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

Sunday February 21st 2015 - The Sunday lunch that almost wasn't

Last Friday evening I got a call from my friend Janet asking if I fancied going out to lunch today. Now I see Janet every Thursday but it's absolutely ages since we went anywhere together so a Sunday lunch was an attractive proposition, and as I'd no other plans for the weekend I said yes. Her idea was that as we wouldn't be taking our dogs with us I would leave my van at her house and we would go in her car to a pub/restaurant which I'd never been to before, however things didn't quite work out like that.

As I was getting ready to go out Janet rang me to say that it was snowing heavily in her village, which is only three-and-a-half miles up the main road from me and surrounded by moorland, so if I didn't want to drive up there we could give the lunch a miss and go out another time. Looking out of my window I saw that it was raining here rather than snowing; I live in a semi-rural area on the edge of the moorland and even though there's only just over three miles between us the weather can often be vastly different, but having looked forward to my lunch I decided to drive up there anyway and we could decide what to do once I got there.

The first mile of road up the hill was okay but as I hit the fields and open moorland the wet turned to white and by the time I got to Janet's village it was indeed snowing quite heavily. The place she'd intended taking me to was ten miles away over the moors and as neither of us fancied driving over there in that weather we had a quick rethink, and rather than abandon the meal idea completely we decided to go to the village pub/restaurant, which is only about a hundred yards from her house and therefore walkable. This was another place I'd never been in and according to Janet, the last time she'd been in there a few years ago she hadn't been too impressed with either the place or the food, so we were taking a chance that it would be okay - and it was.

In fact it was more than okay. After a recent change of ownership the restaurant area had been refurbished and was light, bright and welcoming; the staff were very friendly, we got prompt service with a smile and the meal itself was lovely without being over-priced. With drinks and a couple of coffees we spent a very pleasant couple of hours in there and we were impressed enough to say we would go back another time. Also while we were in there the snow had turned to rain and by the time we left the white stuff covering the road and pavements was already turning to slush and disappearing.

Now as much as I hate snow I must admit that just sometimes it does have its uses. It may have messed up our plans and stopped us from going to where we originally intended, but because of it we discovered a nice place right on the doorstep which otherwise we probably would never have considered going to. So rather than being the Sunday lunch that almost wasn't, the snow actually turned it into a Sunday lunch which definitely was, and very enjoyable it was too.

Sunday February 8th 2015 - The joys of being a commercial cleaner....

Although I'm not sure if 'joy' is really the right word.

Over the twenty five years I've been a commercial cleaner I've worked in many different offices and premises for a very diverse range of businesses; these have included bookmakers, solicitors, accountants, surveyors, builders, private nurseries/kindergartens, insurance brokers, dental practices, sign makers and a cosmetic clinic. All of them have, at some point, thrown up various problems and situations, some surprising, some amusing, some mildly irritating, some very annoying and some downright disgusting, and I've dealt with them all as part of my job.

So here are some of the things I've encountered in my working life - 

The bookmakers premises which was raided during the night. The thieves disabled the outside alarm, broke into the disused upstairs offices and hacked their way through the floor into the shop below. Unfortunately for them they couldn't hack their way through the safe so they left empty-handed the same way they got in; when I arrived in the morning I found a chair in the middle of the floor surrounded by lumps of broken ceiling tiles, a big hole in the ceiling above it, and the back of the counter a total mess where they'd tried to break into the safe. Needless to say the police were called but the culprits were never found.

The dental practice where the hard vinyl floor in one surgery was bordered on three sides by carpet. It sometimes happened that while I was vacuuming I would hear the faint rattle of something being sucked up the pipe; I'd been cleaning there for a while when I realised that the various rattles were bits of patients' teeth which had landed on the floor during treatment.

The cosmetic clinic where the staff would practise giving Botox injections to each other after hours. If the various squeals of "Oww!" and "Aargh!" were anything to go by it certainly wasn't a painless process, and I decided there and then that I would never subject my own face to such procedures.

And the dental practice which had suffered a break-in over a weekend. The alarm code was changed as a result but no-one thought to inform me, so when I let myself in on the Monday evening the alarm was activated and I couldn't stop it. As it was linked directly to the local police station I soon found a couple of policemen hammering on the door ready to arrest me for being a burglar - I had to phone the practice boss and get him to confirm who I was before they were satisfied that I wasn't raiding the place for drugs.

Annoyances and irritations in my working life come in many forms so here are a few which bug me on a regular basis -

Waste paper bins in inaccessible corners which I can't reach. 
Staff members walking over a just-mopped floor before it's dried, leaving it looking like it's never been mopped at all.
Crisps and other bits of food dropped on and trodden into the carpet by members of the public when there are notices saying food and drink isn't allowed in the waiting area.
Staff members who use the vacuum cleaner in my absence and don't put it back where I keep it, usually meaning I have to search an entire building before I find it.
Cardboard box lids shoved into waste paper baskets, with bits of food and waste paper dropped in afterwards, meaning that when I pull out the lid to put it in the recycling bag the bits of food and paper go all over the floor.

And I long since came to the conclusion that many office workers are complacent and lazy, probably because they know there's always someone who will clear up their mess. Their antics include - spilling coffee/sugar on the worktop and not wiping it up, which leaves a sticky mess, heating uncovered food in the microwave leaving a complete baked-on mess inside, stirring a brew and just throwing the used teaspoon into the sink, and dropping the cardboard tubes from toilet rolls on the floor underneath/behind the loo - why?? These people are adults, not children.

As for the disgusting, I once came across a pool of vomit in a client interview room at one of the places where I currently work, and I regularly encounter various staff toilets where the contents haven't flushed away properly, though a bucket of water poured from a dizzy height in conjunction with another flush will usually be enough to make things disappear. 

The most disgusting of all my encounters though was what could only be described as a 'curry explosion' at one place where I worked. The huge mess wasn't only in the loo, it was on the seat, the cistern, the walls, door and floor - I think the only place it didn't reach was the ceiling. I never knew who was responsible for that lot but it was certainly a mammoth task to clean it all up.

So there you have it - a brief insight into my life as a commercial cleaner. Definitely not a glamourous job and certainly not without its problems but it does have some advantages, flexible hours being one of them, and ninety per cent of the time I enjoy what I do - I wouldn't have been doing it for twenty five years if I didn't.