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.