:: DAY 5 ::
When we holiday as a family, we each have different things that float our boat. For me, it is the sea (obvious really), plus I am very partial to lovely cafés. And if I can squeeze in a smidge of retail therapy as well, then my holiday is complete. For the Little People, it is activity of any sort ie swinging, running, jumping, climbing, sliding, spinning, bouncing. So playgrounds are an obvious choice, as are hills and the beach/sea. Oh, and they too are partial to a little bit of retail therapy so we always take them to The Toy Shop to spend their pocket money when we visit Bridport. And ice creams, yes almost forgot those, they are pretty high on the LP list of holiday must-haves. As for J, he hasn't ever verbalised this, but his thing seems to be High Up Places. In other words, big hills with scenery and views.
So when we are starting each holiday day, assessing the weather and deciding what to do with ourselves, we try hard to cater for us all. And if we can't do it all in one go, then we make plans to do two or three things in one day. I love that we do long days when we are on holiday as we are usually out and about quite early and our plans generally include going somewhere to eat our evening meal. On day 5 we spent the morning pootling around Bridport, then the afternoon at my Mums messing about by the river. But there was also an evening plan (hoorray!), a plan made by J to allow us to get up high and take in some scenery.
This is the familiar summertime view from the top of Eggardon hill where we visit every time we come to Dorset. It has become one of those places that we always find time to come to and our memories are layering up nicely here. Before the Little People were born, J and I used to pack a picnic and embark on a rather strenuous eight mile hike around these hills and valleys. But these days the main aim of the game is to sit, eat something yummy and admire the view while the Little People throw themselves up and down the grassy slopes.
For most visitors, Eggardon Hill is a Scene Of Historic Importance. It has these amazing ridges that run around the side of the hill, where once upon a time in the dim distant past it was an Iron Age hill fort. For us, Eggardon is a place to picnic, soak up the scenery and play. The ridges and ditches make an excellent play arena for Little People, although this year there seemed to be rather a lot of little stinging nettles hidden in the grass which scuppered things a bit. For Big People, the ditches provide great shelter from the the wind (it's always breezy up here) and an ideal picnic spot if you don't mind creepy crawlies too much.
We were up here in the early evening and as usual it was a beautiful way for us to end our day. The light was golden, the picnic was scrummy and the playtime was fun. Can you spot Little Man in the above picture? He is hiding from us (we were playing hide and seek) but I just managed to catch sight of his head bobbing up from behind the ridge. Happy times.
Oh you have to go look at this...I was searching for an aerial view of
Eggardon to show you the ridges, and I found a set of pictures taken by
a man who attaches his camera to a kite string, how cool is that?! Kite Aerial
Photography, wow, who would have thought it?! Go see here, it's fab.
:: DAY 6 ::
This was our last day, a day to squeeeeze in as much as possible before we packed the car and headed back to Yorkshire in the evening. We decided on a trip to Abbotsbury Childrens Farm, as even though I begged for a trip to the beach, I was outvoted 4-1. Harrumph. So off we went to have lots of child-centric fun in this scenic place.
As children's play areas go though, this one is pretty beautiful it has to be said. It is set in the grounds of an ancient monastery, with the old tithe barn now housing a pretty good children's soft play area and various out buildings now housing animals.
The outdoor play areas here are great , and as well as these hay bales my Little Peeps also very much enjoyed the ride-on toy tractors. Little Man is way too big for them now, but he joined in by pushing Little B around at great speed, and their noisy laughter and chatter made me very happy. For older children, there are a number of beautifully designed wooden play things dotted around the place. It's hard to describe them really but they are a cross between a swing and a seesaw (a bit like a giant pair of weighing scales) and kept the LP entertained for ages.
There aren't a huge number of animals at this farm (a couple of fat sleeping pigs, a stable of ponies, a few gorgeously lofty looking alpaca and a small herd of goats), but they are lovely all the same.
I was particularly entranced by the birds in the small aviary, they were really lovely. Lots of brightly coloured budgerigars, but my favourite were the lovebirds.
Awwww, they were delightful! So pretty and so loved up with each other ♥
And lets not forget the guinea pig barn, oh these little balls of fur are just sooooo cute. The Little People enjoyed holding and feeding them very much, and we remembered how last year when we visited it prompted us to finally become pet owners ourselves. Almost a year on we dearly love our two little piggies Pip and Lola, they are a delight and I would highly recommend guinea pigs to anyone looking for child friendly pets.
Getting in to the farm is quite an expensive business really to be honest. Our method is to take a packed lunch with us, say a firm NO to the perils of the well stocked gift shop and allow one ice cream/drink per child. Little Lady chose to trade in her ice cream for a pony ride and she thoroughly enjoyed her short jaunt on the back of the handsome Casper.
When we visited the farm last year, we managed to find a shady, grassy spot to eat our picnic, but this year we decided to put in a little effort and get out of the farm for lunch. It was extremely busy at the farm and there is only so much I can take of other people's children. I saw so many tantrums, and heard such a lot of hot and bothered Mummies sounding off that I was actually quite glad to make an exit. From the farm, we followed the footpath and climbed up the steep hill to one of J's favourite High-up-places........
....St Catherines Chapel. I know I've often written about the times we've been up here (eg. at Easter), and the formula pretty much stays the same time after time.
J and I sit and admire the expansive and very beautiful coastal view, and the Little People run riot. And somewhere in between I try and get us all to eat a picnic lunch.
The chapel was as lovely as ever, and when I managed to zone out and ignore the hullabaloo my offspring were making, it was an incredibly peaceful and rather magical place to be. The very air inside the building seems to hum with history, and the views out to the surrounding Dorset countryside are wonderful.
As nice as it is up at the chapel, the sea was really just too far away for the likes of me. The day felt like it was ebbing away and suddenly I felt a very strong urge to go and sit on the beach. So we left Abbotsbury and drove back along the coast road to make a last stop at Burton. Sigh. It was lovely. Just lovely. The Little People had ice lollies and I had a take out coffee which I took down onto the beach. All I wanted to do was sit and breathe it all in, breathe as much of the sea air into my body and soul as I could. Breeeeeathe, and hold it all in.
We enjoyed such a great week, it had just the right balance to it. It was relaxing, and just what I needed before the frantic pace of September kicks in. I often wonder how my Little People will remember these holidays of their childhood, and I hope with all my heart that we are making good memories for them. I hope they don't mind the repetitiveness of it, or the fact that there is never a lot in the way of thrills or huge excitements in their holidays. No aeroplanes or theme parks or vast swimming pools, no attractions or museums or glitzy entertainments. Just simple pleasures.