Walking from the bus stop to the family home gave me a distinct feeling of deja vu - I'd never been to Roscrea before but I knew the name of the road where the coach dropped us off, I knew exactly how to get from there to the house and I even knew what the house looked like. I think Michael realised how I knew but his dad didn't - it was all thanks to Google Maps streetview, I'd been exploring the town on my pc a couple of weeks earlier just to get an idea of what it was like.
At the house were were greeted by Nellie and Jimmy and Trixie, their adorable little Jack Russell, and told to make ourselves at home. I'd no sooner sat down than a mug of tea appeared beside me then Jimmy asked if I was cold - I wasn't, but he put some more wood on the fire anyway. A while later Nellie brought us a cooked meal and a second mug of tea appeared, then Jimmy asked if I wanted a drink of whiskey (no thanks, I don't drink). A third mug of tea arrived soon afterwards, and though I don't normally have tea unless I've made it myself (I only like a certain amount of milk in it) I managed to drink it, thinking that any more in quick succession and my bladder would burst.
Nellie had put the tv on for us but it was hopeless trying to watch anything properly as Jimmy had the remote control and was constantly changing channels, so I played with Trixie for a while. Then the door opened and a dark-haired woman popped her head in and said 'hello' - Nellie just had time to say 'This is Alice' before the head disappeared again. According to Michael Alice lived next door and was very nice. Soon after that another head appeared in the doorway - a man this time, who introduced himself as Paul then disappeared again. Nellie said later that I would be sleeping in his house, which I thought then was very strange - I've never met this guy before and I'm sleeping in his house?? Fortunately Michael knew who he was and said he was an okay guy.
A third head appeared a while later, introduced itself as Gordon, then disappeared again - apparently he lived two doors away. And every so often Jimmy would ask 'Are you cold?' (No, Jimmy, I'm fine) 'Do you want some whiskey?' (No Jimmy, I've told you I don't drink) 'Are you too hot?' (No, I'm just fine thanks), and every few minutes the tv would change channels - I felt like I'd fallen down Alice in Wonderland's rabbit hole and landed in a strange world full of mad people and weird happenings, and it wouldn't have surprised me if the dog had started talking.
Michael's dad took himself off to bed about 9pm and Nellie explained that they only had two bedrooms, which was why I would be sleeping across the road at Paul's house - fortunately Michael was coming too so I wasn't being totally abandoned. Paul appeared again a while later and after yet another mug of tea he took us both across the road for the night. By this time my brain was totally confused and bewildered and the long day had caught up with me so I was almost asleep on my feet - I needed a bed, so Paul showed me to my room and I left him and Michael watching tv.
As tired as I was though, I couldn't get to sleep straight away as there was the constant noise of traffic going up and down the road outside so I lay reading for a while. My room was downstairs next to the main living room so as well as the traffic noise outside I could hear the tv, but eventually it was turned off, the house went quiet and in spite of the traffic outside exhaustion finally overtook me and I drifted off to sleep.
- 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