The morning of my birthday arrived with cloudless blue sky and sunshine and my personal treat of breakfast in bed, which would be a challenge to make while I was still more or less in bed. With most of my food packed into a bag and with very little space in which to operate it was a case of use one thing at once and put it back before using something else. With the toaster on a tray at the foot of the bed I did three slices of toast then while they were cooling I set the toaster to one side and replaced it with the kettle, which had just enough water in it for one brew. With my mug of tea made and placed out of harm's way the kettle was replaced by the breadboard and a plate and the toast was spread with butter and marmalade, which I managed to do without getting any on the duvet cover - and all this without ever moving off the bed! Then with my pillows propped up behind me I settled down to open my cards and presents.
I had several lovely presents from my family, including an ornamental meerkat holding a 'welcome' sign, but it was the one from my son which made me laugh. He had given me one of those fancy bag things specially for putting presents in, containing something wrapped in fancy paper and with strict instructions not to let it get squashed and not to peek - and when I did open it I found two packets of fruit teacakes, two packets of lunch rolls and a packet of toasting muffins; he works at a well-known large bakery and often brings things home for me, but I've never had them gift-wrapped before. Sometimes I have to wonder where he gets his sense of humour from! Those weren't the whole present though, as down at the bottom of the bag was a book which I'd requested several weeks previously and an envelope with some money in so I could treat myself to something nice. So coupled with the gifts from my daughter-in-law and the kids I'd got some good stuff and some useful stuff, and had a giggle as well.
With breakfast over and the interior of the van getting too warm in the sunshine I decided it was time to make a move - cooked chicken I can cope with but cooked dogs are a definite no-no. Getting dressed in a sitting/lying position was just as awkward as getting undressed the night before, and when a search of the voluminous beach bag for my cycling shorts revealed them to be right at the bottom, meaning I had to pull almost everything out to get at them leaving the front of the van looking like an explosion in an Oxfam shop, I decided that was it - I needed my space, so the awning was going up come hell or high water. And why is it that the one thing you want is always underneath a mountain of other stuff?? Why can't it be the first thing you put your hands on instead of the last?! On the positive side though, I did find my DS Lite!
After a quick trip to the shower block for an even quicker wash and brush up I released the dogs from the back of the van, clipped on their leads and set off for a walk round the site to see if there was any signs of anyone in the smaller field packing up to leave. I was very much out of luck though, it seemed like the occupants of that field were all one big group there for the duration, and with many of their tents being the same make, model and colour it looked rather like one of those modern estates where every house is identical. So resigned to staying where I was until at least Tuesday I went back to the van and set about putting up the awning; and when everything inside it was set out properly, with my clothes and food in all the right places and the dogs in their bed in the corner, I looked round and breathed a sigh of satisfaction - I'd got all the space I wanted.
With the awning sorted, and the meerkat outside on 'welcome' duty, I decided to drive up to the car boot sale held up the road about a mile out of the village; apart from the usual mice and some gas cannisters for my portable stove there was nothing I was really looking for, but as I couldn't find either my only purchase was a book to read once I'd finished my current one. Back in the village I drove along to the Spar shop to get a bottle of Lambrini and a jam and cream sponge for later, then returned to my pitch - perversely, even though the previous day I had wanted to go out with the camera but couldn't, now I could I didn't really feel like going anywhere else in spite of the glorious sunshine, so after putting the Lambrini in the fridge to chill I connected the awning to the van and decided to just stay home and relax. At one point during the afternoon I took the dogs and wandered up to reception to chat to Dave, the relief warden, for a while, and just like the previous day there was a steady stream of campers arriving - if there had been any other way of getting into or out of the site I would have sworn they were driving in, going out another way then coming back in again. I know one thing - I wouldn't have minded the weekend's takings going into my bank account!
I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening relaxing either in the sun or in the awning, and indulged in a couple of glasses of Lambrini and some of the sponge cake, then as the daylight started fading I took Sophie and Sugar for their final walk of the day. An hour of late tv and another glass of Lambrini followed, then with the dogs tucked up in their bed in the awning I took my book and retreated to mine in the van, though I didn't read much before the Lambrini took over and I drifted off to sleep.
- 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