A Beach Holiday in November……………Really?!?
Who the hell decides to go on a four day break to the seaside in November? – the month of the year when it gets cold, gloomy and dark at about 4pm – my husband that’s who!
In my pre-mum days, I loved nothing more than to laze on a hot beach for hours on end, topping up my sun tan and losing myself in a really good book. Fast-forward seven years and my beach experience now consists of wellies, spades and thermal undies!
Given the inflexibility of the British school system to grant holiday in term time, I set off late in the afternoon, after school. And, given the dreadfully early evenings that define the British winter, we drove for just an hour before dusk set in. An hour later I was driving down pitch black country lanes on my own with four children. Very conveniently, my husband was working nearby our destination that day and after finishing the job ‘unexpectedly’ at 2pm he had a very relaxing afternoon settling into our holiday home soaking up the sea view.
I on the other hand turned up three and a half hours after setting off, feeling exhausted but thankful that we had made it through the wilderness that was West Dorset. The last thing I needed was four children going totally wild and uncontrollable with excitement. I finally went to bed that night thinking that this was going to be the holiday from hell. Maybe I would wake up in the morning with a fresh head and feel a little better about life…….
Fresh head? Who was I kidding? My night consisted of a few hours sleep mixed up with the following disturbances….
- 4 yr old wakes up shouting as he cannot find his duvet in the mammoth double bed he has jammily bagged!
- 1 year old needs bottle of milk refilling…….twice!
- 6 yr old wakes up missing the cat!
- 7 yr old wakes up because his tooth has fallen out in his sleep!
Oh, and then I was up for the day at 5.45am with my two youngest listening to the gale force winds and torrential rain battering the single paned glass windows that were ‘apparently’ in keeping with the house!
But, being the cheery optimist I am, I looked at my four little excitable faces eating breakfast and decided that a bit of lousy British weather wouldn’t stop us venturing out. So off we piled into the car armed with waterproofs, wellies and spades and headed for Lyme Regis beach. Now this brings me to two main reasons why my husband loves to go away at the exact time of year that everyone else would do their upmost to avoid.
- You don’t have to constantly fight your way through heaving crowds.
- You get a parking space right next to the beach.
And on this occasion, we ticked both boxes! Off we trundled to the deserted beach and chose the best piece of sand there. There was no stepping over other peoples beach towels and no apologising as the boys flicked sand into sunbathers faces in their excitement to get to the sea. There was just us, a few kite surfers and some seagulls mysteriously floating on the wind currents. Within minutes the three older boys were having a ‘who can dig the biggest hole’ competition whilst my youngest was styling the latest hat trend known as ‘washed up seaweed’.
We all snacked on hot chips covered in salt and vinegar whilst taking it in turns to ward off praying seagulls with our war cries and fierce looking spades. We played on the 2p machines in the arcade and the ‘grab a minion’ machine that no-one ever wins on. My six year old held down the accelerator whilst my four year old drove like a real super hero on the Batman game. We bought ice creams and huddled together on the sand eating them like it was a summers day.
We forgot how cold and wind swepped we were. The stress of the previous day was a distant memory as we just relaxed into the moment. It was lovely just to spend time together as a family, enjoying the simplicity of it all and not dealing with the hectic everyday life we have at home.
Later that evening we headed back down to the beach and saw the best firework display ever. The boys all stood on the seafront wall and their eyes glistened with excitement as firework after firework whizzed up into the dark nights sky throwing beautiful rays of light over the darkened beach. After the last immense firework exploded over the sea, we watched as the beach bonfire was lit. An old wooden boat perched on top of it and we were all mesmerised as the flames quickly licked around its edges.
When my boys look back on their short break away, they won’t remember feeling cold and wet. They will remember digging a hole to Australia, eating a mint choc chip ice cream and watching a boat burning on a bonfire. Having children teaches you to enjoy the simple things in life and to live in the moment. We are making memories for them every day that they will cherish for a life time. You don’t have to go abroad or have amazing weather to enjoy a holiday when you have kids. They will love it wherever you are as it is quality family time.
(But that is not to say, husband dearest if you are reading this, that I don’t want an all inclusive exotic 2 week getaway for our 25th wedding anniversary! 😉 )