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

Tuesday September 9th 2014 - A grey day, a silly mistake and a dog encounter

In spite of my previous night's metaphorical finger crossing I woke that morning to a cloudy grey sky and no sign of any sunshine, so I decided to stay local and just mooch around in the vicinity of the camp site. And it was when I was ready for taking the dogs for a walk that I discovered I'd made a very silly mistake when I'd left home two days previously.

Now I guess that many people have a favourite comfy pair of shoes or slippers - those that have definitely seen better days and are probably all but falling apart but are so comfy you just can't bear to bin them. Well I have one such pair of trainers, and while they are no good in the rain and the soles are so thin I can feel every stone underfoot they are really comfy for driving, so I'd put them on for the long journey from home and just on the point of leaving I'd grabbed a pair of my normal trainers, put them in a carrier bag and thrown them in the back of the van, which was where they'd stayed as I'd been wearing my beach sandals since my arrival at the site. And the back of the van was where they were returned to, as when I took them out of the bag I found that far from being a pair they were two right shoes from two totally different pairs!

It took several seconds for my brain to register what I was actually seeing, then when it finally dawned on me that this 'pair' of trainers was completely useless I broke into a fit of helpless giggles; now I've done many silly things over the years but this one was definitely a first! And having realised the previous day that beach sandals aren't ideal footwear for climbing up and down ladders in windmills it meant that I would have to get a new pair of trainers if I wanted to go up a couple of church towers later in the week. So after a dog walk along the beach and a leisurely breakfast I drove into Yarmouth, found a Sports Direct store, and returned to the tent with a nice new pair of Slazengers for the bargain price of £17.99. The rest of the day was spent relaxing with my book and a few crossword puzzles, and though the sun did finally put in an appearance it was too late in the afternoon to bother going anywhere. 

It was 8pm when I encountered the dog; it had been barking almost non-stop for an hour and the noise was coming from the vicinity of the tent further down the field so when the tv programme I was watching had finished I went out to ask the owners if they could quieten it down a bit. Their tent was in darkness though and the dog - a little Border Terrier - was running round nearby trailing a lead behind it so presumably it had escaped from somewhere.  Thinking that I would catch it then try to find the owners - they could only have been in the on-site club or the pub across the lane - I went towards it to pick up its lead. Big mistake! Without warning it flew at me and went for my feet, biting my right toes - if I'd still been wearing my beach sandals and not my new trainers it could have done some very painful damage. And the wretched creature continued nipping at my ankles all the way back to my own tent.

Now in all the years I've had dogs of my own or dealt with those belonging to other people I've never been nipped, bitten or attacked by any of them so this was a first - and I wasn't best pleased. I was also concerned that the dog could possibly get itself lost so I needed to find its owners; I tracked them down in the on-site club, and though at first the woman denied the dog was theirs she realised it was when I described its pink lead. She said they'd left the dog in the tent thinking it would be okay for a couple of hours, but obviously it wasn't happy about being left and had escaped by pushing its nose through a small gap in the zipped-up door. It was called Rosie and it was actually quite friendly while its owner had hold of it under her arm but the minute she put it back down on the ground it went for me again! Luckily she was holding its lead and I moved out of the way in time, though I was glad in a way that it had another go at me as I didn't think its owner believed me about the first time. And although after that night I did hear it barking occasionally over the next few days I never actually saw it again - and after that evening's encounter with it I didn't want to either! 

Monday September 8th 2014 - Stracey Arms windmill and Thurne

I woke to a warm sunny morning with blue sky and fluffy white clouds, and after a dog walk along the beach I breakfasted outside the tent while planning what to do with my day. As I'd only packed the barest of supplies to see me through my first day a shopping trip to Asda down in Yarmouth was a must, as was a visit to my friends Eileen and Ron out at Clippesby, so I decided to start at Asda and work my way up to Clippesby with a couple of stop-offs in between.

The Asda shopping didn't take long and I was soon on the A47, with that section being known locally as the Acle Straight - and it's definitely well-named as between Yarmouth and Acle it must be one of the straightest most boring sections of road I've ever travelled on. It's also extremely busy so I just hoped there would be no problem turning right into the car park at Stracey arms windmill, however there was a convenient gap in the oncoming traffic just at the right moment so I made it safely across. It was only last year that I'd made my previous visit to the mill but I hadn't thought to go in it and go up to the top, so that was the purpose of this second visit.

After paying the modest entrance fee of £2, which would contribute towards the upkeep of the mill, I started the climb to the top via two steep wooden ladders. The view from up there was good but the windows were really dirty and no amount of rubbing with my hand would remove the grime, however I found a couple of reasonably clear bits for my camera lens and managed to get a couple of shots which luckily didn't show up any spots of dirt.

Back at ground level I had a quick look round the gift shop and made a fuss of the owner's adorable scruffy little dog sitting behind the counter, then dicing with death and crossing the traffic for the second time I made my way via Acle and various country lanes to the staithe at Thurne. Parking the van under a tree to keep it cool I released the dogs from the back and went for a walk along the staithe and riverbank on the opposite side to where I'd been on a previous visit a couple of years ago. Even though it was late in the season the river itself was still reasonably busy, and the staithe looked very attractive in the sunshine with various boats moored up and its nearby cottages with their pretty gardens.

Although the dogs had to be kept on a lead along the staithe itself I was able to let them off when I got to the riverbank and I walked for quite a distance before turning and retracing my steps back to the van. Then it was on to Eileen and Ron's cottage, which was only a couple of miles away from Thurne, and with Sophie, Sugar and their dog Joe playing in the garden Ron made a brew and we settled down for a good catch-up of family and local news from the last twelve months. It was good to chat but all too soon it was time for me to go, though I promised I would see them again before I left for home the following week.

Back at the camp site I stowed away all my shopping, made myself something to eat, and spent the rest of the afternoon and evening relaxing with my book and an hour or so of tv, then when the day's dose of sea and country air decided it was time for me to go to sleep I took the dogs for their last walk round the site and settled into my bed with metaphorical fingers crossed for more good weather the following day.