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.
The boys had an awful night’s sleep, large boy didn’t get to sleep until 10pm or after. Then small boy came into us at 2.15am because large boy was sad that he couldn’t sleep. We had tears and flapping about because it was hot and his brother’s legs were in the way. Eventually he calmed down and they went back to sleep. They were up before 7am though so we braced ourselves for a tired and emotional day.
Large boy and I went for a little run with my mum in the morning, how lovely to run as a family, slow but a special experience to be savoured.
Then the boys got out my little brother’s castle Lego and built and tore down various constructions.
After a picker lunch, himself and I took the boys out on their bikes, down the same lanes and tracks that I’d explored as a child. The landscape in south Lincolnshire is stunningly beautiful. The population is so sparse the fields go on forever and the sky is huge. There’s not a lot to do for the same reason, but the quiet and nostalgia have their value too.
When we got back large boy nagged us into a game of Monopoly, himself got Mayfair and Park Lane early on so the result was a forgone conclusion. Then we had some screentime as they’d not had any for several days.
Day 11, into the woods
After a much better night’s sleep, we got up lazily with coffee and my uncle’s honey on mum’s sour dough beard. Large boy has some itchy skin, either heat rash or a bit of sensitivity to the change in water, so the hydrocortisone ointment came out. There were three million demands for board games but my parents went to do their supermarket shop and himself wanted to shower after he extracted himself from the traditional holiday Football Manager game. In the meantime I took coffee out to the patio and enjoyed the flowers and sunshine.
A friend who I’ve known since we were 4 years old was visiting her mum round the corner, so she popped in for a chat. We’ve known each other for 35 years, but it must be 6 years since we last met up. It felt like just a couple of weeks. She immediately said that small boy is the spit of my little brother and we laughed about our kids and memories of growing up together. While we were catching up small boy noticed and enormous caterpillar making it’s way across the patio – it was an elephant hawk moth caterpillar and about 8 cm long and furry!
After a picker lunch, we headed out to Snipe Dales: a Wildlife Trust site that I’d visited lots as a child. Mum came with us and Dad stayed at home to have a nap. We walked pretty much 3 miles on a hot day, poked streams for flints and ate blackberries out of the hedgerows. Proper lush summer time exploring.
Back home we had a cup of tea and several rounds of Exploding Kittens (large boy is developing an obsession and just wants to beat me and himself). Then I make a Chinese fakeaway and it was suddenly time for bath and bed for the boys. We watched University Challenge and my parents complained about how it’s not the same as when Bamber Gascoigne asked the questions.
Day 12, westward to GG
A bit of an earlier start and dippy eggs with my mum’s freshly baked sour dough bread (no, she’s not a lockdown fad baker she’s been doing it for years) for breakfast. Then we headed off to Belton House for the day. We went over to the play park and bumped into one of my favourite work colleagues! What a lovely surprise to see each other, I sometimes stay with them when I travel to the office and she and her husband came to our wedding. We stopped for a chat but our respective children were heading in different directions so we couldn’t tarry long.
We had a picnic lunch from the back of the truck in a very humid midday heat. Then a bit of stomp rocket action and short walk through the park. We would usually have done a couple of miles but as the temperature went over 30°C (86°F) and the boys stripped off their tee shirts we decided on something much shorter with an ice cream at the end.
Refreshed by the treats we got to the really wonderful part of the day and drove the 10 minutes to my Grandma’s house to sit in her garden for a while. She’s affectionately known as GG, as the boys’ great grandma. Oh the bliss of four generations of family chattering away together. The boys intrepidly delved down the steps at the bottom of GG’s garden to her stream, small boy inevitably fell over in the nettles and had a good shriek. He discovered that rubbing the sting on Grandad’s hand transferred the sore hurty over. Well it’s a good a treatment as any!
Large boy chartered away to GG about how bees tell each other where to find the nectar and the boys both played hide and seek, spent time staring out a neighbourhood cat and admiring the pear trees. After a cup of tea and some socially distant photos, we headed off in the cool of the air conditioned car as the thermometer reported 34°C.
Back at mum and dad’s, I washed up before they got home and himself set the boys to watching some TV after their hot day outside before making his famous salmon pasta for dinner.