Tuesday, 4 September 2012

The holiday is over

Danger: Keep Children Under Control sign
 keep children under control --
advice for life, as for ramparts 

It's always hard when the time comes, but yesterday saw husband, eldest and middlest go back to school, leaving just me and the smallest at home. We've had a lovely Summer with lots of travelling to see family and friends. Our latest stay was in North Wales with all of my family, where we visited my 94-year old grandmother. It was lovely to bring the five children my sister, brother and I now have between us together for a group photo with their great grandmother! We were very glad to be able to make it up there to see the family this year after all our plans last Summer were put on hold for the big house move.

 room with a view

 We stayed in a beautiful old manor house on the Llŷn peninsula that was once tenanted Percy Bysshe Shelley. The children, swept up in the romance of the place, put on a reading of excerpts from Shelley's works with their aunt which was frankly hilarious in its earnestness (all credit to Auntie Eleanor who trained up these future RADA hopefuls). I love that the place transformed them into children from an age gone by.

Shelley plaque
Being in North Wales, there was ample opportunity for castle-visiting and turret-climbing, which we made the most of at Caernarfon, Conwy and Harlech. I think this holiday holds the record for the most spiral staircases climbed.

Caernarfon Castle
the vertiginous heights of Caernarfon 

Harlech castle
views from Harlech and its before-the-days-of-health-and-safety knee-high rampart walls

The beautiful Italianate village of Portmeirion was another must-visit, whilst a visit to the Llechwedd slate caverns was top of the list for the two elder children (I sat that one out, ramparts being my speciality and mines the husband's - one phobia each, that's the rule).

It wasn't just the holidays away from home that made this Summer special, but also all the little bits in between. We played monopoly, baked cakes, and went on bike and tricycle rides (middlest finally had the stabilisers removed from his little bike, eldest mastered her brakes and littlest learnt to scuff her sandals on the ground whilst being wheeled along). They channelled all their olympic fervour into endless obstacle courses around garden chairs,  hurdling over boxes and doing sit ups and such; there were innumerable medal ceremonies.

water painting on the patio 

Littlest had her share of the fun too, with a new passion for patio water-painting discovered as well as advances in paper-based art made (we have progressed to an almost-joined circle with crazily-placed eyes on a good day). She has also learned that saying 'shtoopid girl' makes most adults laugh out loud (perils of an older brother and sister).

Back to the grind now. How many weeks until half term?


  1. Looks like a lovely summer! Unlike you I am over the moon to have the kids back at school *verybadmum*

    1. Oh no, I am also a verybadmum. I have a wholly different perspective on school holidays as the husband is a teacher. When he's around, it just means I get to skive off and sew a bit more whereas term time I get almost nothing done! Also, my crack team of toddler entertainers have gone back to school too (2 more years till littlest starts!).

  2. looks like a lovely summer. love the sign!

    1. The sign really made me laugh. My husband photographed it for my amusement (I was too busy shinning up turrets with the children) and I only found it when uploading photos onto the computer!

  3. How peculiar - my mother in law used to live in the gatehouse of Tan Yr Allt, before she headed back to Anglesey. We always fancied going up the hill to stay at the manor house since she knew the guys who ran it (back when it was a hotel), but she'd never have let us ;) Lovely part of N Wales.

    1. I can't believe that, Joanne - what a huge coincidence! The house was lovely (still owned by the same couple as when it was a hotel). Fabulous place to stay!

  4. Replies
    1. It was indeed, Annie! Such a shame it's back to work and school now for the rest of them!

  5. We love that part of the world. We are stubborn in our exploration of castles, which are the least disabled accessible places you can visit.


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