The sun was shining as I left home at 7 o'clock that morning for a long bank hoIiday weekend - I had left the van packed up from my Easter break so all I'd needed to put in were the dogs' bed and food, my own food and the few personal items I would need. Having had no phone call from the site owner at Manorafon in Abergele I assumed there had been no cancellations so Anglesey would now be my destination. The drive was pleasant and trouble free and the weather was really nice until I was on the A55 coast road and approaching Colwyn Bay then it clouded over and became really grey, but as I got past the Llandudno area and looked across the water towards Anglesey I could see that the island was bathed in sunshine - that would do for me!
It was 9.30 when I pulled into the parking area near the camp site entrance; the warden, in her static caravan next to reception, saw me arriving and by the time I'd got out of the van and walked across the few yards of grass she was standing by the door with my receipt already written out apart from the amount I would be paying - now that's what I call service! With my site fees paid for four nights and a pass for the barrier I drove through to find myself a pitch; it was too much to hope that I would be able to get in the same small field I'd been in for several weeks last year, but when I got there I was in luck - although I couldn't get in the corner I'd been in previously, as a nearby large tent would have made getting the van in and out difficult, there was plenty of space along the hedge line with a vacant hook-up point nearby, so picking my spot I parked the van and started to set up camp. In less than two hours I had everything done, and by the time I'd walked the dogs I was more than ready for a brew and an hour of relaxation.
Having gone to bed late the night before and got up very early that morning I didn't really feel like going too far that day so I decided just to walk into the village and back. On my way out of the site I noticed that Dave, the relief warden, was on duty in reception so I called in to say hello, and was totally surprised and overwhelmed by the welcome I got. He came out from behind the counter and it was hugs and kisses all round, you'd have thought I was a long-lost relative the way he greeted me. So I ended up spending an hour sitting on top of the fridge in reception chatting to Dave, and my walk into the village was forgotten for the time being. And yes, I know it's a bit of an odd place to sit but there were no chairs! All the time I'd been chatting to Dave there had been a steady stream of campers arriving at the site and by 3pm all the hook-up points had been taken, so I was glad I'd got there early - if I hadn't arrived until the following day, or even later that same day, I would have had no chance of getting one.
When I got back to the awning I saw that two families with a couple of young kids each were halfway through setting up their tents just across the field from me, and the kids were riding about on scooters and bikes. Now this wouldn't normally bother me but for some reason, although there was plenty of space in the rest of the field, they decided to ride up and down close to the front of my awning. I ignored it for a while but eventually decided that enough was enough - my previous awning had been damaged more than once by kids playing and I wasn't risking anyone damaging my new one so I needed to take preventative measures. Although I wouldn't normally use a windbreak it was the only thing I could think of which would protect the awning, so with the dogs in the back of the van I drove to the hardware shop in the village and bought one - a 15-pole 25ft one, plenty long enough for what I wanted. At £26 it wasn't cheap but it was a small price to pay in comparison to what it would cost to repair or replace another damaged awning. And I think the families across the field got the message when they saw me putting it up, as their kids didn't come anywhere near after that.
With that done I spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening relaxing and reading a book - it was lovely in the sunshine but as the day wore on it began to get very chilly so I was glad I had my fan heater for the awning, though as it turned out it was no advantage. Just after 8.30pm it suddenly went off, along with the fridge - a quick check of the hook-up point told me everything was okay there and as I could hear other nearby campers talking about it it seemed to be the whole site which had lost its power. Leaving the dogs in their bed I went to report it to Pete, the warden's brother, and he said he would sort it out - twenty minutes later the heater and fridge came back to life but unfortunately it was only for a brief ten minutes before they went off again. By this time it was almost dark and far too cold to sit around, so with my rechargeable lantern for light I boiled the camping kettle on my portable gas stove and filled the hot water bottle for my bed, then took the dogs for their pre-bedtime walk round the site. It was too cold to leave them in the awning overnight so I tucked them up in the back of the van, made myself a mug of coffee and retreated to my own bed with the lantern and my book - and at only 10pm that must have been the earliest I've been to bed in many many years!
- 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