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

Wednesday April 24th 2013 - U is for Unexpected Bargain

This post is part of the A to Z Challenge.

I guess everyone loves to get a bargain when shopping; I know I do, and I'm especially pleased when that bargain is totally unexpected.

As you will remember from my 'N' post I recently got a new tent which I used for the first time at Easter; although I'm really pleased with it, and the weather was dry for the whole of that weekend, I felt that it would benefit from having some form of canopy to keep any rain away from the door. With my little Kampa Minnis I would just throw a cheap 6ft x 4ft blue builder's tarp over the top, peg it down at the back and prop up the front with the two canopy poles supplied with the tent; it did the job and kept the rain off the door but I thought my new tent deserved something a bit more professional-looking than that so my internet search for a matching canopy began.

Although I checked out many places advertising canopies for my make and model these things came at a price. Rather than being simple canopies they looked more like small porches with their own door and enough room for a small table and chairs, and while they looked very nice I couldn't really justify paying £100 or more just for something to keep the rain off the door. So it looked like I would have to revert to the builder's-tarp-propped-up-on-poles idea; I already had a large blue tarp which would match the tent and do the job, all I needed were the king poles so last weekend, on a very rainy Sunday afternoon, I went to a couple of camping stores in search of the right ones.

Neither store had the right size poles but an assistant in the second store said they had something which was more the type of thing I really wanted - and that's when I got my unexpected bargain. It's a standard-size universal sun canopy of the same make as my tent and about half the size of the 'official' ones for that model; easy to put up and should keep the rain off the door nicely. It's a different shade of blue though, being described as 'mallard' rather than the surf blue of my tent, so rather than matching it will be contrasting, but that's not really a bad thing. And the cost? Original price £25, reduced to just £9.99! I would have been happy to pay the full price, which I thought was reasonable anyway, but that price was most definitely a bargain.

So guess who came out of that store a very happy bunny?! Even the miserable rainy weather couldn't dampen my mood and I had a smile on my face all the way home. Now I can't wait for the next bank holiday weekend to put my tent up on site and use my new purchase - and for once I hope it rains then I can test how good it is!