Regular readers may know that I’ve found lockdown hard because, honestly, I’ve hardly stopped whinging about it.
My excuse is that being locked in the house with a teenager can do terrible things to a woman.
I’ve missed going to the swimming pool. I’ve missed popping out for coffee with friends. I’ve missed weekends away and travel adventures and seeing movies and, oh, just everything. It’s felt lonely and isolating and scary, sometimes. I do feel as though we are coming out the other side. And even if we’re not there yet, I feel more motivated to take proactive steps to improve my mental health, and my social life.
Still, last week was a bit of a weird one for me. Basically, fifteen members of my family went on a lovely holiday together. Basically, all the family. Except us.
Originally we’d been invited to join my parents on the trip but due to our awkward family situation, it was one of those unspoken requests that it would just be easier for everyone if we… didn’t go. So we didn’t. Which is fine. We’ve had a lovely summer with some fabulous memories. But it did mean I got a week of seeing various relatives posting online about their magical week and how amazing their holiday was and oh my goodness, I was just so happy for them all I could have set myself on fire.
Clearly, I was in major need of a distraction.
A Few Days with Friends!
Apparently, the universe works in amazing ways and it turned out to be the perfect week for my Internet buddy Jen from Mum in the Madhouse to come for a visit.
Jen and I have now been friends for 10 years and I don’t consider an Internet buddy, really. She’s just one of my best and oldest friends, and it’s always a treat to see her.
Jen’s been shielding and so we were both going a bit stir crazy and felt in need of new faces and new people to talk to. Our kids are similar ages, and haven’t spent time together in a few years. Luckily, they all still got along and were happy to just join in with the activities we arranged.
There was no great advance planning, but the weather was fabulous, so we took the opportunity to get outdoors with the kids and have some summer adventures.
On our first day, we went out for lunch and then played mini golf at the Flower Bowl near Garstang, which is really good fun, even if I did practically melt in the heat. I’m wearing a hat in this photo because my parting burns, if I don’t. Anyone else?
Then it was back to the house for an evening in the garden around the fire pit, putting the world to rights with Sarah, another blogging friend who lives locally. I can’t tell you what a treat it was to sit with two friends, and just pass the time talking about kids and camping and life in general.
The following day, we took the kids to Blackpool Wake Park, which was fantastic. Although it’s only down the road from where I live, I’ve never visited before. It’s a lake adjacent to a caravan park and farm, and you can book sessions for wake boarding, paddle boarding and kayaking. There’s also a giant inflatable water playground that looked like amazing fun.
Numbers at the park are reduced by 50% to allow for social distancing, so it felt really safe. The kids had an amazing time playing on the aqua park, followed by an hour of paddle boarding. We found the staff at the centre really friendly, and our lunch was quick, tasty and very reasonably priced.
After giving the teens a quick lunch at home, we drove off to the Lake District for some kayaking adventures. Ullswater was a little busy, but we found a spot at the quiet end of the lake.
We stayed for a couple of hours, and everyone had a chance to get out and paddle, along with some swimming. Jen was raring to have a go in a kayak for the first time in many years, and I’m secretly hoping I’ve converted her to kayak life. Then, after a lovely lakeside chat, it was time to head home – in opposite directions.
Jen often talks about “topping up cups” and I think that’s the perfect way to describe this past week.
I was starting to feel a bit like a friendless loser in lockdown, but these few days reminded me that I have some brilliant friends, and we have a lot of fun together.
It was so nice to relax, and forget about some of my real life worries, and just focus on making fun memories with Flea. So a big, socially-distanced thanks to Jen and her boys for the laughs and the fun activities and fabulous conversation. We truly hope you can come back again soon.
(Thanks also to Jen for the photos because I took almost none, and they were all a bit rubbish)