Wednesday, October 04, 2006

An Early Return

Well, we were supposed to be away until tomorrow, but we came back on Tuesday in the end, as both Jon and Emily had come down with a yukky bug causing much vomiting and diarrhea :-(( Just in time too, as once we got back yesterday I too was sick four times and had to retire to bed early with a high temperature and chills. We're all feeling a bit better now though.

We had a great few days away, although Emily, bless her, was extremely sad to leave. It was a shame, but there wasn't any point in prolonging the agony as by Monday neither she nor Jon were really well enough to go anywhere and had we stayed I've had been in that position on Tuesday too.

Anyway; we left here last Thursday evening to drive up to St Bees straight after Emily's ballet lesson. Drive seemed to take **forever** in the dark!! On Friday we walked a few miles along the cliff top path to the completely deserted and exceptionally magical Fleswick Bay which is only accessible from the cliff path or by boat.
It's a long time since I've visited anywhere so atmospheric. We didn't see a single soul the whole time we were there. We did see lots of wildlife including oyster catchers and herons. Unfortunately it was the wrong time of year to see the major sea bird colonies, including puffins, that normally nest here. Many of the sandstone rocks had been sculpted into beautiful shapes by the waves and the rockpools were superb.
Exciting caves, jewelled shingle (yes, we did find some agate) and the mystery of shipwrecks just off the shore and smugglers very active here in the past.

Fantastic stuff. Jon was constantly hit by vivid oranges and purples in his mind; I'm sure there was some spiritual activity going on there.

It was a tough walk, mind. My thighs certainly felt the strain for the next couple of days.

Back at the caravan later that afternoon we strolled the two minutes to the beach. The tide was full in but undeterred Emily and Jon spent hours offering driftwood gifts to the sea (which it kept spitting back out again...make of that what you will), carving sandstone and cracking open pebbles. In fact, there was an awful lot of geology learnt on this trip, lol, between looking at the layers in the cliffs at Fleswick, learning to identify sandstone vs other types of rock, discussing why sandstone is so easily broken/crushed/carved and other types of rock aren't, and some very major pebble crushing. That became a popular pasttime each day at the beach. Emily and I found a "Potions Rock" that remains just (and only just) above the high tide level and is the perfect size for two people to sit on with lots of little dips and hollows for breaking up pebbles, grinding them and making potions :-)) She filled a plastic bottle with some of the ground up mixture - unfortunately it got wet in the rain but we'll dry it out and then she's going to put it in a glass bottle as a pretty ornament.

Anyway, Saturday was a lovely sunny day and we spent the morning at the beach at low tide this time.
Emily had a fab time rockpooling and found a butterfish, a starfish and a blenny as well as the normal crabs and shrimps. Jon got sand in his eye which **really** hurt!!! Saturday afternoon we went to St Bees Maize Maze just in time as it was closing on the Sunday. It was massive!!! Emily and I got hopelessly lost and didn't even make it through the first half of the maze let alone the second half.
There was at least one pig (possibly more) loose in the maze and since we were the only ones there and didn't know this in advance the noises coming from among the plants were rather spooky to begin with and Emily's face was a picture when this enormous grey and pink pig suddenly burst out from nowhere and tried eating her coat! Back from the maze having admitted defeat we went back to the beach for some bubblegum icecream and more potion making. In the evening Emily and Jon went to explore down on the beach by torchlight.

Unfortunately by then, Jon was starting to feel really poorly and the vomiting had begun in earnest :-// He missed out on some fabulous fresh fish and chips when they got back to the caravan...but then again, it's probably just as well! I have to say I didn't realise just how poorly he was until yesterday when I felt the I was probably rather horrible to him at the time :-(( On Sunday we went to Maryport and visited the lovely Aquarium which, pound for pound, was more impressive than the Deep.
We also played mini golf there, before going up onto the cliffs to visit Senhouse Roman Museum which was a big hit; Emily left the building vowing to begin a Romans project immediately ;-) She has also now started a collection of roman coins. Back to the beach again in the evening - it's so nice to just wander there on a whim. By bedtime on Sunday Emily too was feeling very poorly, so we didn't get much sleep.

Emily was convinced she felt better on Monday morning and desperately wanted to go out somewhere, but Jon and I weren't so sure given her temperature. We decided to stay close by and just went a few miles into Whitehaven to visit The Beacon - well, that was the plan, but apparently it's closed on Mondays. Oh well. We went to The Rum Story instead. That was impressive and very interesting, detailing everything from how rum is made through slavery in the sugar plantations, rum in the navy and the history of the Jeffersons. Jon and I enjoyed that although poor Emily really wasn't well enough to take it in. Here she is in the rainforest section.
You can't tell from the picture but she was feeling awful! We left and made our way, through torrential rain, back to the caravan for an afternoon of snuggling up with a DVD and one last visit to the beach in the pouring rain where the little stream had become a raging torrent and carved a great gash through the sand. Last picture is of an extremely poorly and rather folorn little one who really didn't want to go home but who was losing the battle against whatever this bug was :-(
It was fairly clear by then that nobody was particularly getting any better, so we were more or less decided on going home the next day and after poor Emmy was sick twice more in the night and had the runs too, it was time to call it a day.

So after a fraught journey home that again seemed to take forever, here we are, back to a lovely welcome from the cats and the sight of hundreds upon hundreds of orders. Today we're all feeling slightly better so in among the tidying up, unpacking (holiday stuff) and packing (orders) Emily and I have been creating Fimo characters and reinstalling the replacement printer which finally arrived on warranty, our old one having given up the ghost about a fortnight before we went away. Busy week ahead with extra ballet lessons scheduled, friends coming to play and Uncle David & Aunty Barbara arriving from Canada to pick up Grandad. Normal service will be resumed...eventually!


Elle at Ellesfuntimes said...

Glad you're all getting back to normal, the bug sounded nasty. Lovely photos - seems like you had a jam packed holiday! Thanks for your message on my blog. I have a quick skim through these three interactive calendars each week to see what's happening and then decide what activities to do:-


Hazel said...

Sorry to hear about you all being poorly. Looks like you managed to have a nice time anyway :o) Thanks for the website for Roo. she's really enjoyed playing with it today!

Ruth said...

Sorry you were sick. The place looks beautiful tho. Really atmospheric. Reminds me of a place on the eEast coast not far from me.

Nikki said...

Elle, thank you - brilliant links!