The holiday from hell?

I finally arrived home yesterday evening from my ten days in California, Norfolk, and I have to say that of the 35 years I’ve been holidaying in that area – 20 of them camping at the same site – this is the first time I’ve ever truly felt like giving up and coming home early. In fact if I could have got a refund on my pitch fee I would have been back within three days, however I stayed, and now I amΒ  back I’m wondering if it was really worth all the hassle as it’s been a holiday fraught with disasters and problems from start to finish.
Day 1, and just over an hour into the journey from home I stopped at a roadside truck stop and got a takeaway coffee, but I only managed to drink a mouthful of it before I accidentally knocked the rest of it all over the floor of the van between the two front seats – and that one minor mishap seemed to set the tone for the rest of the holiday. Arriving at the camp site I found that the pitch fees had increased substantially since last year and are now beyond my personal budget; finding somewhere cheaper at such short notice would have been almost impossible without internet access so I paid up – well I suppose someone has to pay for the demolition of the toilet block and the brand new statics and tarmac road which have appeared since last year. Finally on my pitch on the camping field I found that it was too windy to put the tent up so I spent the rest of the day and the evening in the van.
Day 2, and with more wind and on/off rain showers it was a morning spent in the van, though the afternoon was sunny and by 7pm the wind had dropped so I finally managed to put the tent up and get everything set out inside it, although I was actually sleeping in the van.
Day 3 arrived gloriously sunny and I planned a good day out to get some photos, but when it came to actually leaving my pitch I found I wasn’t going anywhere – after a short drive to the local late shop the previous afternoon I’d unthinkingly left the ignition on and the battery was flatter than flat. A quick call to the AA soon sorted that though and less than an hour later a very nice man arrived and soon got the van going again, and I went on to have what was probably the best day of the whole holiday.
Day 4 was nothing short of diabolical. The wind had come back during the night, worse than it had been previously, coupled with several prolonged heavy downpours, and when I unzipped the tent door that morning I was greeted by a scene of total devastation. Everything in there had been up-ended by the wind and was scattered all over, and one of the bedrooms had a huge puddle in the middle of the floor though fortunately the bag with my clothes and personal stuff hadn’t been affected. With dark grey skies, on/off rain and high wind it was another day spent in the van, although during the afternoon I did attempt to walk to the local shop but didn’t get far before I got caught in another downpour and got soaked to the skin.
Day 5 was another day of on/off heavy downpours though it did come reasonably nice for a while during the late afternoon so after a shopping trip to Asda I drove the few miles to Gorleston and took the dogs for a good walk along the promenade and gardens.
Day 6 started out beautifully and I had a lovely morning walk up to Hemsby along the cliff top and back along the beach. I’d planned to visit a large garden that afternoon and actually drove out to it but by the time I got there the sky had clouded over and the rain hammered down again, so that put paid to that idea and I drove back to the site and spent another afternoon in the van.
Day 7 brought yet more rain so my garden visit was put on hold once again and I went into town to do some shopping instead, though it did make an attempt at brightening up during the afternoon. That evening I went to visit some friends who live a mile or so from the site, however I’d forgotten that I’d left the half full kettle on the floor in the middle of the van and as I went round a corner it up-ended, though fortunately most of the water went down onto the side step rather than onto the carpet.
Day 8 turned out to be beautiful all day and I finally managed to do the garden visit, though I’d initially thought I wouldn’t be going anywhere unless I walked. Several lengthy bouts of heavy overnight rain, added to what had fallen over the previous few days, had softened the ground so much that when I tried to reverse off my pitch the back wheels got stuck in the mud and I couldn’t get out; luckily the site owner’s son had a 4 x 4 and a big chain so he dragged the van off for me. The garden visit was followed by a drive down to Redwings Horse Sanctuary to see my adopted pony Cauli then the day was finished off with visits to my friends Ady and Jane.
Day 9 was grey and showery in the morning though it did brighten up at lunch time and the afternoon turned out to be fairly pleasant, though not really sunny enough for long enough to go anywhere proper so I paid a second visit to my friends Eileen and Ron – it was Eileen’s birthday, and although she’s now lost much of her sight I still took a card for her.
Day 10 arrived gloriously sunny after several bouts of heavy rain overnight – it was also going home day so I abandoned the morning dog walk in favour of getting everything packed away and the tent taken down while it was nice. Packing up the van was no problem but I had a lot of mopping up to do before I could sort out the tent. On my shopping trip into town I’d got a cheap mop and bucket from Asda, knowing I would have some mopping up to do, but I didn’t realise just how much. It took ages, and I had several inches of water in that bucket by the time I’d finished.
After a good dog walk along the beach I finally left the site at 12.30pm though my problems still weren’t over; twice I hit queues of very slow moving traffic, the first lot caused by a broken down farm vehicle meaning two lanes were going into one, though there didn’t seem to be any reason for the second lot. Those delays meant that by the time I was heading west the sun was getting low and in my eyes and unfortunately I missed the correct exit off a roundabout, meaning I was heading for somewhere I didn’t want to be so I had to find somewhere to turn round and go back. I got it right eventually though and finally arrived home at 7.45pm.
So there you have it, a potted account of my holiday – or maybe I should say nightmare? Whatever it was, I certainly don’t want another one like it, in fact I feel like I now need a holiday to get over the holiday. I suppose there was one good thing about it though – with all that rain stopping me from getting out and about like I wanted to I had plenty of time for relaxing, and I didn’t spend much money either. Now that’s a bonus!
** A full account of the holiday, with photos, can be found starting hereΒ for anyone who wants to read it Β πŸ™‚

15 thoughts on “The holiday from hell?

  1. Aw, Eunice, sorry you didn’t have better looking days during your vacation. lol I like that you saw the bright side of it all — some relaxing and saving money. I’d love a vacation where I didn’t do anything, even if it’s just hogging the long couch at home.

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  2. The trouble is, I can only do so much ‘doing nothing’ before I get bored. I like to be out and about exploring places when I’m on holiday so having bad weather really frustrates me – I can get that at home for free πŸ™‚

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  3. Oh no! That sounds like a vacation fraught with disaster :// I have had this happen more times than not and I consider these trips part of my vacation curse! Sounds like you experienced this as well! At least with a trip a little longer you got some good parts out of it as well! πŸ™‚

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    1. So sorry about the late reply, I’d completely forgotten you’d commented. Yes, there were some good parts to the holiday in spite of all the rain, I just hope next year’s Norfolk trip will be much better πŸ™‚

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  4. Oh Eunice, what a nightmare holiday you’ve had, you couldn’t have picked a worse week weather-wise. I have thought about you often as the weather has been so dreadful, those strong winds and heavy rain during the week were actually named storm Aileen. It always seems to be the case that once one thing goes wrong others things seem to follow. Well done for sticking it out for the duration just look back on the holiday as eventful rather than the disaster it turned out to be. I take it you won’t be going back to that particular camp-site again!

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  5. I’ve always camped at that site when in Norfolk and as the camping field is on a cliff top I know it can be, and often is, quite windy so I’m prepared for it and normally other than that I’ve always had exceptionally good weather, but this time it was just awful. Maybe I was just unlucky that Aileen decided to vent her fury at the same time as my holiday. As for going back to that site in the future – the location is great in so many ways and I’d hate NOT to go so given the recent changes it’s something I’ll have to think seriously about.

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    1. A cottage might be better for the comfort factor but it wouldn’t be the same as camping – I don’t think I could ever truly give that up whatever the weather unless it really became physically impossible for me to continue.

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  6. Oh, you poor love, sounds like absolutely everything was thrown at you to ruin your break. Perhaps you should have bailed out on day three after all? Hope Poppy and Sophie are OK, and that you are soon able to forget Norfolk and look forward to where else to go instead πŸ™‚

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  7. If it hadn’t cost so much in pitch fees I seriously would have thought about giving up, but unfortunately you don’t get a refund for bad weather. Anyway, I’m made of sterner stuff than that! πŸ™‚ Sophie and Poppy are fine, I think they enjoy themselves wherever we are, but they weren’t very happy last Wednesday when they got thoroughly drowned in a very heavy downpour! 😦

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  8. Your story reminds me of a few soggy camping events years ago. Here’s one: My husband was in a tent on a slope, it rained, the tent filled up and he awoke at the bottom of the slope tangled in a soggy ball soaked to the skin. He spent the rest of the night hear hyperthermia. Come dawn a camper in an RV took pity and took him in and warmed him up.

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    1. It sounds like your husband had quite an experience, I’m glad someone took him in and he got warmed up. One of the first things I learned when I started camping years ago was never to pitch a tent at the bottom of a slope. My pitch here was level but without a full groundsheet the rain just blew in underneath the bottom edge of the tent and there was nothing I could do to avoid it. I’m just glad that I wasn’t actually sleeping in there.

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