PADDLING, rock-pooling and fishing for crabs became the new norm during our family holiday.
It was like stepping back into childhood; ice-cream, chips on the beach and sandcastle building, made for a general feeling of wellness.
Every two years our three generations pack our bags, pile into overflowing cars and head for the airport for a week in the sun – usually of the Portuguese variety.
Our chief researcher does us proud with spot-on accommodation for our expanding family – latest baby making us a group of six.
Lockdown changed all this. 2020 being the year for our family holiday, we chose a destination in the UK. Ever keen to hunt down the sun we chose the furthest point south in the country – Cornwall.
It’s a helluva long way from Cumbria, particularly with two young children but with an overnight stop it is doable.
It was well worth the drive. Covid restrictions were still in place but rather than make us feel restricted, they made us feel safe – even in that nightmare that is service stations.
While others wrangled with airport queues and the fear of quarantine for a trip abroad, our holiday in the UK gave us the chance - and the time - to explore previously unseen places.
Each time you climbed a hill to be rewarded by a tiny deserted cove with sparkling blue sea, you could believe for just one moment that you were the first person to have walked that stretch of shore.
Long sandy beaches with their rocky coves are a joy to explore particularly for five-year-olds with their inherent sense of adventure. Cornwall’s rugged coastline once provided a haven for pirates a
nd today it is the perfect setting for fertile young imaginations.
The National Maritime Museum in Falmouth continued the adventure theme with its Monsters of the Deep exhibition whetting appetites even further and kept conversations going for days.
By keeping off motorways and sticking to A, B, and even unclassified roads you can believe you are anywhere in the world. Our staycation gave us access to vineyards without crossing the Channel - the Camel Valley in Cornwall is a wonderful example of British winemaking.
We zig-zagged the country taking the chance to visit friends and relatives we hadn't seen since before lockdown. Meals early in the week were subsidised by the Government’s half-price deal making eating out for six more financially manageable.
We visited towns and cities previously just a name on a motorway signpost. Giggled over rude place names. The River Piddle, Upton Snodsbury with neighbouring North Piddle and Crapstone are a few which come to mind.
Silly songs were made up, children were “rescued” from rogue waves, games were played, and stories read. It wasn’t all idyllic. Arguments ensued about where to go, what to eat and whose turn it was to change that dirty nappy.
This staycation lark may become a habit; pass me the UK atlas someone.