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 during days 1-3.
Day 4, park life
I’m really not doing great with sleep during this holiday. Another disturbed night with itchy eyes and dry mouth from sleeping in the bedroom in the loft, it doesn’t get used much and it seems a bit dusty up there. Small boy is a bit sniffly too so we dosed ourselves with antihistamines.
The weather was much better so we planned an afternoon trip to a big park and spent the morning playing lego and letting the boys out on their bikes in the cul de sac. Then a rugby chuck about with Grampa and lunch on the patio. The boys played hide and seek, somehow it’s always small boy to count and find. However, he has a great technique, when he’s finished counting he asks his brother if he’s ready. Large boy can’t resist replying and so small boy has a really great indication of where he’s hiding.
We took the scooters and stomp rockets to Duthie Park in Aberdeen for the afternoon, had an explore and a really yummy latte and snack. We took the stomp rocket and the boys attempted to fire it at seagulls (they didn’t hit any). Then they played on the massive slides (small boy unimpressed by the speed and large boy disliked the crowds) and then the swings. Small boy got that hang of swinging himself and large got frustrated.
We stopped into Boots (don’t remember the last time I was in a shop other than my usual supermarket) for some mouth wash as the dry air here is giving me an itchy mouth at night. Then back to the in laws for some screen time. I browsed RightMove and concluded that we couldn’t afford to move here! Not that there’s a job round here for himself anyway.
At bathtime, out of the blue, large boy asked where baby boy3’s teddy was at home. It’s in a memory box. Then he asked what sort of infection boy3 had had, and whether I’d been poorly too. He touches my heart sometimes that boy, he’s so tender and thoughtful and open about what he’s thinking. He got a massive hug and I told him how proud I am that he cares about his baby brother that he never got to meet.
Day 5, into the deep dark North
After a slightly better night’s sleep, punctuated by applications of mouth wash, I went for a short run in the rain. Once we were all up and dressed we bundled into the car and headed North towards Fochabers.
We stopped and had a little wander along the Spey and spotted some fishermen, then did the tourist thing and had lunch at Baxter’s cafe. Our first lunch out since before lockdown and it felt like a real treat. We browsed the shops briefly and picked up some tablet, fudge and shortbread for neighbours and my two grans.
Of course the weather decided it was time to rain after lunch, being brave explorers we laughed in the face of a bit of water and drove up to Lossiemouth. We parked up at the west beach and discovered that the tide was all the way in, so no chance of flying kites on the beach as we’d hoped. Instead, we walked along the stones at the high tide line and then through the dunes, past then landing lights at the end of RAF Lossiemouth’s runway and almost as far as the lighthouse. We were thoroughly wet again, though better prepared than on our trip to Stonehaven. This time we had water proofs and the boys we wearing their wellies; we’d forgotten a towel mind you. Nevertheless it was fun, we threw rocks in the sea, watched and heard Typhoons taking off, wrote in the sand and shouted at the boys to stop dawdling, hardly making ourselves heard over the wind and waves and through two hoods.
The drive back down to the in laws was very wet, even in 4 wheel drive the truck was trying to step the back end out in places. Of course, we got stuck behind slow drivers too. We just got back in time for a change of wet clothes to go out an early-ish dinner with the in laws. Two meals out in one day? Such decadence!
We had a really yummy dinner, marred by the boys messing around and being loud. I think one consequence of spaced out dining is that, with fewer people in a room, there’s less background noise. So a loud child seems much louder than they usually would and we were very aware that we might be disturbing other diners. By the time large boy had demolished toffee sauce waffles for pudding, it was time for bed when we got back. My tummy was objecting to being squeezed into jeans, so I put my PJs on too.
Day 6, down on the fruit farm
We got up a bit earlier so that we’d have plenty of time to sort ourselves out to spend the day at a farm with himself’s sister and her children.
The journey down featured the sight of some oil rigs under construction near the Tay Bridge at Dundee and some SatNav roulette: do we believe Nigel when he tells us to go straight on as the in laws turn left? Or when he instructs us to take a left down a narrow back road? Or what seems to be an over grown track? (Answers are no, yes and no).
We got to Cairnie Fruit Farm about 11am so the kids had a play before a picnic lunch. Small boy couldn’t reach the go kart pedals, was too big for the pedal tractors, didn’t want a swing or the zip line and cried on the bouncy mound because he fell over and couldn’t get up. Diagnosis: hunger. He enjoyed the trolley slide though.
After a picnic the boys found some two seat go karts and large boy took his brother on laps. Then we had an explore of the maize maze (didn’t get too lost) and a cup of coffee or ice cream as preferred – just as the rain came on of course. I swear this holiday is doomed to give us all trench foot.
The in laws didn’t fancy fruit picking but I really wanted to take the boys to pick strawberries. So the grandparents, cousins and himself’s sister went back to play some more while we raided the (dry!) polytunnels. Our boys must be the only children to not put one strawberry in their mouths for every three in the punnet. At least we were out of the drizzle and they had a new experience. While himself went to pay I took them to try currants and gooseberries. They both liked both red and black currants but large boy spat out the gooseberry and small refused to even try.
We left about half three, on the way back the SatNav roulette continued and we serendipitously passed a statue of Jim Clark in Kilmany. Then, coming through Dundee again we spotted RRS Discovery and some street art of Desperate Dan and Dennis the Menace. We really ought to introduce the boys to Oor Wullie.