Yesterday, we were up and out of the house at the same time as our old school run friends, but instead of making the dreary plod around the park we were jumping in the car and heading to Devon.
The children were so excited to be heading to our holiday house on the hill, as they call it. Bunny took a keen interest in looking out of the window to see what interesting things he could see.
Just a few hours later and we were sitting in the Red Barn tucking into the most magnificent breakfast with a view to match. Our stomachs were starving after the long car journey: Jenson made light work of his two sausages, two fried eggs and piece of toast!
If the view wasn't enough, the two remarkably happy children should have been, but no, things got even better. After leaving the children with pencils and colouring pads while I went to order, I returned to great praise and many compliments. A lady seated next to us had been most impressed by Jenson and Wren and told me so.
I was so gobsmacked by her kind words I wrote them down as quickly and discreetly as possible so as not to forget this once in a life time sentiment. Jenson really cemented her impression of him when he threw his arms around me, gave me a kiss and said thank you for breakfast.
The dazzling comments soon turned into a dazzling downpour, which we watched from the comfort of our cosy sofa seat. We drew pictures and played puppet shows as we supped on hot chocolates listening to the rain lashing down.
Civilised colouring and puppet shows inevitably turned into a hyperactive frenzy and their favourite game of doggies. This basically involved them scampering around the restaurant floor chasing each other and generally getting under people's feet. If the lady who had been so impressed with them earlier could see them now I think she might have had some other choice words to say.
I eventually managed to heard them outside, which took some doing, but by the time I had managed this monumental feat the rain had stopped and the sun was trying to come out. Its attempt was very minimal but I was keen to get on the beach if only for ten minutes to give them a run around before Jenson's preferred activity of going for a swim at the local pool. We're talking a lot at the minute about respecting what everybody wants to do and so Jenson willingly agreed to go on the beach, but not before playing in the phone boxes.
Ten minutes turned into two hours. As always the beach provided an endless source of fun. It is the best place I think for imaginative play. We did star jumps and tried to see who could climb the highest cliff. Jenson won on the basis that I had to look after Wren, who was slipping and sliding over the green seaweed covered rocks like an eel and not keen on being abandoned for rock climbing.
We wrote our names in the sand and on rocks. Lately Jenson has started to write his name backwards too. I guess when you can confidently write your name forwards you need a new challenge, that or else he's forgetting how to write. I think I'll assume the first option to be correct.
They also made animal tracks. I can't remember what he said they were but I think one was a monster and the other a miow. I liked the imagination.
Out of all the games we played though, I think my favourite was one Jenson made up called We're Going on a Wind Hunt. The fact he had actually heard about the whole bear hunt thing impressed me and then to apply it to our own situation on the very blowy beach left me even more so. The hunt basically comprised of the leader, Jenson, picking a path out for the three of us which would take us to the wind. We scaled mountainous rocks, waded through sandy mud hollows, walked in the footsteps of ancient animal prints, stumbled over pirate names scrawled in the sand and eventually found the wind. It was blowing a gale but Jenson was captivated by the power and force of it.
By now the sun had well and truly made up its mind to come out. Jenson started to furiously scrape the sand away with his hands so he could make a hole and so I offered to go back to the car to get the buckets and spades.
The pair of them were loving it. Home ed really does make a lot of sense when you're on the coast. The freedom it gives just can't be matched and on a deserted beach in February the space cannot be rivalled either.
Jenson and Wren could throw sand as high and as wide as they liked without fear of upsetting someone, (apart from me) or flicking it in the face of some poor child.
A good hour and a half had passed and I was impressed that all clothes were still present and correct, (I'm referring to the children here.) I should have held that thought because Jenson, who was armed with a fresh, dry pair of wellies to replace his very wet shoes, decided it would be fun to see how deep he could wade into the rock pools. Wren has no interest in doing anything like this but Jenson seems to get a real thrill out of feeling cold and soggy. I casually watched him as he casually watched the water seep over the top of his welly boot at which point he ran out of the water screaming with excitement before jumping feet first into another pool.
By this point his welly was long gone but, with one sock and one welly remaining, he continued to run around the rock pools launching himself foot first into every available piece of water.
He eventually calmed down and took his one welly and sock off, pouring out a great deal of water to boot, excuse the pun. Here is the sad, soggy sock, tossed to one side by Jenson:
He walked back from the beach with bare feet and if his toes were freezing, he didn't complain to me about it. His entry back into the car was exciting: through the boot and so of course Wren copied.
After returning to the house to dry off and warm up, we did make it to the swimming pool. We all had a great time although mainly I felt like a giant float that the children enjoyed climbing all over. My buoyancy wasn't half as good mind.
This picture made me laugh. They loved spending time in the showers. Here Wren has locked herself in a shower cubicle and I'm not entirely sure what Jenson is trying to do to her.
We got back home at about 6pm all feeling a bit pooped, but there was still time for pancakes by the log fire to round the day off nicely.
Today has been a more laid back affair. The great thing about sleeping on the sofa bed is that when the children come in at 6am, like they did this morning, you can simply flick the TV on and continue to sleep. I've mastered the fine art of this now: remote control is placed practically next to my head and the channel, regardless of the channel I'm watching the night before, is always set to Cbeebies. As happened this morning, the children climbed under my duvet and we all lay there together snuggled for hours. Cbeebies is a bit of a treat as we don't have live TV in Cheltenham.
When we finally all surfaced we went to Barnstaple and enjoyed a four hour epic soft play session. The children loved it and I loved a bit of me time. Jenson did a have a few wobbles. He's a bit like a switch: one minute he's happily playing with another child and the next he's kicking the s*** out of them. I can't keep up with his mood swings and I think he finds them confusing too.
We got home just in time for Peter Rabbit, which they, (and I) love so we watched it together. I then got on with their tea. After a good amount of food Jenson perked up no end. The evening was rounded off beautifully I must say: me lounged out in front of a roaring log fire and the children happily playing Lego together. At one point, Jenson commented on how, "relaxed Mummy looked" and asked if he could bring his models over that he had made and show me. So there we were, laid on the sofa bed in front of a glorious log fire fire feeling the glow of the flames on our faces. In bed Jenson asked if we could make our holiday house on the hill a little bigger so Daddy could have his own bed and he had room for some shelves, cushions and a window to watch the sun rise. If tonight sounds perfect, that's because it was.