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 22nd 2015 - Early morning and late afternoon

After the previous day's grey weather I woke early that morning to a beautiful sky and the promise of a lovely day, which was just typical when I had to pack up and go home. When I emerged from the tent to take the dogs for their first walk I was surprised to see large patches of ground frost on the grass - the previous evening had been quite mild in spite of that day's rain and cloud so the temperature must have dropped quite a bit overnight for that to appear, although even so early in the morning it wasn't really cold. 

There was no-one on the beach when I got down there and it was lovely just strolling along in peaceful solitude while the dogs mooched about nearby. As always I walked back through the heath and as I reached the camping field it struck me that the glow from the early morning sun had made the nearby crop fields worthy of a photo so I went to get my camera from the tent. It only took a couple of minutes to walk up the field to the tent and back so I was very surprised to see that in that very short space of time an early morning mist had started to creep across the fields, but I took the photos anyway and they turned out better than I thought they would. Back at the tent I took another couple of shots looking across the camping field then made a start on sorting out some tea and toast.

With breakfast over I tidied everything away then reluctantly started on the packing up process. I was in no rush so I took my time, making sure that everything was packed into the van to leave enough space for Sam in the middle, and I'd just got to the stage of taking the tent down when Jean came along the field with her two dogs. Living only a mile down the road she'd taken Pepsi and Zak on the beach then come to say a combined hello and goodbye before I left; after chatting for a while she set off back home and I turned my attention to dismantling the tent. With no wind - unlike the day I arrived - taking it down was an easy task and it was soon rolled up, strapped up, and in the van.

With plenty of time to spare I left the van on my pitch and took the dogs for a last walk along the beach; it was a glorious day and I could have stayed down there for ever but I had to go home sometime so I reluctantly made my way back up to the site, settled the dogs in the van, and after a quick look round the pitch for any forgotten tent pegs I drove away from California for the final time. It was lunch time by then and my breakfast had long since worn off so I paid my last visit to Latham's to get my free coffee and a final Belgian bun then I set off on the long drive home.

It was late afternoon when I reached the Cheerio Cafe on the A17 and although it was closed I pulled into the car park to have a quick break from driving and to give the dogs a walk and a drink. With the blue sky and white cloud formations the wide open fields behind the cafe looked lovely in the sunshine; a photo opportunity not to be missed so I grabbed the camera and took a shot - and below is the result.

The rest of the journey was done with no more stops though there was the possibility of encountering a traffic hold up at one point, but a slight change of route got me round it and I arrived home just before 8pm. It had been a long day so the dogs had their bedtime walk much earlier than usual and I settled in for the rest of the night. Thinking back over the last ten days it was a shame that the weather couldn't have been better; I'd only had three really glorious days out of the ten but I'd still been out and about, I'd still got lots of photos, and anywhere I wanted to go but didn't - well, there's always next year.

Monday September 21st 2015 - Stow Mill but not Sutton Mill

After the previous day's glorious weather that morning was cloudy, grey and miserable with a touch of fine drizzle in the air, and that's how it stayed for most of the day although it was still very warm for late September. The one place I'd thought of going to that day was now out of the question as far as photography was concerned so I stayed in the tent all morning, but by lunch time I was itching to go out somewhere - and anyway, I needed to go to Latham's at some point to get my fifth coffee so I could claim my free one the following day.

My eventual destination was Stow Mill on the outskirts of Mundesley - I'd noticed it as I'd driven back from there the previous week and thought it was worth taking a look. There was no-one around when I got there and parked the van so I thought maybe the mill was closed even though the sign by the road said it was open, however it was open but presumably not always attended as there was an honesty box on the wall just inside the door.

Built between 1825 and 1827 the mill operated from 1828 until 1930 as a flour mill, then at the end of its working life most of the machinery was stripped out and it was turned into an annex to the miller's house; one of its many owners was Douglas McDougall, the flour producing magnate, who bought the mill in 1938 and used it as a holiday home. Although a lot of restoration and repair work has been undertaken since 1961 and much of the machinery has been replaced, the current owners decided that it's not financially viable to get the mill actually working again so it will be just kept in sound repair and open to the public as a place of interest.

The four floors were each accessed by a steep stepladder, with each floor displaying lots of interesting information and old photos of the mill. When I got to the top I was pleased to see that as well as the windows actually being clean they could also be opened, so I had clear views for my photos - it was just a shame that the weather was so grey and drizzly as I would have been able to see for miles on a good day.

The second windmill I wanted to see was the one in the village of Sutton near Stalham, but finding it proved to be just about impossible. Many times while driving along the A149 I'd seen the sign for it pointing down a minor lane; about half a mile down the lane was another sign so I was obviously heading in the right direction, but when I got to the duck pond on the corner of a second lane the signs ran out. 

I drove along the lane through the village in both directions for quite a distance but there were no other signs and not a single sighting of the mill anywhere - which was strange, because this thing has nine floors and at over 80ft tall it's the tallest windmill in this country so it's not the sort of thing which could be easily missed. It could possibly have been hidden by trees but with no-one around who I could ask I eventually gave up looking. I did find the village sign though, so with a couple of shots of that and the nearby duckpond I drove on to Hickling for my annual visit to F.A.I.T.H animal sanctuary then headed to Potter Heigham for coffee and cake at Latham's.

The final stop of the day was my second visit to Eileen and Ron at Clippesby; as always it was good to chat but all too soon it was time for me to say my goodbyes until next year. By the time I got back to the camp site the drizzle had stopped and the sky was brightening up a bit so I took the dogs down on the beach for a while then settled into the tent for my final evening, only emerging again for the pre-bedtime dog walk.