So sang Albert Hammond back in 1972, and though the song was actually about the American California the title could almost apply to the Norfolk one as for the whole of the eleven days of my holiday I hadn't seen one single drop of rain anywhere - even on going home day the sun was still blazing from a bright blue sky. After the usual early morning dog walk and breakfast I started - very reluctantly - on the packing up process and by 9.45am I was ready for leaving the site. It was such a glorious morning though that I couldn't go without having one last look at the sea; I didn't really have time to take Sophie and Sugar back on the beach so I just walked to the edge of the camping field and stood for a few minutes looking at the sea - and call me mad, because I probably am, but I lifted up each dog in turn so they could have a last look at the sea too!
The first part of my journey home involved a quick detour back to Latham's, not for coffee and cake this time but for a dvd - I'd seen it the previous day but couldn't remember if I already had it in my collection so I'd phoned my son and asked him to check. He'd confirmed later that I didn't have it and as I hadn't seen it anywhere else I went back to Latham's to get it while it was still available. My detour added half an hour to my journey time but I figured that if I only made one stop en route I would be home for 4pm with plenty of time to spare before I had to go to work at 5pm - however, things didn't quite work out like that. Somewhere along the A17 - and in place-name terms I don't know exactly where - are a couple of cafes and a farm shop on opposite sides of the road, and not far away is a bungalow with a private collection of vintage tractors on display at the front; I've passed the place many times but never seen it looking as colourful as it did then so on the spur of the moment I pulled in at the nearby cafe car park and taking my life in my hands crossing the busy road I walked back to take a look.
The bungalow had bright yellow and red canopies over each window and several hanging baskets containing a profusion of flowers; flower tubs lined the garden wall along the front of the bungalow, the tractors were all brightly painted in their correct colours and in front of them was a long stretch of ground with more flowers and a large white-painted ornamental windmill at one end. There was no indication of what the place was but it was certainly very attractive and definitely worth a few photos.
Back on the road again my second stop was at the Cheerio Cafe where I had coffee and apple pie with cream and the dogs had a walk along the edge of the field behind, which would keep them happy for the rest of the journey. By the time I set off from there though my detour to Latham's and my unscheduled stop to look at the tractors meant I was running later than I intended and as I drove up the A1 I realised that if I continued on my usual route from there I would be limited to no more than 50mph for most of it and I would also hit horrendous traffic on the outskirts of Manchester. So with a bit of quick thinking I changed my plans, driving straight up the A1 to the M62, and although it added a few miles to the journey it meant I could go a bit faster, and with no delays on the motorway itself I was actually home just before 4pm so I had plenty of time to relax before going to work.
As I lay in bed that night my mind went back over the last eleven days and I decided there was something to be said for taking my Norfolk holiday in September; it was certainly something to consider for any future breaks down there as the camp site had been lovely and quiet, the site fees were cheaper, and best of all I'd had eleven days of absolutely perfect weather. And when someone at work had asked where I'd got my great suntan from I quite truthfully answered "California"!
- 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