Last weekend we went on a big family holiday to Brixham. My Grandad died in March, so we decided to scatter his ashes in the place where he spent most of his family holidays. A lovely idea in principle, but with 22 in the group including 4 kids and 2 babies, the road to the seaside was never going to be smooth ride.
We woke up at 5am Friday morning. Kyle and I tip-toed around the house so as not to wake the kids up and managed to successfully put them in the car in their PJs. We would change them at the service station. Five minutes into the journey and they were awake but surprisingly well behaved and very excited.
I spent the majority of the first two hours un-doing my seatbelt to lean into the back and put Jorgie’s dummy back in. It was literally acting like a plug as she screamed every time it came out and stopped crying whenever it went back in. The rest of the time I was passing Charlie drinks, crisps, or biscuits or singing him songs and telling him stories. You can imagine mine and Kyle’s delight when we had to hear a mixture of ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ and ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ on rotation and on repeat as we drove.
We arrived at the service station to meet my parents, brother and niece. Kyle had insisted that we needed a roof rack as we wouldn’t fit everything in. I asked him to get Jorgie’s pram out to be informed that it was in fact “inside the roof rack so you can’t get it out as it’s too much hard work tightening all the rack up again”. Ideal. A roof rack to hold all our stuff but you can’t actually have access to any of the stuff. Makes sense.
After breakfast and Charlie riding the escalator up and down 5 times, we set off again arriving at the caravan site just after lunch. The weather was gorgeous so an afternoon at the outside pool followed. Although it was warm and sunny the water was absolutely freezing, and I managed all of 5 minutes in the pool. Charlie just clung to Kyle like a monkey and it took the best part of an hour for us to persuade my niece Macy to come out. Bribery and chocolate were involved.
The caravan was a tight squeeze and 4 adults and 2 kids sharing the small shower (not all at the same time I might add) was hard work. Jorgie had the obligatory baby bath in the sink and after fish and chips we went to the family disco.
Those entertainment staff have some serious stamina and energy. I genuinely need to know what their secret is as they entertained 50 plus children for a good two hours. Charlie looked a bit scared and Macy just kept doing laps round and round the dance floor. After musical bumps and several trips to the amusements to play on the 2p machines, we retired to bed.
Sleeping in caravans is fun (or lack of). Charlie and Macy were sharing a room with two single beds opposite each other. Next ensued an unplanned game of musical bumps alternating between Charlie and Macy rolling over and falling out of bed into the gap between the two beds. Sometimes one of them would wake up and cry out, other times I would hear a thud and find them asleep in the gap and sometimes I would find both piled one on top of the other. Mix this up with toilet trips and frightened moments that “the child catcher was coming” and I guarantee I was awake more than I was asleep on Friday night.
Saturday morning was an early start whilst Charlie and Macy argued over the coco-pops in the miniature variety pack of cereals. A caravan holiday wouldn’t be the same without the smell of bacon in the morning to wake you up so after bacon butties we got ready to go out.
The entire family were meeting at Brixham Harbour at 11am to scatter my Grandad’s ashes. Although it was a sad occasion it was also nice that all the family were together as the last time had been the year before at my wedding.
We gathered by the jetty and each took it in turns to throw the ashes into the sea. All was going smoothly until the kids also wanted a turn. This resulted in questions such as “Why is Grandad Keith now dust?” and “Awww look Grandad Keith has turned into glitter”. This followed by them throwing the ashes into a direct gust of wind which then blew them into the face of everyone standing behind. Great stuff. We now had Grandad Keith in our eyes, nose and mouth. I’m sure if my Grandad had been there he would have howled laughing.
The kids all had fishing nets so during the ashes being scattered they had also been trying to fish for crabs and fish. After getting the nets full of salty sea water and seaweed they then thought it would be fun to try and catch a person. All of us had a fishing net placed over our heads at least twice in the time we would stood there. Who needs nice smelling straight and tidy hair anyway!?
After a cake and cream tea lunch we drove to the beach to try and catch some crabs before a big family BBQ later on. I don’t know who was more scared when we lifted the rocks up to find the crabs, my brother or the kids. He absolutely shit himself when a big one came scuttling out onto the sand!
We took over the area surrounding my uncle’s caravan later that night. I don’t think the site knew what had hit it. The kids were running riot like a pack of wild dogs whilst we were gathered around 4 picnic benches we had “borrowed” from around the area. The food was great and we all had a good chat and catch up. The night couldn’t pass without incident and unfortunately Charlie tripped up and bashed his eye on the floor whilst tearing around. It could have been worse as earlier Kyle had let each kid individually hang from a tree by their arms whilst standing underneath them. Responsible parenting at its best.
Saturday night pretty much followed the same pattern as Friday except for Kyle coming back from the BBQ (I had been the responsible parent) dragging the cool box through the caravan and bashing every item of furniture as he went. This was at 1am. Perfect.
Sunday was our last day and we spent it at Paignton Beach building sandcastles and playing in the sea. Charlie had to be changed twice due to resembling a sand monster and I think my mum had more fun playing in the sand than any of the kids.
We had a meal at the local pub in the evening and some idiot (my brother) had the bright idea of buying the kids balls from a machine in the pub. This resulted in none of us being able to enjoy our meals as the kids threw the balls around the beer garden. There were balls getting lost, going over garden fences, hitting seagulls and landing on the table.
On Sunday night I slept much better although my mum didn’t due to my brother snoring so had to borrow a pair of pink fluffy unicorn ear muffs from Macy.
We set off home early on Monday morning and were packed and on the road before 9am. We even remembered Macy’s new baby doll which she had randomly named ‘Muffin’. It was only an hour later at the services that we realised we had left the Samsung Galaxy tablet in the caravan. Que a phone call and a £10 postage fee.
We held the record for the most possible stops on a journey home for the return journey. We literally stopped at every single service station as the kids rotated needing a wee every half an hour. We arrived home at 5.30pm after picking Tia the dog up who had thoroughly enjoyed herself and seemed more miserable that we had bothered to come home as she wanted to stay. I think she secretly hates us. Tired and irritable we unpacked the car to Charlie crying “Awww I want to go again. I want to go back to the caravan”. All in all, it had been a funny weekend and I would definitely take the kids on a caravan holiday again as they loved it (I’ll just prepare for no sleep!).