No, it’s not Christmas/Hanukah/Kwanza, etc. Here in Britishland, a holiday is something you go on rather than something that comes round every December
We normally take the kid to a caravan park by the seaside for a few days once a year and call it our family holiday. This year we’re mixing it up with two back to back breaks! The first of which was camping in the Chilterns. It sounds like a trek when I put it like that, but we live a fifteen-minute taxi ride from the campsite, so it was almost a staycation.
I haven’t been camping since I was seven and Mr. Mulberry had never been. I anticipated great hardship. The only time I was ever taken camping we left after one night because my parents hated it so much. I made it through the full four nights and was pleasantly surprised by the experience. I can’t wait to go again! Mr. M., being a roughty-toughty sort of man who has been preparing for a zombie apocalypse from the age of ten, anticipated an easy time of it and suffered terribly, bless him. He likes his hot dinners and his bed too much, plus he is addicted to technology and easily bored without it. He’s not got a great imagination or stamina for play. He’s not afraid to whinge and grump, either.
But, whining baby of a husband aside, the kid and I had a fabulous time and Mr. Mulberry joined in as best he could. We went for long walks in the woods, played a LOT of cricket and scatch, built an obstacle course, had dance parties, stayed up to look at the stars, sung songs, made up stories, did a lot of school homework, scoffed Pepperami and Babybel and crackers, spent a fortune at the nearest cafe on toasties and jacket spuds… I had a curry delivered to the campsite one night because I’m the Dave Lister of Romance and could not live without dal and aloo any longer.
I’ve never been outdoorsy. Not even slightly. I hated insects and dirt. But after four nights I’ll walk barefoot on the grass, let bugs crawl all over me, pick them out of my food and tea and keep shovelling it into my gob. I still don’t like dirt, but I did get used to hand sanitiser rather than antibacterial liquid soap or wipes. That’s a victory for an anxious person!
There were a few nasty surprises. One man arrived at the site and stripped to his underwear immediately before he even started setting himself up. He was there alone, and I was a bit scared of him. Walking around in public in your pants is not normal behaviour here!
And someone had lifted the lid on the portaloo and my kidlet got covered in the blue stuff they put in it when she tried to go for a wee. I had to give her a strip wash at a tap in our paddock with everyone watching and I was in such a flap thinking she’d been covered in bleach and was going to have chemical burns. Luckily it’s nothing nasty these days, discounting the excrement and none of that got on her!
There weren’t many other people there, and for the first and last night we had the paddock all to ourselves. That was wonderful! We had so much space for ball games, but even with others there we still had a huge space to use as a play area.
For our second break we went to Cambridge for four nights. It was midafternoon by the time we’d dumped our stuff at the hotel, so we spent the first day just browsing the shops. We went to Forbidden Planet, and I got a Thor Ragnarok Prologue graphic novel, which will appear in a forthcoming Loki day, plus a Loki t-shirt! I’ve never stanned for a character that had a t-shirt before, so when I saw it, I had to get it. If anyone knows where I might find a Prince Hector or Paris t-shirt, let me know because I will be all over that shit.
Unfortunately, due to a mix up in sizing, I don’t fit my Loki t-shirt. Need to shift a bit of weight first. By coincidence, I decided the night before we left home, on a whim, to become a vegetarian temporarily as I know it can help you lose weight and I wanted to lose a bit if only to feel more healthy. I eat mostly vegetarian and vegan food anyway and only eat meat at three or four meals a week, so it’s no great hardship for me, but I figure it will help me make better choices if I’m deliberately thinking about what I’m going to eat instead of having whatever I fancy. A lifestyle change is better than a diet.
And lifestyle change means better choices across the board, including veggie food. When my kid is at school my go to lunch has always been a bean burger. I am addicted to bean burgers/chickpea burgers/lentil burgers/shroomdogs… My freezer is overflowing with all sorts of varieties and flavours. Whack it in the oven, stuff it in a ciabatta roll, bit of sriracha “mayo” or some chipotle chilli jam dumped on top, job done. If I’ve got peppers that need eating up, I’ll roast one and shove it in the bun, but that’s my only nod to effort. And I eat them three times a week at least, which is madness because I’d never do that with a beef burger, despite being an enormous great fatty. But they just taste so good!
Anyway, I arrive in Cambridge committed to my new veggie diet and where do we go for dinner? Nandos! I always eat veggie at Nandos anyway (halloumi mushroom burger FTW) but knowing I couldn’t have chicken I suddenly really wanted it. I didn’t cave, however, and had the veggie cataplana, which was quite nice by itself and even better smeared on a bit of garlic bread.
The second day we took the piglet to Lammas Land to play in the paddling pool and have a picnic and icecream. Then we visited the museums on Downing Street. She loved the MAA and asked to go back! Mr. M liked the Zoology Museum best, which he called “a house of horrors.” It reminded me of the biology lab at my school—lots of dead things in jars!
Mr. Mulberry went back to the hotel early as his back was playing up, so I took the piglet for a Boost Juice and a look around the shops for some new books. In the evening we got a burrito from Nanna Mexico, and I accidentally ordered beef when I said to the chap to just put everything in mine he’d popped into the kidlet’s! So I was vegetarian for one day haha.
Day three we went to Grantchester. Squee! Between Mr. Mulberry’s bad back and the kid’s little legs, we decided to get the bus there and then walk back. We had lunch at The Orchard (and they served me beef instead of the beans I asked for so scuppered again!), then I took the kid to see the Rupert statue outside the Old Vicarage. Someone had attached a hosepipe to his head and turned him into a sprinkler!
Next, we went to the church. I’ve never been in the church before but it was set up for filming and I was intrigued. I haven’t watched Grantchester since the first series, but I liked the show, so it was quite exciting until I realised the dishy vicar wasn’t there.
We walked back across the meadows and took the kid to the MAA again by special request, and then the Sedgwick again.
Day four was our last full day. In the morning we visited the Museum of Classical Archaeology. I mostly wanted to visit it so I could get some pictures of butts for CB Archer’s upcoming Butt Week. However, it was fabulous! Super queer and historical, so basically my favourite things, plus my kid loved it as there was lots of stuff for little ones. I’m going to give it it’s own post during Butt Week.
In the afternoon I went to the Fitzwilliam on my own. The weather had changed from “too bloody hot” to “pissing with rain” so the kidlet and Mr. Mulberry went back to the hotel, but I bravely pressed on. I’d forgotten what a load of old toot they have in the Fitzwilliam. Even the good stuff is treated like it’s rubbish. Stick the Van Gogh in the corner where no one’s going to look at it, why don’t you? Genius.
Overall we had a fab time. If you’ve got a kid to entertain, Cambridge is a great place to take them. Mine loved it!