Homeward Bound

Joshua excelled himself yesterday in terms of how well he tolerated the long drive home: we left our holiday home at 2 pm in torrential rain and we did not reach home for another eight hours. There was a potential 90 minute delay on our ferry due to ‘adverse weather’ as it was so windy, but thankfully we were only waiting 20 minutes before they squeezed us onto the car ferry. He seems to be happy enough while the car is moving, but he would not have been impressed by an additional hour and a half sitting in a queue. Joshua always loves the ferry and he was excited getting into the lift and emerging into the busy passenger lounge. My husband managed to find us three seats together and then he disappeared off to the cafe, returning with a plate of scampi and chips for him and Joshua – I was wary of sea-sickness so I stuck to my cup of tea. Joshua tucked into his late lunch and cleared up his Dad’s left overs too, so it is safe to say that he does not suffer from sea sickness like me.

After an hour, we were summonsed back down to the car deck and Joshua waved at all of his fellow passengers, just happy to be there. We were the third vehicle off and soon ,we were on our way home. Both Joshua and I enjoyed a nap and we only knew he was there after a few of hours, when he began to smack my headrest as he had had enough and wanted to get out. So we stopped at motorway services and he was thrilled to get out and stretch his legs. These services did not have Donalds but offered Burger King instead and I doubted that when it came to a cheeseburger, that he could tell the difference, so I queued while my husband bought us a healthier salad for tea. The service was nothing like as slick as at Donalds and as Joshua left half of his burger and fries, it seems that he was a connoisseur of fast food and he knows what he likes. But the break had served its purpose and he was happy enough to get back on the road . It was only with 30 minutes to go that my headrest was smacked once again.

He was delighted to arrive home and he surprised me by heading up to his bedroom, after just 5 minutes acclimatisation in the kitchen. I changed him into his pyjamas, while my husband unloaded the car, and he pointed at his audio book, indicating that he was ready for lights out already. So to my surprise he snuggled down so I left him to it, telling him how well he had done, and started to unpack a food bag and deal with  dirty washing downstairs. At 11.45 I decided to have a quick bath before bed and I had just lay down in the hot water, when Joshua opened the landing door and stood beside the bath with his leg raised, as though to climb in. I told him that it was too late really then I relented and he had a quick bath before heading back to bed; I figured that he had earned that treat for his patient behaviour in the car all day.

Fond Farewell

We got back home at midnight last night so it was a long day; we were 8.5 hours in the car, door to door which was a trial for all of us. I had my sunrise beach walk with the dogs as I did everyday this holiday, which is the perfect way to start the day. When I got back at 7.30, Joshua and my husband were both awake so we had breakfast. Joshua watched his Show  while we were engaged in packing, laundry and tidying up. We left the bedding on the washing line to dry, while we went for a final  beach walk en famille. It was a glorious day, with clear blue skies – no sign of the thick fog from the day before – and so the beach and prom were crowded with families and dog walkers.

We got onto the sand and it was like a Summer’s day: Joshua threw stones happily into the sea for Ruby, our cocker spaniel , to fetch, which amused them both until he needed to sit on the sea wall to rest. My husband went for a paddle and threw a stick for Max, our elderly but courageous dog, who had a spring swim in the sea. Even our puppy , Kevin, had a sea swim, though he was more reluctant. We had a very happy time on the sand and Joshua did not even complain when the tide came in and caught him, soaking one of his feet and his trouser leg, even though the sea must have been cold. We walked back along the prom and it was even warm enough to sit outside a cafe and enjoy our lunch, taking a last look at the turquoise sea and bright, blue sky.

After that treat, it was back to hoovering and dusting, while my husband loaded the car. Joshua was determined to help out, he followed me around, trying to grab at the vacuum cleaner and when that failed, he found a broom and began sweeping the hall for me. He made hoovering the stairs much harder, by hovering on the step behind me. But eventually we got straight and said our goodbyes to the cottage and headed for the ferry home. There was a delay and Joshua is not a very patient waiter, so he began to kick the car in frustration as we waited in the queue to board. Once on board, he climbed over 60 steps to get to the designated dog-deck, where he was not keen to stand still on the open deck, waving goodbye to our holiday island. He broke free and found a door to the lounge, which was crowded, but a kind couple invited us to sit at their table and tried to engage in conversation with grumpy Joshua. But he sat well for the hour long crossing, watching films on his iPad and eating snacks. We found a lift to get us back to the car deck, which was much easier, as the stairs were very steep.

I fell asleep once back in the car, nicely passing over an hour of the journey, but Joshua did not shut his eyes once and we did not get home until long after his bedtime. We had to stop to re-fuel and Joshua spotted his beloved Donalds, so he kept trying to escape and get there while we were at the adjoining garage. When we did move the car next door, he ran into the fast food restaurant and grinned widely as he waited for his food – it seems he has more patience for waiting when there is Chicken Selects and fries at the end of the wait! He devoured everything and went back in the car more meekly, now that he had a full stomach. Our journey was made 30 minutes longer by the motorway being closed pretty close to home and we were diverted through endless villages, which did not help us to feel that we had been a very long way away.

When we did get home, Joshua was delighted to get out of the car and explore, but I had him tucked up in bed almost straight away and we were not very far behind. Glad that that journey is behind us, we can chill out today and get organised ready for our return to work and school.