I’d done a weekend by myself before with the two children.
But this was different.
This was on location in a log cabin in the middle of nowhere surrounded by fields and hills.
Oh and Harry really wasn’t feeling well.
This oughta be interesting.
Our Austrian holiday “peaked” at 2600m on top of the Wetterkreutz.
Sophie and Harry’s first mountain was certainly a good ‘un.
I’ve always loved mountain walking but always on the condition we get to scale summits and tick them off on my mental list.
So when Andrew suggested we go on a longer walk I jumped at the chance to notch my first Alpine peak.
It was a real excitement to pull on my boots, pack up a chunky picnic and look up at the imposing rock face that stood ahead of us.
The only slight complication was the addition of two small children into the mix.
And there was no question of them staying at home.
We’d come prepared – my wife had a sling for Harry and I had a backpack to carry Sophie up. We were also to hugely benefit from a ski lift taking us 2000m of the way. From there though it was climbing steeply in the heat of the day with the children in tow.
It was hard work if I’m honest but we invented a guessing game to keep us entertained. It essentially involved me shouting animals and Sophie shouting colours. Plenty of blue penguins and yellow meerkats on offer.
Towards the top, a sheet of snow – more like compacted hail – made life even tougher. Andrew picked a way over it carefully and I followed suit. Sophie was hanging out of the backpack, shifting my centre of gravity really unhelpfully but I was able to navigate it.
Next came my wife with Harry and he’d decided to wake up by this point. As she tested the ground, his sling slumped forward putting pressure on the back of her neck and weighing her down. She did marvellously well though and made it across.
From there we could really see the distinctive cross which marked the top of the mountain. Just a short zigzag round the summit, a zip across some more snow and then we were there.
Views from the top were absolutely glorious and we even managed to get a classic shot of us looking like a Christian missionary family. (There would certainly be worse places to work).
For the way down I took Harry and Andrew carried Sophie. The temperature had sunk as we’d ascended but this swiftly changed and it was hot and uncomfortable by the time we made it back to the ski lift.
(Naturally my inner child kicked in as we approached the finish line and I raced away from the others so Harry and I secured a glorious victory. At least in my head we did anyway.)
We’d done it – first mountain for the littlies conquered. Many more to come I hope.
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…
OK, so we’d survived the night of all of us in one room. Just about.
And we’d had an incredible holiday in Austria (more in future posts).
But we really hit a low point with the security check on the way back. I mean, we’ve only been flying for twenty years…
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.
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.
When you think rock ‘n’ roll, maybe you think of Memphis and Elvis Presley? Or other huge American artists like Buddy Holly and Little Richard?
Or perhaps you look at urban centres in the UK like Liverpool, birthplace of the Beatles, or London, and groups like The Rolling Stones.
I doubt you think of Huddersfield.
But, in the heady summer of 2006, on June 1, that was precisely where my JMB rock ‘n’ roll tour began.
O, what a night!
Bright sunny Spring day?
Family time with my wife and Sophie?
The only option was a trip to the zoo.
So off we went…
Schools out for summer.
The children in my class have left for pastures new, probably via some fabulous holiday destinations. The sun is (kinda) shining and the long vacation stretches ahead of me.
On Saturday I’m heading down to Sibford for the annual CYFA camp for 11-14 year olds with some guys from my church. It’s wacky, intense and busy.
But I can’t wait.
And with that in mind I thought it worth reflecting on camps I’ve been on in previous years.
Some real highlights in there!