We have been lucky for the past six years to spend a couple of days away on a weekend in December while my parents look after the kids.
The kids look forward to it each year as it’s a chance to do something Christmasy with their grandparents and it’s become tradition with my son in particular asking usually in September when he’s getting his weekend with his grandparents.
We love it as it’s a chance to catch up on Christmas shopping but more importantly it’s a chance to catch up on sleep and enjoy the rarity of it just being the two of us and it’s good to be reminded that we enjoy spending time with one another. It’s Time for us that is key here. Usually my husband is running against time. In the past few weeks he has battled to Edinburgh each day coped with a mountain of work and then battled home to start the whole process again. Plus dealt with all the other additional demands on his time. I’ve watched him get more and more tired he needs this time away just to relax, catch up on sleep with no demands on his time. I too feel tired after a couple of weeks spent not just in my usual role of mother and juggling that with work but also trying to fit in the stress of dealing with the snow. Firstly clearing paths and cars and then dealing with a house that had leaking roof, frozen pipes and broken washing machine. Time just to unwind for both of us you can’t put a price on.
I didn’t think this year we would get away. Firstly with money tighter we knew we couldn’t afford it and we were delighted when my mum suggested that we come to their place in the Lakes. A refuge for us when we were younger and a refuge for breaks in the last two years. We eagerly took up the offer. But then the snow came and with the huge snowfall in both the Borders and Glasgow I couldn’t see my parents getting to us and us getting away. But by some amazing miracle the thaw happened and we found ourselves in our refuge in the Lakes with time on our hands to re charge and enjoy spending time with one another.
I’ve been lying in bed reflecting all the other trips away that we have had and keep coming back to the one thing this weekend gives us and that is time with each other. We have had some great trips away. We started out in York a favourite haunt of ours and indulged ourselves with a spa day for two which was spoiling in the extreme. We did the same the next year. Then we took it to a whole different level and had a fabulous weekend in Girona. I can still remember that weekend today fantastic memories of meals out, walks in the park and shopping in a beautifully decorated Spanish city at Christmas time. Can’t afford that sort of treat now but it did give us the most wonderful memories. The last two years we found a 5 star two person place in Northumbria near Keilder who did bargain breaks at this time of year. Again we had a fabulous time with the Inn nearby serving the best roast dinners I think we have ever had. We were only 50 miles away from home but it felt like another world just the two of us. The only downside last year was that the place had not been updated and we felt attention to detail particularly on the cleaning was lacking.
With my tourist marketing hat on I would also say that we have never heard from any of the places that we have stayed in reminding us that we like their place and evoking a memory for us and giving us a reason to return. A lost opportunity and one that tourism businesses forget putting adverts in papers when a enewsletter to past customers would be far more effective and cheaper. The only person that I hear from on a regular basis is Ryanair remembered by them but no one else. Sad really and a lost opportunity.
This year has not seen the luxury of spas, the thrill of a Spanish city or the wilds of beautiful Northumbria. The Lakes for us is like putting on a comfortable and well loved old slippers. We love the Lake District and my parents wee house in Glenriding it has given us many many happy memories over the years. It was a thrill on Friday to shop in Kendal and visit well known shops as well as venture into the ones the kids would not want to go in or we would be afraid to take them in in case of them breaking something. We enjoyed our potter yesterday round the Keswick Market choosing food for tea and picking up Christmas treats. It was relaxing to end up in Ambelside and enjoy finally having lunch at Lucy’s on a Plate. The Lakes for us all gives us our old favourites but at the same time you always find something new. And the sunset on Windermere last night was stunning and stored as a memory!
But as I woke up today and reflected on a empty day ahead just me and my husband to make it what we will. I reflected that what my parents give us is TIME. Something that we are usually trying to work against in every day life and on these weekends away it’s great just to enjoy it and savour the moment just the two of us till we must return and battle with it all again! A big thanks to my parents and a thanks to my husband that after 21 years of being a couple he still wants to share his time with me!