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

Monday November 18th 2013 - Packed up just in time

I woke that morning to another very grey day and lay for a while trying to decide what to do with the few hours I had left before I had to leave for home. I was in no rush to go so I did consider going back to Cleethorpes and maybe having a look round the shops, but the local weather forecast for that day said there was to be rain from lunchtime onwards. Not wanting to pack up a wet tent then try to find a way of drying it out once I got home I decided to stay put, so after a dog walk round the site and a leisurely breakfast I made a start on sorting things out and getting them into the van.

Finally, with only the tent to take down, I transferred the dogs to the back of the van then went round and pulled all the pegs out. As an experiment I'd left the bedroom pods in situ - it would save some setting-up time next time I camped - but when I eventually got the tent rolled up it was so bulky that there was no way it would go back in its bag. Luckily I had some bungee straps stashed in my camping box so a couple of those wrapped round and hooked to each other kept the tent in a reasonably neat bundle, and the unused bag was tucked in the camping box.  I'd just folded up the footprint groundsheet and was putting it in the van when the first drops of rain appeared - it seemed that for once the weathermen were right, and my decision not to go back to Cleethorpes had been a good one. 

Abandoning any ideas of taking the dogs for another walk I checked quickly round the pitch for any forgotten tent pegs then set off on the drive home. The rain became quite heavy after a while and I was glad I'd managed to get packed up before it had started, though as I drove across the M62 it started to clear up and by the time I was within twenty miles of home the sun was beginning to shine. Having left Willow Lakes earlier than I'd intended I was home before 3pm so I had plenty of time to download the weekend's photos onto my pc before I went to work, and sorting through them later on I was really pleased with most of the shots. It was a shame in a way that the weather hadn't been brighter, but in some instances sunshine isn't everything and just being able to see and photograph the seals had given me yet another weekend to remember.

Sunday November 17th 2013 - An afternoon at Donna Nook

I woke that morning to a very grey sky and no sign at all of any sunshine. As I wasn't in too much of a rush to go out and the dogs were still curled up in their bed I made a brew and some toast and retreated back to my own bed for another couple of hours, hoping that the sun would eventually break through and give me a lovely day to see the seals. Unfortunately though it didn't and the sky was still grey when I finally emerged from the tent to take the dogs for a walk round the site.

It was late morning by the time I was ready to go to Donna Nook; stashed in the van were a couple of extra layers of clothing for myself and an old duvet for the dogs to snuggle under, and after saying my goodbyes to MissE, who would have packed up and left the site by the time I got back, I set off for an afternoon of seal photography. It took about forty five minutes to get to Donna Nook and as I drove down the single track lane towards the dunes I could see that the overflow car park field was choc-a-bloc with vehicles; Donna Nook was a very popular place and it was obviously a very busy day. I had no trouble finding a space though and when I got out of the van I was pleasantly surprised to find that contrary to the usual bitingly cold wind which I was expecting, the weather was very mild and there wasn't even the hint of a breeze; it looked like my extra layers and the dogs' duvet wouldn't be needed after all.

Although this was by no means my first visit to Donna Nook I was still blown away by the sight which met me when I reached the top of the dunes; literally hundreds of seals dotted across the wide expanse of sand flats and dunes, with many of them close to the viewing area fence and almost within touching distance. It looked like my recently-purchased new camera would be getting a lot of use over the next hour or so.

Even though the viewing area was very busy I still managed to find several gaps in the crowd where I could get right up to the fence at different places and I was rewarded with many opportunities for photos, including seeing one pup which was obviously less than an hour old; with its wet fur still drying out it looked rather like a sheep gone wrong. It was a pity really that the day was so grey; a bit of sunshine for my photos would have brightened things up nicely, but I still got well over a hundred good shots.

After a chat to one of the wardens, and having satisfied myself that I hadn't missed anything out photo-wise, I made my way back to the car park. By that time I was feeling quite peckish so I stopped at the nearby catering wagon to get a cheeseburger and a coffee to take back to the van, then with the edge taken off my hunger I let the dogs out from the back and took them for a walk right round the perimeter of the field. Of course a visit to Donna Nook wouldn't be complete without calling at the nearby Ark animal sanctuary so I stopped off there for a quick look round before hitting the main road and heading back to Willow Lakes.

The daylight had been fading fast when I left the Ark so by the time I got back to the site it was completely dark; with nowhere else to go I put the heater on in the tent, made a brew and settled in for the evening, only venturing out later on to take the dogs for their last walk of the day. It was a dry night, still very mild with a clear sky and a full moon; with only one other pitch occupied by a caravan the site was certainly very quiet, and as I snuggled into my bed a while later the only sounds were an owl hooting somewhere in the nearby trees and Sugar's gentle snores as she chased rabbits in her sleep.