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

Monday July 3rd 2017 - Discovering something I didn't know existed

I woke that morning to find that the previous two days' blue sky and sunshine had been replaced by grey clouds and no sun at all, though it was still very warm. After the usual dog walk I made and ate a leisurely breakfast then started the packing up process, and by 11am I was ready for leaving my little corner - everyone had to be off the fields for 12 noon and for once I could say that I wasn't the last to leave. On my way across the fields I stopped to say goodbye to the group of camping friends who were still packing up then left the van just inside the entrance gate while I took the dogs for a walk round the nearby castle grounds.

My original intention had been to walk up The Ride, the long wide tree-lined grassy avenue leading to the castle, then round the bottom end of the lake and back through the woods but it didn't quite work out like that. I'd only got a quarter of the way up The Ride when I saw a woman further up, coming towards me with four off-lead dogs - I didn't want them running about round Sophie and Poppie, who were on the lead, so I veered off to the left and took a path through the woods. I'd never been in the woods on that side of The Ride before and I hadn't gone very far when I came to a clearing with a long red brick wall and a sign pointing the way to the Old English Garden. This was something completely new to me and as gardens usually mean photos I just had to check it out. 

Following the path took me through an arched gateway in the wall and I was pleasantly surprised by what I found on the other side. High well-trimmed hedges enclosed an area where many different brightly coloured flowers and plants grew rampant on each side of a gravel path, and an archway through another wall at the end took me to a lawned area edged with bushes and flowering shrubs and with a gazebo at one end. Beyond the gazebo a low stone wall topped with a fancy iron railing separated the lawns from another smaller area where four gardeners were tending to the plants; it was a really pretty area but I could only manage one photo before someone got in my way. 

By the time I'd finished wandering round the gardens I hadn't got long left before I needed to get back to the van. I didn't want to risk it being locked in the field, although the stewards were still there in their tent, so it was time to head back. There was only one thing wrong though - where I came out of the garden wasn't where I went in, and the path I followed took me miles from where I wanted to be. I found my way back to The Ride eventually though and with one quick shot of the lake I headed back to the van and got there only a couple of minutes after noon.

After saying goodbye to the stewards I set off for home and as I left Elvaston Castle behind patches of blue began appearing through the clouds followed by brief shafts of sunshine; the further west I went the nicer it became and by the time I'd reached the outskirts of Stoke-On-Trent it was just as nice as the previous two days. I was back home within two hours and as I downloaded my photos onto the computer I said a silent 'thanks' to the unknown woman with the four dogs I'd seen earlier - if it hadn't been for them I wouldn't have veered away from my intended walk and I wouldn't have discovered the lovely Old English Garden. And now I know about it I'll certainly be paying another visit next time I'm there.

Sunday July 2nd 2017 - Part 2 - A final look round the show ground

Arriving back at the camping fields I parked just inside the entrance and went across to the show ground for a final look round. I managed to catch the last few minutes of the steel band playing in the marquee - they are from a local college and are very very good - then went to see the owls and parrots at Winged World before ending at the fairground. The bright colours of the rides and stalls really stood out in the sunshine and were well worth taking a handful of photos before I finally found something to eat and went back to the van.

Back at the tent I made a brew and settled down with the sausage roll and sandwich I'd just got then after an hour spent with my book I set out to visit my friends Ken and Shelagh who lived just a couple of miles away. I wasn't sure if they would be in but they were, and I spent a very pleasant couple of hours in their company before driving back to the camping fields. Some of my camping friends were leaving very early the following morning so I stopped for a chat with them for a while then finally went back across the fields to my own tent.

As the daylight faded I took Sophie and Poppie for a walk round the top end of the field then once they were tucked in their beds in the back of the van I made preparations to get into my own bed - and it was when I checked my step counter that I got quite a surprise. Even though my actual step challenge had finished two days previously I was still using the counter, and with the combination of walking across the camping fields and round the show ground plus my walk along the canal I'd done a total distance of six miles that day and a staggering 21,339 steps!

The little man in the corner of the counter waved his arms in glee and I thought it was a shame in a way that those steps hadn't been part of the challenge - that really would have been a good total to write on my daily record to show everyone.