I just got back from my first proper camping trip in England. It was only 2 days so not too long for a first camp. The weather was great. I mean, even in the North, it’s been sunny – proper summer weather – for like weeks now. With the occasional cold rainy snap. But otherwise, 80% of the time it’s nice and sunny and really warm. Reminds me of Singapore to be honest. But the sun is brutal. Just 5 minutes outside and I get tan lines from the straps on the sandals on my feet! Ugh!
We went to Nant Mill Touring Caravan and Park. Not my idea. The husband’s. He’d been here before. It was erm… ookaay. The shower cubicle I was given really needed a bit of a declogging really. The water was pooling up around my feet when I was showering and took a while to go down. Yuck. Oh and they required a £1 deposit for the shower keys before you can use the showers. A bit of a hassle. Plus they said maximum 20 minutes shower. Although I don’t really see them knocking on shower cubicle doors and rushing people to finish up showering if they went over the mark, having such a rule does make the showering process less relaxed. The toilets were quite clean. Everything here was very… basic. It’s definitely on the budget side of things.
The owners are okay. They are polite but not overly so, and looked like farming people to me. Which makes sense. There’s a lot of countryside about there.
There is a kids’ playground at the site which is once again, pretty basic. No swings nor merry go rounds. There were lots of balance beans and climbing frames. Not really suitable for children younger than 4 to be honest. Too high and maybe a bit dangerous for them. But for kids 5 to 12 should be okay.
They gave us a list of campsite rules on arrival. I have to say, I don’t think the rules are really kept to nor was there any visible enforcement of the rules by the site owners. Our loutish neighbours (more on them later..) were talking all night until the early hours (but the rules say people should be quiet after 10 pm) and they allowed their kids to fly kites in the camping grounds around us (which is supposedly prohibited under campsite rules). It was annoying when the kites clipped our camper a few times. Thankfully, there was NO wind at all that day and the kids stopped it after about 20 mins of trying. Thank God.
And this leads me to comment on the size of the pitches. We had a long estate car with a towing caravan. The plots were tiny and we were situated so close to our neighbours we could hear or see each other doing our thing. I don’t see the point of going “camping” when it’s like this. I mean, when I think of camping, I think of wide secluded spaces in the beautiful natural surroundings – with just us. And our neighbours far away enough for us not to be able to hear them. But obviously with Nant Mill, this was not the case at all.
Also, the traffic from the main road next to the campsite is really quite noisy. It does die down towards midnight though. We slept in a campervan so the noise is probably a lot lesser than if we had slept in a tent, yet it was very noticeable. Especially when a loud bike or truck goes by. One good thing is we did not see any out-of-control dogs off their leashes when we were there for the 2 nights.
Oh yeah and major bummer. All the plots with electric points were taken up by the time we arrived. So we made do with no electricity and lots of dead phones and Kindles. I was not happy about this. The site wasn’t even very full. Maybe half full. Yet all the electric points were taken. Hmm… I think the owners should really consider putting in more electric points around the campsite. If I wasn’t travelling with my headstrong husband who insisted on camping on that particular site that day, I would have left the site without a doubt, and looked for another one.
The site is really close to Prestatyn beach and the Prestatyn Pontins. So you could choose to walk to the beach (about 10 minutes walk) or to Prestatyn Pontins (5 mins walk) to use the facilities there if you wished. We drove everywhere because we had 3 young children and don’t want to risk having to lug crabby tired kids back to camp at the end of a day spent in the sun. It was gloriously sunny. Too much so sometimes, because it made our car feel like an oven! Fun at the beach… until towards the end of the day, the water started getting funny. We started getting lots of itchies around the parts of our legs that were in the water. We looked at our itchy legs and saw tiny little green critters sort of wriggling about on our legs and giving us some kind of sensation of being bitten. It actually stung a bit. Felt exactly like ant bites. A million of them. It’s actually freaky. I have no idea what those things were. But that totally put me and the children off going back into the water after that.
When we went back to camp, my daughters had bite marks up their ankles and calves, even dried up blood… It was all a bit ick. The next day of camp, when my husband asked the kids if they’d all like to go to the beach again, it was a resounding no. I suppose the green critters put them right off… although it was really strange. Thinking back, we only noticed the presence of those critters towards 5 pm. We certainly didn’t feel like we were being bitten by tiny things in the earlier hours of the afternoon. So god knows what those things were. And if they only appeared later in the day or they were always there and we were just blissfully unaware.
Anyway, so the kids were done with going to the beach. We decided to go down to Rhyl Sun Centre – it’s a waterpark – to spend the next day instead. The kids had a good time. There was a wave pool and slides and everything. And afterwards we all had a nice Chinese takeaway from the Laughing Buddha Chinese restaurant/take-away on Coast Road in Rhyl. The food was really nice. Not overladen with salt like some other Chinese takeaways can be.
Back at camp, I found our neighbours were a bit loutish. I was just sitting in front of my caravan chilling out for an hour or so after arrival at this site in the late afternoon and I could not help but overhear stuff because the dad shouts. He shouts at his daughter, who looked about 7. There was this moment – quite memorable really – when he was chatting to another adult and his daughter was trying to get his attention. Trying to talk to him. She was basically talking to him at the same time he was talking to the other adult. He just kept ignoring her until finally he snapped and shouted at her loudly “Shut up, cunt!”
Whoa. I mean. Calling your little daughter a cunt after ignoring her the whole time when she was trying to say something to you? And she wasn’t even shouting or raising her voice like? I was just… disgusted. This is meant to be a Family park mister. So stop cussing at your daughter like that in broad daylight! Geez…
He was drinking a lot. Tattooed. Bald. In his mid 30s. Brown tanned skin although he’s clearly white. Dressed shabbily. And I can’t help but notice one of the hub caps on his old VW Golf was missing – these things really irk me. I was teasing my husband later about the one missing hubcap on my husband’s car which he had never bothered replacing. I was trying to draw parallels… to imply that a certain type of behaviour gives off to others a certain impression about you. And a missing hubcap gives off the impression that you’re someone who should really learn to give more of a damn in life. I mean, seriously, why don’t some people care to replace a missing hubcap? The odd wheel looks so ugly and out of place with the rest of the car. A car with a missing hubcap (or two) just looks really shabby. It makes the owner(s) look shabby too.
I thought maybe I was the only one who minded this.
But then when our car and caravan was on the road, lots of passing vehicles kept signalling to my husband that the one hubcap on his caravan was coming off. And this was on the motorway. So you know it must really bother people enough to think it would bother my husband enough to warrant fixing the problem, and that was why they kept passing by and signalling to him that he needs to stop and fix his hubcap right?
I felt justifiably vindicated after that. So I am not being unnecessarily irritated about a missing hubcap on a motor vehicle after all. There are others out there who care about this too. Yay! (I know it sounds lame to get all happy about this. Gawd I need a life.)
My husband kinda summed it up for us about the campsite. He said “our neighbours looked like members of the EDL”. Hahaha.