So that we could go to the Bloggy Picnic we had a mini holiday last week which ended up being a trip down memory lane!
I originally come from Hampshire and moved up to Durham with my parents when I was 17. I think it has been nearly 10 years since I went "back home" and so we decided it was time the children saw where I grew up.
We stayed in a Travelodge near Newbury for 3 nights at an incredibly reasonable price as all 5 of us were allowed to stay in one family room (some Travelodges let you have 5 in, some don't - I've learnt to always check first!).
On the first evening, although we were meant to be meeting BIG sister Ally and her lovely family for supper at 7, I took the children to see the school I went to from 11-16, and where I amazingly ended up being Head Girl! (It was a very small school, so there weren't many to choose from!) I absolutely LOVED school and cried bucketloads of tears when we all left after our O'levels (unfortunately it didn't have a 6th form) so it was lovely to go back and see it looking as gorgeous as ever.
I then took decided we needed to go on a "little drive" which ended up with us going back to the village I grew up in which very nearly made us late for BIG Sis - scary!
It hasn't changed at all - there are so many gorgeous houses, and I was delighted to see that the bourne - the stream that runs through the valley - was up. It's a curious stream that only comes up when the water table rises to sufficient level and it always used to be one of the highlights of the year when you heard "The bourne is up".
What was even more amazing is that the "Rec" - the park next to the little village school I went to - still had the same roundabout, see-saw and slide (all refurbished) as when I was a child. It had lots of new things too, but the bits I remembered were all still there 20 years later!
The children loved it and we had to drag them away to go and meet Ally and co. in Newbury for supper. This meant that I had no difficulty getting them back there the next day and so I was able to show them all my old paths and secret places in the village.
We also called to see an old family friend and she insisted that we should let her contact the people living in our old house so that we could go and see it again. This wasn't my plan at all as I have missed that house terribly ever since we left and even the thought of it used to make me cry so actually going back in was potentially too upsetting. But our friend insisted that the owners would love us to see it so it was arranged.
Amazingly, going back didn't upset me at all and I think I finally feel happy about the house rather than bereft! The owners were absolutely lovely and we stayed for an hour looking round the house and garden and telling the children about all the things we used to get up to - along the lines of "that's the chimney we used to climb".........."this is the airing cupboard I used to hide in to read"............... "we used to climb out of this window and along that roof.........." and so on.
So many things had stayed the same and the things that had changed didn't matter. It was brilliant! And now I feel I can let go of my gorgeous childhood home.
Sorry - bit of a long ramble there!
More importantly, Tuesday was also the day that Missus Moogsmum and I had arranged to meet up. After trying various other locations which all turned out to be closed - although we did find the perfect storage option for Fred and the Sausage Monster
we eventually took the Moogs Family back to "my village" to play in the Rec - I think my children must have planned that all along!
It was freezing but the children played happily for ages while Lesley showed me how to make some crochet flowers - so I told her what colours I wanted and sent her home to make me a brooch ready for the next day - and she did!
She also gave me some eggs from her lovely hens!
After Lesley and the Moogschildren went home we lent Dot to BIG sis for the night and went back to the Travelodge.
The next day was the Bloggy Picnic so you know all about that.
And then on Thursday we came home - but before we left we went to visit my lovely friend from school who I haven't seen for about 11 years (not since Dot was a tiny baby). It was brilliant to see her and to meet her children for the first time and I really don't want it to be another 11 years before we see them again!
We then had the perfect ending to a lovely holiday............................ a 7 and a half hour journey home in Bank Holiday traffic with 3 children who didn't go to sleep at all! Great!