Last week it was Spring Bank holiday in the UK, which meant the schools were closed for a week. J took the week off work as he usually does at this time of year, but unusually for us we seemed to be at a loss as to what to do. For the past three years, this week has seen us head off with Connievan for a bit of pootling by the coast (2010 :: 2011 :: 2012), but this year with so much else going on we left it very late to organise ourselves. And by the time the week was upon us, suddenly nobody wanted to actually go away from home excepting me. Just me. I had a little whinge about it (actually, more like a stroppy tantrum), but soon realised that complaining about something that I hadn't managed to organise in time was pretty pointless. So I stopped myself from being cross and accepted that we were going to enjoy a Stay@Home holiday instead.
Luckily, the weather decided (for once) to play ball and for most of last week we were treated to some glorious sunshine and warmth. It was absolutely wonderful to wake up on the first day of the holidays and see this gorgeous blue up above. What a relief.
We didn't make any extensive plans for the week, but we did decide that we would try and get out and about each and every day, even if it was just a short walk locally. We are surrounded by green hills and beautiful views here, so even a short walk up the road and across a few fields turns out to be pretty good.
I've already written about a couple of lovely outings we made at the beginning of the week. We day-camped by the river.....
....and we climbed the Crag. Both of these days remain very memorable for us, and I'm really glad we made the effort to head out for some fun family time.
Other days saw us stay much closer to home, and that was pretty good too.
On one of the days when the weather turned a little bit chilly with the threat of rain, I suggested a visit to a Play Barn in the pretty North Yorkshire town of Settle. I was fully expecting J to dig his heels in and refuse to go (he hates these places), and was pleasantly surprised when he agreed to it. The Little People were also amazed (they had also expected a firm No) and were suitably excited.
We decided to take the train there, and it turned into a really great little outing. The Little People enjoyed the physical play, and J and I enjoyed a chat over a pretty decent cup of coffee. Afterwards, we meandered around the pretty little town and picked up some supplies for a picnic lunch. In fact, we ate a lot of picnics last week. Four in total I think.
This was where we ended up on Friday for a late afternoon picnic tea. The village green in the picturesque village of Linton is, well, picturesque. There really is no other word to describe it. It makes a lovely picnic destination with it's little stream for paddling in and wide open green space for running in.
And there just happens to be a rather lovely pub on the edge of the green, to supply rather lovely pre dinner drinks. Perfect.
For the most part, the Little People were happy with all the outdoor activity we forced upon them and didn't complain too much. And I'd even say they did genuinely seem to have fun and enjoyed the various walks, climbs, picnics and outings that we took them on.
One morning after breakfast, mid way through the holiday, I happened to catch sight of Little Lady snuggled up on the sofa writing a list. Well, typing a list actually. I nosied in on what she was up to and discovered a beautifully modest and endearing list of requests which I felt overwhelmingly compelled to fulfill. How could I not? I'm pleased to say that every one was ticked off by the end of the week.
Beginning with swimming. Urgh. Now I really don't like swimming. I don't like the smell, the noise, the stifling heat, the closeness of half naked strangers, or the sheer amount of effort it all takes. But the Little People love going swimming, and were delighted when I finally agreed to a definite day and time to go. The highlight for me was coming out of the pool almost two hours after I'd gone in and breathing in the fresh, cool air, knowing it was all over. Then the walk home through the park under the most gorgeous little row of blossom trees, shedding their snowy petals down on my wet hair.
Next up was a trip to my favourite café in town (the café beneath my studio of course) to fulfill number 2 and number 6 on the list. It made me laugh that she had written about soup, I have no idea where that desire came from, but eat soup we did. Suzanne at the café makes the most delicious fresh soups for her customers every day. Always something different. On this day we were treated to "roasted red onion and sweet potato soup" with soft warm olive focaccia bread and crunchy garlicky croutons. Yum yum yum.
And a hot chocolate to finish. Little Lady demolished this with delightful appreciation, her face was a picture of joy from start to finish.
When we returned from our Girls Outing (the boys had gone off clothes shopping, Little Man is growing at a fast rate of knots and was desperately in need of some new things), we attended at once to item number 7. Nails. Her choice of colour from my extensive collection (all six bottles), a favourite shade called Green With Envy. Tick.
Saturday morning saw me slaving over a hot pan making a stack of pancakes for breakfast (item number 5, tick). Actually I didn't mind this at all as I love doing these little scotch pancakes (recipe from here). I keep them wrapped up warm in a tea towel as I make them three at a time in my little pancake pan. Then when they are all done, I let the Little People loose on them with their choice of golden syrup or strawberry jam smeared on. It's a little messy (Little B, I'm looking at you), but nothing a damp cloth can't sort out.
We had item number 3 for our tea on Thursday night, and the week also contained several ice creams and a good many bits of cake. I think all in all, there was a great deal of foody enjoyment in our week, both at home and out and about.
Our week felt very full as we were out each and every day, yet we still enjoyed plenty of home time.
We treated Little B to something new to play with, which has been a great success. I can't recall the other two ever having this kind of giant Duplo Lego, but it really is excellent for three year olds.
Little Man also had something new for the holidays, although he saved up and paid for it all himself. He bought a half size pool table, such a cool thing for a ten year old to want/have don't you think? We ordered it from Amazon (it's this one ) and I'm happy to say it's been another success story. He has spent countless hours playing on it, both by himself (I often hear the knock of balls early in the morning), with the other two (he sweetly tolerates Little B and LL having a game with him from time to time), and with his mates too (they have been suitably impressed).
Due to the rather fabulous weather, there was also a welcome amount of outdoor play last week. The jumbo chalks came out again.....
....and a giant helipad was created.......
....complete with approaching helicopter. I love how safe our street is for the Little People to play in, and that the "street chalks" were literally used in the street/road.
There was much going on outside that I couldn't photograph. Huge water fights took place with bags of water balloons. There were lots of running/tag type games, scootering, football and biking. Gangs of kids having fun the old fashioned way. It was refreshing to watch, and once again I felt so blessed for the lovely, friendly, safe neighbourhood that we call home. It's a great place for my Littlies to do their growing up.
So. Our week sped by in a flurry of gentle, happy activity.
There was work.....
Ahhhh Connievan, how I have missed you! I felt so sad that we didn't manage a trip away in her this holiday, more sad than I care to admit. It somehow felt like our caravan holidays suddenly belonged to the past, and that was not what I wanted at all.
But there is a happy ending to the sadness. I did eventually get to spend time in Connievan at the weekend when we finally put a stop to our umming and ahhing and moved her to a new home. A New Connievan Chapter is about to begin. Watch this space..........