It’s hard to believe the last time I wrote here was nearly two months ago, on the eve of our little family’s departure to the United Kingdom. We had the most wonderful five weeks away and it’s only really been these last few days that it’s felt like life has returned to normal. It was one of the warmest and driest summers in England on record, which was incredibly evident in the countryside around us. The long, long sunny days though felt like a treat after a very rainy winter in Australia (it’s turning into a very rainy spring too) and certainly made sightseeing and catch-ups with friends and family easy to plan.
Whilst the trip was technically holiday, it almost didn’t feel like one. As we were returning to an area where Adam and I had lived previously it really felt like we were just living back in England again. We knew the region, the roads, shops and eateries. We picked up groceries every few days, saw loved ones on multiple occasions and returned to places we love.
These were some of the highlights…
Adam and I had braced ourselves for a rough 24 hours on the flights between Wagga Wagga and Birmingham. We’d completed that journey many times before and knew how tiring it was, so we’d prepared for the worst when doing it with a toddler in tow. I’ve got to say though, Paul was outstanding. He was well behaved, slept and had next to no jet lag at either end of the trip. He didn’t eat much on the plane (wasn’t that fond of the airplane food and not that interested in the snacks I brought along) but bread, apple juice and tiny packets of butter kept him happy for the duration of the time we were in the air. We tried to avoid screens in the days before we were due to fly and I think that definitely helped, as to Paul, it felt like a real treat to have virtually unrestricted access to his shows once we were on the plane. In the days before we were due to depart I went and picked up new crayons, colouring books, stickers and stories to help keep Paul entertained on the plane, but to be honest they were barely used. A tablet with pre-downloaded programs, blue tooth earphones and baby-wipes ended up being our most useful assets on the flights.
Spending time with Adam’s side of the family was a huge part of our trip. We were fortunate enough to get multiple visits in with almost everyone and it was such a joy to watch Paul connect with people he’d never met before. We were treated to family barbecues, picnics, playdates and dinners. Paul took to everyone with ease and having live-in babysitters felt like such a treat for Adam and myself. Since we’ve arrived back in Australia, Paul has asked on multiple occasions to go and see his English relatives. I love that he’s remembered faces and names, but it’s hard to explain that it’s not possible. Here’s to lots of video-calling!
Adam and I were fortunate to get in a couple of little mini-breaks while were in the U.K The first was to Ludlow in Shropshire. The last time we visited Ludlow, it was rainy and cool. This time around, it was warm and sunny. We spent a good few hours exploring the fascinating ruins of Ludlow Castle, sampling the offerings at the Ludlow Brewing Co., walking along the River Teme and enjoying the views from our room at The Church Inn which had a lovely dinner menu and a fantastic little beer garden in the grounds of the adjacent St Laurence’s Church. On our way back to home base in Worcestershire, we stopped off at the National Trust owned Berrington Hall and fell in love with its walled garden.
Our second little jaunt away was to Devon, where we attended the beautiful wedding of some of our friends (who coincidentally we hadn’t seen since our wedding in 2018!) Our trip south involved an afternoon at Woolacombe, where we walked along the windswept cliffs and decided Barricane Beach was our pick, and a couple of days in darling Dolton which is the quintessential Devonian village. We stayed at one of the local pubs, the Rams Head Inn (along with a number of other wedding guests, so it was very jolly) and the hospitality was second to none. When one of the barmaids discovered we didn’t have a hairdryer in our room, she went and got her own so I could borrow it.
We were able to have many lovely days out while we were away. We spent a lot of time in Great Malvern and on the Malvern Hills, as it’s where we lived previously. We treasured being able to amble around town, visiting our old haunts and discovering new ones too. It was hard to believe how dry the hills looked, but even with the vast swathes of brown, the view was spectacular.
Another special day was at Bourton-on-the-Water in Gloucestershire. Adam can remember frequent visits as a child, to visit the motor museum and paddle in the River Windrush. It’s very tourist-centric these days, especially in peak visitor season, but its golden stoned buildings – typical of the Cotswolds – are just glorious and the surrounding countryside is divine.
Like any trip away there were also some less-than-ideal moments – toddler tantrums to deal with, M5 traffic jams to contend with and a four day heatwave which knocked us all about. Still, we had the most glorious time away and are now counting down until the next one. Hopefully this time again next year.
Have a wonderful few weeks. I’ll catch you next month.
3 thoughts on “August/September”
Glad you had a marvelous time! Those long summer evening in the UK have such a beautiful feel to them I can’t explain. Looking at your photos brings back wonderful memories for me. Glad toddler travelling was successful 🙂
Thanks for your kind words Nattie. Hoping we can make the trip something annual, so 🤞here’s to more summer loveliness in 2023! Have a great day 😊