About Me

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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

Tuesday August 28th 2012 - The Angel of the North

Well it seemed that Sod's Law ruled again that day and on the morning we had to pack up and go home I woke to bright blue sky, fluffy white clouds and brilliant sunshine. Now why couldn't it have been like that the day before and Saturday? After a dog walk round the pond I made a brew and some toast and took some over to Janet, then after a leisurely breakfast I started on the process of packing up. I was putting something in the van a while later when I noticed Janet walking across the site -  thinking she was taking some rubbish to the bin I didn't give it much thought and carried on with what I was doing.

I was just about to start taking the pegs out of the awning when she came across and asked me where her stuff was. What stuff?....The stuff she'd just piled at the front of the van ready for packing, it had taken her five journeys to carry it all across. Well I hadn't seen it and there was definitely nothing in front of the van so where the heck was it? We were both totally confused, and Janet was just beginning to think that someone had somehow managed to swipe the lot when I went for a scout round and found it - she'd piled it up at the front of someone else's caravan two pitches further along!! That must have been where she was going when I'd seen her walking across the site earlier on - obviously another woolly-headed moment, but this time she couldn't blame the wine as she hadn't had any. I'd seen the occupants of the caravan going over to the shower block a while back, heaven only knows what they thought when they got back and found all that stuff piled up at the front!

Once we'd finished giggling at her 'senior moment' I managed to pack all her things in the van and between us we pulled all the pegs and the poles out of the awning, then while she took all three dogs for a final walk up the lane I folded it up, got it back in its bag and stowed it in the van. When Janet came back it only took a couple of minutes to load the dogs in the back, check round the pitch for stray tent pegs then return our toilet keys to the house and we were ready for off. While idly looking at the map book the previous day I'd sussed out that if I followed the lane to the west instead of back to the main road it would take me directly to the A1 within about two miles and I wouldn't have to go all the way back through Ashington and Morpeth - it proved to be a good way to go, and not long after leaving the camp site we were motoring south on our long drive down the A1. We had left the site a bit earlier than I'd anticipated so as I had a bit of time on my side when we passed by the outskirts of Gateshead I decided to pull off the road and have a look at the Angel of the North.

For anyone who doesn't know, the Angel of the North is a huge steel sculpture created by Anthony Gormley in 1997 and sited on a grassy knoll overlooking the A1; at 65ft high and with a wingspan of 175ft it's believed to be the world's largest angel sculpture. Leaving the A1 at the appropriate slip road took me to a wide dual carriageway and not far along was the statue, standing tall within a very pleasant grassy area and with a conveniently-placed car park just off the road. I didn't intend to be very long so we left the dogs in the van while we went to take some photos, and though the sun in the wrong direction made it impossible for me to get some shots directly from the back of it I got several good ones from the front and side.

Back on the road again I drove as far as Durham Services then pulled in for a refreshment stop and to let the dogs out for a short walk and a drink, then once we were all refreshed - the dogs with water and us with coffee and carrot cake - we set off once more. We made good time and with no delays anywhere we got back home well ahead of the early evening rush hour, and the good weather had stayed with us all the way. With the blue sky and sunshine I didn't really feel like doing any work, but later on, as I loaded dishwashers, polished desks and vacuumed floors, I consoled myself with the thought that in only four days time I would be off once more, this time to Norfolk and alone. It had been good having Janet's companionship over the weekend but I was looking forward to being back on my own again with just my two little furry friends for company.  

Monday August 27th 2012 - More rain, friends, and a strange place to eat

After the glorious weather of the previous day I woke that morning to fine but heavy rain - the stuff that wets you within seconds of going out. I didn't really fancy taking the dogs out in that and I knew they wouldn't be too keen on going anyway so I put them on their line outside the awning for just long enough for them to quickly do what they wanted to do then I brought them in again, where they promptly went straight back in their bed. With weather like that there was obviously no rush for me to go anywhere so I made some breakfast and followed their example, retreating back to bed with my book - I hadn't seen or heard anything of Janet so I assumed she was doing the same.

My plans for the day - had the weather been good - had been to drive back up the coast and continue exploring from where we left off the previous day, finishing at Seahouses where we were going to visit my friends Colin and Joan who were arriving later that day at a camp site up there, but there was no point exploring in weather like that so there was nothing for it but to while away the hours in the awning. It was 4pm by the time we were ready for going out and it was still raining steadily, if anything harder than before. Colin had told me that they wouldn't be arriving at their chosen site until about 1pm so I'd given them plenty of time to set up camp and get organised - it would be about 5pm when we got there so they should be ready to receive visitors by that time.

We were two thirds of the way into the journey when I realised that I hadn't got my directions to the camp site. It was in a bit of an isolated spot on the outskirts of Seahouses and a few days previously I'd looked it up on Google Earth and written down the route - which would have been fine if I hadn't left the piece of paper on top of my pc at home! Oh well, I would just have to trust the satnav part of my brain to instinctively know which way to go - and just as on previous occasions it didn't let me down. My memory and good sense of direction led me through the country lanes beyond Seahouses and straight to the camp site entrance without the need to even consult the map book. Colin was standing in the tent doorway when we pulled up on his pitch and after welcoming Janet he put the kettle on for a brew, Joan made a coffee and we spent a very pleasant couple of hours chatting before it was time for us to leave.

As we drove away from the site we both decided that we were ready for something to eat so rather than wait until we got back to our own camp site, and as it was our final night, we would dine out. Driving through Seahouses itself the first place we came to was the Harbour Inn, a large white-walled pub with a board outside which said meals were served all day, so I pulled into the adjacent car park and we went to see what we could find in the way of food. We went in through the first door we came to, which led us straight into what looked to be the restaurant part of the pub - and what a strange place it was. With laminate flooring, plain painted walls and half a dozen tables covered with white tablecloths it looked like it had once been a games room that had been turned into a dining room as an afterthought; there were no furnishings other than the tables and chairs, no pictures on the walls, no cutlery or condiments on the tables, there was no bar and no atmosphere, and in spite of one table being occupied by a family of four the whole room seemed to have a very empty and depressing feel to it. It wasn't the sort of place where either of us would have felt comfortable having a meal so by mutual agreement we went back to the van and decided to look for a nicer place somewhere else. We had got all the way back to Warkworth before we found somewhere - the Masons Arms - but it was worth the wait. This place had a very friendly atmosphere to it and both our meals were nicely cooked and very enjoyable so we were glad that we hadn't stayed at the place back in Seahouses.

With our meal over and drinks finished we set out to cover the last few miles back to the camp site, stopping on the way at a petrol station just outside Amble so I could fill up with diesel - the tank was getting low and I didn't want to wait till we were on the way home and risk not finding a petrol station before I needed one. Back at the site Janet took Aphra across to her own tent and once the awning was connected to the van I fed Sophie and Sugar and took them for their bedtime walk down the lane - fortunately the rain had finally stopped earlier on so at least I didn't get wet. It wasn't even 10 o'clock then but the following day I had to pack up and leave, I had a long drive back home and I had to go to work when I got there, so I had no intention of being in bed late that night. It would be okay if Janet fell alseep on the journey back but it wouldn't do for me to do the same!