As Daisy stirred this morning, I reached for my phone to check the time and found the date leaping out at me instead. 13th June. Earmarked for months in my diary as the day we would be taking the girls on a family holiday to France. The first trip on an aeroplane for Poppy and Daisy and perhaps the last for their Great-Grandparents, who are beginning to find travelling a little tiresome. A few wistful moments passed as I pondered what might have been, before my thoughts turned to the more pressing matter of today’s actual plans.
A picnic to be packed and shared on the beach, just 5 minutes drive along the coast from our holiday home. So simple in principle and yet when executed well, with the right balance of food, sunshine and company, there was infinite pleasure to be gained. We added an extra friend into the mix today, a former colleague of Graham’s from our years spent in nearby Southampton. Setting off with a wave from the shoreline, the boys took a plunge in the sea, swimming a respectable distance before joining us back on the beach for a well-earned picnic.
Poppy took charge, handing out sandwiches until only crumbs remained and then suggested we all head to the cafe for a round of hot drinks. With our tummies too full for an ice-cream, that particular holiday staple will have to wait until tomorrow to be ticked off. There was just enough time left for a final exploration amongst the rock pools and a little dip of our toes in the water, before we took our sandy selves off to Lymington to catch the scenic boat ride we’d missed yesterday. Except it seems that the life of a boatman in the forest has a lot more leeway than the schedule suggests and yet again, there was no-one to be found behind the hoarding declaring that boats sailed every 30 minutes until 6pm. I can’t say I blame them, and I hope they were having their own wonderful time somewhere. We’ll try to make it 3rd time lucky by attempting a trip on a boat tomorrow morning instead.
Crashed out from her time on the beach, Daisy left us to go back to the holiday home with her grandparents, whilst Graham, Poppy and I gathered the essentials for a spot of crabbing on the town quay. Poppy patiently observed the process, sitting calmly in my lap as Graham gently reeled the line in time and time again, only for each crab to fall back in to the water at the last moment! Cradling Poppy in my arms, as we watched the boats gently swaying in the marina, a calm, relaxed feeling washed over all of us. The sort of happy where you just can’t stop smiling, enjoying the simple pleasure of being present in the moment and not letting anything else enter your thoughts. I’m stilł smiling now at the thought of it. With impeccable timing, just as Poppy declared she was hungry and would like to stop now, Graham reeled in the line and gently dropped a crab into the bucket. Poppy’s excitement at having achieved our aim was palpable as her happy squeals echoed across the marina. Watching her grow and learn from each new experience is one of the greatest joys of being her parents, and there was so much of today which will live long in our memories.
Returning back to our holiday home for dinner expertly prepared in the meantime by my mum, with Daisy and Grandad waving from the window as we approached, Poppy couldn’t wait to get inside to tell them all about her latest adventure. Her face lit up as we all basked in her storytelling and it was plain to see how relaxed and happy she was, even if she hadn’t spelt it out by asking if we had all had a lovely day too.
As I write this, sipping my tea and nibbling the last chunk of toblerone in the tube, with the girls safely tucked up in their beds, I can honestly say there is nowhere else I would rather have been this week. The much needed dose of vitamin D we received on that beautiful beach today was enough to clear away the cancer cobwebs and just delight in the company of our incredible girls. I am teary happy this evening, counting our many blessings and embracing the life we are living. We’ve been running on adrenaline for several months now, and I hadn’t realised how drained I was feeling until we set off in the car on Monday. I was so excited for our holiday, and it turned out to be everything I had hoped it would be and more. Quite honestly, one of the best holidays we’ve ever had. Until the next one! x