Since buying the cottage, Luke has been summoned (by me) to work on the renovation. This has meant that most evenings, practically every weekend, including Bank Holidays, I’ve spent parenting on my own. Of which I have learnt to have the upmost respect for single parents! It’s not just me that misses him though, as Arthur is a true daddy’s boy and when daddy is around, I don’t get a look in. He loves to imitate his daddy and say he is building a house, being a builder, complete with his construction hat, hammering everything in sight (luckily in the caravan, so he can hammer away as hard as he likes!) … I won’t be so relaxed when we’re living in the house.
With the amazing weather we’ve just had over the May Bank Holiday, I have to stop myself saying, ‘forget the house Luke, let’s all do something together’, but this weekend, more so than most, has been really important, as the final bit of carpet is finally being laid in the lounge and on the stairs. After having to cancel our first carpet fitting because we all had flu, and our youngest Wilfred was in hospital, the next booking was an admin error at the carpet shop and wasn’t booked in the diary, so we had to wait until their next available slot which wasn’t until May. So you can see why this is a bit of a monumental occasion!
So Luke worked tirelessly all weekend to get the lounge ‘carpet ready.’
I’ve been scrolling through social media all weekend at everyone’s sunny spent days at home or out somewhere fun with family and friends. Whilst I’m feeling like I’m doing a pretty rubbish job at entertaining Arthur, and looking after Wilf, spending the whole time wishing daddy was with us (and that we didn’t live in a caravan, which feels like a microwave in the warm weather).
Saturday I thought I’d brave it on my own and take Arthur somewhere fun, as after locking both children in the car a few months ago and Luke having to come and rescue us (smashing the window in as we didn’t have a spare key). I have pretty much avoided any adventures on my own ever since.
So, I took them both to a local ice cream farm, Churchfields. Obviously Wilf isn’t quite old enough to appreciate or experience ice cream, but mummy can for him! I didn’t rush there as all we do in the week is get up early to take A to pre school so I like to give him a bit of time to play and relax in his pyjamas (and maybe it was a bit for my own benefit too!)
After a bad night with Wilf up several times, I wasn’t on very good form. We arrived at Churchfields, popped Wilf in the pram and couldn’t find the car keys. I ended up emptying the nappy bag, ransacking the car and getting into an unnecessary flap whilst Arthur just kept asking ‘what you doing mummy?’ In the end I picked Wilf back up out the pram thinking maybe he was hiding the keys and he was lay on them… thank goodness!
I had the idyllic idea that Arthur and I would sit down and have a nice lunch together whilst Wilf slept peacefully in the pram, then Arthur could have a play and an ice cream and we’d go home.
This is what actually happened…
We find a table and sit down. Of course Wilf starts crying, no actually, screaming. I picked up a menu and asked Arthur what he’d like for lunch. He doesn’t want anything. He doesn’t even want ice cream. The queue looks enormous. I’d need to order our food, tell them the table number and sit down again. That will involve taking the pram and Arthur with me to queue. Sounds simple, but it never is, is it. Why can’t these places have walkie talkies for lone parents with children? Don’t you think that’d be so much easier?!
I sack off the idea of lunch. Logistically I just don’t know how we’d survive that queue and go back to the table with Arthur who doesn’t even want anything to eat.
There’s a soft play area through the restaurant, past the enormous queue. So I thought I’d try wearing Arthur out. To get the pram through the restaurant area I have to practically lift it to get it over this really inconvenient strategically placed hump in the doorway. Every door at this place seemed to have a hump (I’m sure there’s a technical term for these ‘humps’). They’re basically large inconvenient steps in the doorway that isn’t pram or wheelchair friendly. We walk past a glass cabinet with enormous ice cream sundaes on display (I mean seriously!)… obviously Arthur wants one of those and won’t move until he has one. So we get in the enormous queue.
I managed to avoid a sundae and he had an ice cream cone instead. Wilf wants to be picked up and Arthur also wants a cuddle. A two and a half year old with an ice cream cone on one of the hottest days of year sat on my lap… more of it went on my lap and feet than in his mouth.
We’re ready for soft play after that. I carry the pram over another door hump, which is actually a lot bigger than the previous humps so I do my best ‘I can cope impression’ and lift the pram over the hump. Do you know, not one person offered to help me?! He’s bored after about 10 minutes anyway and wants to see the tractor that we passed on our way in. Clamber over more door humps, and see tractor. He spots a pig in a field in a ‘pedestrians not permitted’ area (basically someone’s private land). Try telling a 2.5 year old it’s someone’s garden…
Look at pig. Suggest leaving. Return to see pig again. Walk away. Return to pig again. Look over at car park and wonder why someone has left their boot open. Realise it’s my car. At least it’ll be cool in the car.
On Sunday, friends were coming over late afternoon as Luke needed some manpower help to hold some oak that we bought to cover the big steel in the lounge. I stayed in with Arthur and Wilf till they came over, but it meant being stuck in the caravan melting as the gardens so overgrown and dangerous with lots of building materials everywhere and a big bonfire, there’s was no way I could police A and keep W out of the sun safely. I was suffering with serious cabin fever by the time our friends arrived, but they came over with both their boys, who are virtually the same ages as our boys. Both our eldest’s are great little buddies so no matter what we do they always have a good time together.
The cottage is in a really great spot, it’s close enough to the town centre, but far enough away to feel semi rural, and the lane we live on is a single track so it’s pretty quiet. There’s a lovely walk to a well known pub that everyone flocks to in the summer called The Camp which is right on the bank of the River Severn. So Luke finished off late afternoon (yey!) and we all took a walk to The Camp with the big boys travelling in style, in our Radio Flyer.
Moments like these that we do get to all spend together as a family make it all worthwhile, and are often better than any day out (particularly days out without daddy!) Often Luke will say he’ll ‘clock off’ a few hours earlier to go for a walk together and go up to the local park and every time I feel so fortunate about where we live. There’s plenty to do with a lot of things in easy access.
Our old house wasn’t in the best area, and not somewhere I’d ever suggest to go for a walk. It’s a lovely area and I can’t wait for the boys to grow up around here, enjoying all this outdoor space.