Disaster Averted

December 5th 2018
Published: December 5th 2018
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4th December

I awoke to rain and thunder and lightning, so there goes that planned morning beach walk. I gathered all my stuff, meds, breakfast things, change of clothes, shoes stuff and head for the amenity block. In this weather I was determined to only get once. I found my self a quieter corner in the dining room to sort myself out.

The teenagers were already up and creating mayhem in the kitchen. I am not sure I can cope with that many teenagers this early in the morning. I braved the kitchen and made tea, toast and cereal and settled in for breakfast. More tea, might be awake after more tea. The rain was still heavy, I braved the kitchen again to wash up, grabbed a shower and got dressed.

Whilst I was getting dressed a siren went off, one of the teenagers questioned whether it was a tsunami warning. Even I knew this by now, no it was to let local reserve fire fighters that there was a call.

I gathered my stuff together and headed for the van, still pissing it down. May as well head off, went to reception to hand in my pass and get my deposit back.

I set sat nav for the arboretum as planned. It was still raining when I got there. There were some very wet chickens in the car park. No one else was parked up, just the foolish English women. I up date my blog in the hope that the rain would ease of. No such luck!

I got out and had a look at the mad and realised that most if the walk was under trees, let’s just do this I though. I grabbed my hat, to protect me from the rain rather than the sun and off I went. The walk was supposed to be about an hour, after a few minutes I saw a couple of guys working and asked that about the footpaths around the site, they said there were all gravel and no steep slopes, but the had been some washout.

A few minutes later I was under the canopy of the trees and feel I quite warm so I undid my jacket. All was well with the world, got to the first wash out and managed to step over it ok. There had been so much rain that ducks were swimming in what was supposed to be a lawn.

I carried on the walk and then got to the a low lying piece of footpath, I kid you not there was 2 inches if water covering a 20 metre stretch of it. I managed to walk on some higher ground at the edge and then I had no choice but to step in. Then came a little stone bridge which should be over a stream, well this was completely submerged, so I used walking pole mine sweeper style to find the edge so I could across safely.

Eventually it stopped raining and the walk was quite pleasant. I have to vouch for boots, I still had dry socks by the time I got to the van.

I set sat nav for Hamilton Gardens and got there about 11.40, I headed for the cafe for a drink and snack before walking any further. This place has a serious sparrow problem. There must have been 20 of bloggers in the outside seating area and they had no fear.

My order was delivered and I was surrounded. I built a ring of defence around my plate, using a glass, a cup, water bottle, book; but the were not phased and still broke through my defences, and went in for the kill. The second attack was successful and the blighter actually pinched a piece of pie off my fork. The meal was a on going battle of sparrows against human.

I walked around the enclosed gardens, the gardens lived up to their own hype. The gardens are on what was the landfill site. There are a series of interlinked themed gardens, they are all lovely; my favourite was the newly opened Mansfield Garden. There are currently 15 gardens, with one under construction and a further 5 proposed gardens.

It took me almost 3 hours to look around them all. Feeling a bit worn out, I bought an ice cream , found somewhere to chille, kicked of my boots and lay down listening to the world go by. Time to make a move. I left Hamilton Gardens just before 5 and decided to head towards Sanctuary Mountain and pull over at the next campsite I saw. This proved to be a mistake, more on that later.

I was feeling peckish, no coffee shops open so pulled over for tango and chips. Had a read if my book, which to be fair I am not sure about, but I will persevere with it. Fully sated I carried on with my journey, I stopped at a petrol station to top up. I got to Mountain Sanctuary but no campsite en route. I carried along the main road for a bit, still no sign of a campsite.

No signal to try and look one up. I’m going to have to retrace my steps. I got back to the place where I filled up and found the familiar blue campervan sign, turned down the street, they no longer offered pitches, the word camping had been crudely painted over and they had no vacancies for the cabins.


I found somewhere to turn around and passed a site for an industrial estate being built. I headed to the town centre, thinking I will just book into a B&B. No vacancy on all the signs I saw. I am guessing all the trades from the building site were lodging in town during the week.

It was almost 7 now, decided to cut my losses and head back to Hamilton. I got a signal in Hamilton and found a campground, set sat nav and arrived at 7.33, the sign said the office closed at 7. Bollocks. If need be I was just going to park up outside the office and sleep there. Anyway there was still someone in the office and I managed to get booked in.

Moral of the story, look for a campsite earlier in the day. The one I stayed at was about 10 minute drive from the gardens I visited earlier in the day.

Tea, milk and bed.

All I can say is that I am glad I curled my self and the van at the beginning of my misadventure.

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