Thursday, 22 May 2014

one more sleep

I am done. I really am. Today was European Election day and the children were not at school. Today is also the beginning of a long weekend, ending with the Bank Holiday Monday. In Scotland, there is no midterm break in the summer term because summer holidays start earlier than in the rest of the UK.

Tradition has it that we go camping on Bank Holiday weekends and this coming one is no exception. I really love camping and I was terribly disappointed when we had to cancel the last trip due to adverse weather. This weekend we are going to one of our favourite campsites, Solway View in Dumfries and Galloway. It is about a 15 min drive from Kirkcudbright, small, friendly and clean. We have been going for years. But more of this campsite when we get back.

I spent all morning shopping with four children, first Lidl, then Aldi. The trip also included a stop at Barnardos to donate a huge bag of unwanted goods that had been in the car for weeks. I don't like shopping at best of times but most certainly not with my four children. I don't know why the older ones wanted to come along but I suppose it was useful in the end because they could help me to keep the little terrors under control. They are quite something in the shops and even thinking about it makes me wince. By the time I had done the weekly shop for next week and gathered all the stuff needed for camping, I had more or less lost the will to live. Unfortunately just then -timing it perfectly- Annie had one of her more memorable Mr Hyde moments. Not because she was exhausted, no, but because Sam dared to read her library book. Luckily a personality change in her doesn't result in murderous activities but she had a good go at poor old James who was unlucky enough to sit next to her in the car. She also screamed and shouted abuse at all of us. Not nice to be subjected to in a car I can tell you. Eventually I stopped on the roadside, asked her to get out of the car with her books, return them to the library and walk home. She was rather surprised.

Now, before you call social services, I didn't abandon her in the middle of nowhere. It was only about 300m to the library, and another km home. She is a good walker and knows the area well. I also asked her teenage brother to go with her and make sure she wouldn't throw herself under a car, or attack an innocent pedestrian.

There was some more stomping and shouting later at home but everything calmed down after lunch. Annie baked Minstrel cookies. Richard is baking a rhubarb and custard cake just now. If you camp in Scotland, you need plenty of calories to keep warm. Curries and Bolognese sauce are cooked and frozen already, crisps and nuts ready, too.

The afternoon was spent packing clothes, sleeping bags, blankets, hot water bottles, wellies and other rain gear, torches, food, more food, wine and beer and whatever else a family of six needs for a long weekend away. The tent, chairs, camp beds, cooker, BBQ and all other essentials are always in our trailer. We don't have a portable toilet (in case you wondered).

In between getting ready I took James and Alistair to the barbers this afternoon and Annie to ballet. Then I dealt with the washing, cooked dinner, organised for the cats to be fed during our absence, watered plants, scanned some documents I forgot to post to my dissertation supervisor, briefly considered a G&T but decided no to have one.

Now I am slumped on the sofa, utterly exhausted. Just a few more emails, and some mindless TV watching.

But at the end of the day, all the effort is worth it because we are going on a short holiday tomorrow. I am smiling. I hope the weather will be smiling, too.

I'll be back after the long weekend. Enjoy yours wherever you are. Cx

Edit: it just occurred to me that this is the second post in one week in which a volatile child is described. Just to clarify, they are all lovely most of the time and I love them all very much!


  1. Enjoy your trip. You really are organized and I love the idea of needing all those calories to keep warm!!
    We have local and European elections here too which means most of my weekend will be spent in the count centre covering the proceedings - and unlike most journalists I can think of a million places I'd rather be!

  2. Have a wonderful time!!!!! Preparation and unpacking are my least favourite (but necessary) parts of camping. It's the same here too, I don't know why but life just seems slightly more uncivilised right before a holiday. It's like everyone is holding it together in anticipation of a nice relaxing break but a little bit of crazy escapes with all the extra preparation going on. Looking forward to hearing all about it! Mel x

  3. Have a fantastic time. I can totally relate to this post. I run around like a headless chook in the lead up to going away, so much to do and everyone else seems to be on cruise mode. I look forward to the moment when we set off and I can sit back and relax xo

  4. Have a great time away, fresh air & a bit of rest (maybe?) I hope the weather is kind - most importantly, did you pack the g & t? X

  5. Hope you have a great time campning, i can't imagine shopping with 4 kids, we had only one and that could be a trial at times. I love how you handled your daughter, hopefully she learned something from it.

  6. I hope you have a good trip. I'm the eldest of four, I well remember what it was like to shop en masse. My mother usually ended up doing her shopping at night. :)

  7. Wow Christina, I feel exhausted just from reading about your camping preparations. I must confess that as much as I loved the family camping trips we used to take when my children were young, I don't miss the part you have just described. Nor do I miss the part when we would arrive home again, dirty and tired, and with all that stuff to put away. I hope you have a great weekend, and that you stay warm!

  8. Hey Christina,
    I need a lie down after that. I hope that you have a great time away. We are not away this bank holiday, and Marc has gone to bed ill. So it looks like I'm holding the fort alone for the next 24 hours. Those cookies look good. The Minstrels are inspired.
    And I'm always moaning about my children. Isn't that a mother's right? ;)
    Have a fabulous weekend,
    Leanne xx

  9. Hope the weather holds good for you. I've never been much of a camper because it seems such a performance to pack everything up and in the back of my mind whispers the voice - you've got a comfortable bed at home. That said, I'm happy to sleep outside at home.
    So pleased I don't have to shop with four children any more, though I went with my grown up daughter the other day and it was like turning back the clock (apart from the crying and firm wrist holding).

  10. Oh, poor you! I find coping with one little one hard work - you have my utter admiration! I really hope you have a wonderful break and everyone takes care of you. Fingers crossed for the weather.
    PS You did the right thing re. the library... well done for your ingenuity. The shocked reaction suggests it was an inspired move!
    Sarah x

  11. Great cookies. Hope the weather is treating you well and you have a good break.

  12. You are amazing! I'm quite sure I'd have curled up in a dark corner until the weekend was over... but then I've never liked camping. I do hope you are all haveing a brilliant weekend.

  13. I am impressed that you didn't have a g&t, I would think you deserved a double after all that work! It sounds like a day and half. The day before a holiday is always frantic, but then it makes going away all the sweeter I guess. x


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