Much of the week before last was spent in me frantically getting ready for us to go away. We had some new racking delivered for work which arrived a week late, which caused a few problems as we’d put everything (think 3-10 of everything of 1000 products) into boxes ready for swapping it the week before. So imagine trying to send out 100 parcels a day from that, with a new staff member and you can imagine it was a bit fraught. However, by deciding not to go to the Autumn Fair (didn’t seem much point on going on a buying mission until i know whether i want to actually expand any more) and Max taking a day off then all of us working our pretty posteriors off, we managed to get 12 whole new bays of lovely metal racking up, giving us new space, a re-organised room that suits current selling patterns better and got organised on what we want to keep/sell off. Then with a fair bit of hoop jumping i got nearly everything sorted/ordered/fixed/finished that needed to be ready for going away, including nearly (though to be honest not properly enough) handing over the customer care side to MF for the week, courtesy of a shiny new office blackberry. (To be fair, i got the new one, she got the old one!)
I’ve got no memory of the week as far as the girls went except i know they actually did loads and i managed to do loads with them too. I’ve no idea how we managed that.
Anyway, Friday we jumped into the car and headed off to Centerparcs at Elveden in Suffolk. We drove there in the rain, using the Sat Nav in my new phone as entertainment, walked from the car park in pouring rain but when we came back out after coffee and a cake, the sun was out and it stayed dry for the rest of the week. We did a LOT of swimming and walking during the week and started pretty quickly that day. Eventually, after about 3 days i found it completely impossible to be around so many cute, plump, happy and adorable babies, so we started going at about 6pm and that worked really well for all of us and gave the day a really long, full feeling.
I don’t think we did anything dramatic on Saturday other than book our weeks activities and talk a lot about politics. Fran is really very into how parties and voting works, the economy (good week to have time for that one… ) and pretty much anything that comes up in the news and we talked almost constantly about current affairs as we walked about. Maddy was starting to take an interest too which was great.
Sunday: Max, Fran and Maddy did the Aerial Adventure. Maddy was wildly excited about this, being a complete daredevil, Fran was quietly nervous and Max put a very brave face on it. I stayed on the ground in a vocally supportive role. As i predicted, because Maddy can’t empathise or predict feelings, she was petrified the minute she got up there because she just wasn’t prepared to feel scared, so it was all credit to her she made it round because at some points she was crying with fear and lost her footing once so dangled briefly too. Fran was fine, having dealt with her demons before hand and Max was just bloody brave, because he is more scared of heights than i am!!!
Once down (it took 45 minutes or so, ending in a long and dramatic zip wire, we took Max for beer. 😆
Josie was determined to try the Time Out club so i booked her for an hour, told them to call me if she was upset at all as it was only a try out and was then VERY annoyed to get to the desk to have the girl lolling there tell me she had been crying for much of the hour. In the room they said they’d had to abandon the session as she was so upset but when i asked why they hadn’t called they said “well, we’d have to have physically left the room to get in touch. You really booked her in to the wrong type of session…” When i pointed out i’d asked advice on the front desk, she said “Oh well those girls don’t really know what we do” – i fail to see how i was supposed to know better than they, nor why a girl on the front desk couldn’t call me, nor could one of the 2 women supervising 4 children. Only sour note of the week really. Josie was distraught and it took ages to calm her down. Suffice to say i complained loudly.
By Monday the girls were well into a routine of walking to the shop for us in the mornings to get bread and a paper; Fran has taken to Sudoku in a big way and slightly stunned Max by doing the “Hard” one in The Times flawlessly. Was great to have real papers this week as the market collapsed (though not quite so nice as we wondered what would happen to the HBOS shares, which might have affected us quite badly) and we got a lot of mileage out of looking at photos, images, headlines and cartoons together. We started playing badminton every day at 5pm (Fran and Maddy got very good, Maddy has a killer serve when it comes off… that sounds like a phrase from a Chalet School book…!) then swimming afterwards so we all began to collapse in a slump for a while in the middle of the day and watch films, play games and read. As the weather was good we also got to use the playgrounds a lot which we haven’t been able to do before, having only ever visited in frosty January up till now. Much preferred September 🙂
TuesdayMore of the same i think. Fran had an unlucky moment with a stone pillar at the pool and ripped her little toenail completely off. She was very brave. Very nice brawny first aider told us the plans for upgrading that area for next year. Our villa had been improved too and we had bedroom tv (luxury!) and a dishwasher (double luxury!) Tuesday was the day that Josie abandoned the baby pool area (we never returned) and let go of my neck. She went down the blue and the white slides and started to hop about in the pool on her own doing “swimming races” with all of us.
Wednesday i had a massage which was fantastic and otherwise and all the big girls tried the climbing wall and made it to the top in various combinations.
Not sure what else.
ThursdayJosie, Amelie and i had a horse and carriage trip, pulled by a very well hung horse. Maddy pointed out the size of his willy loudly 🙄
We went to Treasure Island to play and met a very friendly squirrel who was quite happy to take chestnuts from our fingers and even sat on both mine and Max’s lap.
(In case you are wondering, i left my camera at work, so had to use my phone all week; then my flickr email address was only on my old phone so i had to send the to Facebook for back up and now i can’t figure out how to Bluetooth them to my laptop! More later… if i can face it!)
I had a 3 hour spa session while Max and the girls went to a Sparky-esque show and then i met them for swimming and badminton. Max did a fabulous line in sausage, mash and veg all week so we hardly ate out at all (not our thing really, too many intolerances!) We did the Pancake House one night (variable) and Indian Takeaway on this, the last night. Unfortunately, despite our best (actually, not best, mediocre and slapdash) efforts, it had something in it that Amelie didn’t agree with which meant we had a rash, vomit and tears. And rather a lot of anger this time, i think she feels fairly aggrieved about the reaction she has as it is very itchy and takes a while of feeling rotten before she is sick. Poor girl.
Friday we strung out with Starbucks (several of them there now, i loved the Mango Fruit Blend), playing on the beach by the lake, i had a facial (lovely again but curses to my bladders weakened state, it can’t handle detox and it is not relaxing to need a wee while wearing a Halloween style facemask!)!) and then we had lunch in the Bella Italia (brilliant, best restaurant there), another swim, a trip to the sweety shop and finally home… taking sausage and mash with us for tea!!!
It was a great week and as we hadn’t really had a family holiday this year, booking a week instead of 5 days made it a totally different thing to the midweek break. It felt like we were there for ages and had time to really relax and get into it without rushing to fill our days up to make the most of it. Also, because you can arrive at 10am on the first Friday and not leave till the end of the second, you get 8 days – even better. Had it been winter, or had the kids been too young to do some of the activities (they did jobs to earn them) it might have dragged but for us, this year, it was just perfect.