In the summer of 2013, the week after my fortieth birthday, the bears and I set off on a boys only adventure that I will always hold dear as, I hope, will they.
Our summer school hols childcare has to be covered by the leave available to MrsP and I so we both take two weeks off each, separately, and then juggle the other two weeks with time owing and odd days off etc. This was one of ‘my’ weeks and, as their mum was going to be at work anyway, the boys and I set off early on the Wednesday morning for the south coast of England and the places I had spent my own boyhood holidays.
I deliberately took the route down through Wales that would eventually lead us to cross the mighty (new) Severn Crossing which was a suitably awe-inspiring start to our packed five day trip. A couple of hours later via the M5 & A38 and we were parked up and tent up in the expensive but fantastic River Dart Country Park.
For adventurous kids this place is perfect. Rope swings, zip wires, climbing frames, adventure trails and, of course, water! With a pirate ship in the middle of a lake plus an assault course over water and a rope swing into a stream it really couldn’t have suited us any better! All of the above was included in the cost of camping here with a high ropes course, a high zip wire and the water spheres being the only things that were extra. BigBear did the high zip whilst LittleBear made like a hamster on the water 🙂
After drying off we zipped up the tent and headed into Dartmouth for a brief look around then drove onto the ferry over to Kingswear and down into Brixham for fish n chips on the quayside. I lived in Paignton for 7 or 8 months back in ’95 and have holidayed in these parts too so a lot of this trip was like visiting old friends for me. After tea & phone calls home to mum, we headed into Paignton itself to find out we’d landed on carnival day! A big parade made it’s way down to the front where a huge funfair awaited us.
For the second time today, I got an insight into the difficulties of holidays for single parents. Earlier, BB had wanted to do the high ropes course but couldn’t because LB wasn’t tall enough and I couldn’t leave LB on the ground for 45mins whilst up in the trees with BB. Now again, BB wanted to go on a big, exciting ride whilst LB just wanted to ride the helter skelter. At 9, there was no way I could let BB ride alone so we were a bit stuck. In the end, I found a parent and child that were happy to have BB ride with them and he got his go after all 🙂
Bearing in mind we’d left home around 6am it’s a wonder any of us had any energy left but we still managed half an hour of twopenny falls in the arcades and a walk past my old flat before driving back out to the campsite (via Torquay for my old times sake!). With driving restrictions on site after 11pm we had to carry a load of stuff from the car to the tent when we got back but we didn’t need rocking when we got there. A good night’s sleep and it was time to pack down the tent, reload the car and move on to the next part of our adventure….