Saturday, 11 May 2019

Coast by Campervan - Post-trip Cogitations

This is me thinking out loud, but too much writing unbroken by pictures can make a blog post hard to read.  So I've thrown in a bunch of random photos, because I can 😉.   They may, or may not, have anything to do with the words.

So, the first leg of my coastline trip went a bit wrong, nothing happened exactly to plan, the itinerary was changed on a daily basis.  But overall, I loved it.

Yes, I drove too far on the Tuesday and got really tired;
Yes, a b*st*rd lorry forced me into a hedge near Ulverston and the near-side acrylic windows got scratched;
Yes, the caravan park in Morecambe has water so stinking and full of chemicals that I did not fill the van tanks or take a shower.  But guess what? Absolutely none of it matters.

I took it easy on Wednesday and Thursday, acrylic windows scratch if you say "boo" to them and can be polished out, I always carry plenty of bottled water for drinking and I can have a decent wash in Bill and not be smelly.

The reason it was a success was I came back completely relaxed, in "holiday mode" and that feeling stayed with me a few days longer than expected.  Management was probably more confused about having a relaxed me at home than he dares admit - we both know it is not normal.

A further success was rediscovering my love of sitting watching birds.  So much so that I ordered another lens for my Canon, something I have looked at in the past and convinced myself I did not need, did not deserve, would not use;  d'uh?  (It helped that a camera store I trust and have bought from many times in the past had this lens Used, graded as "9+ Mint condition" at half the price of new.)  I have a birthday soon, and now a very nearly empty piggy bank  ☺️.   These are the first images from the new glass, in and of themselves they're not exceptional pictures, but once I have learnt how to get the best out of this lens I have high hopes for it (which will prove the weak link in the chain is the photographer 😀 )

Getting distracted here, must get back on topic:  there is still a need to revisit the drawing board for the Coast project.

When I posted about my Grand Plan on 8th April I admitted there are so many places I want to visit that I become paralysed by indecision and end up not going anywhere so taking away the decision/location part of the equation sounded like a solution.  But it was not.

It actually added more stress:
*   Stressy because driving too many miles on narrow-near-to-the-coast roads is tiring.

*   Stressy to pass somewhere unexpected which looked really interesting but not having time to stop,

*   Stressy to be somewhere absolutely lovely but feel I have to leave sooner than I’d like in order to get to my next campsite. Utterly stupid First World Problems but there we are.

And before anyone suggests that as I am in a self-contained van and I could park up in any old lay-by for the night rendering pre-booked sites are unnecessary - not going to happen.  Aside from England not being nearly as enlightened as Scotland when it comes to wild camping and it’s only permitted in a very few places, there is safety to consider and I am fundamentally a coward.  Until such time as I have much more experience and/or a change of attitude it is campsites or nothing, whether they’re big Caravan Club ones, or little “5 van” private sites.

But I still want to do this coast trip, somehow or another, just got to work out a different set of parameters.  My current thinking - which is just as likely to change as the first ideas, is that I cannot expect to both "get to a new location" and "visit interesting places" in the same day.

The first draft of “The Plan” broke England and Wales into 8 or 9 sections, and with one trip a month it was going to take a year to complete. As I write this I’m thinking “so what if it actually takes years and years, or I never quite finish” - as long as I am enjoying my trips and experiencing some lovely places, does a timescale really matter? Probably not.

This first iteration had me covering every bit of coastline, just "because",  just for completeness.  But really, if I miss a few bits out what does it matter.  In a lovely comment Kate said  " . . . .   you may wisely wish to avoid a section due to industrialisation, military zones etc",  as always she's quite right.   Having had so much pleasure at the RSPB sites, and at the Furness Abbey, it would not be unreasonable to navigate around the coast just using English Heritage sites and Birdwatching locations as my target destinations . . .  and then there are the gardens, my trips to Scotland last year reminded me how much I love to bimble around a big garden where someone else does all the work.

There is one other very important thing to be factored in:  Friends.   I have been emailing with some of the friends I would visit en route.  Tagging a visit onto my journey home short-changes everyone. My friends will get a tired me, ready to be home, and I will be clock-watching.  So I need a different way of incorporating the socialising.

Like I said, First World Problems.  Yes, I worry about the same things which concern everyone - food prices are rising at an exponential rate, our heating bill for the winter was horrendous, when the hell is this Brexit nonsense going to get sorted one way or the other?  But where shall I go on my next jaunt in a campervan isn't really of the same magnitude, is it ☺️


  1. Whoa there young lady! Just go with the flow of finding your way gently with the things you'd like to see & not because it's cool to do the "whole" coast. I like that you've picked up the brochures for RSPB, RHS & EH, but no NT. They have beautiful gardens to explore & some amazing things along the coast too. We max ours out when we come over, even though it is the Australian one which can be used nearly anywhere. I'm feeling for you right now, as I procrastinate too. I enjoy my big lens & glad you got yours, especially for birdwatching, which is what mine comes out for too. At least with digital photography you can practice till the cows come home(giggle). Take care, have a great Sunday with lots of huggles from two down under.

    1. Definitely flowing Susan :-) Email on its way to you with picture of today's "lunch stop" - I think you will approve, ha ha.

      I was a member of NT for years and years, but eventually realised I never used it, apart from the occasional car park. Might renew at some point in the future.

  2. Have you taken out membership of RSPB, NT AND EH. we joined when we retired as it means we can just pop into places for an hour or two without feeling that as we have paid a fairly high entrance fee we need to stay longer. If the weather turns wet we can just cut a visit short or if somewhere turns out not as interesting as we thought we can move on.

    1. Hi Sue, membership of the organisations whose handbooks I photographed. You are right about membership meaning you can just "pop in", it does make a difference

  3. I think it's the timescale which is piling on the pressure, if you allow yourself as much time as it takes it will feel more leisurely, which is what it should be all about. I think planning will help too, research the places where you're going and if there's more places there that you want to explore than time allows then permit yourself a second trip or a longer visit. It would be a shame to race around the coast only to realise afterwards that there's lots of places you didn't get to see. That's a lovely photo of Daisy having fun.

    1. Absolutely right about the timing Jo. A daft idea I originally thought might take a year is going to take far longer than that :-)

      Glad you liked Daisy's photo, she did like her wiggle-wriggles on the grass. xx

  4. Wait! Wait! Please!!!

    Why have we let ourselves be brainwashed, into constantly stating, that our lives, must be compared to those, less fortunate? And that (*of course!!!*) our lives, are so much better off, than all those less fortunate? And that it is *necessary,* to keep berating ourselves, for having any issues, in our fortunate lives, which can not be compared, to the awful lives/issues, of those less fortunate than ourselves?

    We want to have some fun? Stop first!!! Cover ourselves in ashes. Because there are others, who can't ever have such fun.

    That is the P.C. Message, you know!!! When you step back and really listen... To Them. And to how They have brainwashed us, into talking and thinking.

    And it's time we opened our eyes. Looked at life, through Real Life Eyes. Everyone knows, Life is Not Fair.

    And our beating ourselves up, over having more, than Others, is not going to do anything for the Others. It just makes us feel rotten. Ashamed. Tiny. Silent. Slinking away...

    And be ripe for being convinced, that we have to follow Them, and *Protest*, to better the lives of all the less fortunate. As if Protests ever did anything more, than let the Protestors feel wonnnnnnnderful, for an afternoon!

    Enjoy every "stinkin" bit of your planned trips!!!! Don't *apologize* for mentioning little glitches, in said planned trips!

    If the P.C. People want to go around in sack cloth and ashes, let 'em. The biggest voices among them, go home, to luxury, we will never have. It's a sham. And yet, we are browbeaten into listening to them. And into letting them, determine our mindset and our voice.

    There! And that's my Soap Box for Today!!!!!!!

    Gentle hugs...

    1. I am neither brainwashed or apologetic or beating myself up.

      And I do enjoy my trips, very, very much :-)

  5. I'm a fan of stopping wherever the mood strikes. It's all well and good to make "plans" but they can be changed at will. The plan gives a bit of structure which likely makes it easier for all of us without locking us into it. Just keep going, no matter which method you use. Sounds like it is doing you a world of good.

    1. Thanks m'dear, and I hope your upcoming trip is equally as good for you :-)

  6. You'll figure out a plan which works for you, or perhaps not even have a plan at all. It's good to know you returned from your trip feeling relaxed. You're clearly doing something right. X

    1. I think the trick is just being relaxed Jules - before, during and after!

  7. when a leisurely ramble becomes overly planned and scheduled, it does lose a lot of its joy ... and the point of your trips is to enjoy what you are seeing and doing- i am reminded by your post of the poem studied in school that says 'the best laid plans of mice and men ....'- it seems clever to know that you need to reconfigure as you go- from my vantage point, a 'relaxed you' will provide a far better outcome than the one who has been rushed and tied to a schedule that doesn't suit your needs-
    ... and btw, your own property and gardens look fabulous-
    as usual, regards from texas-

    1. Thanks Barb, lovely comment. I remember of mice and men, but tend to lean towards 'no battle plan survives first contact with the enemy" !! I think that sums up trip # 1 quite nicely.


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