack of gas cartridges for my camping stove - I already had some but a few spares always come in handy and at less than a fiver they were cheaper than my local camping shop.

Back at the tent I fed the dogs, unwrapped my sandwiches and made a brew - the clouds were breaking up by then and the sun was shining properly again so I sat outside the tent and watched the comings and goings of other UKCS members as they packed up to leave. Those who had to travel a good distance had already left, though some were staying on till the following day - my companions from the previous evening were in the process of packing up though and once they were ready for off I went over to say goodbye and wish them a safe journey home. I don't know if they'll be at the meet next year but I hope so as it would be nice to see them again - they were a great bunch of people. I spent the rest of the evening relaxing with my book - with no power supply I couldn't do much else - then just before the daylight faded I took the dogs for a good walk right round the site then retreated into my tent for the rest of the night. Since many of the campers had left earlier on my nearest neighbour was now some distance down the field so with no-one in close proximity it was deathly quiet, though an owl hooted occasionally from somewhere across the field behind the hedge. Now some people might be rather apprehensive about being alone in a tent in such a quiet location, especially with the haunting sounds of a nearby owl, but things like that don't bother me - and as I snuggled down in bed a bit later on the only other noise was Sugar's gentle snoring coming from across the tent as she chased rabbits in her sleep.