bairn blog: a tale of three henleys

Back to Home

10:07pm Sunday, 17th September 2006

what a lovely, relaxing week away for Henleys 3. we set off to the sunny Lakes last Saturday morning, getting away belatedly after some last-minute packing and cole deciding that the car could really do with a much-needed spit and polish. the journey passed without event and by the early evening we were settled in our new abode for the week near cockermouth.

on sunday we awoke early to a beautiful sunny day. cole popped outside for a spot of watercolour painting before a lazy day about the house – darting off late in the afternoon for a spot of cream tea in a delightfully rural idyll called grange. after a double helping of home-made scones, jam and cream, the henleys and the withers wandered down to the riverside to take some snaps and supp on the rugged beauty of the place, discovering that gethin loves the ‘splonking’ noise made by dropping large stones into the river.

on monday will set off early to do some landscape clambering so the henleys, the withers (minus one), uma, oompa and oompapa set off with buggies on the long stroll down to the river derwent – we stopped in the nearby village of blindcrake for a picnic and beer on the village green, then set off downhill to the quaint hamlet of isel overlooking the derwent. we sat upon the bank of the river and as the sun slowly began to set we splonked some more stones for gethin’s entertainment. a truly lovely day.

on tuesday we set off on a mission to find a swimming pool to accommodate gethin and samuel’s first swims. apparently there was a pool in workington which could accommodate a pair of bairns so we set off only to discover perhaps the most complicated timetable known to man, which when deciphered revealed that we would not be able to squeeze in a swim that day. however, rumour had it that a suitable pool could also be found in keswick so we darted across the lakes to find a lovely pool with family changing rooms and a forty five minute window to accommodate two bairns eager to get their fins wet for the first time. upon changing three withers, three henleys and an uma descended into the shallow pool whilst oompa loitered by the poolside. gethin took an immediate dislike to getting quite wet although soon settled into it and seemed shortly to be quite enjoying the bobbing about, although like daddy would perhaps have preferred the water to be a little warmer. uma invested in an underwater camera so eagerly await the snaps… after half an hour or so we set out for a dry-off before loitering back to base.

on wednesday we all set off on our separate vehicles intending to meet up later at grizedale forest park, home to an extensive sculpture trail and an assualt course which peta, cole and will were hoping to take part in. cole and peta headed in to keswick to find some suitable clothing for the assault course where peta discovered a marvellous pair of plus-fours which cole took an instant shine to. we met up with the others in grizedale but sadly the assault course was fully booked so peta booked cole and herself in for a friday morning jolly. cole, peta, gethin and grandparents set off instead for one of the sculpture trails with some fantastic pieces of art interspersed with the natural woodland setting before an evening in cockermouth for the boys oompa, will and cole heading to the pub for some beers, footy and the much-belated smoking of some cigars peta had bought us last christmas in honour of the forthcoming bairns. better late than never!

thursday was a day quite unlike the others of our holiday and quite untypical for the lakes – bucketing it down all day. it was the withers last day in the lakes so we belatedly left the house (after a lovely lie in for cole and peta with uma and oompa stepping into the breach with some dawn babysitting) and popped into keswick for a soul-warming fish and chips. the withers said their goodbyes and the rest of us headed south to grassmere for a spot of culture (and shelter) at the wordsworth museum at dove house. cultured up we popped over the road to the waterside hotel where cole had dj-ed at a friend’s wedding a couple of summers ago. after some cold hot chocolates and some shortbread-less shortbread we headed back home via a trip to castlerigg stone circle which cole had tried (but failed) to visit on our last trip to the lakes.

on friday we awoke early to beautiful views from the house. the rain clouds had parted but the mist had come in with the sun striving to shine on through for some very atmospheric snaps. we got our stuff together super-promptly and were out of the house for half nine on our way to grizedale for some go-apeing, briefly stopping off again at castlerigg for some more stone circley antics. we got to grizedale for our uber-treetop-aerial-assault-course adventure. cole was filling his shiny new plus-fours on the training course and that was all of a couple of feet off the ground. shortly we were both well into a three-hour long assault course reaching heights of up to sixty feet crossing a variety of aerial challenges from tree to tree. the scariest was the tarzan swing being a swing some twenty feet up across a gap of thirty feet or so to onto a net. both cole and peta finished the course and it was a truly amazing and rewwarding experience, particularly considering cole usually gets the shakes if he goes up a chair to change a light bulb (well, the ground is a lot further away for him than for most).

after swinging from the trees, gethin under the watchful gaze of uma and oompa, we set down for a spot of lunch before setting back off north to cockermouth for a pint at the marvellously named pub – the bitter end – and more fish and chips before a quiet last nights holiday.

saturday morning was frantic, packing up the wee panda with all the bairn stuff before heading off to the small town of egremont for the annual crab fair and the world gurning championship. sadly, we had missed the gurning but along with some nice vintage tractors we did get there in good time to espy some particularly inbred natives getting steadily more inebriated. having promptly had our fill of such revelries we decided that a trip to the beach might be a more suitable way to end our holiday. we set off for st bees and after a cup of tea strolled down to the sea for gethin’s first marine paddle, suitably prepped after his midweek pool swim. sadly we were shortly on our way to Scotland, our hols at an end. It has been a fantastic week and just the tonic the 3 Henleys needed. a mundo thanks to uma for the invite.

also, a great big thank you to peta. a week of part-time helping to look after gethin (ably assisted by uma and oompa) has made me realise how much effort peta has had to put in every day for the past six months without a single day or night off. i have the utmost respect and gratitude for your unfaltering patience and compassion in raising our wee bairn and all the time and energy you have given him in these formative months.

finally, for those that are interested i have posted some more snaps from our holiday along at flickr (bairn blog is hemorrhaging bytes at a rate of knots so trying to keep the snaps here restricted to those of the bairn variety!)