Holidays in England

Meggan is now 4 months old and this week has my parents Wedding anniversary so it’s going to be busy. We also booked our holidays. Lesley’s cousin is getting married and we’re taking the opportunity to do a little touring. It’ll likely be an entire week without an internet connection which has me a little … Continue reading “Holidays in England”

Meggan is now 4 months old and this week has my parents Wedding anniversary so it’s going to be busy.

We also booked our holidays. Lesley’s cousin is getting married and we’re taking the opportunity to do a little touring. It’ll likely be an entire week without an internet connection which has me a little spooked.

Here’s the agenda.

Thurs 8th
Ferry 7am Arrive about 11am, go to hotel, go to Ambleside and Windermere and if necessary Hawkshead. Windermere because of Lakeland Plastics, Hawkshead because of the clothing people there. Can’t quite remember why we’re going to Ambleside. We’ll be staying in Kendal. We really should pop up to Grasmere since we got married there.

Fri 9th
Go to Oxford, depending on time getting there either check into pub in Woodstock or go straight to BBQ (2 to 5 pm, may have internet connection..WooHoo!) I doubt we’ll get the internet – it seems that not many people are as pro-Internet as I am. When I visit my parents or the in-laws it’s like an internet drought. I’m probably addicted but I don’t see it as a bad thing.

Sat 10th
Wedding, Lesley is going but as Meggan is under 18, she and I are probably going to go visiting. I may pop down and see Simon and drop the Printer Server off to him. That all depends of course on where everything is and whether he’s free…. Again staying in Woodstock

Sun 11th
Still staying in Woodstock no other plans as yet, could go to our friend Nikki’s or into Oxford or to one of the various Organic garden places depending on where they are. It’s a Sunday so our options might be limited – I wonder if John Lewis’ is open on Sunday – that would make life easier.

Mon 12th
Possibly go to see Nikki and/or Gary. Nikki is in South London and Gary is out by Southampton. Hmm…do we have accommodation booked for this night? I dunno. I think we might be staying in Glastonbury which probably means arriving really late.

Tues 13th
Staying in Glastonbury and trying to visit most of Cornwall. At some point we want to visit the Eden Project.

Wed 14th
Back up to lake district and staying in Kendal again. Going via Bristol and visitng Janine and of course, if we have time, IKEA. This might be the better day for the Eden Project.

Thurs 15th
Ferry at 12pm, arrive back 4 pm-ish and home!

Day 1

Went to bed “last night” at about 02:00.
Woke at 05:00, got up, got ready, got Meggan ready and was down at the Belfast Docks for 06:15. We loaded onto the Seacat and tramped up to First Class with literally the bare minimum in tow. Once there we had breakfast and coffee.
The ship pulled into Heysham Dock at 10:45, having made pretty good time. We unloaded and headed North for Kendal arriving at the Crooklands Hotel at just around noon. We were told the rooms weren’t ready so we went into Boskins Carvery for Lunch. One portion of Dill-flavoured Potato Wedges, one Cheese with Baked Potato and salad and a large slab of pate with toast and we were all set. Also took the opportunity to give Meggan her first solid feed at lunchtime. We’ve been giving her solids for the past few weeks at 6 pm.

We returned to the Reception at 1 pm and a rather snotty receptionist informed us we would have to wait more and to return to the lounge – we declined as the lounge smelled a little too smoky. So we sat for about 10 minutes until we could go up. There was then a mad flurry to get the bags out of the car and into the room and then jump back into the car again to go shopping.

First Stop: Lakeland Ltd and Booths, Windermere
Sort of a kitchen appliance shop that Lesley loves. I wandered around the store with Meggan while Lesley thumbed through the bric-a-brac and settled on a few items. Then we went round the corner to Booths which was listed in the Soil Association magazine as being “organic” but came out pretty disappointed – as far as we could see it was actually less “organic” than your run-of-the-mill supermarket.

We then drove further north and performed a circuit around Ambleside. Ambleside is the nicest of the towns in that immediate area although I really like Keswick. We didn’t stop however as we just needed to round the top of Lake Windermere and pop over to Hawkshead which has a local brand of “country clothing” with the same name. Sadly Lesley didn’t get the shoes we were looking for but we did have some very nice ice-cream and I was pretty surprised when she gave Meggan a taste of the chocolate ice-cream. Meggan was wary at first but I swear she acted like a chocaholic five minutes later. I fear we have created a monster.

We then headed for the Newby Bridge Ferry back to Windermere. It’s a 10 minute boat trip and only costs £2 but it is picturesque and saves driving all the way round the lake again. We then headed back to Kendal and out to Crooklands. We fed Meggan again with home-made carrot and onion puree and headed down for some dinner ourselves. It was pretty busy with a very large party of German rourists taking up most of the restaurant. We were sat beside a table of 8 and one of the women kepy trying to play with Meggan but she wasn’t interested which is odd as usually Meggan is trying to look and smile at people all the time. After about 10 minutes she warmed to the woman and gave her one of her big wide smiles with her big blue bright eyes.

Then back to the room. Meggan fed with another bottle and then refused to sleep so we set her in her cot and cleaned bottles while she sang to us. I got a bit of it on camcorder. It’s now 21:33 and I’m in bed. We have to be out of here by 11 tomorrow and it’s a 200 mile drive to Oxford. Good night, sleep tight.

Day 2

Woke at 7 and was breakfasted and packed to go by 9 am. We drove down the M6 through Birmingham, stopping at a Services near Stafford around 11:30. We made pretty good time and pulled into Woodstock around 1:30. Not too bad for a 200 mile journey. We had all of the bags out of the car by 2:30.

We went for a walk around the village to look for some last minute clothing items but there wasn’t much pickings – still – Lesley bought a shawl and bag and almost bought shoes. We did see a furniture and antique shop however that had some exquisite tables and chairs. WAY too expensive of course. Which reminds me – we popped by an estate agents and LachLene (sp?) Manor is for sale. Looks to have about 40 rooms and frankly with the price of houses around here you’d need to be a multimillionaire to even consider it.

The accomodation, The Punch Bowl, isn’t the best. Lesley says there’s a smell of smoke wafting up from the bar below the room but I can’t smell it. She’s worried that Meggan’s baby lungs will be affected by it so despite carrying the travel cot over in the pouring rain, Meggan is in with us tonight.

We (Lesley, Duncan, Elizabeth, Robert and Anne) ate in a local pub which seemed better appointed for food and had a cheeky cheery australian guy behind the bar who, for some reason, just doted on Meggan. It was sort of weird.The pretty barmaids (also australian) didn’t seem interested at all – times have changed I guess.

I’m wondering what the weather will be like tomorrow – today was pretty awful with a heavy downpour and a long thunderstorm. While Lesley enjoys the wedding I’ll be spending the time with Meggan – I’ve no idea what the day will bring.

Day 3

On Saturday I went down to Marlow and spent the day with Simon and Fiona. Meggan was pretty well behaved and I also got to check my email! We got back pretty late and Meggan was pretty unhappy about being in a car past her bedtime – it’s sorta cool that she can be fussy like that.

Sunday was a different matter. Duncan and Elizabeth offered to take Meggan for the day as they wouldn’t see her for the best part of a week after that and Lesley and I headed first to John Lewis (which was fun) and then off to West Wycombe and the Hell-Fire Caves. The Caves…well, they were interesting enough but seemed to be just caves and there wasn’t very much coverage of the more salacious goings-on at the Club. I think the family are trying to play that down and paint Sir Francis as being a statesman and responsible land-owner. John Lewis was more fun – they have some awfully nice furniture as well as a few games that I wanted. I got summoner (which may only be Classic … bleh!), Sacrifice (which I know is OSX compatible) and MOH:AA (which isn’t for me!).

Which then brings us to Monday. We checked out of the pub and essentially flew down the M40 to the M25. A quick change of plans and we were heading for RedHill to see Nikki and Zara. Zara is now a year old and certainly has her mum’s good looks. Nikki was looking, as ever, radiant. It’s weird thinking that she’s married, a mum and going to Portugal to live in a couple of years. We then pounced on the opportunity to visit my aunt Patty in Worthing. By sweeping east we visited the Long Man of Wilmington and then past Brighton to Worthing where we stayed for tea. My cousin James, who was with us last year while on a work placement and Matthew (whom I’ve not seen since he was about 2) were both there as well. Pat was looking great and showing off her cool little car. Lovely little beast – I’d love one myself but it’d never make it down our lane!
We stayed til almost 9 pm including taking a quick walk along the promenade – neither of us had paddled in the English Channel and due to the tide being out we didn’t get a chance this time either but it was nice to see Pat and the boys.
We then had a two and a half hour drive to Glastonbury and we arrived at 11:30 and went straight to bed.

This morning so far we’ve fed ourselves, fed Meggan, Lesley has washed some bottles and we’re just deciding what we’re going to be doing with the rest of the day

Day 4

We first went to see “Big Dick” at Cerne Abbas. It was quite a drive as the roads are slow and winding here but it was quite impressive. Like the Long Man we didn’t walk up as so many of these things are only really impressive from a distance.

Next, we indulged Lesley’s “River Cottage” fascination and went for a drive through Dorset, stopping only at Bridport where the shows Farmers Market is held. There was lots of pointing at secluded cottages and wondering if that was THE River Cottage.

We got back to Glastonbury at about 5 o’clock and went for a walk through the town. Most of the shops were shut but it was nice waking through. Glastonbury has the alternative vibe through it but at the same time it is a normal town. I wonder how it reconciles them – I’m guessing that it doesn’t. The newcomers with their alternative lifestyles must be a sore point for the residents. Even the owner of our B&B is a Reiki and Indian Head Massage practitioner. It’s too easy to poke fun, so I don’t. Maybe cept in private.

In truth I wish that chakra-cleansing or spirit-washing or whatever these people do actually worked – or I believed in them working. Being able to just blame all my troubles on a grubby chakra or a proliferation of foul-smelling gremlins would ease my mind immeasurably.

We finished the evening with Meggan being wide-awake and me having a thumping headache that turned into a blinding headache. I slept for nearly 12 hours.

Plan for today is a spot of shopping in Glastonbury then head up to Bristol for lunch, meet Lesley’s friend Janine, pop into IKEA and then head up to Kendal to the hotel for the final night of the holiday.

End of holiday

Well, we did all that and also popped across to Blackpool to see the Illuminations. We didn’t stop – just wanted to eke a last bit of fun out of the holiday. We then had to beat the retreat to the hotel in Kendal which was locking its doors at 11 pm and we had to drive at breakneck speed just to get there.

As it happened, we managed. We were asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillow and woke early to pack the car and get along to the boat so we could be home. The rest is just administrivia. We spent the evening just bumming around the house. Tomorrow I return to work and yeah I’m pretty depressed about that.

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