This year we’re foregoing our usual jaunt to a Eurocamp somewhere hot in France (like last year). Instead, we’re playing out the dreamed of and longed for road trip to visit family. The lovely Bill over at A Silly Place imagined the end of lock down and passed the baton to me, having received it himself from Renata at Buffalo Sauce Everywhere.
See what we got up to in days 4-6.
Day 1, the road trip begins
Making the most of my day off, we set off bright and early on Friday morning. The alarm was set even earlier than on a normal work day, himself and I got up so we could have a coffee and shower in peace, only to find large boy already awake, excited and concerned that it would be a boring day.
Of course, come breakfast time small boy (who needed to be woken up) was on a mega go slow. Five minutes before we were hoping to leave, he was just finishing his cereals, not yet dressed and still to choose which teddies to bring.
We got on the road, discarding Google maps connection to the SatNav as it started requesting software updates, not much after we’d intended. First leg was a 4 hour drive to himself’s sister’s house for our lunch stop. Soon after joining the M6, himself noticed that there was vibration coming through the steering wheel so we stopped to check tyre pressures and check for stones. The rest of the drive up was uneventful and when we arrived the boys settled straight in playing with their cousin’s toys. We had a picker lunch with lots of bits to choose from and then back on the road as my sister in law had to get to work.
Traffic was much heavier so we were really glad to enjoy some peace with the boys engrossed in The Good Dinosaur on the DVD headrest whatsits. I even managed a little snooze, got to love a sleep induced by the motion of the car.
We stopped at the top of Fettercairn for the first time in the 15 years I’ve been visiting himself’s parents. The views were stunning.
When we arrived, we found that my amazing mother in law had prepared some Pimms. The boys ran around the garden and crashed their grampa’s remote control cars. We had a barbecue, unpacked and put the boys to bed exhausted after our long drive.
Day 2, slobbing about goes wrong
I always sleep terribly the first night in a different bed. I tossed and turned and listened to the rain, eventually getting up at 8. After a chat with the kids I went for a 3.5km run along the River Dee.
It was a beautiful morning but a bit hillier than I expected and I went off a bit fast so my knee was sore by the time I got back. Showers, coffees, and a play with himself’s old micromachines and transformers, we decided to take the kids to the park on their bikes. Terrible timing as the rain came on less than half way there.
After lunch, himself and large boy played The Game of Life with the grandparents while small boy and I played Dino Lotto and he read to me. We set off on a long walk, only to find small boy was rather tired. We stopped in at the supermarket to get some sweets as fuel and in the hope of finding some trainers for large boy. He was down to a single pair of shoes that fit his growing feet, and this was his first time in a shop in over four months. Sorted, we headed directly back along the Dee.
A cup of rooibos tea, a cream scone and some RC cars on the patio, then we settled down to watch the Silverstone formula 1 qualifying. Large boy came for an absolute mega hug, curling up with me for well over half an hour. Such delights are few and far between these days, so phone discarded I snuggled into him and enjoyed the luxury. After dinner, the boys watched some junk on Netflix and then Gran read their bedtime story (book 8 of Flying Fergus).
Somehow during our first chilled out day of holiday, I’d racked up 18,000 steps.
Day 3, exploring
We woke up to blue skies so decided on a trip out. Himself booked to visit Dunnottar Castle, I packed a picnic, and we headed out to Stonehaven and Inverbervie for some rocky beach action.
We had a nice wander along Stonehaven beach enjoying the salty smell and throwing rocks into the breaking waves, that is until the rain came on. At first it seemed like a shower but then it came on heavy and we were pretty soaked (are you sensing a theme after day 2? we are). We pushed on to the harbour and sheltered under a little roof to watch the rain pour onto the sea in front of us.
Once it went off, we wandered back down the high street to the park by the old lido. A quick play and then we popped over to see if there were any RC cars being driven. Himself knew where the well-hidden track was tucked away and there were a few electric cars zooming round the grassy track despite the wet. I fear himself is getting ideas, as though we need any more four wheeled miniature electric contraptions with the amount of Scalextric already in the house. The rain started again so we bundled back into the car. In my wisdom, I had slung in the wellies (even if large boy’s are a size too small) and spare socks for the boys along with a towel. In my foolishness, I hadn’t put in any spares for the grown ups. So the boys got dry feet and footwear while himself and I squelched around for the rest of the day. The truck came into its own again, the boot makes a great place to dry sodden jumpers either inside while driving or hanging from the windows while parked up.
We stopped and picnicked in the back of the truck at Inverbervie, then went for a walk along the stony beach to do some rockpooling. We found shrimp, tiny fishes, crabs, lots of sea snails and some interesting plants. A little drive along the coast to Johnshaven and we discovered a little tea room doing takeaway, so we had a tray bake each and I got a lovely hot latte to enjoy by the harbour. Thank you Hidden Treasure Tearoom for the totally scrummy rocky road.
Half way through the afternoon we headed out to Dunnotter Castle, where we had pre-booked onto the 3pm entry. It’s a fabulous ruin, full of atmosphere and history that’s well explained on the information boards. They’re handling social distancing really well, with one way systems, limited entry and hand gel aplenty. The boys enjoyed seeing all the different rooms and the views are stunning, the sun even came out!
Back at the in laws’ house, we gathered up all the wet clothes and I made a cuppa while the boys got some time with their screens. Its steak pie for dinner, my mother in law’s speciality and so delicious.