This time last year, the girls and I had gone for a walk with my Dad to get out of the house despite the pouring rain. And one good march around Upton, a golf buggy ride back up the bumpy drive and with some words of encouragement from his biggest sister, Pip was on his way. I know I say this with every child and every birthday but it’s true; time is passing faster and faster and I simply cannot believe that my snuggly tall little baby is about to be one. And that can only mean that it’s time for a little look back on everything that has happened in Pip’s first year, everything that happened before you were one…
We’re home. Back to walls and carpets and comfy chairs and flat surfaces, to sturdy furniture, beds that don’t deflate overnight and a lot more space than we’re used to. It’s so strange, the house seems too quiet; for the first time in weeks we can’t hear the birds or the trees or the stream or in one case, the commuter trains to Paris, and the electric lights are too bright for people used to sitting out under the stars.
We have had the most amazing adventure; travelling through Normandy, to Paris, down to Annecy (south east France), over the border to Switzerland, up to Zermatt to see the snow if not the Alps, up on into Germany and the Black Forest and finally back to Cherbourg again, a beach, and the late ferry home. It has been amazing, breathtaking, exhilarating and exhausting. There were moments that felt like some of the toughest we’d worked through as parents and moments when H and I would look at each other as if to say “can you believe we’re here! This is so awesome!!” It was one of the best decisions we have ever made.
We could easily have stayed away another few weeks, and we kept joking that we’d be the parents turning up with Kitty just as school started, hustling her out of camping clothes and into her uniform in the car park, while tent poles and sleeping bags spilled out of the car, but what we really wanted was a time machine, a chance to travel longer, but still arrive back in the UK with the same length of time before Pip’s birthday and Kitty’s start date, and the elephant in the corner that is my own restart. It was the right time to come home. To come home and start planning next year anyway.
I have so many stories to tell you; postcards home of the wonderful places we visited and the people we met along the way, thoughts on camping and travelling and a few of our top tips and tricks, and hopefully all fingers crossed I might even have some pictures too; my camera memory card, with all of the 1300 photos I’d taken up until that point, went all CHA error on me in Annecy and I have all my fingers and toes crossed that we’ll be able to recover them.
But that will have to wait for a little while at least. Our car is as fully laden as it is possible to lade a car. There isn’t a cubby hole, hidey place or niche that doesn’t have something squished in it, and unpacking it is going to be an adventure itself. There are bags full of laundry long overdue an appointment with the washing machine, a tent to clean and air and in the practical sorting out, a chance to let my brain process it all. And sleep. Sleep would also be good.
Thank you so much to everyone who visited and left comments while we were travelling, I loved reading all of them, I was just sorry that having very limited data meant I couldn’t reply, but I am so looking forward to visiting everyone’s Siblings posts, and catching up on at least some of the 1,000 plus posts in my feed reader!
Oh and there’s just the little matter of someone’s first birthday tomorrow too!