Looking for a view

pheasant in garden

Sometimes you don’t have to go very far to have a good view.  This cock pheasant flew into our garden this morning and my husband spotted it out of the window whilst he was washing up.  We have a good garden for bird visitors but this one was a little unexpected.  We don’t live on a farm but in a small town in North Shropshire.  Our house backs onto other houses and we have neighbours on both sides, but for some reason this fellow choose to have a mooch in our garden.  It put a smile on our faces.

The other year we had a pea hen visit and as he flitted from roof top to roof top people came out of their houses to look.  Sometimes there are wonderful things waiting to be discovered right in front of us.

By the way, I should apologise as I haven’t worked out how to put the A-Z posts on the other page.  I will figure it out soon I hope so I have my writing separate from the camping/outdoor posts.  Fingers crossed.

First Experience of a Camper Van

Wahoo!   I’ve just bought a camper van.  Well, I’ve put down the deposit and negotiated the deal.  I will pick it up around about the first of February.  I will tell you more about her another day, but first I feel I should tell you about my one and only trip out in a camper van so far in my life.

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This was a photo I took from the van and it’s also currently the background image on my blog.  It seemed only fitting to use it.

I’ve always been a camper as I’ve mentioned before and I started looking at camper vans and liked the idea of being able to make a cup of tea or coffee in the rain.  I also like the idea of being able to go somewhere for just one night.  You really can’t do that in a tent.  By the time you’ve set up camp you feel you don’t want to move for at least three days, well I don’t, though it is getting easier as the kids get older.  Anyway,  a lot of friends seemed to be turning 40 and people were celebrating it in different ways.  There were meals out, spa trips and giant nights out.  I was asked what I was going to do and I started to think about what I really wanted to do.  You know, you don’t always stop and think about what you really want usually you just drift along.  As I get older and time seems to fly quicker I do have to stop sometimes and think, no hang on, what’s really important.

Well, I wanted to hire a camper van and go somewhere with my family.  It was a bit pricey for me, but you only turn 40 once.  My birthday is in April, so it’s usually too cold to camp and too unpredictable weather wise.  I had a bit of a disaster with a tent one Easter which put me off Easter camping – too windy.  But a camper van, that would be ideal.  My husband couldn’t get the time off work so it was me and the children.  I chose a site in Wales on the coast (Cae Du campsite).  You could see the sea from the van and it also allowed camp fires.  There were sheep grazing there and they left rather a lot of muck over the grass to put a tent on, but it was easy to avoid in a van with wellies.  We enjoyed watching the sheep, a small train would occasionally trundle past full of waving occupants and the sea could be watched endlessly.  The site went right down to a pebbly beach.  The facilities were fine but basic but that wasn’t what we paid for.  We were so close to the sea that on the Friday night I even dreamt about the sea.  On Saturday we explored the local area, with bracing walks on Tywyn beach and further down we explored the sand dunes of Aberdyfi and played in the sand enjoying fish and chips too.  Whilst we were there a whole convoy of cars appeared and filled the car park.  They had come along on a big expedition, I think it was from Chepstow, though I could be wrong.

Hired camper van in Aberdyfi

We just stood there grinning from ear to ear.  Our camper van is at the far end.  I think we counted about 47 of these cars in every colour of the rainbow.  After a fabulous day we looked forward to a camp fire.

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Do you recognise this photo?  Well, actually we couldn’t get the fire lit.  Most of the wood in that great big bundle waiting was too wet.  The great chaps next to us came to help and told us they’d brought wood from home and offered to lend us some.  Campers are always brilliantly friendly and helpful.  I would have said yes, except that in the mean time my little girl was curled up in bed and my son was cold and couldn’t wait to climb in the van so it seemed pointless to spend the next hour building up a great fire for myself.  I admitted defeat and climbed into the van having had only a small fire which had gone out pretty quick.  But I still like the potential of the photo, that sense of expectation.  (To be honest I always struggled with camp fires at Guides)

On Sunday we went home, but just before we left my son raced me over the slopy bit to the entrance and fell over landing badly on his arm. We didn’t think it was broken at first as he could still move it, but we knew it was bad when his sister offered him Haribos and it didn’t cheer him up.  The cast was on for six weeks.  So now the weekend is associated with the time he broke his arm.  Both children still thought the camper van was great.  My son said he will never forget how excited I was the day I picked him up in the camper van after school.

Now it’s time to get excited all over again.