So, Scotland……

I knew it wouldn’t be a holiday, but I had hoped it would feel like a break.

Hmm.  I guess the positives were that I didn’t really have to cook and clean!

As Steve was working, he was pretty stressed and tense all week long.  He had asked us to go and I had been excited to go back to Scotland, but I’m not sure he’d reckoned on Joel being a typical toddler and needing lots of things to do!!!

Our few days looked something like this:

Tuesday:  We drove up which took about 5 hours and stopped off a good break around Carlisle for our picnic which I’d prepared earlier.  We got the hotel where a lovely lady welcomed us and showed us to our room which was really big.  We went through a door into a hallway with a wardrobe, and a bathroom on the left, then another door into the room with a king sized bed, lots of floor space, a huge tv and a sofa, with a desk up the corner.  Lots of room for Joel to zoom about on his trike and comfy to boot.  The only thing missing was a bed for Joel to sleep in!  We had asked for a family room, so Steve got them to bring a zed bed along which the friendly receptionist did immediately.  Joel was fast asleep in our bed at this point having dropped off en route, so we transferred him to his bed at the foot of ours and he stayed asleep till 4am when he crawled into our bed and slept on till 7am.

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Wednesday:  Steve’s alarm went off early, and at 7.15 we went down for breakfast.  This was served in a pub attached to the hotel due to the hotel kitchen being refurbished.  It was pretty standard, cereals, juice, continental options, cooked bacon and eggs etc…  Joel thought it was fun having bowls of strawberries after his weetabix and then scrambled egg.    Then we had to set off to a forest where Steve was due to meet some red squirrel watchers for filming.  It was a dry morning, but rather cold so we had lots of jumpers, coats and hats on.  The walking group went on ahead and I got left behind with Joel for an hour, but we played climbing on tree stumps, finding blackberries, searching for squirrels in the trees.   Then we went to a different location where Steve found squirrels and we ended up staying for ages.  It got to lunchtime and Steve was showing no signs of wanting to go anywhere.  Joel was hungry and cold and I was chilled through as well and we sat in the car and fell asleep.  By 1.30 Steve realised that we were cold and starving, so we found some shops and I did a bit of a shop to get supplies for lunches whilst we were there.   After lunch Steve wanted to go back again so I played with Joel in the leaves for a few more hours.  It was a bit boring after a while.  There’s only so long you can try to entertain a toddler in the cold outdoors and in a quiet way so as not to scare the squirrels away.  On heading back to the hotel, we went to the pub for our dinner and Steve had scampi and chips and I had lasagne with chips which Joel shared with us from his own little plate.   Then Steve worked at the desk till midnight, and Joel and I fell asleep about 9pm.

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Thursday:  This morning was a little bit more leisurely and we went to a country park.  This had a tree top walk where you could climb up a walkway which took you along a high platform on tree top level.   Joel thought it was great.  After a little walk we found some farm animals whilst Steve tried to film birds around the woodlands and Joel and i went to look at ducks and goats.   Then Steve was filming interviews at a council meeting in Falkirk so dropped Joel and I off in the town where we walked around the shops there for a bit before heading to a retail park and when he fell asleep I sat in a cafe with a cup of tea and my kindle until Steve called to say he was finished.  The weather had been very wet all day, and Falkirk was a bit grey and soggy to do much else.  Then Joel and I went back to the hotel for the afternoon and Steve went on to do more interviews.   Joel and I sat to have an indoor picnic on our picnic rug by the window in our room.  We had rolls, fruit, crisps and juice from posh cups.  In the afternoon the rain stopped for a little while so Joel rode his bike outside and we walked up a field to see a roman wall site.   Steve didn’t come back by the evening, and so I took Joel to the pub on my own where we shared a steak pie with chips and vegetables.  Joel ate all the peas, some carrots, some chips and gravy and a bit of pastry.  I think the steak wasn’t his thing really!!  Then we took ourselves back to bed and Steve turned up after having been trying to film some deer all evening, and as he worked again, Joel and I slept.

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Friday:  We woke up and went along to Aberfoyle which is a Forestry Commission park.  There were some nice paths and a red squirrel hide and a cafe.  Of course Steve loaded up Joel’s buggy with camera equipment and as we walked along disappeared off into the bushes saying he’d catch us up.  That was the last we saw of him as we made it to the waterfall.   An hour later we decided to walk back up to see whether we could find him, and got back up to the lodge when the rain came back where we decided to wait to see if Steve came back.   It turned out he’d been in the red squirrel hide, wanting the camera in Joel’s buggy and as I had left my phone in the car he had no way of contacting me.   I was in the dog house and feeling miserable with the cold wet weather.  We headed back to the hotel stopping in Stirling for dinner on the way home.  We found a cheap and cheerful, and very tasty Chinese buffet restaurant where Joel ate free (rice, stir fried broccoli and honey chicken and three bowls of ice-cream!!) and the waitresses loved him and brought him lollies and treats all evening!  He was very good though and behaved well.  On getting back to the hotel Joel fell asleep and Steve and I managed to watch tv for a little while before I fell asleep!

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Saturday: After packing up, we had breakfast and checked out by 10.30am.  We set off south with me driving and I got to Penrith where we stopped at a wildife centre so Steve could film some animals.  He’d read that they had bats, foxes and squirrels.  Which they did, but the bats were fruit bats.  I asked why he wanted fruit bats but he didn’t realise they weren’t native to the UK!!  So after filming them for ages, he found out they were Egyptian.  Tch.   Joel and I wandered round to see all the animals and had beans on toast for lunch in the cafe.   By 4pm Joel had dozed off, I was cold and tired (and needing to wee about every 30 minutes when I was standing up) and it seemed that every nice trip ended up being a place to feel fed up as Steve just wanted to stay past the point of enjoyment!  Anyway, we finally set off and then headed to Blackpool to show Joel the Illuminations along the promenade.  Steve had never been to Blackpool either and we found a car park, walked to the sea front with fish and chips and then the lights went on.  It was dark, cold, our chips were hot and tasty and it was actually a really nice evening!!!  We walked along the prom, bought Joel a light up spinny stick thing which he thought was the best thing EVER, and then headed back to the car to drive through a stretch of the lights before heading back home down the M6.  We made it home for 10.30pm with Joel still awake after his 4pm nap, although he was tired at this point and he crashed out to bed, and we soon followed after once Steve had unloaded the car.

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So I guess the moral of the story is that we won’t try and combine a break with a Steve working weekend again!!  I shall just plan an actual holiday somewhere without wi-fi!!!

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