Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Just The Three Of Us

Got back from holiday on Tuesday :-)) The first complete week Jon and I have been away on since our honeymoon and Emily's first ever whole week away (previously the most we've managed has been 4 days, and even that was only in the last year). We've had a marvellous week, it's been absolute heaven. Emily has been amazing company, despite having a heavy cold all week. It was rather stressful abandoning the business for a whole week (and boy are we paying for it now) but as Emily kept pointing out to us both before we left, "It's all about the family being together". Bless her, given our domestic set up she doesn't often get to spend time with both of us together, with no work distractions.

Tuesday 9th
Manic all day, packing holiday things, packing last minute orders, trying to set things up business wise to run as smoothly as possible in our absence. All packed and ready to go just in time - we left straight from Emily's yoga lesson and hot-footed it to our exotic stop over location at Scotch Corner. Emily's never stayed in a hotel before, so was as excited as an extremely excitable excited thing, lol. Ate in the Little Chef, read Warrior Cats, played games, giggled, finally got to sleep.

Wednesday 10th
Up for breakfast in the Little Chef, then a leisurely drive to St Bees. Gloriously hot sunshine. Emily rampaged through the caravan like an extremely excitable excited thing again and then we all headed for the beach which is approximately, oooh, two minutes walk.
Much playing, laughing, paddling (is that what you call it when you're in so deep your t-shirt is soaked up to your chest?), rock-pooling and beach darts.
Emily found some live sea anenomes and lots of shrimpy things. Back to caravan for scrummy pasta tea, back to beach for more fun. Back to caravan for lots of games of Dungeons and Dragons (bought from The Works just before we left).

Thursday 11th
Went to Muncaster Castle for the day - hugely recommended. It was boiling hot again, the scenery was beautiful and the castle was fascinating.
As well as touring the castle, enjoying the haunted room and the stories of Tom Fool, we had lunch in the little cafe bit outside surrounded by incredibly friendly swallows and chaffinches. We also spent a long time in the Owl Centre and Emily got to hold a Barn Owl which she was exceedingly thrilled about.
Back from there it was beach time again. Absolutely loved being able to just wander to the beach at a minute's notice whenever the mood took us (which was most of the time, to be fair!) although trying to keep the caravan both dry and free of sand was an adventure in itself.

Friday 12th
Overcast and drizzly on Friday, but that didn't matter. Spent the morning (surprise!) at the beach. The tide was right in (and I mean *right* in) but Emily and Jon gamely went off rock-pooling right round the base of the cliff a *very* long way from the beach. I sat on the one foot strip of beach that wasn't covered with sea and quietly had kittens watching them. I kept wanting to yell "don't go any FURTHER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" as the sea (pretty deep at that point I assume, as they were a long way out) menacingly lapped at the rocks, but Miss Mermaid was having a ball so I left it in Jon's capable hands and tried not to look, lol. Love that beach. The tide comes right in as far as it can go, but it also goes so far out that it exposes absolutely miles of sand and rocks as you can see here on a slightly sunnier day:
Friday afternoon we spent a long time lazing in the caravan, playing board games and watching a Catweazle DVD - before my time, that one, but Jon remembered it from his childhood and Emily loves it. We could hear the beach calling, though, so later on that afternoon it was back for more seaside fun. That evening we found lots of live crabs under the rocks in the part of the beach where the stream flows to the sea.

Saturday 13th
On Saturday it poured with rain ;-)) which was a delight to listen to on the caravan roof. We headed off out to the Sellafield Visitor Centre which was only about five minutes away from us. Fabulous! (And Free!!) I was really impressed with that and found it a very balanced and upfront presentation of all kinds of energy, including all the problems associated with nuclear energy. Emily learnt masses about energy and the difficult energy choices facing us in the future, and she had an absolute ball. She enjoyed all the hands on stuff and loved the children's science show. Here she is making an energy pledege on the pledge tree.
Their interactive cinema was an enormous hit with us all. We saw two shows there, the first being about the ocean food chain where you had to play a game on your individual touchscreens to work your way up the foodchain (it was shark weekend, apparently, but don't ask me what sharks have to do with nuclear power...) and the second was all about making energy choices, siting and building power stations, wind farms, recycling energy and related stuff. Emily can't wait to go back next time!

On the way back from Sellafield we did a slight detour to visit the extremely beautiful Ennerdale Water which is our "local" lake, being only a few miles from St Bees. It was still pouring with rain, but undeterred we had a good stroll and played lots of Harry Potter pretends. Being the only souls there helped :-))
We also scouted out the location of this riding centre - next time we visit, at the end of the summer, we'll be booking Emily into several riding lessons and treks there, which she's very excited about.

The rain eased off a little by the time we'd had tea back at the caravan, so Jon and Emily went off back to the beach while I stayed to do some tidying up. They found dozens and dozens of sea urchin shells which I'd never seen before, and a very, very large crab!

Sunday 14th
Another fabulous day, despite the pouring rain. We headed off to Keswick where Emily and I loved a boat tour of Derwent Water on a practically empty boat - where was everyone?? By the time we got back, Jon had got us a picnic lunch which we ate sat at the head of the lake with just ravens, sheep and a few hardy canoe people for company.
After lunch we ventured into Keswick proper and had a good old mooch around the shops and watched an acrobatic street performer with a real line in patter. From there, we went to the Cumberland Pencil Musuem - thought this might end up being the type of museum that's actually someone's sitting room but in fact it was very interesting and quite busy too. Emily was fascinated with the story of the secret WW2 pencils issued to bomber pilots, which contained hidden maps and compasses.
Had a ball in the attached art shop and we splashed out on lots of sketching bits and pieces for Jon and Emily. Jon has done three beautiful sketches while we were away and once I can find them (!) I'll photo them.

From there (yes, it was a busy day) we went to the Whinlatter Pass Visitor Centre to view the live video feed of the Bassenthwaite Ospreys on their nest at the nearby lake. It was extremely busy there, to say the least. We thought about going to the open air viewing platform at Bassenthwaite instead, but the weather had taken another turn for the worst so we decided against it and will go back to visit there later in the summer when the chicks are hatched (and most definitely NOT on a Sunday or school holiday day!).

Back at the caravan in the evening it was time for more beach still in the pouring rain. I'm sure everyone thought we were nuts, but by then we'd got used to being the only souls on the miles of beach, lol. Found a beautiful star fish stranded on the beach, so Emily rescued it.

Monday 15th
Set off on Monday morning (in the pouring rain...... sensing a pattern here?) to go on a walk to a waterfall located somewhere off the Whinlatter Pass. Except we got there to discover a sign saying Waterfall Closed (how do you close a waterfall?) and no sign of the carpark. Ventured further up the road, ever hopeful....and found ourselves deep in the middle of a plantation with felled trees all over the place, an extremely narrow, winding, precipitious road and no way of turning round. Ahem.

Never mind, having finally backed out of there (few nail biting moments I can tell you) we carried on through Keswick and out to the starkly beautiful Honister Pass. Parked up there "somewhere" to eat our picnic lunch and then Emily had a fabulous play scrambling on the rocks and little flowing streams.
Back at the caravan we spent the afternoon relaxing, listening to the rain, playing cards and more relaxing before heading off out in the evening for our last goodbye to the deserted and sodden beach.
It had rained so much that the little stream had broken through the banks of shingle and created a stunning waterfall, and where it carves it way through the beach it kept breaking the sand banks and rushing towards us in a torrent. Beautiful. Emily found the largest live crab yet at the edge of the river bit. Unfortunately when we put it back in the river it must have lost its footing and got swept up in the torrent - bit of a rollercoaster ride to the sea, lol. It finally came to a rest upside down waving its legs on a bank of sand. We went to rescue it, but it had sorted itself out by the time we got there and scuttled off.

Tuesday 16th
Boooo! Hissss! Time to go home. There was so much more we wanted to do and didn't get round to, but never mind, there's always next time. In particular, we didn't get to go on the cliff top walk from the beach to the hidden Fleswick Bay and the bird sanctuary, mainly because Emily was a bit too poorly to cope with that, it's quite strenuous. Definitley next time. Tuesday morning, Jon was up at 6 packing things up for us ready to leave at 9.30. Made it back here by 2.30 but oh I do hate the drive home. It's OK until Scotch corner, but by then you've left the beautiful scenery far behind and you just face the drudge of the flippin A1 for two hours. Emily was sad to leave St Bees and in a hurry to go back. If we'd had the four cats with us, I think she would have been perfectly content to stay for good.

Anyway, back at home we had a wonderful welcome from the kit-bits who, I gather from Nana and Gramps, had refused to purr all week while we were gone and were off their food. Just had time to start unpacking before it was time to go out again to Emily's yoga lesson. They did lots more partner work and Emily had fun playing with her new friend R and telling everyone about her holiday.

Wednesday 17th
Hundreds of orders. Good thing and not such a good thing, depending on your point of view. Jon and I are rushed off our feet and feeling terribly guilty at having to leave Emily to her own devices after such a lovely week. Price you pay for the freedom of being self-employed, I guess. Mind you, Emily's been keeping busy with her efforts for the Doodle for Google Competition which she found out about in the First News newspaper, which is proving a real hit here. Tomorrow is tai chi and drama; Friday I'm unfortunately out at the hospital with Grandad and the weekend will be the usual manic round of deadlines BUT come Monday we have plans to get back to normal (whatever that is) with a whole new attitude and memories of the way last week showed us how things can be and should be with just the three of us in our own little world :-))


Jules said...

Welcome Back :-) Holiday sounds a brilliant success, it looks lovely, the piccies are great.

Liza said...

sounds like y'all had a fab time, luv the pix. wow i'd love to hold an owl!!

Nikki said...

Thank you for the welcome backs :-)