We’ve had two days away which have refreshed us so much that we can’t believe we’ve only been away for such a short time. We had a very short window before our lodger arrived (we are just starting a 12 week lodger stint) and an unseasonal heatwave so we found the most perfect campsite in Cornwall and made the most of it. We usually head for off the beaten track sites but I was looking for sites that were on cycle trails and although this one was a holiday park we thought we’d risk it as it was out of season. I was expecting the indoor pool and cafe on the beach to be a bit tacky but not a bit of it. The pool was lovely, really clean and beautifully done, as nice as a health club and our pitch was right on the beach, which was a huge, private beach belonging to the site. I’ve never camped so close to the sea and it was lovely being lulled to sleep by the waves (and the noise of the weasel eating our rubbish in the awning. We found it dead on the beach the next morning strangely which led Joth to make some rude comment about my tuna spagetti. Cheek.)
The beach was beautiful and all the boys loved it in their own ways. Sometimes i have taken Oscar to the beach and he has sat there without even taking his coat off and this time he and Lucas were tugging on cold, damp wet suits that hadn’t dried out from the last dip and running in to the waves even on the first morning which was grey and misty. Anton, bless him, was quite particular about not wanting to go on the sand in shoes but once he was convinced in to his swimming things and no shoes he ran and skipped through the waves with the best of them. Dante loved pottering around, particularly when the tide was out which left a huge area of shallow water to splash in. There was actually one moment on the first day when seeing how ecstatic they all were to be there and how utterly immersed they were in their enjoyment of the sea and each other, that I actually felt quite tearful. It’s very moving witnessing a perfect childhood moment and I honestly think they will remember it. I know I will.
I seem to have moved in to a new realm of parenthood over the last few years. I feel much more of a facilitator than a director. It’s actually a more comfortable place to be. I didn’t even make a sand boat all holiday. I always used to make them because I remember Grandad and mum making them with me. I seem to be letting go of doing things that worked for me (although I never felt it had to be done like that, it was more that it was a recipe I was following because I knew it could work but I knew there was a whole other school of cooking out there too) and am happy to think they will have their own memories, and who knows which of the things that we do will become those memories. Probably the moments I would rather have them forget. I still do find myself wishing somehow that Grandad and mum were here making boats with them though and all those things that go with sharing moments with children you love, and my goodness, I wish I’d been able to see how my mum would have loved my kids.
Gosh, I digress. The sun has gone to my head and made me see things in that slightly hazy, heat crazed way. Apparently it has just been the hottest day in October since records began.
Somehow or other Joth had managed to get bikes in too. He really is amazing in getting us sorted in terms of the equipment we need. The folding camper works for us so perfectly, the van is just right to tow it and to fit the bikes in for short or long trips, each bike is set up properly, the bikes are now hung up under cover in the side passageway so they are all accessible.. the list goes on. Looking at the boys in the sea this time, I can imagine finding some sort of way of carting surf boards around might be next.
Ice creams. Dante always likes to eat his from the bottom up.
It is particularly lovely that as the eldest Oscar is so up for everything. When we arrived at the campsite he saw an advert for learning to scuba dive in their pool and asked if he could have go. There’s no element of doubt about any of it, just enthusiasm. Luckily for our finances the course was on a different day but my mind just started whirring again to see how we could follow up on that. It’s just not possible to do everything and that’s where I find it worrisome. What to choose, what am I missing on their behalf? We started chatting about sailing as we’ve had a few leads and both boys are very keen on it. Someone recommended a cheap summer sailing course, friends have offered to take the boys out on their boat but I think the one that they are most keen on is joining the sea cadets at Dartmouth. We had thought of Air Cadets in Totnes but apparently they are rather more military minded and I’m not sure that they will end up going flying as often as the Sea Cadets will go sailing. They also take children from 10 which means they could enjoy going together. We will look in to it.
So with all these problems in mind about how to fund and what to fund, I relish every moment that makes me feel like a good parent and hearing the older boys seriously discussing how we should hire our house out next summer so we could live on that campsite because they were enjoying it so much made me feel very good, and going out on four bikes of the right size for everyone with the right bike seats attached and fully pumped tyres makes me feel like Mrs Efficient. I don’t get many goes at feeling like that.
The boys loved just grabbing their bikes whenever they wanted to go round the campsite but we also went out together for a lovely bike ride on the Pentewen valley trail which was suitably flat. Anton pegs around on his little bike but comes on mine for longer journeys and chats all the way. Dante loves going on Joth’s bike so much that he tries to strap himself in to the seat even when the bike’s on it’s side on the ground.
We treated ourselves to a lovely meal on the last day at their great beach cafe. We had to wait ages for our food but it matters far less when Dante is happy burying your feet in the sand below the table.
So we can’t wait for next year until we can go camping again. We MUST find a way to get away more often next year.