Another glorious morning arrived and even as early as 8am the sun was making the van far too warm to stay in there even with the windows and the side door open, so I washed and dressed quickly and took the dogs for a walk round the top end of the field then made my way over to the showground to get some breakfast. Having been put off somewhat by the not-very-nice bacon and egg roll I'd had the day before I didn't really fancy anything like that even if I did get it from a different stall, so I went for something completely different - a large pancake filled with apple and cinnamon and topped off with cream. Not the sort of thing I would normally have for breakfast, and no doubt the calorie content was very high, but it was absolutely delicious, very filling and made a nice change from a 'normal' breakfast.
Wandering round the stalls afterwards I stopped at the one for rescued parrots; I'm not really that keen on parrots or cockatoos and things but what attracted me was a very small and cute-looking green bird sitting on the shoulder of one of the guys running the stall. I got chatting to him and he told me to hold my hand out palm upwards then he placed the little bird gently into my hand - and there it lay, on its back and perfectly still and content while I chatted to its owner. It definitely had the 'cute' factor and I was instantly smitten, but as cute as it was I would never be interested in owning one and eventually I gave it back to its owner and continued my wander round the stalls.
Back at the tent, and while the dogs lay in the shade under the van, I spent quite some time reading the book I bought the previous day then as it started creeping up towards noon I made preparations for going out. This time I was going to call on Christina, Sophie's 'other mum', who lived about fifteen miles away; I hadn't contacted her to see if she would be in, I was just going on spec, but if she wasn't I could always find somewhere to explore with the camera. The drive there was very pleasant and took me through some nice little villages, and I arrived at Christina's to find that she was in. She was very surprised to see me - it was two years since my last visit - and was really thrilled to see Sophie again; she invited me in for a brew and I spent well over an hour in her company before it was time for me to leave. I could have stayed longer but there was somewhere else I wanted to go to and I also wanted to be back at the showground for the last performance of the dancing diggers. Christina came out to the van with me and as she said goodbye to Sophie and Sugar she said that she couldn't have wished for Sophie to go to a better home; praise indeed, and I was glad she approved of me as Sophie's second 'mum'.
Heading back towards Elvaston I made a detour to Foremark Resevoir which I'd seen a sign for as I was on my way to Christina's; it sounded like the sort of place where I could explore and maybe take the dogs for a good walk but I wasn't prepared for just how popular it was. The car park was full and people had parked along the lane and on several of the grassy areas; the place was heaving with people all enjoying the sunshine, families and groups were having picnics, ball games were being played in various areas and youngsters of all ages were having fun down by the water. Unfortunately it seemed as though I couldn't walk all the way round the reservoir and the place was too busy to let the dogs off the lead so I went as far as I could in one direction before making my way back to where I'd left the van.
Back at the showground I was just in time to watch the dancing diggers give their last performance then I had one final wander round the stalls, bought a couple of sandwiches to eat with a brew then made my way back to the tent. Many campers had already packed up and gone while I'd been out and many were in the process of packing up; various exhibitors were already leaving the showground and there was a long line of very slow moving traffic snaking down the lane, probably held up by a tractor from the show. I was glad I wasn't leaving until the following day, at least I wouldn't be stuck behind that lot.
After having my brew and sandwiches I drove along to see some friends who lived only a mile or so away but they weren't in so I returned to the tent and my evening was spent relaxing and reading my book. As the daylight started to fade I took the dogs for their pre-bedtime walk, made another brew then settled down in the van for the rest of the night; although I'd pitched away from the crowd I'd still been able to hear voices from across the field but now most people had gone and I had a vast expanse of field all to myself I was certainly guaranteed a very quiet and peaceful final night.
- 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