This post starts off where the previous one left off, with us on holiday in Croyde, North Devon, so this has turned into a bit of a travel blog too.
Monday mornings are a lot better when you are on holiday, even if you get woken up at 3:00. This time it wasn’t Owen, just heavy rain on the roof of our chalet. When I got woken up again, this time at 6:30 by Owen, the rain wasn’t as bad, but it was still windy. Not ideal weather for a seaside holiday, but to be expected in the UK. We weren’t going to be able to go back to the beach, so instead we took Owen to the soft play centre in Barnstaple. He is still a bit too young to fully apreciate it, but did enjoy playing in the ball pit. All the excitement must have tired him out, as he fell asleep in the car, scuppering our plans to stop for lunch in Braunton (again), instead we got some pasties and brought them back to the chalet. The rain let up a bit in the afternoon, so we went out for a walk, once again with Owen in the baby carrier on my back. We got to the far end of the beach and wimped out of doing the full route, going straight to Blue Groove for a white chocolate milkshake and some cake. Whist in the village I bought some Croyde Cycle maps, I didn’t need them for this trip, as the chalet had one, but they are brilliantly detailed and I am a bit of a map geek. I’m sure I’ll be able to make use of them on a future trip anyway. As the weather was still miserable, even if it wasn’t raining, we settled into the chalet for the evening. This gave me to chance to read Guy Martin’s latest book “Worms to catch”, which I recieved as a Christmas present, but hadn’t been able to read. I especially liked it as it was more about mountain biking than motorcycle racing. However I felt like I was reading it a bit late, because Guy made a big thing in it about not wanting to return to motorcycle racing, yet between the book being published and me reading it he has got back into racing.
Tuesday was a slow morning, the weather was even worse than Monday and I think Jen was getting cabin fever, so we went out in the car, without much of a plan of where we would end up. I decided on Lynmouth, as we’d been there last year and knew that there was a cafe serving a pasty/cream tea meal deal, with free parking outside. By the time we’d finished lunch (yes, I did go for the pasty and cream tea) the rain had just about stopped, so we took the funicular up to Lynton and had a walk around. I must admit that the ride on the funicular was the highlight (there wasn’t much in Lynton), especially the views looking back towards Exmoor. Owen seemed to enjoy it, especially going up the hill when he was right at the front of the carriage. We took a detour to look at Damien Hirst’s Verity statue in Ilfracombe, then back to Croyde via Mortehoe. The fog had really come in around Mortehoe and it was easy to see how in the past ships could get lost, then crash on the rocks, leading Mortehoe to become notorious for “wreckers”. Once back at the chalet Owen’s Nanny joined us, and looked after Owen for the evening so that Jen and I could go out just the two of us. We went back to Blue Groove and ordered what I’m sure we order every year, beef enchilada for me and moules mariniere for Jen. The food was good, and it was nice to have an evening just the two of us.
Wednesday was notable because Owen had four poos, two of which breached the nappy! I think it must be something to do with what he’s eating or drinking down here. We’ve changed him on to pre-mixed formula, rather than the powdered formula he drinks at home, and he seems to be drinking more of it. Owen also had his first ride on a train, a steam train no less! It was only a short run on the part of the Lynton and Barnstaple railway which has been restored, however his granddad seemed very proud. In the afternoon the weather had started to improve, so we had a short stroll around the village, before heading to The Thatch for dinner. The food was tasty and Owen was on great form, flirting with the waitresses and stealing my chips.
Owen’s late night at The Thatch must have tired him out, as he slept in until past 8:00 on Thursday, either that, or he knew that I had plans to head to the beach for some early morning photography when he woke up. I was a little bit later setting off than planned, but am pleased with the photographs I took, based on an initial review on my laptop. I was back on the beach late morning, this time with Owen and Jen. We timed it to be on the beach at high tide so that we could take Owen for a paddle without a long walk to the sea. Owen loved the beach, especially destroying sandcastles and crawling around on the sand. Given how cold the sea was, I was surprised at how little it seemed to bother Owen, his giggling when the waves came in and splashed him was so cute. The excitement of the beach tired him out, he actually fell asleep in Jen’s arms whilst I was packing up the tent. Owen’s Auntie Heather arrived in Croyde on Thursday afternoon, so we took her to the National Trust tea room at Sandleigh, where we spent a lovely afternoon in the sunshine eating cakes. Unfortunately Owen had a nappy disaster of epic proportions. Not only did the poo breach the nappy, it also breached his vest and shorts – all whilst he was sitting there smiling at us. This was the worst possible time to discover that the the only spare item of clothing in the changing back was a t-shirt – the only item Owen was wearing to have escaped the poo explosion. It was a nice sunny day, so a nappy and t-shirt combination wasn’t too much of a disaster, except that Owen’s new favourite game is to undo his nappy when he isn’t wearing a vest. Obviously this has potentially disasterous consquences. I ended up tying the spare t-shirt round his waist, to prevent him getting to the tabs of his nappy, which I am glad to say worked well, and we got Owen back to the chalet without any further mess. After Owen went to bed, the girls went down to Billy Budds to get some pizzas and I walked up to Down End car park to get some nachos from Calaca Loca and we had a takeaway feast back at the chalet. I’d done over 15,000 steps on Thursday so felt like I’d earned my pizza!
Jen went out for a run on Friday morning, which justified us all going to the Thatch for breakfast! As I hadn’t been for a run, I only ordered a bacon and egg sandwhich, although the pancakes that Jen ordered looked much better! As the weather was nice again we went down to the beach. Gill and Heather came with us, so as there were plenty of people to wrangle Owen I hired a surf board. The waves weren’t quite as good as earlier in the week, but I still managed to catch a few decent waves, after two years off a surfboard I am glad that I could still surf. For some reason Owen didn’t seem to enjoy the beach as much as his previous visits, but I think he may have been tired. We spent the afternoon in the village, then went back to Blue Groove for dinner. I had octopus and chips, which was nicer than it probably sounds. Once again, Owen was on top form, making friends with the staff. Despite it being past his bed time he was really well behaved, especially when there were chips to steal. When we got him home, he drank all his milk and went to bed straight away. It was our last full day in Croyde, and it had been a great day.
Saturday morning was spent packing up the chalet. It was raining, so at least we weren’t tempted to head out for a walk or anything. However, I had made the schoolboy error of leaving my wetsuit out to dry overnight, and I’m sure it was wetter than when I took it off. With the BMW eventually loaded up, we set off to Cribbs Causway for our pitstop/lunch and made good time. Owen slept most of the way. We had some tasty burritos for lunch, then had a wander around the shops. Owen had his feet measured in Clarks and we ended up buying him some cute, but expensive little shoes. Even walking round the shops afterwards I was paranoid that Owen was going to take his shoes off and lose them, hopefully he’ll manage to get some wear out of them before losing or outgrowing them. The rest of the drive back to Coventry was uneventful and Owen seemed pleased to be home. As we’d had some windows fitted whilst we were away there was a bit of tidying up to do, I also had to re-hang the curtains in Owen’s room. By the time all of the jobs were done it was way past Owen’s bedtime, not that he seemed to mind after sleeping so much in the car. He slept well back in his own cot, which allowed me to crack on with processing the photos I took in Croyde.
When I stepped on my Withings scales for the dreaded post holiday weigh in, I had put on over 2kg, taking me back over 90kg (one of my goals for the year was to get my weight under 90kg and keep it under 90kg), although my body fat percentage had gone down and muscle mass had gone up, so it can’t have been all down to the cream teas and cider. Maybe the brown skin on my face and arms is heavier…
On Sunday morning I was back up my ladder painting the veranda. I am happy to say that I have now got all of the main framework painted, although I still need to do the bases and Jen is going to prep and paint the detail sections. I wasn’t the only one climbing, Owen has come back from holiday with new found confidence and we caught him starting to climb the stairs. We will need to be careful about leaving him unattended downstairs and making sure that doors are shut! He also clapped his hands together, something we haven’t seen him do before either. It is hard to say if it is normal 11 month old learning, or if our holiday has helped with his development. I’ve certainly come back re-energised and ready for my final two weeks of parental leave.