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.
Day 7, onwards and upwards
I woke up and was disappointed to find it was only just past 7am, it felt like 9am and I was hoping to have at least one long lie this week. Failure.
Once we were all up and dressed, I put some washing on and himself’s father and the boys planned to wash the truck. This involved himself and his dad cleaning it out and vacuuming while the boys waited impatiently and begged for their bikes. Eventually bikes and scooters were retrieved and they went up and down the cul de sac while the grown ups soaped the car. It looked like it was covered in marshmallow foam at one point. The boys helped rub off the dirt and then I made lunch. It might not have been raining, but they still managed to get wet!
After a picker with cheese and meats on the patio (yey for some sunshine), we doused ourselves in suncream and packed up some water and snacks and set out for a walk up Scolty Hill.
Himself and I have painful memories from about 14 years ago, when we last climbed the hill with his sister and a gang of her friends on her 21st birthday which also happened to be New Years Day and so the walk was accompanied by a fairly significant hangover. It’s a lot more beautiful and pleasant up there on a clear summer’s day compared to a wet wintery hungover one.
We got to the top after several attempts to take nice pictures of the boys in the heather. Refueled with gran’s homemade biscuits and some water, I finally got some lovely ones. the views were stunning, Lochnagar to the West and Aberdeen and the North Sea to the East. We headed back down and I was pleasantly surprised that my knee didn’t complain at all.
Back at the house we played Jenga (himself won) and Exploding Kittens (large boy won) while I enjoyed an iced coffee.
Day 8, ready steady
It was pack up day, preparing for the very long drive south to my mum’s. I started the day off with a morning run, 8.30am and it was already muggy. Then breakfast and a shower before starting to gather together all the gubbins we’d spread out though the house. Some board games and lego to finish the morning before square (Lorne) sausage sarnies for lunch. A trip to the in laws just isn’t complete without square sausage in a roll.
After lunch we drove over to Crathes Castle for a walk, in the end a long walk! Well over 11,000 steps. It looked like it was threatening to rain but we stay dry by some miracle. We had a mooch around the main castle area and then trekked around one of the big loop walks. We took boardwalk over the marshy bits, skimmed stones in the stream, mooed at the highland cows, and spotted more unusual mushrooms. Himself and I took advantage of the boys trailing behind to hold hands, only for them to pour disdain on us and protest at such a public display of affection. Bah humbug.
We stopped in at the supermarket on the way back to do some major replenishment of the Irn Bru stocks before heading south of the border tomorrow. Then a quiet cuppa for me and some Transformers on Netflix for the boys. We had chinese takeaway for dinner and then finished packing before bedtime. During the kids bedtime TV they watched Henry Danger, we had a serious chat about the unimportance of appearance in an episode about Valentine’s day. It was really silly, all the nice guys are traditionally pretty and the butts of the jokes and the bad guys are traditionally unattractive. So we had a talk about worth and looks and how disconnected they are. These micro-impressions for young kids are pervasive and doubtless contribute to the formation of prejudices against people who look different. Grrrr.
Day 9, we’re off again
An early alarm, speedy breakfast and well organised packing operation had us out and on the road by 8am, on my birthday.
Just like last year, we spent my birthday on a road trip between holiday stays. Just like last year, it was a tough day. I always miss boy3 more on special days. I sat in the truck wondering what it would have been like with another car seat in the back, another little voice adding to the noise.
Two hours in we started thinking about a stop and a snack, himself’s response was a swear as he realised that he’d left the electric cool box set to hot after fetching the Chinese the previous evening. We stopped and discovered some very melted chocolate bars, lovely warm chocolate filled brioches and thankfully insulated square sausage and fruit protected from the heat by the leftover box of hoop cereals. Disaster avoided by luck, we switched the box back to cooling and chucked the squished chocolate bars, ate the brioches and carried on.
Less then 5 miles from our A66 turn off the traffic slowed and came to a total halt. We shot off at the previous junction, came into Penrith and then skirted the edge to avoid the heavy traffic through the centre as everyone else had the same idea as we did. Having found our way to the A66, we went in search of some lunch. Sandwiches, very tasty pork pies and sausage rolls, juice and kitkats out of the back of the truck were an absolute winner. We’d highly recommend the pies and savoury pastries in the Brough village stores.
A nip down the A1 then across into the deepest darkest fens, my homeland. We got to my mums before 4.30pm and I had a little cry, I knew I would. I love my amazing mum so much and I’ve missed her even more than I realised.
I was promised a birthday tea and cake, but first a cuppa and relax in the garden.