Day 1 of holidays

Joshua really could not have behaved better yesterday: he dozed in the morning while we packed up the car and so he was thrilled to get into the truck as he sensed that there was fun to be had. He has been relegated to the back of the truck, whereas he always sat in the front, since he tried to open the door while we were driving so he is now safely child-locked in the back. He was surrounded by pillows and he soon got comfortable and settled in, though he was delighted by the snacks that his Dad bought from the garage. After about 90 minutes of driving, I too nodded off and when I awoke, we were driving towards a town, not on the motorway as I expected. My husband explained that he was taking us to Donalds for lunch in his University town. But the roads had changed since he was studying so we could not get very close, and as Joshua was travelling barefoot, he drove around the one-way system to get closer. I had to get socks, splints and boots onto him while he was sitting in the backseat and then he was delighted to get out and stretch his long legs. We strode through the market, one of us either side of him holding his hands, but as we approached, we could see that Donalds was closed as building work was underway. Luckily neither of us had mentioned the word and so he did not know what he was rushing towards, so I quickly turned him around before he spotted the familiar golden arches. Instead we diverted into a cafe where he was happy sitting on a leather settee, enjoying juice and a chocolate muffin and he was none the wiser.

We continued our journey and he sat and dozed well  for the remaining hours, until we got to the docks precisely on time and he took a stroll to the toilets with me. He has always enjoyed the ferry but he particularly loved this crossing as Dad bought him pastie and chips, which he devoured, and he was surrounded by a coach load of French students to watch and wave at. Once we arrived at our family holiday home, he was happy to sit in the sitting room while we unloaded the car and to sit on what he knew to be his bed, while I unpacked the cases and made the beds up and his Dad went to the shops then made us some stir fry for tea. Joshua seemed to be pleased to be back – we were last here in February half term – but he seemed chilled out rather than super-excited. I am delighted too to be in my happy place – it is just that everything has changed : Mum will not be joining us for a few days, as she often did on our August stays, and Max is not with us anymore.

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“Back Home”

Joshua was such a good lad yesterday throughout what must have been avery dull day for him, as mostly we were either packing and tidying up or else we were travelling, yet he was well behaved throughout both processes. He watced his films on my ipad much of the morning, with the occasional contribution of hoovering up. We were all rewarded for our hard work with a delicious lunch, sitting outside a cafe on the beach. Joshua tyically devoured his scampi and chips, followed by hot chocolate fudge cake with vanilla ice-cream. Then it was back to the house for the final touches to the packing and cleaning.

We left our holiday home at 6pm, as planned, and caught a ferry across the solent back to the mainland and away from our holiday isle. As we sat down on the ferry, Joshua was excited and said “boat!” and kept waving at other vessels through the window and at other passengers too. It was as though he knew that this would be the highlight of a long trek home. He enjoyed the short sail then settled back into the front passenger seat, with me seated behind him.

My husband drove for several hours before we stopped at a fast food restaurant for some refreshments and a break. As soon as he saw the golden arches he was beside himself with joy, shouting “Donalds, Donalds” at the top of his voice. There was a long queue and he delighted the fellow customers with his enthusaism – one nurse who was on her way home after a long shift, told him that she agreed, it was the highlight of her day too. Although he insisted on flashing his bare tummy in the queue, Joshua certainly lifted the mood in that queue and Ronald McDonald could have paid Joshua commission for his enthusiastic endorsement of  his Happy Meals.

Once he was full, he was happy to settle back into the front seat of the car and continue the long haul home. We were thwarted by roadworks at 11pm when four lanes of traffic had to reduce down to one, so we were stationery, and frustrated, for some time. We had travelled late at night to avoid this congestion! At Around 1.30am, a tired Joshua had assessed the situation and asked for “jamas” and “bed”, as if we were in any doubt what he wanted. We approached our home-town at 2am and Joshua recognised the route, shouting “back home” at the top of his voice, with relief. He would not stay in the car while we unpacked it, he climbed out himself and ran into the house, he clearly felt that he had been patient enough!

He grinned to be home and out of the car, and we went straight upstairs to his bedroom and into his longed for “jamas” and “bed”. There was no fuss, he was fast asleep immediately and I am expecting a lie in this morning too. We are so lucky to have such an easy traveller, as that long journey would be made so much worse if he had been agitated or even asking ‘are we nearly there yet?’ Instead he understands it is the price we pay for such a fabulous holiday and he settles down and listens to the loud music that played throughout the journey, rarely even closing his eyes. So thank you Joshua, you are a real star!