I woke that morning to the sound of rain on the top of the tent - a sound which I was hoping I wouldn't hear as it didn't bode well for the second day of the Corwen show, but it was still reasonably early and the show wouldn't open till 10am so there was a chance it could turn out fine by then. Tiger was curled up asleep down by my feet and the dogs were still snoozing on their beds across the other side of the tent, so as I didn't need to rush to get up I rolled over and dozed off again for another half hour or so. When I did finally get up and poke my head out of the tent I found that it had stopped raining, so after giving Tiger her medication and mixing up some fresh milk for her I took Sophie and Sugar for a walk down the lane and along the riverside. Although the rain had stopped there was still a lot of low cloud over the hillside and it was just as grey and miserable a day as it had been the day before.
Back at the tent I made tea and toast and gave Tiger some of her milk, then spent some time reading a magazine before setting off for the show. There was to be a fun dog show at noon, and in view of the dogs' success at the Oswestry show in June I had decided I would enter them in this one. However, it wasn't to be - as I got to the far side of Corwen village I was passed by a couple of tractors and a vintage wagon going in the opposite direction, and when I got to the showground I found the entrance blocked and 'show cancelled' notices up all over the place. The exhibitors' entrance/exit was choc-a-bloc with tractors, wagons and cars all queueing up to get out, and a couple of marshalls were in the road directing traffic. Corwen show is a very popular event, but it seemed that the great unreliable British weather had put paid to what would have normally been a very enjoyable weekend for a lot of people.
Now at a loose end, I decided to drive on to Bala lake, a place which I had been to several times before over the last few years. Just through the little town of Bala itself is a large lakeside car park with the Loch Cafe near the entrance, so that's where I headed for - the cafe serves up the most delicious calorie-loaded Caramel Apple Granny I've ever tasted, so I figured that a portion of that with a latte coffee would make my weekend more worthwhile. As I drove along and got closer to Bala the already grey weather seemed to get worse - although it wasn't actually raining there were pockets of low lying misty cloud over the hillsides and the sky was a really dark oppressive grey. When I finally arrived at the cafe I found that the whole lake was covered in so much mist that I couldn't see any more than halfway across the water, and the lake isn't very wide at that point. What I had always considered to be a lovely place with beautiful views wasn't looking very beautiful at all, and there was certainly no point in getting the camera out. I parked the van so I could see it from the cafe window, and leaving the dogs in the back I went in search of something disgustingly gooey. Now I don't know if the young girl serving behind the counter was relatively new and not sure what she was doing, or if she was just being generous for some reason, but when my Caramel Apple Granny arrived I found it to be a double portion - and served with generous lashings of whipped cream it looked to be so much that I wasn't sure I would eat it all. Not that I was complaining - I hate places where they charge you the earth for a fiddly little slice of something topped by a brief squirt of aerosol cream, and ten minutes after you've eaten it you don't feel like you've had anything. At least what I had in front of me was worth the money and would fill me up for several hours - and I could justify at least some of the calories by taking the dogs for a walk afterwards!
When I came out of the cafe the mist had more or less cleared and I could see across and down the lake but it was still very grey. Collecting the dogs from the van I went up onto the footpath which runs along the top of the grassy bank behind the car park and walked till I came to the road which skirts round the end of the lake - I could have gone further but I didn't want to take up too much time as I had to get back to the camp site and pack my tent and belongings away, so when I reached the road I turned and retraced my route back to the van, and after giving the dogs a drink I set off back to base. Tiger was still asleep on my bed when I got back to the tent, and before I started to pack things away I took the only two photos of the whole weekend. And that's when I decided - I really had to get some blue bedding to go with the tent, that red stuff just doesn't look right at all!
With Tiger in her carry box and the dogs in the van out of the way it didn't take long to put everything away and take the tent down, and after a final check round for stray tent pegs I set off on the journey home, arriving back a couple of hours later. In some ways I felt like I'd had rather a wasted weekend - I could have got the same cloud and rain back home and it would have cost me less! - but at least I'd spent some time away from the busy lifestyle which is my norm. And on the plus side, having previously only tested my new tent in dry weather, at least I'd found out that it doesn't leak!
- 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