Sunday, November 05, 2006


Well, we made it (as seen on Thursday's blog) and we're back again. On the whole, a good holiday!

Broadly speaking, the Youth Hostel was a success. We had booked a family room, which turned out to be a dormatory with three bunk-beds (six beds in total) and a travel-cot. Barnaby thought that this was terribly exciting and immediately bagged a top-bunk, which we later found out contravened recommendations (the YHA suggest that top bunks are for over-sevens only), however by then it was too late as Barnaby was completely smitten! (We were extremely careful with him climbing up and down the ladder though.)

One unfortunate point, which I had not known, was that since this weekend was low-season there were no evening meals provided, so we had to fend for ourselves: the first night we had a picnic in our room, the second night a lovely, early dinner in a restaurant and last night I cooked in the kitchen. In the end we felt that the combination of having self-catering facilities plus meals provided (well, breakfast at least) was a useful combination with small children. In particular, it was good to have easy access to a microwave for heating up Amelia's food. They also had a good supply of childrens' toys in their 'lounge' so we all, Barnaby in particular, spent a lot of time in there (and an adventure playground in the back, which he also liked). The downsides were that there was no hot running water in the room (a cold water tap only) and no access to a bath (ensuite shower only). But in summary, we think that we'd do it (the YHA experience) again.

In conversation with other guests, two comments stand out in my mind. One Australian lady (who has, I think, lived most of her life in the UK) said that youth-hostelling was a great way of bringing up children as it introduced them to a great set of values; she had been hostelling for over 60 years, since she was a child. Another lady had boys age 6 and 9 (left at home this weekend, I might add!) and said that she started walking with them when the eldest was just 4 and that now they could cope with adult-length walks and that it was a great thing to introduce children to. I wonder if/when we might be up to trying that?

On Friday we spent some time in the morning walking around Stow: it's lovely (I'd definately like to go back again for a romantic weekend away with just Sheep). And then in the afternoon we went to Bourton-on-the-water. Our plan for the afternoon had been to go to the model village. We fed ducks and went around the model village.

Here are photos of Barnaby at the model village (Amelia was sound asleep in her pram at the time). Click on images to enlarge.

The only downside of Friday was that we had a bit of a poo-fest: Barnaby kept pooing all day. It was a real drag, especially for Sheep... I was beginning to think that we would run out of pants and trousers for him, if things kept up like that, but luckily, just before bed on Friday night he managed to do an unfeasibly enourmous poo on the toilet and so Saturday/Sunday were wonderfully poo-accident-free and consequently far, far more enjoyable. (We bought him a toy, soft monkey as a 'well done for pooing present' - which he has been inseparable from ever since.)

We met up briefly with Jenni on Friday night (passing through on her way from Oxford to Hay-on-Wye); we had a quick coffee together and a nice chat, before she had to take off again. On Friday night, Sheep and I watched a film on DVD on his laptop, huddled together on one of the bottom-bunk-beds, with all of the rest of the lights turned out so as not to wake Barnaby and Amelia. Our evenings felt a little like being huddled in a tent, or other confined place, together, speaking in hushed tones.

On Saturday we returned to Bourton-on-the-Water in order to do more duck feeding (see photos below) and to visit their model railway museum.

Funnily enough, it was the model railway that Barnaby found most fascinating, even more so than the model village - so much so that he asked if we could return today! It was quite the roaring success. When we left Stow this morning Barnaby said that he didn't want to go and that he preferred our 'holiday house' to our 'old house' (a.k.a. home) as we were all able to sleep in one room together which was clearly far superior!

We returned to the child-friendly B&B (Nortens) in Chipping Norton for lunch and then both Barnaby and Amelia slept all the way back home, which made for an effortless return.

I've realized that there's not much about Amelia in this post. The long and short of it is that she happily came along and fitted in with whatever plans we had. She ate fairly well and seemed in good spirits bar the fact that she seems to have picked up a bit of a cold and so is a bit snotty (well, it is that time of year!). I did, however, have to give her a good bath tonight after a long-weekend of no bathing!

Post script - I almost forgot, here is a photo that Barnaby took of Sheep and I. Do we really appear so gigantic to him?


At 7:53 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad y'all had a lovely family weekend! you must do more of it!
Nice to see the photos!

Yer ol Man


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