Monday 14 July 2008

Cumbrian break

Our week in Cumbria had a familiar pattern to it. Not only were we revisiting The Dry, in Stank, between Dalton-in-Furness and Barrow-in-Furness, but I again came down with a violent tummy bug and Rowan was again miserable with a throat and ear infection. Despite this, and Sharon also contracting my bug, we had a good break. Our friends the Lasts were next door in the adjoining Stable Cottage and this afforded much opportunity for Sean and Finn to slope off to play with Ian and Morven. They had a great time, especially once the Nintendo was offered round and the Dance Party DVD appeared. It was good to see all the children playing together out in the driveway and funny to see Finn heading out with his umbrella early in the morning to knock at the door "to see if Morven was awake".

We went swimming a couple of times, Finn displaying his new found talent for jumping and diving under the water and absolutely loving the flume and Sean also enjoying the waves and flume. Even Rowan dived under the water at one point but I think he got a bit of a shock. He enjoyed the flume though, despite getting a faceful of water as my buffer! It was great to see Finn's eyes twinkling with delight as he enjoyed the pool.

It was a very wet week in England but most of the rain seemed to slip past us, fortunately, although it was grey most of the time. Sharon took Sean and Finn to Dalton on the Monday, with some light shopping and lunch in the Crown Court. Lynne and Paul took the boys to the dunes at Roanhead the next day where there was much running up and down and digging of big holes and a picnic.

On Wednesday, when Sharon was laid up, the rest of us went up to Bowness on Windermere by steam train and boat. Rowan loved the train journey and stomped around the boat on the way up but grumbled on the sail back as the rain came on. We lunched in the Angel Inn and located the play park by the Bowling Club so the children had a fine time clambering about and playing their various games. As the week progressed Sean gravitated more to playing with Ian and Finn to Morven.

On the Thursday we drove to Holker Hall for lunch and a stroll round the gardens. It was a very pleasant destination, with the children enjoying a quiz to help them follow a trail around the gardens. Sharn and I had a pretty average dinner in the Copper Dog in Leece that night but to round off the week we had a joint family dinner in the Village Inn in Newton which was tasty and filling. Sharon drive a very tired Rowan and Finn back for bed while Sean and I walked back over the hedge-lined road to Stank with the Lasts.

Finally, as the boys slept, we drove up through the Lake District through Ambleside to Keswick before stopping for lunch in Penrith on the the way home. Penrith seemed more pleasant than the drab grey town we stopped in last year. Rowan was shouting all the way home, his insistent tones nailing everyone in the car in turn. "Shaw. SHAWNEE! Wee-ee!" Sean always has to acknowledge when we are going up or down a hill. "Dad. DA-DEE! Bells." This was a reference to the wedding bells that were ringing out in Penrith. "Mam. MA-MEE! Wow." This could be about anything spotted from the window, from a digger to a tractor. He even managed a "car go beep" at one point when I put the Sharan into reverse, so his language is starting to develop.

We're back and settled now. I doubt we'll revisit the same place again next year but it was an excellent location for having friends next door without feeling you were in each others' pockets and the 3-bedroomed Dry is a fine house for our needs.

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