As I write this, we’ve had our first May Bank Holiday of 2021 with another to come. I sincerely hope the second is an improvement…
Restrictions had lifted enough that we could plan a day out for the early May Bank Holiday. Saturday and Sunday were out because of swimming and rugby. So even though the forecast was dreadful, we packed up the car on Monday morning.
Walk in the rain
After a little lie in and leisurely breakfast we packed up the car and drove up the M6 to Formby. Himself had heard there was a great beach there and, in our naivety, we thought the bad weather predicted would make it quiet and give us the chance to fly kites. It was rather pleasing to discover, as we pulled into the car park, that our National Trust membership would save us the cost of parking.
When we arrived we pulled on coats, decided against wellies and went to see the beach, leaving the kites for later. We had some crazy idea that we’d be able to come back to the car for lunch and then go back to the beach to fly kites. It was only drizzling after all.
A quick consult of the map in the car park and we strode off over the dunes and discovered a beautiful, almost deserted beach.
We walked along the firm sand, having emptied the boys’ shoes, and spotted a ferry, sea shells, some birds and decided to walk along towards the life guard station. It started to get a bit windy and the further away from the dunes, nearer to the sea we got we could feel rain in the gusts.
By the time we decided to head back towards the car we were all pretty bedraggled and the wind and rain were building more. Strava’s map and the signs on the paths brought us through some woods towards the car park. By now I had stripey jeans – dark blue and sodden where the wind threw the rain against them, light blue and dry but sandy on the other side. My fingers with their poor circulation were slightly blueish and the rain was dripping off my backpack and into my knickers. Himself was in about the same state and large boy was thoroughly miserable as his soaked joggers chaffed his legs with every step. Only small boy remained chipper.
Frankly, I’m a genius.
After last summer’s day trip to Stonehaven, I had learned that when bad weather is expected we must pack a change of clothes. Not just trousers and tops, everything.
Well, my planning sure as hell paid off. Small boy and himself benefitted from changing every item of clothing on their bodies. Large boy just kept his tee shirt and I managed to keep my top and jumper. But anyone peering into the back of our truck in a particular 10 min period might have got themselves a sight never to be unseen.
Once we were all dry again, we got the engine running and the heaters blowing out warm air, then enjoyed our picnic from our car seats rather than the planned picnic blanket or camping chairs. Oh well. The hot coffee in the thermos flask brought me back to picnics with my grandparents as a child and himself had impulse bought a pack of Gifflar cinnamon rolls which were very welcome.
We decided to take an in-car-only road trip up the west coast to Blackpool. Sophie Ellis-Bexter was on Radio 2 playing awesome duets. So we got a boogie on to Salt’n’Pepa, Prince and Shena Easton, and Eternal.
We came through Formby and Southport along the marshlands and past some RSPB sites, down some roads lined with massive houses and across the road between the marsh and the marée. Round the outskirts of Preston as himself reminisced about a conference there, oh about 17 years ago.
When we got to Lytham, small boy announced he needed a P-double-O. We found a toilet in St Anne’s, but had passed the car park entrance. So himself parked on the road by the exit so we could walk over to it. Of course the boys had no shoes on so I had to retrieve their wellies from the boot and then we ran for it. By the time we’d sprinted there and back, I was pretty wet again. Coming out of St Anne’s though we got a sight of the Big One and the Blackpool Tower. We didn’t get out, it was still (in himself’s words) blowing a hoolie.
Yeah, we’d had enough by that point. We’re pretty intrepid and generally not put off by a bit of wind and rain, but it was absolutely miserable weather. We’d already been soaked to the skin, got cold and sore, our waterproofs were wet inside and out. Yeah, we turned tail and headed home down the M6. The M6 in pouring rain is unpleasant at the best of times, add in cross winds, road works and idiot drivers and it wasn’t a great drive home. But we made it, ordered junk food takeaway and found the Top Gear Bolivia Special to watch while mooching on the sofa in our PJs.
Maybe we should have started the day with that and then stuck with it.
How was your Bank Holiday? Or do you have any stories of disastrous days out?