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 June 7th 2016 - I think I got hit by lightning but everything's fine

After the previous day being so dull I woke that morning to a bright blue cloudless sky and a sun which, by only 8am, made the tent far too warm to sit in even with the door completely rolled up. After a leisurely breakfast and a couple of chapters of my book I decided to have a mooch round the shops in the village; I wanted to get a new wipe-clean plastic tablecloth (a cheap one would do as it was only for use on my tent kitchen unit) but neither of the hardware shops had any. I did however get a couple of brilliant bargains from the charity shops - a nice orange sleeveless top which I put on as soon as I got back to the tent, a leopard-print skirt and a gorgeous chiffon-type blouse in cream and black with small cheetahs dotted here and there. It was new but rather see-through and needed something underneath it, so now on a quest for a vest-type top with narrow straps I decided to drive over to Llangefni and have a mooch round the shops there.

It must have been my lucky day as the first charity shop I went in had just the thing I was looking for, and I also found a brand new and very stylish pair of white casual trousers with gold trim on the waistband. They were a perfect length and fit, and for only £3 were an absolute bargain - and they look so good I'll be putting them away for when I next take a holiday in Italy. My next bargain came from the local market - a small cheap bum bag which was ideal for carrying my phone, van key and a bit of loose change when I was wearing cycling shorts and t-shirt with no pockets.

It was while I was walking back to the car park that I noticed the sky - although the sun was still shining the bright blue had gone and dark grey ominous clouds were gathering not far away. I'd just got back in the van when the sun disappeared, there was a flash of lightning, a loud clap of thunder and the heavens opened with a downpour of biblical proportions. Hoping it would stop just as suddenly as it started and I could then go on to somewhere else I stayed put for a while but there was no sign of it letting up so I decided to give up and go back to the camp site.

Just out of Llangefni the deluge had turned one side of the country road into a mini river; the flashing and banging continued and my windscreen wipers couldn't go any faster. I'd just rounded a bend and was on a straight stretch of road when it happened; a lightning flash and clap of thunder both together and BANG!!! - something hit the passenger side of the van. I didn't know what it was, and in that rain I wasn't stopping and getting out of the van to find out, so as both the dogs and I were all okay I carried on driving. By the time I reached the outskirts of Benllech the rain had finally slackened and stopped, and down the hill in the village itself the sun was out and it was as if there'd been no storm at all.

Back at the tent I inspected the side of the van for any damage but could see nothing. If my wheels had thrown up something from the road it must have been a fairly big chunk of whatever it was to make such a loud bang, in which case I would have expected to see a dent or mark on the bodywork, but there was absolutely nothing. So had I been hit by lightning? I'd felt nothing at the time, the van hadn't been affected in any way and there was no damage to the bodywork, but as I can think of no other explanation then maybe I had - otherwise I guess it's just another one of life's little mysteries.

Monday June 6th 2016 - Pili Palas Nature World

After having brilliantly warm sunshine and blue skies for almost two weeks - both on Anglesey and at home -  I woke that morning to a very dull grey day. As it hadn't improved by lunch time I decided to go to Pili Palas, one of the very few places on the island which I'd never visited before and where it didn't really matter if it wasn't sunny. Unfortunately, as with many attractions, dogs weren't allowed in but I found a nice shady area in the car park and with no sun around I knew they would be okay in the van while I was away.

Now never having been to this place before I didn't really know what it was like, but the leaflet I'd picked up from the camp site reception promised 'lush vegetation, waterfalls, and butterflies flying all around you' so I rather expected to see quite a large indoor area with dozens of brightly coloured butterflies flitting here and there. However, what I thought I would see and what I actually saw were two quite different things.

The butterfly house was much smaller than I imagined and rather cramped, with a narrow path all the way round and an artificial stream running through the centre, crossed by a couple of wooden bridges. I could hear running water but couldn't really see any waterfalls as there was so much vegetation around the stream, and the only butterflies I saw 'flying all around me' were three electric blue ones which never stayed still long enough for me to take a photo. 

Now I don't know if it may be too early in the season or if many butterflies were hiding in the vegetation but I only saw two other different kinds and most of those seemed to be permanently feeding on bowls of fruit, though they were so still they looked like they'd died in an upright position. There were a few cute little birds flying about though - I've been reliably informed since I got home that these were Java Sparrows - and I managed to get some shots of those.

It didn't take long to walk round the butterfly house - one circuit and I'd seen everything, though I went round twice in case I'd missed something - then from there I went into the bird house. With just four large birds, including a sulphur-crested cockatoo and a brightly-coloured parrot - and for some strange reason three of the four were all called Charlie - it was nothing to write home about and I was in and out in just a couple of minutes. Next came the 'bug zone', 'lizard land' and the snake house, where most of the residents seemed to be either asleep or in hiding, then it was on to the meerkats. There were only three - John, Paul and George - though when I asked a young assistant if there was, or had been, a Ringo I just got a blank look and an indifferent shoulder shrug. Finally a walk round the outdoor pets corner and farm yard showed me the usual rabbits, guinea pigs, sheep, pigs and donkeys then I retired to the on-site cafe for a much-needed coffee, which was surprisingly very good.

On my way out I had a look round the gift shop then back at the van I released the dogs and took them for a walk round the perimeter of the car park, then drove down into Menai Bridge town for a quick look round the shops, which took me all of about ten minutes. It was still a very cloudy and grey afternoon and with no point going on to anywhere else I just drove back to the camp site and spent the rest of the day reading and watching a bit of tv.

Thinking back over my visit to Pili Palas I had to admit feeling more than a little disappointed with the place. It certainly didn't live up to my expectations, though with an adventure playground and indoor play zone it's probably more suited to kids under the age of ten. The leaflet says it's listed as one of the ten top attractions in North Wales but to be honest I've been to far better places, and at an adult price of £7.95 I thought it rather expensive for what was there. However, I've been, I've seen it, I can cross it off my list of places to visit, and next time it's a dull day I'll try to find somewhere better.