We got up and a surprisingly large amount of luggage had accumulated in the dining room. We loaded the cars up, using the airlock system for the cats, and then we were off… to Tesco.
We all chose some meal deals for our picnic lunch and then we were off… again! We travelled in convoy and the boys very much enjoyed talking to each other on walkie-talkies. We began with establishing visual contact as somehow Mitsubishi 2 had lagged behind a little (Joe – we had to do the lug nuts up). We even intercepted some chatter from another source! Joe warned us of bogeys on our six and then took the lead to Jimmy’s.
We parked in the overflow and the Osbornes and us were surprised that we weren’t late. We exchanged cucumbers and books and then took a slow walk to the entrance as Grandad hadn’t parked in the disabled bays. We handed our tickets in and Grandad gave the poor boy a hard time with some banter about can we buy two get one free etc.
We sat at some picnic tables and The Bailey’s devoured their lunch and Grandad and Grandma had a tea and cappuccino.
Chelsea found a duck that had a white ponytail like Dad Bailey.
We fed some goats.
Josh giggled at the giant tortoises whom Grandma said were being familiar with each other.
The meerkats had a sentry on duty.
The reindeer trotted back and forth along a little woodland trail, looking cute. The Dad, with heavy looking antlers, took himself off for a nap in his room.
A breakaway group had an explore in the butterfly house. Grandad went off on his own and took some photos.
Tali fed the goats and made one jump with her handbag. Don tried to make friends with one but it headbutted his hand with its horns. He did befriend the mummy goat and she enjoyed a pamper whilst her teeny little brood sunbathed.
Me and Don saw a baby donkey kicking in its mummy’s tummy. I wanted to make friends with the white one, but we didn’t have any food, so it wasn’t interested. We saw some zebras, cows, sheep, and mini cows. A mum goat was telling her baby goat off for wandering off.
Grandma and Grandad had an icecream.
Some of us did the woodland walk and saw lots of piglets in various stages of development. We thought the teeniest ones were the cutest and the biggest ones were the tastiest. There was a bar in the woods called Hair of the Hog, but we didn’t fancy one, even though the poor girl had no customers.
A Dad with a little boy and with a baby in a buggy headed up and Dad let the toddler through the gate but the Dad was a bit hesitant about the terrain. They tried it for a bit but they turned around to head back and the Dad told the boy it was because the Gruffalo lived in the woods. The boy told me to watch out for it in case it was scary and I said I definitely would. The woods also had dinosaurs and sasquatch in and Don thought that was very funny that they were native to Suffolk wildlife. Another Dad had to chase after his toddler and I said the farm had free-range children. We stood very still and a mouse family crossed the woodland path in front of us. We saw an anteater and it was difficult to tell which was his front.
Joe and Chelsea were off doing their own animal feeding.
We recovered from the long walk and Chelsea named a camel Camela Anderson on our way out.
I bought a can of fizzy rhubarb because my bottle of coke leaked in my bag and I was really thirsty. A peacock was living his best life sitting at a table eating chips. There was also a family of peacocks stood on top of the toilets having a “pea”.
Wedding guests started arriving and one lady carried a fluffy pooch instead of a handbag.
We did seflies by the Jimmys signs. Dad did a paint me like your French ladies post. Then we did more selfies with the Osbornes.
We did a convoy and Grandad noomed off and all our jaws hung open and then Joe came over the radio saying “um… did Grandad just gap me?!” to which Josh replied that Joe was “the only one without a turbo in the convoy”.
The Osbornes went to check in to their hotel. We headed into town to fit in a bit of shopping before dinner. Joe was involuntarily in the lead and Dad said “I don’t think he knows where he’s going” and I said “I’m sure he does. He always listens to the SatNav.” and then Chelsea said on the walkie-talkie that they weren’t lost, but they were geographically embarrassed. We found a different car park to the one we were heading to.
The rest of us navigated the floor to ceiling bookshelves.
The groups divided to conquer the shops. Mum, Dad, Josh and Tali went left. Joe and Chelsea went right. We looked in some charity shops. Tali tried on a dress. The auction shop had sadly shut at 3 pm, so Tali looked longingly at the vintage vogues through the window. I had a spend up in the craft shop and bought a knitted blank angel, purple dog, and seagull, and a Moomins pestle, and miffy keyring for Cam and some crochet apples for me.
We walked back down the other end towards the sea to the two record stores. One was open and one wasn’t. There had been a record fair in the day but we’d missed it (boo) but Don got a free Britney CD (yay). Joe and Chelsea joined us and we were all flagging and had some time to kill so we settled on Greggs and shared some sausage rolls and waters to tide us over and had a sit down.
We went to Prezzo early and sat at the same table we did last time. We compared shopping and Chelsea had bought the dress that Tali had tried on!
We ordered cocktails – Chelsea had a Pornstar Martini, and I had a lemon and elderflower spritzer.
The Osbornes arrived and we perused the menu. Josh had Chelsea’s prosecco shot. Joe, Tali, and Dad Bailey had Prezzo burgers. Josh and Grandad did well and ate a huge pizza each. Grandma had beef & mash. Cam had sea bass. I had crab and lobster ravioli. Joe and Chelsea shared crispy mozzarella too. Grandma had a lemon meringue pie and I was jealous because it was a Kings Street one and I’ve never seen one like that anywhere else. Grandad had a scoop of strawberry and vanilla ice cream. Me and Chelsea both had honeycomb cheesecakes. Grandad was concerned about Tali feeling emotional. Joe said you should be used to it with three daughters but Grandad didn’t get it. Chelsea showed Grandma all of her tattoos and Grandma inspected Tali’s belly button piercing.
We took an obligatory selfie to commemorate the evening.
Grandad came with us to the Docks. The car park was parked out! There was an S2000, a Nissan something, a Lexus, a Prelude, and a shiny Jeep that Joe said was like the one from Back To The Future, which made me love him even more. When we parked, some kids in a Corsa complemented Joe’s car. Tali took herself off for some quiet time down the beach, so we all joined her. Chelsea searched for sea glass in the dark and picked up a bit of jellyfish. We marvelled at the MSC Loretto – one of the largest cargo ships in the world. It was being loaded up with containers like Jenga.
We watched the sun go down and then dropped Grandad back at his hotel. Then we drove to Lidl but it was closed. Then we drove back to the Co-Op and had some bother parking. Whilst me and the little ones went off to find that the Co-Op was indeed closed also, Joe disappeared into the sunset with no battery on his phone. Despite Josh’s valiant efforts on the walkie-talkie, including “Juliet Bravo Senior, this is Juliet Bravo Junior, please respond” there was no contact. Chelsea tried ringing him and then he picked up when Tali phoned him. Meanwhile, in our search for the lesser spotted Joe, we found some water and Diet Coke at a 7-11. Joe explained that he was at the caravan park and gave us much-needed directions.
We got there and still couldn’t find him. He’d abandoned his car and was wandering around in the dark trying to locate our missing caravan but to no avail. With a team effort, the caravan was found. Don came back to the car for me and we drove around the park several times in search of Chelsea who was to be our locator point. Don gave up and drove through several caravans. We spotted Josh doing some impeccable marshalling (which made me love him even more) and Don was just huffing about Chelsea not guiding the way when she turned up and explained she’d been worried sick and been searching the whole site for him.
(Joe – We forgot that this was the same caravan park we stayed in last time where they pump raw sewage out onto the grass underneath the ‘vans. Lucky we were only there for a few days)
We stumbled into the caravan and sat chatting about unmentionable things and got the overtired, hysterical, post-cocktail giggles – mostly at Don saying holibobs and being grumpy sitting beneath a sign that said “Enjoy Every Moment”. After much inappropriate joviality, we fell into bed. Chelsea made up a new Bailey family motto for us – It’s a shit show.
We roused ourselves at around 9am. Tali kindly did a French braid for me and then Joe said I looked like Anakin Skywalker. We got ready and then left the ‘van about 10am. The kiddos had slept in little twin beds. Joe said he’d progressively rolled 360 degrees in the night like a kebab. I heard Josh bitterly and resignedly laughing to himself in the early hours, but he said he did it in his sleep.
We rocked up at the docks cafe (still unsue of its actual name) and queued up for a much-needed breakfast. We sat outside (they gave us a bucket with a number on it) but because they were busy, we had to wait a while, and it was very breezy and thereby chilly. We enjoyed seeing the cargo ship (still working hard to be filled up) in the daylight though and there were some starlings to keep us entertained.
Tali and Dad Bailey had giant breakfasts, Chelsea had a smaller one and gave her bacon to Joe and told us about all of the positives of toast. Josh and I had breakfast baps – one with mushrooms, one without. We had to stop the litter blowing away so we wedged it in the bucket using Joe’s engineering skills.
We had another parking bother but eventually met up with Grandad and Cam at the market to say goodbye. They had had breakfast at the hotel and Grandma was sitting somewhere by the sea. They kindly bought me some cake with them. Tali and Chelsea lusted after the dresses. Tali bought a lighter, some earrings, and a bracelet. I bought a Star Trek comic for Joe and a mouse teapot for £1 each.
We had a sit down outside the Beard Barbers with a man standing outside doing a good job of modelling his beard.
Me and Chelsea did our usual poses with the fairy wings.
We walked towards town and Josh did his puppy eyes at the Adventure Gold so how could we refuse. There was some loud discussion about Josh and Tali looking/not looking under 12 and a slight issue with everyone getting what colour golf ball they wanted but then we were in.
There were 6 of us to take turns so we had to rush a bit to be fair to the people behind us. Josh was smiley to have his go. Tali less so at the back. The sun came out and we were absolutely boiling. I may or may not have cheated a bit to get the game going, otherwise, I’d still be there now. I did do a 2 though! The course went up over and through things, including a waterfall. A man forgot his waterfall, so kept awkwardly walking in front of me every time I’d lined my all important shot up. We made it to the end and tallied up the scores. Tali won with a very impressive score, so I led a round of applause for her. Chelsea was a close second, followed by a thread by Don. The boys got the same score (phew) and I came in with a respectable last place.
We were all really hot and tired out, so we limped to the ice cream parlour where the youngsters got a bit hot and bothered with each other. Thankfully everyone cooled off with their ice creams, a sit down, and some water. Chelsea fell in love with one of those fluffy dogs again, that had had all of its fluff shaved off. I had a lemon, lime, and mint sorbet because I was too hot for an affogato. It was too crumbly to go in a cone so I had it in a little pot with a square spoon. Don had a seashell. The boys had their usuals. Chelsea had a frappe with spiced latte ice cream, coffee, and sauce (yum!) and a parma violet, and Tali had Jaffa Cake.
The fabulous four went off swimming and me and Don had a chill on the beach near the pier. Dad had a sleep and I wrote the holiday book. When he woke up, I said “is it getting dark?” and he said “nah it’s your eyes”.
Next thing you know, a storm rolled in. We beat the torrential downpour by getting to the swimming pool canopy and sheltered under there. We watched a seagull drinking out of a puddle and some people getting soaked through. It didn’t look like it was stopping, so we went next door to a craft fair. There were some beautiful stuff but I was good and didn’t buy anything. Don told the felting lady that I used to do that and the lady said most people give up because it stabs your fingers, so then I ran off.
We went back to our shelter and waited for the kids to come out. Josh was first and he said he’d had fun despite initially not wanting to go. Joe was next and he waved at people who were waving from their cars (picking up their families to rescue them from the beach with the rain). Tali and Chelsea joined us freshly showered and with beautifully dried hair, only to get wet again. Tali regaled that she lost her earrings and belly button piercing in the pool. They were all post-swim famished so we decided we’d graze our way along the seafront back to the car. I recommended the craft fair to the girls so they had a spend up in there. Chelsea bought a knitted pink cuddly and a scrunchie. Joe chatted up the excorcist (excema specialist) and got a cream sample. Me and Don took a slow walk back in the drizzle.
The others queued up with Chelsea so she could have her face painted with a Stitch (Disney) design and a butterfly henna.
Me and Don shared a chips and Diet Coke, alternating them as we were carrying shoes and swimming stuff and didn’t have enough hands. It was quite nice eating chips in the rain. There was another downpour when we reached the car, so we sent out a rescue mission message to the kids but they were too busy fending for their lives. They did share some hot donuts though.
We drove the five minutes back to the caravan park and had a chill on our phones. At about 5:30, Joe said “Oh we were supposed to have a beach hut today”. Oopsie. So I said “Oh, let’s go!”. We got ready and then drove into town. Chelsea kindly bought us dinner. The kids picked up a lovely big Dominos order whilst me and Don had a KLF rave in the car.
We drove to a different beach with lots of free parking (phew) and climbed down some steps. The instructions said 40, but it was nearer 70. It was quite an adventure, but we found our hut and Joe opened about 20 locks to reveal a lovely little cosy space, fully kitted out – even with buckets and spades. Perfect!
We cosied up together on the teeny sofas and stuffed our faces. We set up camp on the beach, as the beach hut also provided fold-up chairs. Me and Joe trekked back up the 90 million steps for the toilet and to get the marshmallow toasting kit. Joe and Chelsea went off for a romance collecting pebbles and sea glass.
Josh and Tali had a swim!! I enjoyed a blissful paddle. Poor Josh’s hands stung with his excema, so he had to come out. Him and Tali “warmed up” in the Beach hut.
Once everyone was back together, it was getting pretty dark, so we made smores by toasting marshmallows.
Josh and Joe had a lot of fun burning a tissue.
We sang kumbaya and he’s got the whole world in his hands for effect. We packed up camp and returned the hut to its previous tidy state.
I had a mindful moment moon gazing as it reflected on the calm water and Joe said “You know me and Josh just peed in that”. We did the mountain trail back, guided by phone torches and drove back to the ‘van.
Everyone was shattered but Tali wanted to go to the bar and play pool. The youngsters headed off, but it wasn’t much fun, so they returned and went to bed. Josh thought that the Stacey’s Mom song that was playing at the club had originated on Tik-Tok.
I undid my braid and I was Curly Sue two.
We packed up the caravan and had cold pizza for breakfast. We weren’t sure what to do today, so called a family meeting. Joe listed all the things you can do in Felixstowe: shopping, beach, amusements, old Felixstowe, The Fort. Tali said “let’s do all of them!” so that’s what we decided to do! A last trip to the ice cream parlour was non-negotiable.
We had our obligatory photo in front of the caravan and then set off with 10 minutes spare! We parked at the seafront and were early enough to try out all of the spaces. We made a bee-line for the Parlour before they got too busy.
Josh had to restrain me because I was so excited about having my affogato (and it was with spiced latte ice cream!). It was a bit too early for ice cream for Don so he had a much-needed Americano. Josh had mint choc chip. Tali had peanut butter chocolate. Joe had strawberry cheesecake and Chelsea had cherry and her usual frappe. I thanked them and said “see you next year” when we left.
We looked in an antique shop, which I told everyone who would listen that it used to be a shell shop when I was a little girl. Don chatted the man up and got to disappear into the back to search through stacks of CDs and records. The card machine couldn’t get signal, so we just walked around awkwardly for 20 mins until Josh went, “actually I’ve got a tenner”. I picked up a book which the man said belonged to him but I could have it, but I didn’t want it for £3 anyway. I also found a couple of egg cups so I tried to do a deal and say if I give you £4 cash for these and Dons stuff we’ll be on our way instead of waiting for the wifi to sort itself out but everyone kept helpfully saying here, I’ve got some money, and I didn’t really want to spend that much anyway.
We finally escaped and joined Joe and Chelsea on the beach. Joe and Josh bought some spaces and dug a hole and trench but lost interest quicker than they normally do. I wrote ‘Felixstowe 2023’ in the sand and a little toddler kept pointing to it and making footprints all around it. Don sat in the biggest pile of seagull poo ever pooed by a seagull.
Joe and Chelsea and Don hit the amusements and then Josh and Tali joined them. I sat in the sun until they returned. They did some racing games. Chelsea won a blue lollipop. Josh was disgusted that a prize was a framed Transformers poster, but the small print said post not included.
We walked to the gardens and the youngsters went half way up, whilst us oldies had a loo stop. There was a queue for the mens, so all the middle aged men had a chat about it.
We caught up with the gang and had an ocean view selfie.
The kiddos went left and we went right, up the steps and then all walked into town together. Don checked out the vinyl store whilst the others went ahead to see if the auction shop was open. It wasn’t. A little girl in the record shop wanted to ask the shop keeper something but she told her dad she was too shy. Her dad said there’s no room in life for being shy, just be brave and do it! I said I wished my dad had told me that.
We walked down the hill, picked up some drinks from the car, and then got fish and chips. They didn’t have Doner Kebabs for Chelsea, so there was a bit of toing and froing and queueing and squishing but we got there in the end.
We had a picnic on the beach next to the pier. Every time we turned our heads and looked back, there were more gulls, like the weeping angels in Dr Who. Then we annoyed the whole beach by throwing chips at them. Chelsea made a pretty pattern on her arm with rocks and the Henna that she’d had done whilst getting Stitch on her face.
Tali was the seagull whisperer and fed an entire flock. Don got a bit carried away and lobbed a rock which hit a poor unsuspecting bird and it had to go and have an ice pack in the sea. A dove collected seaweed for its nest on the pier. When we’d caused enough of a commotion we went back to the cars. Don had to do a 50 million point turn to get out of the space he’d chosen.
We decided to forfeit the fort and headed to Old Felixstowe to catch the ferry. Joe had read that the beach on the other side had sharks teeth. Josh was excited to share over the walkie-talkie that one of the posh houses had a canon in its front garden.
We parked up and then it occurred to the six of us that we would need cash for the car park and for the ferry. Oh dear! I asked a cyclist if the ferry was cash only but he didn’t know.
Don and Joe saved the day and drove to the Spar to get some money. The rest of us waited on the little beach for them to return. It was lovely in the sunshine with lots of little families crabbing and the cafes doing a roaring trade. The men soon came back, just as the ferry arrived, so we had to run to the jetty!
We paid £5 each for a 3 minute journey, but it was beautiful and lots of fun!
We found a spot on the other beach and searched for sea glass, shells, and shark teeth. Josh filled Tali’s hat. Joe dug a trench in his search. Tali asked us if any one of us had a needle as her piercing was closing up and then proceeded to prod it with her nails. I wandered off to the furthest point I could reach, searching for some treasures along the way. Don came to join me.
Then, apart from Chelsea who could have stayed there forever, we were all ready for a pint or a cup of tea. We found a beach view cafe but did an Osborne (walked in and out again), even though poor Don got comfortable at a table, because the cokes were £3 each.
I liked seeing the crabbing nets, song lovers, and green beans that were for sale. We found Don some shade and loitered by the jetty.
The ferry arrived so Tali phoned Chelsea and we all hopped on board. We had it all to ourselves – how wonderful!
We headed homeward and then on nearing Royston we had a little message saying shall we cheers the holiday with some Costa Coolers? So that’s how we finished off our Bank Holiday weekend. Side note: the poor costa girl kept putting blueberry sauce on the Mango frappe and Mango sauce on the blueberry frape so we gave her a round of applause when she finally got it right but she didn’t really appreciate her clap. Also, second handbag disaster – the little trinkets that I bought ended up getting smashed in my bag anyway – oopsie.
For me Bailey adventures, make sure to follow me.