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

June 30th 2015 - And two become three....Introducing Sam

As some of you will know from a previous and temporary post, I recently got the shocking and very upsetting news that my ex partner, who I'd been friends with for quite a while, had passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly while at the home of some mutual friends. As he'd lived alone there was no-one else to take care of his dog and cat so I immediately said they could come to me and they arrived the following day.

Luckily Sam and I know each other of old so hopefully the change of home and owner haven't been as traumatic for him as it could have been. He was only four months old when my ex brought him home in 2003, and he camped with us and my little dog Sugar for six years before the break up of our relationship. He's now rather overweight as my ex used to spoil him with the leftovers from his own meals and didn't walk him as often as he should have done, but I've now got him on the correct amount of food and I'm taking him for short gentle walks three times a day so hopefully he should gradually slim down to the right weight. 

Sam hasn't been camping since my ex and I broke up six years ago as he pursued other interests, and as of last December I no longer have Sugar, but I'm sure that once he has settled in properly with me he will get on well with Sophie and Poppie and will enjoy camping once again. He's twelve-and-a-half years old now and I don't know how many years he has left, but he'll be with me for the rest of his life - and I'm sure my ex would be happy to know that he and the cat are safe with me and they are both okay.

Tuesday June 9th 2015 - A leisurely drive home

Yet another gloriously sunny morning arrived and by 7am I was down on the beach with Sophie and Poppie. The tide was well out and with no warden around I was able to cross the main part of the beach to the water's edge where I walked right along to the very far end and back, and with only another couple of dog walkers in the far distance I almost had the vast stretch of sand to myself. As I walked back along the promenade I noticed that the end house, which had previously been white, was now painted pale pink, and with pink flower tubs and pink chairs on the balcony it looked so bright I couldn't resist taking a photo of it.

Back at the tent I made and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast then spent a while sitting in the sun with my book before (very reluctantly) starting on the tidying away and packing up process. I took my time about it so it was getting on for 1pm before the tent and groundsheet were finally stashed in the van, then after a short walk round with the dogs I drove away from my pitch for the last time.

As I was in no particular rush to get home I'd already decided that rather than the day being just a travelling day I would make it part of the holiday and stop off at a couple of places en route. The first stop was on the outskirts of Conwy, at a place which is featured on the Quest tv series Salvage Hunters about Drew Pritchard, a guy who turns all sorts of 'junk' into gems, and one of the 'stars' of the programme is his little terrier dog Enzo who often poses for photos with various items which are to be sold on the website.  I find the programme fascinating and watch it regularly - even the repeats of the repeats - and think little Enzo looks adorable, so I decided to visit the premises in the hope that I could get to see him.

The place isn't actually open to the general public but when I asked at the office just inside the front doors Ruth, the very nice young lady I spoke to, was willing to let me see Enzo; he was curled up in his bed in the office but when she called him he came trotting out - and he was every bit as cute and adorable as he looks on the tv. Unfortunately I didn't get to meet Drew as he was away filming for the next tv series but I spent quite a while chatting to Ruth and making a fuss of Enzo, and he was quite happy to pose for me when I got the camera out, though he's actually smaller than he looks in the photos.

After thanking Ruth for letting me see Enzo and taking the time to chat to me I returned to the van and headed back for the A55. By this time my breakfast had become a distant memory and it was time for coffee and cake so as I was approaching the outskirts of Abergele I turned off the coast road and headed for The Beach caravan park, where I knew I would be able to get a mug of good coffee and some delicious Bara Brith from Tides Bistro. When I got there however I was disappointed to find that the place was closed for refurbishment, so I headed into Abergele itself and drove down to the car park by the beach. I actually had some shop-bought cake in my coolbox so I just got a take-away coffee from the nearby cafe and stayed in the van while I had my snack, then I took the dogs for a short walk along the beach before continuing my journey.

My third and final stop was at Chester Services on the M56; the coffee I'd had in Abergele had worked its way through me and I knew I wouldn't survive the final hour of the journey. Greatly relieved, and after a quick look round the shop, I returned to the van and set off on the last leg of the trip. It was 7.45pm when I finally arrived home; the drive from Anglesey had taken far longer than normal because of the three stops I made but with no problems along the way it had been a very pleasant journey, and the evening sun still shining made a fitting end to a good holiday.

Monday June 8th 2015 - Part 2 - Porth Dafarch, South Stack & Cemaes Bay

Not far from Trearddur Bay, and just along the coast, was the small bay of Porth Dafarch; I'd photographed the place a few times in previous years but as I was driving past it anyway I decided to stop for a quick wander round. It looked pretty much the same as the last time I was there, though as part of a beach access improvement scheme a section of the high wall bordering the beach itself had recently been taken away and wide concrete steps put in its place, making it easier for people to get down onto the sand and also providing somewhere to sit. With just a couple of shots taken I returned to the van and continued on to South Stack.

Parking in the top car park at South Stack I walked down towards Ellins Tower RSPB lookout and the lighthouse, but if I was hoping to see the cliff top awash with bright yellow gorse I was destined to be disappointed. For some reason the whole area from Ellins Tower right across to the bottom car park was completely grey; with no gorse, heather or pretty rock plants growing in various crevices the place was totally devoid of any colour and looked very much like the aftermath of a moorland fire. It was completely different to when I'd first gone there four years ago - back then there had been large random patches of yellow gorse among the greenery and clumps of pink and purple flowers growing from cracks in the rocks; now the only flowers I saw were in a few isolated patches as I went towards the lighthouse.

As it was far too warm to leave the dogs in the van for any length of time I couldn't go down to the lighthouse itself so with just the one photo taken I made my way back to the van. Unable to think of anywhere else to go, and with the afternoon getting late, I decided to head back to the camp site via the A5025 which would take me round the north and east side of the island - it was a long way round but it would be a very scenic and pleasant drive in the sunshine.

As I approached the turn-off for Cemaes Bay I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to go down to the little village; it had been a couple of years since I was last there but the harbour is such a photogenic place that I couldn't resist making a return visit for some more shots. As I walked down to the beach from where I'd parked the van by the roadside I noticed a strange-looking structure on the sand, which hadn't been there on my last visit. A closer look showed that it was a 'sculpture' of two bells, one on top of the other and supported by a frame anchored firmly to the beach, and an information board on the promenade wall said that this was a Time and Tide Bell, one of twelve being installed at various places around the UK. Cast in aluminium bronze and situated permanently at the high water line the movement of the waves at high tide will move the clapper to strike the bell, supposedly producing a musical sound.

The sea was already well on the retreat from the most recent high tide and I had no chance of hearing the bell for myself that day, so with my curiosity satisfied as to what the structure actually was I left the beach and made my way round to the little harbour. As usual the place gave me plenty to photograph so I wandered round for quite a while, then with several shots taken I made my way back to the van.  

The rest of the drive back to the camp site was very pleasant in the early evening sun and though I could have stopped for photos at another couple of places en route I resisted the temptation - my lunch time cheeseburger had finally worn off and I was looking forward to a sandwich with a good brew. It was well after 7pm when I finally arrived back at the tent, then with the sandwich and brew duly made and still no other campers on site I settled in for a nice quiet evening and final night in the tent.

Monday June 8th 2015 - Part 1 - Looking for lions, Penrhos & Trearddur Bay

Another warm sunny morning arrived, and the last full day of the holiday. My quest this time was to find and photograph the Egyptian-style lions at Britannia Bridge; there are two at the bridge entrance on the Anglesey side and two on the mainland side. Carved out of limestone, each one is 25ft long, 13ft tall and sits on a 13ft high base; put there when the original rail bridge was constructed in the mid 1800s, a rather modest and amusing short poem written at the time stated "Four fat lions without any hair, two over this side and two over there". 

After the bridge was partially destroyed by fire in 1970 it was rebuilt with the modern day road running above the rail line, meaning that the lions are now hidden from view and can only be seen briefly from the train - road users will actually pass just feet above them without ever knowing they are there. 

I didn't set out until late morning, and as I had no idea how to find these lions I stopped at the petrol station nearest to the bridge, which is actually a mile away from it, to ask in there, and got directions for the lions on both sides of the bridge. Assuming that all four lions were exactly the same I decided there was no point going across the bridge to find the ones on the far side, I'd be happy finding just the two on the Anglesey side.

Parking up at St. Mary's church close to the Menai Straits I walked a little way back up the hill to a wide footpath which took me down through a wooded area and back in the direction of the straits; I'd only gone a few hundred yards when the path opened up onto the railway embankment on my right and there, up ahead of me, were the lions I was looking for. Climbing up the embankment I reached the level of the railway line and the underside of the A55, but because of all the chain link fencing and security gates (I was now on Network Rail land) I couldn't get as close as I wanted to and it was almost impossible to take a clear shot of either of them without part of the bridge being in view. From a distance they didn't look too bad, but looking from a closer position these things were seriously ugly; however, I'd completed my mission and with a few shots taken I made my way back to the van.

From St. Mary's church I drove along to the A5 and all the way up to Penrhos coastal park - it was lunch time by then so I couldn't resist getting another cheeseburger from Pete's burger bar. Parked up in the sunshine and overlooking the bay it was nice just to sit in the van and relax for a while.

With lunch over it was time for my next quest - finding the old stone boat house somewhere at the far side of the coastal park. This wasn't something featured in the photography book I was following, I'd actually found out about it while chatting to Pete when I got my cheeseburger the previous day. Taking a path by the duck pond I wandered through the woods until I emerged onto a wide tarmac lane where there was a stone-built folly with a castellated tower; this particular building had actually been renovated in recent years and was being used as the club house for the nearby cricket ground.

Just down the lane was the path which closely followed the edge of the coastline and which I'd walked part way along only a month previously; if I'd gone a bit farther than I had I would have found the old boat house then. It was situated just down below the path at the end of a small rocky cove, and only the rusting remains of an old slipway at one side gave any indication of what it had once been. With a few shots taken I headed back to the van, this time taking the path which ran close to the various little coves and beaches.

From Penrhos I drove along past Four Mile Bridge and round to Trearddur Bay, heading for the little cove I'd discovered and photographed four years previously. Things looked to be very much the same as before though I did notice that the white hotel on the headland seemed to be partially surrounded by security fencing, and when I walked on round the bay and looked back I could see that several new houses had been built close to it.

With just three shots taken I returned to the van and got the map book out in an effort to decide where to go next; having been to Anglesey so many times I'm running out of places to see and photograph without repeating things several times over. I finally settled on a visit to South Stack as I'd only been there once before and I'd recently been told that the gorse on the headland would be looking good, so after giving the dogs a drink I set off on the next part of my afternoon.