It wasn’t really our holiday, it was mother’s holiday, and we went as her ‘carers’ but it was most certainly a break for all of us. With the dog safely in the kennels and hubby looking forward to a lie-in on Tuesday morning i.e. not having to take the dog for her 6.30am walk, we were out of the house by 6am on Monday heading for The North – we always chuckle at the English big blue road signs: The North, The South, The Midlands etc! An ‘Early Starter’ breakfast (plus one Red Bull for the driver!) at a Little Chef in Thrapston was welcomed, but like most meals on the road, was a necessity and not something to write home about! It would be nicer if these places made an effort to make the places look nice – replace tatty chairs, wipe down the tables properly, make sure the toilets are always clean and have a decent knob to pull the door open – but although the chairs and loos were not wonderful, the staff smiled and the food was edible!
About an hour after arriving in Chesterfield we were on the road again with Mum, heading back the way we’d come – altogether we drove 8 hours on the first day of our holiday – and the same on the return journey on the Friday!
But the destination was worth it! About four years ago we went to Rumburgh Farm in Suffolk following the tantalising description of a “Fishing Lodge with a trout stocked lake on the doorstep.” I haven’t stopped talking about it since! Bungalow style, no stairs for Mum; spacious, nothing to fall over; dishwasher, washing machine and tumble drier; both bedrooms en-suite, one with shower, basin and toilet and the other with bath, shower attachment over bath, basin and toilet; and the best was the lake on the doorstep – literally! To be able to sit on the verandah and listen to the birds, watch the duck families, and watch hubby expertly casting his own hand-made fly for the trout, was the most relaxing thing I could ever think of doing on holiday! Oh yes and he did get up early on Tuesday morning - to ‘go’ fishing!
Two duck families came for their scheduled swim each day; one mummy duck with three fluffy yellow ducklings and three darker, probably slightly older ducklings, would plop into the water near the reeds and swim and play their way around the perimeter of the lake then waddle back up the grass home. One day two little yellow fluffy ducklings decided they didn’t want to go home with Mummy and stayed on the edge while Mummy and four obedient ducklings waddled home. It appeared quite exciting at first being out on their own, although one seemed a little unsure. “Mummy said if ever we’re in danger to get in the water.” They both plopped in and suddenly realised they were on their own! The little beaks quacked as they swam in circles at the edge, no longer having fun. When it was obvious Mummy was leaving them to pay the consequences of their rebellion, and that they might not get tea or a warm cuddle if they didn’t repent and go home, they waddled as fast as they could up the little grassy hill, with stubby yellow wings balancing little webbed feet. Next morning they were back sticking close to Mummy and their siblings!
Another time one of the slightly older ducklings caught his first fish catch! Mummy scooted over but there was no way this proud duckling was going to let Mummy get hold of his catch! However, the poor little fishy was perhaps a little too big for ducky’s mouth and as soon as he dropped it Mum caught it up and swallowed it whole. Hmph!
From our previous visit we remembered a fishing tackle shop in nearby Beccles, right opposite Tesco’s car park, so on Tuesday we parked in the superstore car park, went in to buy a few necessities, and wondered why a shop like Tesco was so quiet! Mum asked which shop we were in and I quickly responded although the signs were not the usual Tesco blue. A staff member packing shelves, turned and quietly said, “This is the Co-op!” Oops! Many apologies and laughs! We eventually found the fishing shop (opposite the Tesco car park!) and we found our way back to the car - in the Co-op car park!
On Wednesday we walked the length of Southwold’s promenade and pier and then had fish & chips/scampi & chips/cheeseburger & chips on the beach front sheltered from the cool breeze in one of those industrial looking, ugly but useful booths, and went home with slightly sun/wind burnt noses.
On Thursday the 2012 Olympic Torch was doing its rounds in Suffolk – the ideal day to stay at home and relax and not get caught up in traffic or crowds! A final evening meal at the Rumburgh Buck finished off the holiday feeling. It’s a cosy pub, probably not easy with a wheelchair, and even with Mum and her stick, we were up and down little steps, and uneven stone slabs, but then it is a 16th century building with low ceilings (warning for the over 6-footers!). The choice of main meal wasn’t great, but a beef curry, and two chicken pies went down a treat, although I would have preferred full-on Coca Cola and not watery cola :(
And finally - the awesome sunset!