A sunny morning at 6am saw me leaving home for my second trip of the year to Anglesey, this time for ten days - the longest time I've ever stayed there in all the years I've been camping. The van was still packed from my break four weeks earlier so all I had to do that morning was put in my clothes and personal essentials - plus the chicken. Now although there's probably nothing unusual about taking a roast chicken for my camping meals this had actually only come out of the oven quarter of an hour before. I'd got up at 3am to cook it but with only a small piece of tin foil to cover the top while it was cooking, and none to wrap it in afterwards, I had to take it in the roasting tin it was cooked in - and the only place in the van where I could put it was in the rear storage area underneath the dogs. Fortunately with the hatch closed there was no way they could get at it but I bet their little noses were twitching all the way to Anglesey!
Leaving home so early meant that I was at the far side of Manchester before the morning rush hour started; with no delays on the roads the journey down was very pleasant in the sunshine and two hours later I was driving across Britannia bridge and onto the island. I had purposely taken that day off work so I could get to the site a day ahead of the bank holiday crowd and find a decent spot with a hook-up point (or so I thought) but when I arrived I was more than a little surprised to see that the site was already very busy, and a quick walk round confirmed what I'd just suspected; there was no room in my favourite small field and the chances of finding a hook-up point anywhere were on a par with marrying a millionaire - absolutely zilch. I don't know where all those campers and caravanners had come from but this definitely wasn't part of the plan!
Back at reception I paid my site fees then went for another walk round, and against all odds I found a vacant hook-up point between two seasonal caravans on the family field, with a space in front big enough for my van, so I went to retrieve it from where I'd parked it, drove it round and pulled onto the grass - it wasn't ideal but it would do, and at least I had a hook-up. Even though it was still quite early the sun was already very warm so my first job was to pass the hook-up cable through one of the side windows of the van and connect up the fridge to keep the milk and other stuff cool, then before I did anything else I dragged the kettle and toaster out from under the bed, and using the (suitably covered) dog's platform in the back of the van as a worktop I made a brew and some toast.
Sitting there in the sun I pondered on putting the awning up - I would have preferred to be in the smaller field and thought maybe if someone already there happened to be leaving the following day then I would be able to move from where I was to where I wanted to be, in which case there was no point putting the awning up just for one night. So I decided against it, but with everything packed on top of the bed it meant I had to do some serious rearranging to clear a space big enough to sleep in that night. I managed it - just - and with most of the stuff packed up to the ceiling on one side of the van and my bags of food, clothes and personal stuff on the front seats I had a reasonable area of bed to relax on and sleep in; I even had enough room to prop the tv up against the back of the front passenger seat. There was only one immediate problem to this arrangement though - it meant that I was stuck on the pitch for the rest of the day. With the weather being so glorious I wanted to get out and about with the camera but I didn't dare drive off the pitch, as with nothing to show it was occupied it wouldn't be long before someone else pitched there once I was gone, so anywhere I went that day would have to be walking distance only.
My first sojurn was a walk into the village to get some tin foil to wrap the chicken in and as I walked towards the site entrance I was glad I'd decided not to move the van as a steady stream of campers were driving through and booking in at reception. After spending the afternoon alternately sitting in the sun with my book then in the shade in the van when I got too warm I decided to take the dogs down to the beach once it had gone past 6pm and the beach warden had gone home. The tide had gone out leaving a large expanse of sand for the dogs to run on, and once I'd gone out to the water's edge I turned eastwards and walked almost as far as St. David's caravan site at the far end of the beach before turning round and heading back to the promenade. In the still-warm sun, with seagulls wheeling and swooping overhead, the sea gently lapping the sand and the dogs playing their own little games with interesting bits of seaweed it was a perfect early evening walk.
Back at the van I made a couple of sandwiches and a brew, then with Sophie and Sugar in their reinstated bed in the back I settled down to relax on my own bed and watch a bit of tv. At 10pm, just before the daylight faded completely, I took the dogs round the site for their final walk of the day then settled them back in their bed before I climbed onto mine and closed the van door for the night. It was a bit of a challenge getting ready for bed in a half-sitting/half-lying position but I managed it - and thank goodness the van has curtains at every window! The biggest problem though was trying to find my DS Lite. I knew I'd packed it so it was somewhere in my large beach bag but in spite of much rummaging I couldn't find it, and with nowhere to put anything I couldn't really empty the bag out so I had to forget that one and make do with reading my book for a while. And as I finally settled down to sleep later on I had my fingers metaphorically crossed in the hope that some campers would leave the following day so I could move to a better pitch and put my awning up.
- 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