About Me

My photo
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 December 31st 2014 - To all my blog readers

Wishing you beautiful moments, treasured memories, and all the blessings a heart can know in 2015

A very Happy New Year to you all!

Thursday December 18th 2014 - Sleep tight little friend

It's with many tears and a heavy heart that I write this - my lovely little Sugar finally gave up her 3-month fight against kidney failure and passed away peacefully early this morning.

I noticed that she seemed to be off colour soon after getting back from my ten days at California in September, and she was also drinking far more water than normal - and what goes in must come out, so she was going out into the garden more than usual. A check up at the vet's pointed to a possible urinary tract infection so she was given a 2-week course of tablets to see if things improved. They did seem to help at first but then the water drinking and subsequent weeing increased to the point where she was frequently wetting her bed. A second visit to the vet's and a scan of her reproductive organs showed nothing so she was booked in for a full scan - which revealed that one of her kidneys had packed up completely and the other was finding it hard to compensate. Only a major operation would do any good, but at the age of sixteen-and-a-half there was no way I would put her through it so the only alternative was to keep her on the tablets which helped and care for her until the inevitable end.

At first she wasn't too bad, still enjoying walks in the fields near home, but those walks quickly became shorter and slower to the point where finally she could only manage a couple of circuits round the garden. Then she lost her appetite for her normal food so since last Friday I've been hand feeding her little and often with whatever she would eat, supplemented by formula milk, though she eventually started to refuse that. Although the thought of losing her was hard to contemplate I knew I couldn't let her suffer so I rang the vet and was assured that she would be in no pain, so it would be okay to just make her comfortable and let her drift off in her own way.

On Tuesday I took her to the beach for the last time, carrying her from the car park down onto the sand. She took half a dozen slow steps on her own then I wrapped her in her fleece blanket and sat in the dunes with her in my lap - and it broke my heart knowing she would soon leave me. Yesterday I got a miniature fibre optic Christmas tree and put it near her bed where she could see it - I'd so hoped that she would still be here for Christmas but I knew it wasn't to be. Then last night I gave her a bath, put her in a clean fleece hoodie to keep her warm and tucked her up in her bed - I checked on her a couple of times during the night and she was sleeping but when I got up this morning she'd drifted peacefully away.

Although I've known for a while that the end would come sooner rather than later it's no easier to bear and I've been in bits for most of the day. I know I still have Sophie and Poppie but Sugar has given me love, laughter and companionship for almost sixteen years and now she's gone there's an empty space in the room and a Sugar-sized hole in my heart.

Sleep tight my little friend, I'll miss you always  xx

Sunday December 14th 2014 - Office Christmas parties are a total pain

Last Friday one of the places where I work held the staff Christmas party. In previous years the party has usually been in the form of a meal and drinks at a local restaurant but this time, to save on expenses, it was a buffet and DIY entertainment held in the large reception area of the offices. While I was at work that morning I happened to see the main organiser starting the initial preparations and he assured me that any mess would be cleared away afterwards ready for me to do my work on Monday morning - fair enough, I thought.

Now given that the weather here isn't very good just now and it's far too wet to take the dogs for a decent walk, today I decided to go to work instead of leaving it until tomorrow morning. However, any thoughts of being able to do my normal job were quickly abandoned when I arrived - far from any party mess being cleared away it had all been left, and the reception area and main office looked like a bomb had hit them. Several partitions and various items of furniture had been moved, chairs had been brought out from other rooms and there were cans, bottles, wine boxes, used plastic tumblers, mugs, left over food, spillages on desks and table tops, bits of paper and overflowing waste paper baskets everywhere, plus cake crumbs and crisps trodden into the carpet for good measure.

It looked like it would take an army to clear all that lot up, but armed with a roll of refuse bags, various sprays, cleaning cloths and the vacuum cleaner I started at one end and worked my way methodically to the other, relocating all the desks, chairs and partitions into their normal places as I went along, and eventually the rooms looked like there had never been a party. Added to all that was the work I would normally do and by the time I'd finally finished it had taken me a good three hours - now I wonder if the staff will appreciate my efforts when they find the place spick and span tomorrow?

So if you're reading this and about to attend an office party held at the place you work, please spare a thought for the person who has to clear up all the mess afterwards!

Wednesday December 10th 2014 - Evicting an unwanted house guest

A couple of weeks ago, while sitting here at my pc one evening, I heard a faint rustling sound from deep in the corner behind the computer unit. It was so faint that I wasn't really sure if it was real or if I'd imagined it, but even though all three dogs were downstairs I had the vague feeling that I wasn't alone in the room. However, I didn't hear the noise again so I put it out of my mind, but a few evenings later as I entered the room there was a distinct scuffling sound and the very real impression that something had darted across the floor and disappeared into the corner; it seemed that somehow I may have gained an uninvited house guest - a mouse.

Just before going to bed that night I left half a dozen small squares of bread and marmalade on a plate on the floor. I didn't know if mice like bread and marmalade but I figured that if there was a mouse in residence it might be grateful for a late night snack, and if the bread disappeared at least it would prove that I was neither imagining things nor losing my marbles - and sure enough, when I checked the following morning all but one of the pieces had disappeared. 

Now as much as I like mice, and having one in residence didn't particularly bother me, it wasn't an ideal situation - where there's one there could be twenty one so the mouse had to go, and the sooner the better. But I also had to find out where it had got in, and as it seemed to be frequenting the corner behind the computer unit that was the obvious place to start; not an easy task though in view of everything which had to be moved so it would have to wait until the weekend when I had plenty of time. So Sunday morning saw me moving all the books and various boxes of computer accessories, paper, envelopes, laminating sheets, files and plastic pockets from the shelves in the unit, disconnecting and moving two computers, two printers, two monitors and a scanner, and finally moving the unit well away from the wall. It took quite a while but eventually I could see where my little visitor was coming and going; right in the corner was a gap between the floorboards and skirting board - not a particularly big gap, but certainly enough for a mouse to get through.

So after a walk down to the local DIY store I returned with a can of expanding foam which I sprayed into the gap to fill it and seal it, then once the foam had hardened I cut off the excess and made a start on putting back the pc unit and all its contents. I wasn't sure if the mouse might still have been hiding somewhere else in the room though; if it was I would need to get a humane trap, but before going to the expense of buying one if I didn't need to I decided to leave some more bread and marmalade down just to be sure. I did that twice and on neither occasion was it touched, so I think the mouse must have evicted itself before I sealed up the hole. There's certainly been no more strange noises or any other evidence of it still being around so I think I can consider that my efforts on Sunday, although time-consuming, have definitely been a success and my uninvited guest has gone for good.


Thursday December 4th 2014 - Keeping things ticking over

As this is first and foremost a camping blog I would normally only write about camping and things connected to it, but as any planned winter outings with the tent have been put on hold - for reasons which will be explained at a later date - I've decided to keep things ticking over during the next few months by writing about other things which happen in my day-to-day life. These could be funny, quirky, sad, serious or downright silly things, but whatever they are they will no doubt end up on here in the coming months. So here it is - the first truly non-camping related post on this blog.

My new little dog Poppie has been with me for five weeks now and has well and truly settled into her new life with me and the other pets, and a couple of weeks ago I found out that she knows her kerb drill when out walking round the local roads. I trained both Sugar and Sophie to 'wait' at the edge of the pavement then cross the road on the command of 'right' when it was clear and I was going to do the same with Poppie, however, on the first occasion that we had to cross a main road she sat nicely without being told and didn't move until I started to cross. I thought at first it may be a fluke but she's done it almost every time since then; she also knows 'off' 'down' 'here' and 'bed' so wherever she's lived previously it's obvious that someone has taken the trouble to train her. 

If she has one fault at all it's that she likes to jump up onto my bed at every opportunity she gets. Now I know many people don't mind having their dog on the bed, and some actively encourage it, but it's something I personally hate - a stern 'off!' from me though is usually enough to make her get down again straight away. Other than that though she's a very sweet and loving little dog and I'm looking forward to having her around for many years to come.