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

Friday April 22nd 2016 - An unexpected surprise and a heart-stopping moment

For just over a week now my local area has been blessed with some really lovely spring weather; although the mornings have started off quite cool the sun has soon warmed things up and I've even been able to go out without a jacket. It's also been great dog walking weather so I've been taking Sophie and Poppie on some fairly long daily walks in various parts of the countryside not far from home, and which the three of us have enjoyed very much.

Today we went to Jumbles Country Park, just over two miles from home, and walked all the way round the reservoir; there are several little 'beaches' at various points around the water's edge and I went down onto one of these to snap a couple of photos. Sophie was being her usual wimpy self and after getting her paws wet she stayed well away from the water, but quite unexpectedly, and without any encouragement from me, Poppie waded in and actually started swimming. I've often wondered if she could or would swim, as other than playing in a stream while camping on Anglesey last year she has never shown any inclination to go in any water anywhere, so that was a nice surprise. Fortunately she was on an extended lead so she couldn't go out too far, and after swimming round in a wide semi-circle she came back onto dry land and we continued our walk.

It was when we got round to the far side of the reservoir that things went a bit pear-shaped. Poppie spotted several ducks swimming just off another little beach and before I could clip the lead back on she was off, straight into the water after the nearest one. The further it went to get away from her the further she swam after it and no matter how much I called her she completely ignored me - she was on a mission and she wanted that duck, but she was also heading for the far side of the reservoir and was already halfway across.

Luckily we were at the narrowest point but if she had reached the other side she wouldn't have been able to get out as the bank there is almost vertical, also I knew the water was still very deep and I had dreadful visions of the poor little thing drowning. The only thing I could do was walk back up onto the path in the hope that she would think I was leaving her and it seemed to do the trick; she abandoned the duck chase and swam back to the beach, where the lead was clipped back on in double quick time. And I don't think I've ever been so cross and so relieved both at the same time.

After that little escapade there was no more going down to the water's edge, we kept strictly to the path with Poppie firmly on the short lead all the way. It had been nice to discover earlier on that she can and will swim, but any future attempts will definitely be at the end of the long lead - I don't think I can survive any more heart-stopping moments like that one!


  1. Pleased you were able to get out and about Tigermouse, I can quite understand why you didn't stay close to the water's edge. Love the photo of the dog.
    Enjoy your Sunday.

  2. Thanks Yvonne.

    Poppie is a very difficult dog to get photos of as she's never still for long enough - that one was the best out of more than half a dozen I took at the time.

    We went for a lovely walk today along part of a disused local canal and at one point I was quite surprised to see a couple of young deer running about round an open patch of land. I've taken loads of nice photos while I've been out and about this week but I'm saving them up for winter then I can post them when I've not much to write about.

    Tomorrow (Sunday) I'll be spending some time up at the animal sanctuary I support, it's the annual spring open day with lots of stalls and attractions. If the weather is as good as it has been it'll be a very successful day.

  3. That was a heart stopping moment for you, the little minx! When they are on a mission there's no stopping them, she looks very alert in your photo although she is very cute too.

    My last dog Amber loved to swim in the reservoir with daughter's lurcher Eric and we'd throw sticks in for them to retrieve. Yet my dog Annie was really afraid of the waves the first time we took her to the beach and wouldn't join Amber and Eric who were splashing around in the sea having a good game. Even now at ten years old Annie will only have a little paddle at the edge of the water.

    The open day at the animal sanctuary is the sort of thing I would enjoy, have a lovely day.

    1. Poppie is a rehomed little dog, she'd had at least three owners before I got her - probably more - and as I don't know her history I've never known if she was used to swimming. It was nice to find out that she will, but not like that!

      The animal sanctuary open day has been a big success in spite of the weather having now turned cloudy and chilly (typical). As well as the usual stalls and attractions the sanctuary's vice president, actress Gemma Atkinson (Emmerdale's Carly Hope) officially opened the new dog training area - now I never really have much interest in celebrities, but this young woman raised over £25,000 for the sanctuary on the tv quiz show Celebrity Chase, and next month she will be taking part in the Greater Manchester 10k run, running in fancy dress to raise even more funds. So anyone who does things like this to help animals without making a song and dance about it, gets my vote every time :)

  4. Heart-stopping indeed. Our previous dog thought he was an otter and we had more than one or two scares when he threw himself into water and then had difficulty getting out. So glad Poppie was OK.

  5. My previous little dog Sugar absolutely loved the water and would swim whenever she got the chance. I often thought she was more like an otter than a dog as she would frequently swim underwater - the very first time she did that, years ago, I thought she was drowning so I always kept an eye on her but she was always okay. As for Poppie, she'll definitely be on the end of a lead next time she's anywhere near water!

  6. Oh my goodness! Were you tempted to jump in after her? I have an idea how scary it was, since while we were on our hike we saw something similar with a dog. The river we were walking along had warnings all along it telling folks not to wade or swim. The undercurrent is very strong. The signs stated that people had in fact drowned in the area where we were. And yet, there was a family throwing a stick into the river, playing fetch with their dog. After one throw, the dog was trying and trying to get back to shore, but was stuck in the current. I thought for sure he was going to be taken down river. Everyone around and above (We saw it happening from that bridge in the photo on my post.) was worried for the poor dog. Except the owner, apparently. As soon as the dog got back, the owner threw the stick right back out. I wanted to hit the guy with the stick.
    Glad all turned out well with Poppy, and happy you've had such a string of good weather.

  7. If Poppie had got into obvious difficulties then I may have been tempted to go in after her, but it wouldn't really be a wise idea even though I'm a strong swimmer. Although the reservoir is probably less than 100 yards across at that point the water is still deep and there's a feeder stream running in the bottom, so even though the water surface is flat calm there's a slight undercurrent - plus at this time of year the water will be heart-stoppingly cold. There are notices up all over the place warning against swimming and I know in previous years people have drowned in there.

    I remember about fifteen years ago after a long spell of hot dry weather the reservoir dried up completely and even the feeder stream was down to a slight trickle. My ex and I took the dogs for a walk along the bottom and discovered the remains of all the buildings that were there before the land was flooded. It was strange to see it empty and dried up like that, but I've also seen it so full after long periods of rain that the water has been over the path in some places. Needless to say, Poppie will be on the lead for any future swims!

  8. Oh gosh, my heart would've been pumping and I would've been yelling my head off, too. Your story reminded me of my nephew when he was about 8 or 9 suddenly taking off after deer running up a hill. It makes for a great story long after the fact. Pretty cool that your Poppie swims.

  9. My previous little dog Sugar loved swimming and would be in the water whenever she could, so when I got Sophie I was looking forward to her doing the same but she won't. She seems to have an intense dislike of water and will do no more than get her paws wet so it was good to discover that Poppie will swim, but it was certainly an anxious few minutes!


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