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

Sunday September 9th 2012 - Bungay Castle and friends

I woke to yet another beautiful early morning, and though on Sundays I would normally have a lie-in for a couple of hours there was no way I was wasting a minute of this lovely weather. The dogs were as eager to start the day as I was and as soon as I picked their leads up they were ready to go out. My walk this time took me down the lane to the road and along past the chalet site and Land's End, and as is my custom I stopped to look for rabbits but there were none, so I continued to where the the small parking area was on the clifftop then went down onto the beach. The tide was going out, leaving a long stretch of clean firm sand to walk on, and the warmth of the sun was clearing away the last remains of a light early morning mist. It was just after 7am and I had the beach almost to myself, seeing only another couple of early morning dog walkers in the time it took me to get to the path back up to the site. With nothing but the sound of the waves as they lapped the sand and the occasional squawking gull flying overhead it was one of those mornings that made me feel glad to be alive.

Back at the awning I sorted out some breakfast and went to sit outside with it, having a leisurely read of my book before clearing away the breakfast things and generally getting ready to go out later on. There was one place I wanted to go to but I needed to find out about it first if I could so as soon as I knew that reception was open I went across to ask if they knew anything about it. The place I had in mind was the seal hospital up at Winterton which was supposed to be open on Sundays, but when I'd gone there last year on two separate occasions it had been well and truly closed and looking rather derelict. Having done a bit of research since then and found out some startling facts I'd come to the conclusion that it was closed for good, but the poster advertising it was still on the wall in reception so maybe it was still in existence. The site owner's son didn't really know anything about it though when I asked, but just as we were discussing it one of the occupants of a static caravan came in and on overhearing our conversation he confirmed that the place had definitely closed down, and it had been round about the time I was there last year. So my conclusions were correct, I'd saved myself a pointless journey, and the poster on the wall was taken down and put in the bin. I won't say on here why the place closed, only that by Googling 'Winterton Seal Hospital' and reading the third entry down the reason will be obvious.

It was late morning when I finally left the site and as I wasn't going up to Winterton I only went as far as Hemsby for the market, but once I got there I wished I hadn't bothered. There were only two rows of stalls and nothing of real interest on sale so in just two minutes flat I'd seen it all, but as I'd paid for an hour's parking I thought I may as well look round the shops - and I was glad I did as in the window of one of them I saw a mouse ornament which I hadn't yet got. There was nowhere to leave the dogs though while I went in the shop so I took them back to the van, ran back to the shop and a few minutes and ten quid later I'd added a new mouse to my collection.

I was just about to leave the car park when I encountered what could have been a disaster; I'd reversed out of the parking space and was making my way slowly forwards between the rows of parked cars when a young child about three years old suddenly broke away from his family group and for some reason ran straight towards the front of my van. Luckily I'd seen him and stopped straight away but then he slipped and fell down right in front of me; I don't like to think of what could have happened if I'd still been moving. When his mother had stopped screaming she grabbed his arm and dragged him away, no doubt giving him a good telling-off in the process, and I was free to drive on. The mother did apologise to me as I passed them but the child didn't seem too bothered that he could have been squashed by a couple of tons of moving metal - I hope he doesn't make a habit of doing things like that, next time he might not be so lucky.

My next port of call was a car boot sale down at Yarmouth racecourse, it's quite a decent sale with lots of stalls on a nice day but though I spent quite a while browsing and wandering there was nothing interesting enough for me to buy so my loose change stayed in my pocket. Next came a visit to the Asda petrol station to fill the van up - I only had one more full day of my holiday left and I didn't plan on going too far for that one so filling up then would save time on going home day. Then it was off down to Bungay and a visit to the Otter Trust place at nearby Earsham. Now although it's several years since my previous visit there I could remember exactly where it was and what the entrance looked like, but could I find the place? No way, no-how. I drove up and down the road a couple of times and even went further than I knew I needed to go but I still couldn't find it, so coming to the conclusion that for once my good memory had let me down and the place must be further away than I thought I gave up looking and decided I would go to see my friends Jane, Andy and Sue, and Ady.

As usual I went to see Ady first and parked in the private parking space at the front of his flat, but just like last year he wasn't in. Leaving the van where it was I took the dogs for a walk round the nearby common then did something I've been meaning to do for a long while and went for a look round the castle. Now I may very well be dreaming but I'm sure that at one time there was a moderate charge to go in there, however there isn't now, and to be honest I would have felt cheated if there was as there's absolutely nothing there except the shrub-covered remains of the inner walls with a flat grassy bit in the middle. The outside looked really attractive though with all the flower-filled planters on the railings and I got some of the nicest photos I've ever taken round there.

Back at Ady's flat he still wasn't in so I thought I would treat myself to coffee and cake at the Buttercross Tea Rooms - which despite the name is actually a down-to-earth cafe - but when I got there the place was closed. When I checked the opening times I saw that it now closes an hour earlier than it used to do and I'd missed it by half an hour, so after taking a couple of photos of the Buttercross (the ones I've taken on previous occasions were on rather dull days) I went back to the castle and had coffee and cake at the cafe there, sitting at a table in the sunny little courtyard. Ady still wasn't in when I went back to the van but I knew Jane would be in so I drove round to her house just a few minutes away on the outskirts of the town.

I spent a very pleasant hour or so chatting to Jane, during which she told me that Ady now has a girlfriend who lives in Beccles and he spends much of his time there which accounts for him not being in. She also managed to shed some light on the Otter Trust - it had been where I thought it was so my memory wasn't playing tricks on me, but it had closed to the public a few years ago and there was now nothing to indicate where it had been. So, the mystery was solved, and from Jane's I went to see Ady's twin brother Andy and his wife Sue. The early evening sun was still very warm so we sat outside on their patio until the shade covered that part of their garden then we said our goodbyes and I set off back to California.

The sun was still shining for the first half of my journey but once it started sinking in the sky it disappeared quite rapidly and by the time I got back to the camp site the daylight was already fading. At least I still had enough light to see to reverse the van into the right position for connecting the awning, and once I'd done that I fed Sophie and Sugar and took them for a walk round the site. As pre-bedtime walks go it was still quite early for them but I didn't really want to go out again once I'd got settled in for the rest of the evening, and once they'd got curled up in their bed I don't think they wanted to go out again either. I spent an hour or so watching tv then with a mug of hot chocolate to hand I retreated to my own bed and read a few chapters of my book before settling down for the night.