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 16th 2014 - Definitely not a going home day

I woke that morning to a sea mist so thick that I could only just about see the far end of the camping field, but as I walked the dogs along the beach I could tell that somewhere above and beyond that lot the sun was trying to get through so hopefully it would soon clear up. My first job of the day, before I even had breakfast, was to go down to Asda to top up the van with diesel - something I'd wanted to avoid doing on going home day, which was why I'd gone there a couple of days previously only to find the petrol station had just closed. There was a petrol station in Ormesby village about a mile away from the camp site but the price was substantially more than Asda, so a quick trip down to Yarmouth was needed.

Normally I would be gone from the site by about 10am but having taken an extra day off work to use as a travelling day I was in no rush to leave so after getting back from Asda I had a very leisurely breakfast before I even started to think about packing up. The next job was to tidy out the van; I'm not usually an untidy person, especially when I'm camping, but just for once anything and everything that wasn't being used or needed over the last ten days had been thrown in the middle of it and it now resembled a mobile jumble sale. Some serious sorting out was needed, and with that done I put Sophie and Sugar in the back out of the way then turned my attention to actually packing everything away. 

The mist had gradually been lifting during the morning and by the time I finally rolled up the tent and stashed it in the van at 12.30pm the sky was more blue than grey and the sun was shining again. Leaving the van on my pitch I took the dogs for a last walk along the beach; it was still a bit misty in the far distance but with the warm sun and blue sky it still felt like summer and it was hard to believe it was now mid September - and it definitely wasn't a going home day.

By the time I got back to the van I was ready for some lunch - which was as good an excuse as any to make a final visit to Lathams for a last Belgian bun and a coffee, then it was on to Clippesby for a second visit to Eileen and Ron. It would have been so easy to settle in there for the afternoon but I had to get home some time that day so at 3.30pm I said my goodbyes and with hugs all round I left their cottage behind until next year.

Away from the coast there was no sign of any mist at all and in the warm sunshine the drive northwards was very pleasant, though if I was hoping to stop en route at the 'no tea no pee' cafe I was destined to be disappointed as it had closed by the time I got there. I could probably have found somewhere else but having been to Lathams earlier I wasn't exactly starving; the dogs were quite happy in the back of the van so I just carried on driving and with no stops at all I was back home exactly five hours after I'd left Eileen and Ron's cottage.

As I downloaded my photos to the pc later on I thought back over my holiday; I'd had some great weather, the dogs had enjoyed their beach walks, and with the general pace of life being slower than at home I felt like I'd been away for at least a month. And if anyone ever asks me why I like camping at California so much I'll just point them in the direction of the photos on this blog  :)

Monday September 15th 2014 - I finally get to go up Ranworth church tower

The first thing that struck me when I woke that morning was how still everything was; the wind had finally gone, and other than the sound of the waves breaking on the beach down below the camping field there was complete silence. And emerging from the tent for the first dog walk of the day showed me that the disappearing wind had also taken most of the cloud with it and there was miles of almost clear blue sky - it looked like I would make the climb up Ranworth church tower after all.

It was late morning when I finally set out and having planned a circular tour of a few different places my first stop was Potter Heigham. For several years I'd intended taking a photo of the river from the main road bridge but as many times as I'd been to the village I'd somehow never got round to it; well this time I was going to do it. It was too dangerous to take the dogs with me though as the main road had no pavement, just a narrow grass verge, but I was lucky enough to find a spot right under a tree in Lathams car park so I knew they would be okay for the length of time I would be gone. 

With a handful of shots taken looking up river from the bridge I made my way back into the village for a quick wander down the south riverbank, which I'd never been along before. I didn't need to go too far as the most interesting and picturesque part of it was close to the old road bridge; another half a dozen shots and I made my way to the north bank where a modern footbridge spanned the entrance to the marina. As I stood on the bank lining up a shot a hire cruiser approached the moorings and the guy standing on the bow shouted and asked me if I would catch the mooring rope; that's all he wanted me to do but within seconds I'd caught the rope, pulled the boat in against the bank and deftly wound the rope round the mooring post, then I walked along to the stern and did the same again once his mate had thrown me his rope. I don't think either of them expected that, but I didn't spend my holidays in the early 90s messing about on Eileen and Ron's boat without learning a thing or two! I spent about ten minutes chatting to the guys then with another couple of photos taken I made my way back to the van and set off for the next stop on the day's itinerary.

My second port of call was Horning, and though the car park close to the river was full I was lucky enough to discover that there was a free car park at the village hall. It was several hundred yards up the hill from the main part of the village but that didn't matter and it was a pleasant walk back down again. After buying a couple of items from one of the very few shops in the village I had a walk along the riverside and the village green then returned to the van and drove round to the ferry marina. The riverside pub had undergone a few changes since my previous visit a couple of years ago and the garden had been extended, with several picnic benches set out and a childrens playbus and bouncy castle in one corner which all made for some very colourful photos.

My third stop was, at long last, Ranworth church tower. In complete contrast to Happisburgh there were no wardens at this one so I undertook the climb at my own risk, but having been up there last year I knew what to expect. What I didn't expect though was having to open the trap door onto the roof when I got to the top of the second ladder; that was something I didn't have to deal with last year as there was already someone else up there, but this time I was on my own. The door, although not very big, wasn't exactly light in weight, and hanging onto the ladder with one hand it was quite an effort to push it up with my other hand; I managed it though and finally emerged safely onto the roof. Directly in front of me was Malthouse Broad with the River Bure to the right, then even further to the right was Ranworth Broad with Ranworth Staithe right at the far end - and those views across the countryside definitely confirmed my decision to wait until the sky was clear before going up the tower.

When I'd seen all I wanted to see I made my way back down the tower, and closing the trap door behind me was, if anything, more difficult than opening it. I had to pull it partially down with one hand then support it with my head so that it closed as I backed slowly down the ladder; not an easy task but at least I did it without falling from my perch. As I carefully negotiated the spiral stone staircase I stopped briefly to take a photo looking down; it was certainly very steep and narrow, and definitely not for someone with claustrophobic tendencies.

Back on terra firma I returned to the van and took the short drive along the lane to Ranworth Staithe, which I'd been able to see from the top of the tower. There were quite a lot of boats moored up but although the little cafe-cum-information centre was open there wasn't a lot of activity anywhere; it didn't take me long to walk round and with just a few shots taken I drove on to my fourth and final stop, Salhouse Broad.

From the car park just off the lane through Salhouse village it was a very pleasant quarter of a mile walk through woodland down to the water. Now I've been there a few times before and the place has always looked the same but for some reason this time it looked slightly different, though I couldn't think why. Maybe it was because the trees and bushes on the hillside leading down to the water had grown, or perhaps because much of the lower hillside was in shadow rather than the full sun which I've always seen it in previously; it was still an attractive place though and definitely worth a few more photos.

I made that my last stop of the day as the afternoon was getting on and I didn't want to be too late getting back to the tent as my camping friend John was coming down from Norwich to spend a couple of hours with me. He arrived at 6pm and once I'd made a coffee we settled down for a good chat, then an hour or so later we went across to the California Tavern for a meal, finishing the evening with another coffee and more chat back at the tent. 

It was getting late by the time John left so I just took the dogs for their usual walk round the site then settled into bed for my final night. Thinking back over the day I felt that in contrast to the previous day I'd achieved a lot more; I'd got some good photos, I'd moored up a hire cruiser, and I'd climbed Ranworth church tower for the second time - definitely a good day all round.