Where’ve you been?

Published on 21. Apr, 2012 by in Family, Friends, Harry, Holiday, Millie

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I suppose, more accurately the question should be: where have I been? With the relative regularity of posts in the first few months of this year, the last few weeks have been somewhat barren.  With my new job starting, and particularly working from home, the opportunities to write have somewhat diminished. As predicted, the lack of train journeys means that writing a post requires a conscious effort to sit down and dedicate some time to the purpose, and as most of you know, when you have a young family, this is not the most straightforward of things. However, in truth the real reason for a few absent posts is simple: we’ve been busy doing nice things like going on holiday!

Without even completing a single week sitting at my desk working on Onside Analysis business, Easter crept up on me and threw lots of bank holidays my way, curtailing the working week.

The Easter Bunny was kind

This year we had a real Easter treat, not only did the Easter Bunny visit, but more excitingly (at least for us grown ups, and I think even the kids) our good friends Sandra and Steve visited us over the Easter weekend, as part of their visit from their home in Boston to a friend’s wedding. I met Sandra and Steve in the 6 winter months I spent during my Ph.D. studying at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Sandra was one of the housemates of a good friend, Sarah, who I met playing football, and who happily introduced me, a geeky English maths student,  to her wonderful group of friends.

I often wonder what makes a great group of friends, and I think throughout my life I have been pretty lucky in this respect. I would say I have 3 core groups of friends in my life, and that is without counting some wonderful friendships I made at Smartodds. First there are my very close friends, who I met at school, most of them at Vale School who I have known since the age of 5. Second off are my University friends, most of whom were all flatmates from our first year halls of residence. Finally, I have my Wisconsin friends.

Of Sarah’s house, I am in regular touch with most of them, with Sandra and Steve, Michelle and Tyler, and Kate also having been over to stay with us in the UK. I am yet to convince Sarah and Dan (and their little Will) to make the journey across the pond, but in truth I think with the number of people who have been kind enough to visit us, it must be our turn to head over there. Plus we have babies to introduce now. I haven’t yet met Will, or Michelle and Tyler’s Muriel, and Millie and Harry are yet to meet many of the gang. Sadly, not everyone is based in Wisconsin any more, with the housemates now dispersed over a number of states, making the logistics of the visit (at least with young children) a little difficult. Add in the fact the my poor American friends get very limited holiday time (10 days a year is considered generous), and organising such a meeting becomes hard.

The good news is, even though we don’t see each other very often, when we do it is lovely to spend time with all of them. You can tell that friendships are strong when, after a lengthy time apart, you can pick up like you saw these people last week. That was exactly what it was like with Sandra and Steve, and we had some lovely time exploring our area, and in particular visiting English pubs and eating English food.

There are pirates in Cornwall

As soon as Sandra and Steve were on their way, we went for our own Easter holidays, down to the Sands Resort in Newquay, North Cornwall. Now, if you have young children and your life revolves around them (as ours does), I simply can’t recommend the Sands highly enough. It was a wonderful place with so much for the kids to do, kids clubs, fantastic (young) children’s evening entertainment, and all less than 5 minutes walk to wonderful beaches. The added bonus was services like baby listening that allowed us to have grown up time and nice food in the excellent hotel restaurant every evening. On the other hand, if you are at that equally wonderful stage of life where it is yours to enjoy and does not have to fit around children’s routines, then I’d strongly suggest the Sands is not for you. We watched on the Saturday night that we were there as a young couple drove up in their car for what looked like a romantic evening away. I would only say I hope they liked room service and each other’s company, because I’m sure that sharing meal times with squawking children was not exactly what they had in mind.

I was surprised by quite how much I loved Cornwall. While I am not always the most relaxed person, and sometimes the constant demands of looking after children can exacerbate my impatience, the wonderful setting and fantastic active Cornish way of life helped me to adjust to the situation (albeit after a day or two). We were also incredibly lucky with the weather, and although we had rain on most days, they were true April showers, and were interspersed with plenty of lovely sunny periods. I was also surprised by how quickly we got there – I was anticipating a journey of over 6 hours, and our driving time was just over 4. Not as far as you think! All in all I can see us spending a lot more time there as the kids grow up, enjoying active holidays all the way!

But all good things come to an end. Well holidays at least. So here I am, back in the real world. Millie has returned to school, and I’m finally looking at an open road ahead with Onside Analysis. That should keep me going until the next holiday, and there’ll be plenty of blogs in between.

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