Sunday, 1 July 2012

Week 43- family holidays, total gridlock and The Railway Children

We've had our first family holiday in the Lake District. With record breaking amounts of rain. I know that the lakes is infamous for being wet. But this was taking the piss.

The drive up was bad enough. With traffic jams on most of the motorway, it was taking the best part of an hour to get 10 miles. And then the sheet rain started. And Nancy did a poo. And the exhaust pipe was making a kind of farty noise. And it turned out the AA membership had lapsed the previous month.

Ulrika, Ju and Ebba had set off before us and were planning to warm up the ping pong table in the games room of the cottage, which we were, to be honest, more excited about than the epic scenery of the lakes.

Our own cottage. Our own games room. Our own babies. This was like being our own parents.

As we were in yet more stationary traffic somewhere outside of Birmingham, Ulrika rang up to say they were nearly there.

Half an hour later as we had moved approximately 20 metres, she phoned to say the road to the cottage had flooded, and even the Tesco delivery man had literally jumped ship, having left his van marooned in the middle of the road/ river, and got his mate to pick him up.

As they drove round the neighbouring villages looking for an alternative place to stay for the night, it started to feel like an atheist version of the nativity play.

Meanwhile, having given Nancy her dinner at yet another service station, we decided to throw in the towel and stay at a Travelodge, and get back on the road the next day.

But it turned out even they were fully booked. Who stays at a Travelodge off the M6 on a Friday night? Loads of people, as it happens.

Having stopped at a third service station, to be told there was no room at the inn, I started to despair. Wedging Nancy back into a slightly too small car seat after each disappointment was proving a bit tricky too.

So I did what I am best at.

I burst into tears at the receptionist at Kendal Travelodge, and told her we'd travelled all the way from Brighton. That it was our first family holiday. That our cottage was flooded and our best friends were aimlessly driving round the Lake District trying to find somewhere to stay. That I had a 9 month old baby. That it was already 2 hours past her bedtime. And that, after the best part of 11 hours in the car, I was losing the will to live.

So she said she'd phone her friend, Mary, in the next town, who had a B and B, and see if she had any room.

Which she did.

And Ulrika, Ju and Ebba had, by this point, found a hotel not far from the cottage, so it was all looking up.

We drank the wine we'd bought to cheers our first night on hols, out of the china tea cups in the hotel room, eating Dairylea Dunkers from Spar for tea, while Nancy slept in the travel cot at the end of the bed, and I thought how good she is to us. How little she complains. Unless something is genuinely up. And how I wish I could be a bit more like her, really.

The next morning, Mary, the proprietor of the B and B claimed the bad traffic was due to The Great North Swim, which was to take place over the weekend and had been cancelled due to the weather. Ben quietly disputed that that was the reason for total gridlock outside Dudley.

 But that's B and B breakfast chat.

At least we didn't have to pretend that we were about to walk up Scafell Pike while tucking into a full English, which is what we used to do pre-Nancy when having a night away in the lakes.

So. 24 hours later than expected, and collectively 200 quid down, we eventually got to our cottage. And to our delight, so had the Tesco delivery man, so with a metric shit load of food and wine, we were ready to start our holidays.

And what an ace place to stay. Open fires. Magnificent views of rolling hills. A selection of rogue DVDs, ranging from the obvious, (Shawshank Redemption,) to the nostalgic, (The Railway Children,) to the obscure, (Dune.)

And Nancy and Ebba had their first taste of the great outdoors. Strapped to their Dads, and immersed under several layers of waterproofs, we explored the gentle side of the Lake District.

The rain got worse, despite the weather forecast's predictions of sun. We kind of half expected it to be a bit crap weather, but this was apocalyptic. You'd be royally pissed off with 7 days of continuous rain in Malaga, but a soaking wet walk with Nancy and Ebba snug in baby anoraks, on the way to a pub, isn't the end of the world.

I think we all comfortably slipped into being grown ups on holiday.

Unselfconsciously wearing walking boots. Planning what you're going to be eating for dinner while having breakfast, and drinking your body weight in wine in the evening.

And Nancy seemed to come on no end.

She started chatting. A lot. Mainly saying 'baabum baabum baabum.'

And we finally had to admit she'd outgrown the car seat we'd brought her home from the hospital in and cough up for one that faces forward.

Looking at her as we drove along, (because I was the passenger the entire journey apart from a 45 minute stint on the equally rediculous drive home of 12 hours,) I thought how much she looks like a little girl now.

With two front teeth and a full head of hair, she is definetely no longer a baby.

And that excites me and breaks my heart in equal measures.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, what a start to a holiday!! Fair play to you for sticking it out...and making it into something magical in the end. Guess it'll be one you never forget?!? Little Nancy growing up and week 43 of you being a mum - wowzers! How time flies...xxxx