We’ve been back a few weeks now and I’m already feeling like we need another holiday. Instead, I’ve been thinking back to all the lovely things we did this summer and how lucky we were to get to go.
Back in May 2020, 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. I knew that our planned holiday habitual trip to France were nigh on impossible.
Instead, I thought about how else we would spend two weeks, largely unrestricted.
I wonder what it says about my imagination that the reality of our post-lockdown trip matched pretty closely the one that I’d dreamed of and longed for.
I don’t know whether I limited myself to think only of what was achievable or whether having imagined our trip I set about making it happen for real, driving the plans according to the ideals I’d dreamt up.
Himself and I had discussed UK plans to lighten the lockdown and we felt that they were making changes prematurely. So we decided to do “lockdown plus two”. We stayed home for two extra weeks after lockdown was lifted.
The first weekend after lockdown, for us, was just like all the weekends before – at home. A couple of weekends after that though, we ventured out and about. First just we visited local nature reserves we hadn’t discovered before. Then we decided a visit to our families was a realistic possibility.
In the end it was about 6 weeks after lockdown lifted when we began our road trip. As I said, we used my dream in response to Bill and Renata’s challenge as a template.
Stage 1 – northward bound
The imagined first stage didn’t quite play out as imagined. We didn’t stay over with himself’s sister or eat junk food in service stations. We were still cautious enough to be avoiding services as far as possible – just a quick in and out for the toilets. Instead, we popped into Glasgow for lunch with my sister in law and her husband, with their kids away with their other granny for a few days. It was a much more pleasant experience than some service station with loads of people milling around, forgetting social distancing and wearing their masks on their heads or at least barely covering noses. We’d left early on a Friday morning, instead of after school (since schools weren’t back and by this point it was summer holidays anyway). This meant that even after a relaxed lunchtime pit stop we got to himself’s parent’s house just before dinner time, to be treated to a Pimms in the garden no less:
What I definitely didn’t imagine was the fairly awful weather, I had not dreamt of being soaked to the skin in Stonehaven or blown around on Lossiemouth beach. Nor had I really thought about running, but I was blessed with some beautiful views of the Dee.
Our expectations of cafe lunches and garden centre coffee breaks weren’t fulfilled. I’m sure they were possible but we didn’t pursue them – one lunch at Baxter’s factory was awkward enough. Instead, lots of sausage rolls and cheese sarnies, mother in law’s traybakes, and a couple of cheeky takeaways felt like a real treat.
Stage 2 – into the fens
Visiting my parents was such a huge deal for me, I had missed my mum so much. They still live in the house I grew up in, so driving the roads towards their village the anticipate rose and I was quite emotional by the time we arrived, I cried on my mum’s shoulder and of course that set her off too. It was my birthday as well, so my parents provided a treat birthday tea and cake, and I opened my presents.
The change of location was accompanied by a big change in weather, it was lovely in Lincolnshire. We enjoyed bike rides down the lanes of my childhood, trips into the local woods…
….to Belton house, played footy golf, climbed on the ruins of Bolingbroke Castle and went to the sea side.
Stage 3 – the return home
Finally, on my mum’s birthday it was time to say goodbye. My dad cooked a delicious Sunday lunch, complete with Yorkshire pudding and mum made chestnut stuffing and a tian even though it was her birthday. I may have had third of both. The kids even ate nicely and when the time came to load the car and head home, we all had full tummies. Himself drove the three hours home and I managed to nap in the passenger seat while the boys watched a movie.
Back home, the washng went on, there was a panic over the TV having image retention and the lovely supermarket delivery lady brought supplies an hour earlier than planned.
And so back to “normal”
We were back into the normality we would never have considered a year previously – both working from home with kids on holiday from school also in the house. We had to start thinking about getting back to school a few weeks later.
Our post-lockdown road trip definitely lived up to the journey I’d imagined a few months before. We enjoyed some really happy times with our families and recharged our batteries. It might not have played out as I had dreamt, but all the really important features were there – family, family and more family.
Soon enough of course, it was time for the boys to go back to school – bringing even more normality.