I woke that morning to bright Anglesey sunshine and a completely dried out awning; it was probably too much to hope that it would stay like that right through to the following Tuesday but I could live in hope. After taking the dogs for their first walk round the site I set about sorting out all the stuff I had piled in the corner the night before and within half an hour my awning looked like home again. Then it was time for a brew and some breakfast, and if I got a move on there would be time to go out for a couple of hours before I had to leave for home. With the breakfast things tidied away I put the dogs in the back of the van and disconnected the awning ready for off; and that's when everything went well and truly pear-shaped. The van wouldn't start, and though I turned the key a few times nothing happened; the battery was as dead as the proverbial dodo. Then I realised why - leaving the lights on while I put the awning up the night before had obviously flattened it, although at the time I hadn't realised that would happen.
I was just about to phone the AA when I remembered seeing a big 4 x 4 vehicle parked next to a tent at the other end of the field, and as I had some heavy duty jump leads in the back of the van I went along to ask if anyone could help. The 4 x 4's owner was quite happy to drive down and assist, and after a lot of engine revving on his part the van finally burst into life, though he did suggest leaving it running for a while before I went anywhere. He had just driven back to his own pitch when my second problem occurred - I couldn't get into the van! Now I didn't know if I'd done this myself or the 4 x 4 guy had done it, but somehow the switch for the central locking had accidentally been pressed and all the doors were now firmly locked. And where was the key? - in the van! This time I definitely needed to call the AA but where was my phone and my membership card with the AA phone number? - also in the van! There was only one thing for it - walk up to reception and ask the warden to let me use the office phone to find the number and make my call.
As I walked up the end of the field I saw the 4 x 4 guy outside his tent and although I felt a bit daft I stopped to tell him what had happened and where I was going - and I was glad I did. He said before I rang the AA he would try to get into the van for me, and though I couldn't for the life of me think how he would do it he was as good as his word - and the antics which followed were like something in a tv sitcom. His first idea was to slide something between the door edge and the bodywork to try to catch on the lock but there was hardly any gap so that didn't work, but then he noticed that the side windows were open. Now for safety and security they only open a couple of inches before locking in position, but that couple of inches proved to be invaluable. He disappeared back to his tent and when he came back again he was accompanied by his friend, his young son, and an assortment of tools.
His friend, who I had spoken to earlier, was tall and thin with very thin arms and long thin fingers, and would have made a good substitute for a corner pole at Wembley stadium - and it was those thin arms and long fingers which gained access to my van. Somehow, with only those couple of inches to work in, he managed to dismantle the catch on the centre window and with a bit of jiggery pokery was able to swing the whole window downwards. Then it was the lad's turn to help - his dad picked him up and posted him through the window onto the bed where he reached over and took the key from the ignition, handing it through the window to me before letting himself out of the van by the side door. With the doors now unlocked and the key firmly in my possession the job of replacing the window began, and before long the catch was back in place, the window was secure, and it looked like nothing had ever been moved. When they were sure that everything was okay the two guys took themselves and their tools back to their own tent, refusing any form of payment for their help - I didn't even know their names but they certainly turned out to be knights in shining armour.
After all the excitement of the last hour or so I didn't really have much time to go anywhere proper before I set off for home and I didn't really feel like it by then anyway, so I put the dogs on their line outside the awning and spent some time sitting in the sun reading my book. When it got towards lunchtime I made myself a brew, then with the guy lines double pegged and the back of the awning made as secure as I could get it I put the dogs back in the van and drove away from my pitch. I knew I was taking a risk leaving everything in the awning but after having previously left my tent there for three weeks I felt confident that things would be okay while I was away - I would only be gone for one whole day and two nights anyway, I would be back on Friday evening. After stopping at reception to pay my site fees and get a new barrier pass for the weekend I drove down to the promenade - the dogs had been so good in the van while all the 'breaking and entering' had been going on and they deserved a walk along the beach. It was 1.30pm by the time I drove away from the promenade and all being well I would get home ahead of the late afternoon rush hour.
It doesn't matter how many times I drive along the A55 coast road to and from Anglesey I always enjoy it, especially in the sunshine, and with one of my favourite cds playing it was a very pleasant journey back towards home. The traffic was starting to build up as I got to the outskirts of Manchester but it was nothing major and there were no delays so I arrived home with more than half an hour to spare before I had to go to work. As I got into bed that night I thought back over my day; the morning most certainly hadn't gone to plan, but if everything ran like clockwork all the time life would probably get pretty boring after a while - and there's nothing like being over a hundred miles from home and getting locked out of your van with the engine still running to shake things up a bit!
- 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