On our recent holiday to Austria, I thought it would be a tremendous idea to nip over the border into Italy and have a pizza.
My wife could have coffee, Sophie could have ice cream, Harry could have…er…bread(?) and everyone would be happy.
After all, it was only about 50km to the border. Simple.
Little did I know what I was letting myself in for…
Coming away on holiday is an absolute treat. Such a privilege to take a step out of daily life and travel away, in our case to visit our very generous relatives who live near Innsbruck, Austria.
The process of leaving home though can be a little bit arduous, a fact that was hammered home to us by our overnight stay at the Premier Inn, Gatwick where the four of us were crammed into a family room of four beds and a cot.
It did not go well.
“Daddy, I’m going to Scotland.”
So piped up a excited voice from the car seat behind me.
It was 2pm, Sophie had just woken up after her afternoon nap and we were four hours into our five hour car journey to Port William, a tiny hamlet in South West Scotland. Miles from anywhere.
So that was an experience…!
Arriving into Luton airport tonight at half 7, bedraggled, exhausted but very content felt amazing after the most incredible (and surreal!) few days.
If you go down to the woods today….
Do bears actually live in the woods? They do if you take them there and that’s just what we did when we took our very own Sophie Bear for a family break at Whinfell Forest Center Parcs recently.
There was a time when my wife and I used to enjoy long car journeys.
The opportunity to put the world to rights, listen to music/talks, work out what on earth we were doing and plan for the future.
With a 17 month old Sophie on board, everything has changed…
Not our actual car!
So, my chances of leaving on the motorhome with the others were in ruins.
But we did have a backup plan up our sleeve.
I went to bed on the 20th July worrying about it, but also desperately hoping we could make it work.
For the last ten years, I have always known when my passport was going to expire.
21 July 2015 has been etched indelibly on my mind ever since I last renewed it – the pain and relief I associate with the last time I renewed it a permanent reminder of when my occasionally haphazard organisation caused me (and various very gracious others!) a whole lot of grief!
Here’s what happened ten years ago…
I’m not particularly Welsh-centric. For that matter, I’m not in the least bit Welshaphobe.
It’s not so much I’m indifferent as I’ve never really thought about it
But actually, as an important member of our church group (a proud Welshman) prepares to fly out for a new life in Canada, it occurred to me that Wales has played a surprisingly significant role in Sophie’s life.
And here’s how.
At the end of that Sunday night, things were not looking great for the holiday we’d been excited about. The next morning when my wife couldn’t really get up out of bed and Sophie refused outright to sit in the high chairs or eat the food (not to mention my bread-knife-meets-finger accident!), it only threatened to get worse.
We did manage to have a lovely day together in the sunshine on Tuesday – soaking up the scenery, exploring the marina and the cliffpaths together as a family. Sophie even ate something.
Unfortunately that night, whilst my wife had recovered, the bug passed to me, wiping me out for the next 24 hours and leaving her and Sophie to fend for themselves. We felt pretty desperate on Wednesday.
However, God is good and gracious – as of course we knew he was, but had strangely and wrongfully forgotten – and our holiday became wonderful from that low point onwards.