After yet more overnight rain the morning arrived gloriously clear and sunny so I abandoned the first dog walk in favour of getting everything packed away and the tent taken down while it was nice. After a very quick breakfast packing up the van was no problem but sorting out the tent was a different matter. With the groundsheet not being integrated I dragged it out from under the tent and pegged it out on the grass to dry then set about mopping up the water from the bedroom. What had started off as a puddle had increased over the previous few days to something the size of a small paddling pool and by the time I'd finished mopping I had several inches of water in the bucket. Fortunately the tent itself dried out in the sunshine so it was perfectly dry by the time I was ready for taking it down. With only the coolbox left to disconnect I took Sophie and Poppie for a final walk through the heath and back along the beach, then with the hook-up cable rolled up and stashed in the van I drove away from my pitch for the last time this year.
I wasn't on the road for long before I made my first stop; Jean and John had told me that the Norwich Camping store was only just off the A47 on the outskirts of Norwich and as I was going that way anyway I decided to see if they had any tents which would meet my requirements. They had quite a lot of tents on display, some of them at a good price, but they were mainly big ones so not what I wanted. Back on the road again things were just going nicely when I hit a long queue of very slow moving traffic and after creeping along for quite a distance I was passed by police car with its lights flashing.
The reason for the delay eventually became obvious - there was a broken down agricultural vehicle, and the police car, blocking the inside lane meaning two lanes were going into one. Once I was free of that though everything was fine - that was until I hit another queue near to Kings Lynn, although there didn't seem to be any reason for that one. After that the driving was easy and very pleasant in the afternoon sunshine though I did make an impromptu stop later on. Where the A17 passed over the River Welland there was a boatyard and moorings close by; I've often thought about finding somewhere to stop and take a few photos though I never have, but this time I did. There was a wide lay-by up ahead, set back off the road, so I pulled in there and walked back across the bridge. This was Fosdyke Yacht Haven, and with quite a lot of boats moored up it looked quite attractive so I got a handful of good shots before returning to the van.
My next stop was at the Cheerio Cafe but as they were on the point of closing I was only able to get a takeaway coffee - and this time I didn't upset it all over the van. After a quick dog walk along the edge of the field I set off once more and didn't stop again until I got home. Unfortunately by the time I was heading west the sun was getting low and in my eyes and I ended up missing the correct exit off a roundabout, meaning I was heading for somewhere I didn't want to be. I had to go for quite a distance before I found somewhere I could safely pull in and turn round to go back but I got things right eventually and with no more hiccups I arrived home at 7.45pm.
Now I don't know whether to call my time away a holiday, a disaster, or a living nightmare but whatever it was I hope that weather-wise I never have another one like it. In all my years of camping I've never experienced as much rain as that which fell during the time I was away, though I have no doubt that Storm Aileen was a big contributory factor. Whatever the cause, I hope that next time I'm camping the rain gives me a miss!
** That holiday may very well be my last camping trip of the season until next year, unless I manage to find a new tent with a fully integrated groundsheet, but until I update this blog with another trip tales from my everyday life can always be found here.
- 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