As usual I packed things I would never wear (white jeans, heeled sandals - when will I ever learn that there is no place for these things on a beach or a farm?), and as usual one of the children was unhappy within five minutes of leaving the driveway. This time it was my fault for remembering to download 'Chasing the Sun' by The Wanted which my son has some strange obsession with, but forgetting to download 'Paradise' by Coldplay which my daughter had asked for. I was secretly relieved to be free of Chris Martin's shabby lyrics but they may have been preferable to the feeling of guilt caused by my daughter's wailing. Bad mother.
Within an hour there were arguments about whether we were playing 'I-Spy' correctly but within two hours we were parked up at Westward Ho! beach. It is a place that I love very much because in my head it is twinned with a place called 'Thundercats Ho!' that is populated by people dressed as Lion-O. For those born after 1975 - here's what I'm on about.
|Bloody English Weather!|
The final thirty minutes drive to the farm is spent sending silent curses to the English weather that has once again blighted our break. I build myself up for a week of scuffing between barns of animals in wet jeans and smelly wellies, or attempting to find an industrial-sized barn housing a soft-play and drop-slide that we have yet to visit. The question 'why on earth are we doing this again?' is asked more than once.
We get out of the car and my self-indulgent sulk disappears as we're greeted with hugs by the owners who ask 'how has your year been?' and remember the children's names and remark on how they have grown. The children beam at this recognition, then shriek with delight as they hear that the summer has brought new rabbits and piglets and yet another round of kittens, and just as they think it can't get any better their cousins arrive which sends them off the scale and I am so happy to see my sister-in-law and her husband for they bring good company, fizz and the extra pairs of hands that means we all feel like we're getting a holiday.
I remembered why we were doing it again. In that moment, it didn't feel like we were 'away', it felt like we were coming home.
Soundtrack: Come Back to What You Know - Embrace