Well so much for keeping my fingers crossed for a dry pack-up - after a night of continuous rain it was still at it when I got up that morning, and when I ventured out with the dogs I found that the ground, which had more or less dried out with the sunshine of Friday and Saturday, was now absolutely saturated again and probably worse than it was when I'd first arrived. Thank goodness I'd got those wellies, it looked like I was going to need them!
Having no reason to linger on site in weather like that I started the packing up process as soon as I'd had breakfast; everything went well at first, but the ground was so wet that by the time I was ready for taking the awning down water had seeped up through my double layer groundsheet and I was walking round in the makings of a decent sized paddling pool. There was nothing I could do but fold the groundsheet as best I could and prop it up against the hedge in the hope that the water would have run out of it by the time I needed to pack it in the van. And taking the awning down was an absolute disaster - disconnected from the van and with the side poles taken out it flopped forwards onto the grass, and once I'd removed the other poles it settled into the swamp on my pitch like a crocodile settling itself into a muddy river bed, which meant it was then just as wet on the inside as it was on the outside.
Now normally when I pack the awning away I take the time to fold it and roll it properly so it will go back in its bag but for once I didn't give a monkeys. The whole thing was just one great rain-sodden mass which wouldn't improve no matter how well I folded it so I just threw all the guylines into the centre, folded it once then bundled it up as it was and put it into a big heavy duty bin liner with the groundsheet squashed in on top of it - I could think about drying it out in a day or two. My next problem was getting off the pitch - with the van standing in the swamp and no traction on the wet ground I fully expected not being able to move it, however by taking it slowly I managed to reverse off and reach the gravel track without problem. By that time I both looked and felt like a drowned rat, and as I can't drive in wellies anyway I went along to the shower block to get changed into my trainers and some dry clothes.
Feeling a bit more human once I was warm and dry I set off for home and got back an hour later - and it was as I was getting some stuff out of the van about half an hour afterwards that I realised I'd left my jacket hanging up in the shower block at the site. Damn and blast! Now what should I do? I knew that Alison, the site owner, was away so I couldn't phone her to ask her to find it and put it to one side until I could collect it, and although there was no-one else camping on the site just then there was no way of knowing if it would be safe if I left it till the weekend - so there was nothing for it but to go back and get the darned thing, and looking at the clock I knew I would just about have time to get there and back before I had to go to work. Fortunately a substantial part of the route was motorway so I was able to put my foot down a bit and I was back at the site in just less than an hour; my jacket was still where I'd left it, so throwing it into the van I set off yet again and was back home in time to get to work with a few minutes to spare. Sheesh, I wouldn't like to do that too many times!
As I downloaded my photos to the pc later that evening I thought back over the weekend - it had been a good one even though it had rather a soggy ending; I'd been to some nice places and got some good photos and the Jubilee party had been a very enjoyable evening with a great bunch of people so I was really looking forward to the next nutters meet in a month's time. And the theme for that one would certainly confirm that we really are all nutters!
- 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