Dec ’15 – Weston (Thu)

‘Oh I do like to be beside the seaside…’

New Years Eve. We wake to clear skies and glorious sunshine. Rita still has four tyres sitting on solid ground, she’s still standing upright and she’s all in one piece. What a night that was! On several occasions, I felt as though the storm had threatened to tip us over. In the last 35 years I’m sure Rita has survived many storms, and seen it all before, but it’ll definitely go down as a first storm in a camper for me!

Iphone 6 1046

Just before bed we donned our wellies and braved the conditions to the toilet block. This is as close to a ‘wild camp’ as we have experienced so far. The Sunshine festival didn’t have electric hookup, granted, but at least there were portable toilets available. You’ll get some idea of the state of the site’s toilet block when I say, facilities at the festival were far superior! I know we’re out of season, but still, I’d rather have used the hedgerow as a toilet. The only thing in the block that is fit for purpose are the lights, as these actually work, although in hindsight I’d be better off not knowing what the place looks like inside. The toilet basins themselves had no seats to sit down on. They’re really, disgustingly dirty. Out of season, I’d expect this block not to be spotless. However, I’d have thought it would have been cleaned following the departure of the last guests in the summer! The sinks were alive with hundreds of flies, webs full of spiders and various other insects roamed the ledges, walls and mirrors. I suppose it really doesn’t matter that no toilet tissue or soap were provided, when facilities are in this state anyway? Luckily we had our own, so in desperation used the toilet last night. Never again. The moment we’re awake this morning, I pull on my damp clothes, unhook the van and we head off into town…

Parking: A frustrating issue in any Motorhome or Campervan…

Weston is only a short drive up the coast, the damage the storm has caused is evident throughout our journey. Part of an old pier appears to have collapsed into the sea, while several trees have succumbed to the brutal winds. The roads though, are pretty clear and soon we’re driving along the main coastal road toward the recently revamped Grand Pier. The road hugs the sea wall all the way along the seafront. On our right hand side, we have an unobscured view out to sea. To the left, are rows of tall buildings with impressive facades, remnants of a more prosperous time for the resort. Now they house hotels, B&B’s and pubs. A proper, quaint, British seaside destination, I love it.

Parking: A frustrating issue in any motorhome or campervan. This isn’t because of the size of our vehicles, after all Rita isn’t any larger than your average 4×4. The problem is due to most council’s reluctance to allow us to park. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve managed to spot a potential parking space, only to find that Rita won’t fit beneath a barrier, or, even more frustratingly, is just prohibited from parking there. We manage to find a good spot at MELROSE CAR PARK on Knightstone Road. It’s a large ‘Pay and Display’ site, without any height restrictions and has designated Motorhome parking bays to the rear. It’s a good find, right on the seafront, situated beside The Old Colonial pub. Look for a stone arch on the sea wall opposite. 

Iphone 6 1047

We all take a walk up the seafront. I’d like to check out the new Grand Pier, unfortunately though, I find the dog isn’t allowed onto it, so we have to give that a miss. We have a good long walk, following the Marine Parade and then along the Seafront Promenade. We pop in all the usual little sweet shops and purchase some traditional rock (pink stick shaped Candy with ‘Weston’ running through the centre) to take home with us. Being at the seaside the pubs all have outdoor seating, so it’s no problem sitting down for a quick half with the dog. Obviously it’s really cold at this time of year, as soon as we stop I feel it, so quickly drink up and get to walking again! We get some traditional fish and chips from a fish bar called ‘Winstons’, my choice based purely on the fact it shares it’s name with the dog! I’m glad to have something warm to eat, especially as walking has worked up quite an appetite. The fish and chips are lovely, a proper seaside treat. I spot a seller serving freshly cooked doughnuts from a little hatch down a side street, I love these so can’t resist a bag of five for our dessert, that’s two each with one for Winston! 

Come ‘rain or shine’, Bulldogs don’t run…

Here comes the rain…

I’ve been eyeing the large dark clouds rolling in off the sea since we arrived. We’ve been lucky, quite how we’ve managed to stay dry most of the day is a mystery. Now though it is raining, and it’s raining heavy. For a while we manage to shelter under the main bus stop at the promenade, but with no improvement evident and the sky becoming increasingly dark, we decide to make a dash for the van. Come ‘rain or shine’, Bulldogs don’t run. I can’t run because Winston’s having none of it, so we stroll back to the van. Had running been an option, I’m sure we’d be drenched anyway, walking we certainly are. Back at the van, we draw the curtains, my girlfriend gets herself dry and puts on fresh dry clothes. I towel dry the dog, put a bin bag over the seat to protect it from getting wet, and we set off for home. Not only have I got to drive for a couple of hours in wet clothes, but my girlfriend sits beside me, grinning like a Cheshire cat! 

Despite the awful weather and lack of facilities, we’ve both had a great time. It may have only been a single night, and only a couple of hours from home, but we feel like we’ve ‘been away’. For no more that £80 we’ve been on an adventure and memories have been made…

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