Tuesday 23 August 2016

Summer Holiday 2016

I'm up early, after a very odd night full of bizarre dreams! I'm wanting to thoroughly clean the back kitchen, but decided it can wait. I'd rather stay in bed and blog. 

After much deliberation betwixt Cornwall and Northumbria, we were very late in booking our annual week away. Normarily, we have been going in the last week of August having to have been at home the week prior the last six years for exam results for the offspring! I do warn people who choose to have their second baby when the first is around two and a half! The three year age gap is BAD!

1. GCSES AND A LEVEL RESULTS = 6 YEARS OF NON STOP STRESS! Even if you try to not stress, the exam prep, the extra blooming parents evenings, the relentless UCAS application deadlines, the exam timetables, waiting for the results, the aftermath of the results etc are stressy! 

2. Also having an 18th and a 21st in the same year is expensive! 

3. I wouldn't have had it any other way! 

But this year has been lovely! There is an upside to your cherubs growing up after all! Last year I was lamenting a lot over it. I'm a bit more used to it now! 

So, the holiday was chosen and booked. The North won. Romantic holiday for three! 

Mr 19 was given the choice and I'm glad he chose to come along.  It was so hot and sunny we were all glad of a bit of cloud on the Friday. Especially Mr 19 who was horrified his skin had changed from that bluesy white glassy milk kind of tone to ever ever so slightly palest pink, even with factor 
50 on. I burnt my lips. I've never burnt my lips before. Is it because I'm a redhead now? 
Burnt lips hurt so much. They are still healing now and are still sore. Anyway...

It was FANTASTIC.! The photos on the website are, for once, a TRUE representation of what the lodges are like. Top quality luxury. The minute you turned into the drive you were smacked round the chops with the peace and tranquility of the place. It was that instant 'ahhhh and relaxxxx' factor. 

Just a few pics I took! 

Saturday - Debra and Richard who own and run Lazydays are top notch people too! Richard came to meet us and show us how the hot tub and sauna worked. Oh yes people, I told you it was luxury! Instantly we felt right at home. He was so friendly, chatty and helpful. 

The little touches were just perfect. There were fresh flowers on the table - I'm on my holidays, they are allowed, Lindt chocolates in the bedrooms,  sweeties in the lounge, boxes of tissues, more than enough  tea, coffee and sugar for the week, 2 pints of milk in the fridge, quality shortbread biscuits, loo rolls, tea towels, dishwasher tablets, washing up liquid, a washing up sponge, massive fluffy towels, dressing gowns and showr and hand gels. I've probably forgotten something! Now we've stayed in a lot of lodges and I've always taken the 'kitchen' bag with me. Didn't need half of it this time! Oh yes, in the lounge there were a number of good DVDs ( not that we had time to watch any! ) and good solid versions of monopoly and cluedo - again, no time to play! ) 

We settled in, unpacked and watched the limpix! 

Sunday - Found our bearings! Went to the very lovely named Berwick upon Tweed. It so does not live up to its posh name. Run down high street, empty shop units. Everywhere needing a lick of paint. Tired n tatty I thought. Turn away from the town though and it's a different story.  We walked the walls, looked at the castle ramparts - the sea area/ coast was gorgeous and beautiful. And parking was free! 

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday etc etc whizzed by in a blur they went so fast. We did plenty of castling.

Monday 15th we went to Alnwick Castle and gardens. We got there quite early. Just us and another 10,000 people.
Here are a few of them waiting to see 
Which was spectacular! It was such a busy place and we were glad to leave. We'd had to park in the overflow car park. Which was a massive field. £3 a car. Me and the HG counted that there were roughly 80 cars in each double row and that there was at least 20 rows. No one could find their car on return! We were all haplessly wandering around - quite comical. 

We left there and went to Warkworth Castle. All three of us enjoyed it about 1000% more than Alnwick. 

I could stand up in the centre of this fireplace, just. It was huge and it always amazes me how they survive intact due to the strength of the keystone design.

On our way back to the lodge we went to the World's first suspension Bridge. I walked down the middle because of the dangers of falling through the gaps in the chains. It makes my tummy turn over and the fear of falling to my doom I feel is horrible. Plus it moved a lot. 
But it was fun to cross the border from Scotland into England and back over the River Tweed. 
We were in England here and our car was in Scotland!

Tuesday 16th, we went to Edinburgh. Us and the rest of the world. I have to admit I was totally underwhelmed by the castle and the city and overwhelmed by the volume of human beings.  Mr 19 said he thought it was worse than London. The Fringe Festival was on, hence the throngs of arty farty types on the Royal Mile thrusting postcards at us urging us to go see whatever show they were in. 
The castle - interesting and the views from the top were fantastic

 - just didn't have that 'wow' factor for me. We joined a tour of the outer walls run by a jolly chap in tartan trews. We were the ONLY English at the castle that day. All of America had popped over along with the Germans and our Oriental cousins. Everyone was really friendly though and polite unlike last year. Remember last year when I hated Stone Henge? I think that's still top of the worst visit list closely followed by Edinburgh Castle. We got in free to the Castle being English Heritage members, I'd have been even less enamoured if I'd have paid real money to go in.  I did queue to see the Crown Jewels and the Royal apartments were great. I stood in the room where Queen ?gave birth to King ? But I couldn't have the time to 'enjoy' the specialness of the room for all the hoards of other tourists tramping in. It was a small room. 
The War Memorial they have in the castle is absolutely outstanding. It's beautiful. BUT people are just so RUDE and DISRESPECTFUL. They were noisy, taking photos, even though it was forbidden and just pissed me off more and more. 
We stayed for the firing of the one o clock canon which was accurate with my iwatch! Then we got the heck out of there. Well we tried. We shuffled slowly slowly through the Tattoo but and then down the Royal Mile into the town. I couldn't get over how tall all of the buildings were. I don't think I saw any less than three storeys in the main bit. Just so so so many people. I was glad to catch the bus back to the park n ride. I'll not be in a hurry to go back any time soon! 

Wednesday 17th - more castles 

We then had a bit of a stroll down the costal path at Berwick 

 And a trip to Eyemouth where we saw the harbour seals being fed by tourists. Not me. I was too scared of falling off the  harbour wall to my doom. 
That ice cream was delicious. It was a scoop of rolo ice cream plus a scoop of white chocolate kit kat. I then noticed the Creme brûlée ice cream and mentioned I wish I'd seen it earlier and the lovely lass popped me a free scoop on the top! Yummy! The boys chose to have chips instead. I chose the best option. Look how blue the sky and sea are. Stunning.

Now I'm aware this is coming across as one of those boring slide shows you had to endure at your aunties back in the 70s but tough, I'm going to carry on.

Thursday 18th - we braved the tide and went to Holy Island. Loved it there. 
 We then went to Bamburgh Castle 
Looked more impressive than it was. 

The view out to the Farne Islands was stunning.
Tea was Fish n chips in Newton's at Seahouses. Absolutely delicious. 

Friday 19th - our last full day 
Cloudy - hooray! We went to Dunstaburgh Castle. Only reachable on foot. You park in a little teeny fishing village called Craster then walk the 1.25 miles along the coastal path to the castle. People, those 1.25 miles seemed like at least 5 miles. Also, it was a coastal path fraught with danger. Vicious wild animals were freely roaming and grazing and staring at me menacingly. Massive cows. The things I'm scared of the most. 
Look how close they were to the path! When I speed walked past like an Olympic Athelete I made sure the HG was next to them and my escape route would have been flinging myself off the cliff onto the rocks below. 
I'd not noticed them - the HG wondered why the cow pats we were picking our way through hadn't given it away!! 

See that jagged thing on the horizon? That's the castle. 

It was windswept, remote, and distinctly lacked people. PERFECT! 

Just the little walk back to civilisation! 

The best part of our holiday was, though every single day, arriving back to this ...
The sauna and the hot tub, though the sauna was way too hot for me! 
Getting into the warm bubbles at night, looking up at the stars was magic. I miss it.
Saturday morning I had my final breakfast on the verandah and we sadly set off home. Well, first I went up to the house to say goodbye to Debra. We stood chatting for an hour! Then Richard turned up and we chatted some more, then their son turned up and we chatted some more! We will definitely return here again and again. Me and Debra are like kindred spirits!

We came home via Gretna shopping village and the very posh Houghton Tower garden centre. The weather got really scary and the drive from Carlisle down the M6 through Penrith and Shap had me seriously fearing for our lives. I was convinced we were going to be in an accident. High winds and torrential rain plus being up in the clouds in the mountains meant that visibility was zero. And there are some right idiots on the roads, speeding and weaving in and out. You literally couldn't see the tail lights of the car in front until it was almost too late. I've never been so frightened. 


Holiday of 2016, you were magnificent. You already seem so far away. Sigh. 

Lots of love from 

Rachel *back with a Freddie photo fest soon* Radiostar xxx 


  1. Fabulous! And it's so good to have you back. 😊
    It's great to read of your adventures in Northumbria as it's an area I keep meaning to visit. You have painted a beautiful picture and your photographs are tempting me. I have to disagree about Edinburgh however. You really went at the wrong time of year if, like me, you don't like crowds.
    You struck gold with the holiday cottage. X

    1. I think I was so disappointed by Edinburgh because it's been on my must see list forever. I knew the Fringe was on and was looking forward to people watching, maybe I was a bit naive in underestimating just how busy it was. We were really lucky with the holiday weather and cabin. Made it seem that little bit more special X

  2. looks fab. thanks for sharing.

  3. That's a lot of castles!

    We had a weekend in Berwick upon Tweed last year and I loved it.

    1. There were a couple more I didn't show as I thought my post was long enough! I'll definitely be going back.

  4. Thanks for taking us on your trip. Those cottages look wonderful. I love that they had all the little extras you might need/want. Now that we've been to England, we are thinking of Scotland as well. I guess we will have to choose a time when there isn't some kind of festival because I really really don't like to be caught up in big crowds. I kind of get "road rage" when people are just in my way for no good reason. (Not driving, just standing around moving slowly, you know, like Christmas shopping crowds). Hope your lips feel better. -Jenn

  5. Informative and hilaerious post as usual. mary Queen of Scot gave birth To James v1 of Scotland who became James 1st as Elizabeth 1st died childless. We agree with your views about Edinburgh as we would be classed as "Weegies" ie people who love in our near Glasgow. The lodge looked sublime and I would love to stay there. Our schools are now in their second week back so enjoy the rest of your hols however long that may be. Slainte. Catriona

    1. Ahhh Cheers Catriona, I WAS going to put Queen Mary gave birth to James but meant to
      Double check my facts before posting but I must have seen a squirrel or something and got distracted!! I've never been to Glasgow either but my friends go several times a year! Maybe I will too :-) xx

  6. The lodge looks stunning Rachel. I'm not sure you'd have got me out of the bathroom all week. I love tourist attractions as long as I'm the only one there - we sound very similar! I'm always slightly disappointed when we turn up to a caravan site that other people are there. It's not that I don't like people, I just really like my own company haha. Has that cute little Freddie made your mind up for you yet about getting a puppy? xx

  7. Loved your tour of the north............

  8. The lodge is beautiful ♥


  9. I enjoyed reading about your adventures, there are always way too many people in these tourist places, I hate crowds but I love the look of your lodge I would have been quite happy just spending my time there with crochet hook in hand and book to read. A friend and I visited Holy Island about 3 weeks ago and it rained most of the time we were there typical, it's beautiful on a warm sunny day but not so nice when it's raining. :) xx

  10. Oh lordy....I think I might want to go and live in that lodge....it's gorgeous.....although I'd pass on the sauna....did it once and never again.
    Really enjoyed your post today.......you are just so comical-x-

  11. What a fab holiday. Just our type. We love castling too. We too have been to Alnwick castle and really enjoyed the rose garden and all those water features. Did you see the one where the tube slowly filled up then spilled out (great for the kids). Did you visit the tree house?
    The lodge looks gorgeous.

  12. Sorry, but all I could think of after the 'hot lips' episode was - wait until the exhaust pipe has cooled down!

    Sounds brilliant, Rachel. It's a shame it's something we could never do.

  13. Great post, I could almost feel the steam from the hot tub. There seems to be as many castles up there as down here, and all heaving with tourists.

  14. Loved reading about your Northumberland hols. We visited a lot of the same places though didn't make it quite as far north. We went at the beginning of June though so were lucky with the crowds and the weather - though funnily enough it chucked it down on our journey back down the M6 too! Absolutely loved it up there though and can't wait to go back. X


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