Felixstowe 2023 as told by Mom Bailey

Day 1

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.

I took Don into a fishmongers to get him some cockles before they closed and they made a big fuss of scraping the barrel to get the very last few. Don enjoyed them standing outside the bookshop.

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.

On our way to Prezzo me and Chelsea went on an errand for Nessa, who didn’t come, and bought her some Wimpy sauce.

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.

Day 2

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.

Day 3

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.

Lake District

Day 1 – Driving

We finished packing the car and left Royston at 11. We then stopped for a McDonald’s breakfast and Chelsea picked up a balloon. We then drove on to Cawley services where Dad and Joe swapped over driving. Joe drove for an hour through heavy traffic in Birmingham. Then Chelsea needed a wee so Joe and Dad swapped over again. After a few more hours we finally arrived at Newbiggin-on-lune and found our cottage in the dark. Dad went off for a walk because he needed some space but couldn’t find a co-op. We all unloaded the car. We then got set up with the WiFi and found that the co-op was in Kirkby Stephen, 6 miles away. Joe, Chelsea, and Mum then drove to co-op and picked up some milk and dinner; pasta carbonara, and some breakfast. There was a 15% incline and decline on the way there but Joe was sensible and didn’t fall down the hill. We got back and Mum cooked dinner whilst we all unpacked. Dad wasn’t very impressed with the 3 channels on the TV. We sat at the dinner table to have dinner together for the first time in 5 years. Then we played dungeons and dragons which Joe got for Christmas. Joe wanted to kill everything and everyone and Josh said he had to play his character, neutral good. Josh was a very good dungeon master and we all kept talking lots. Then we went to bed.

Day 2

We got up early (stoopid o’clock according to Josh). We headed out and drove to Honister Slate Mine which was booked for 10:30. Mum and Chelsea had lots of kittens because the roads were very very narrow. We followed an open-top bus. When we got to the mine it was very steep, so much so the car struggled to make it up the hill.

Walking from the car to the entrance, less than 100 yards, we got absolutely drenched. We walked in and went through to the shop where we had to sign in for our mine tour. Then we waited around the shop for half an hour. Josh and Dad and Chelsea all found something to buy at the end. Then we were called through to our “holding pen” where we met Donald the mine tourer aka minotaur. He chatted on about something and we put hard hats on. Then we got a bus even further up the mountain and walked into the slate mine getting even more drenched. The mine was quite wide so Mum’s claustrophobia didn’t kick in. But it was a lot of walking and standing and very cold and wet so everyone was a bit dead. Donald said we were posh cos we were from Cambridge. We saw dunno wasn’t listening, some caverns, and a lot of slate, and a story about an eight-year-old boy. Donald kept reminding us the whole way through the tour of the 1 million ways to die in a mine. We turned our headlights off and Donald lit a candle. He then asked, “is it anybody’s birthday!?” And Mum and Chelsea said “yeah, actually” and we all sang happy birthday to the other Donald. He then blew out the candle. Somehow Dad blamed Joe and thought he’d orchestrated the whole thing. Later on we explained it was a spur-of-the-moment thing. Joe and Chelsea stole 4 bits of slate from the countryside for coasters as they were £5 each in the shop. We were looking for a big bit for a placemat too but couldn’t find one. Dad bought a birthday pestle and mortar. Chelsea bought a fridge magnet. Josh bought a rainbow geode.

Dad wanted a coffee but we drove on. We stopped at a big boulder and had a little walk and play.

A timelapse of our trip home

We went to Rheged; a cafe in a mountain Joe had promised. But it was more like a cafe in a fake hill. It was still cool though. Mum was in heaven with the posho food and wellbeing shop. The prices were a bit dear and they added salt to all the cakes to make them posh. Dad had a hot dog with mustard and onions and a roasted white chocolate oat slice. Mum had a chewy soup and bread and a roasted white chocolate oat slice. Chelsea had a pizza. Joe and Josh also shared a pizza. It was green leaves and cold mozzarella and drenched in lemon juice. Joe had a viccy sponge. Chelsea had a chocolate cookie and salt. Josh finished off Joe’s cake. They also had a cinema at Rheged. Joe dared Josh to snort icing sugar and he did a tiny bit and hurt his nose. As we were leaving Josh saw a Mitsubishi so Dad went the whole way round the roundabout to have a look. It turned out to just be a Grandis.

We then drove back the way we came to Castlerigg stone circle. It was very muddy and wet but nice to be with the mythical energy. We offered up Mom Bailey as a sacrifice. Lots of people had put flowers in the middle of the circle.

Then we drove on to Booths Penrith and drove past the sorry looking ruined castle. They had a massive home bargains. Booths is just like a posh Waitrose but northern. Joe really enjoyed it. Mum didn’t like the prices. Chelsea liked the orange juice machine. Josh thought Booths was stressful because he doesn’t like new places. Dad stayed in the car. We got our weekly shopping done and then headed home for the day.

We had tacos for dinner which Joe cooked. There was no taco mince seasoning so Joe made his own and everybody was disgusted. They all loved Chelsea’s vegetables apart from Mum because she didn’t wash it. We had posh Lake District cheese which Josh grated and we liked apart from Dad’s bit had some of Josh’s hair in it. Then we had Apple Crumble for pudding which Chelsea doesn’t like and no-one wanted. It was boiling in the house and the crumble was hot too. Chelsea, Josh, and Dad all went to bed at about 8:30. Mum and Joe stayed up reading a book/on their phones.

The village where we were staying

Day 3 – Sloshy Joshy

We woke up at 9:30, a lay in for us. We all got ready quite slowly and left at about 10:45. Josh had a crepe for breakfast. Joe had a sausage roll that had been sitting in the car.

We drove to Aira Force. On the way, we drove past Ullswater and Chelsea said she wanted all of the houses. Dad said he could imagine it going like Loch Ness and someone sitting in their pants on the way home. Dad parked at the bottom but Joe said no no keep going so that the car makes it to the top and you can not walk as far. We didn’t have any coins for the car park so Dad insisted we pay when we get home.

We then walked down to Aira Force where Josh had some fun going on the rocks. Chelsea didn’t want to bring the camera so Joe walked back to the car and got it. Joe got halfway back to Aira Force whilst taking a few photos to discover that Chelsea hadn’t brought the right batteries, so back to the car it was again to dump the camera off.

When Joe and Chelsea got back to the waterfall Mum came running and exclaimed Josh was stuck and that Dad had tried to rescue him but had fallen and hurt his coccyx and arm. Joe took off his coat and shoes and went running into the waterfall. He slipped over but wasn’t hurt and carried on getting to Josh. He got his phone and then tried to make it back to shore but the rocks were too slippery and the current too strong. He lowered his centre of gravity and gallantly made it back. Dad and Chelsea formed a chain to hold on to Josh and tug him back ashore. We were all very wet and sat in our pants on the way home. Quite a crowd had gathered at the waterfall to watch our shenanigans and we all had a good laugh.

Moments before disaster

It was around about lunchtime and we’d driven past Burger King every day so said we were stopping there. Mum got a Greggs baguette and then went back for a Latte. The very northern man said that she could have got a discount latte as a meal so then let her have it for free! Dad and Chelsea returned with the Burger King and we sat and ate it in the car.

We finally got home and all stripped out of our soaked clothes. Dad wanted to stay back at the ranch and rest so everyone else got back in the car and headed off to Keswick for the Pencil Museum and some shops. The driver’s wiper broke about 10 minutes up the road so Joe had to drive with rain all over the windscreen. We pulled into Burger King again to see if we could fix it but alas it was broke.

Joe decided to carry on to Keswick, we’d have to make something out of our day. We finally arrived after having some people try and jump in front of the car when Joe couldn’t even see them. The car park machine didn’t work again so we ended up paying a bit more.

The Pencil Factory closed in 2011 so we only went around a small little museum. We got a pencil as part of our entry price and Josh had a little quiz to do around the museum so we all helped with that. We learnt that in WWII, MI9 commissioned Derwent Pencil Factory to make a pencil with a map and compass inside it. They were £30 in the shop though.

We had a wander round Keswick town. It was very dark and wet and the shops were shutting. Mum thought it was very pretty though and took lots of Instagram photos of the lights. We went into a Toy Shop and Joe said are those Lotties like a Barbie and started the shopkeeper off on one about how Lotties give realistic expectations to children whilst Barbie is stick thin and has pointy boobs. Then we found another shop which had a lot of expensive stuff for your man cave and also a harry potter section. Chelsea was in heaven with £300 stuffies. Then we went to Smiths to buy some string to tie the windscreen wipers together. Joe bought a train magazine to see the upcoming shows and Josh got a Warhammer magazine. We found a couple of charity shops which Chelsea enjoyed browsing in. The good toy shop and charity shops were closed by the time we got to them so we said we’d go back another day and Chelsea entered a flump.

We tried stringing the windscreen wipers together to no avail so Joe drove home in the dark with torrential rain and not being able to see. We luckily made it home in one piece after quite an eventful day.

Joe cooked a fry-up with help from Mum and Chelsea. We had bacon, chips, sausages with cranberry, eggs, and tomato. No one liked it apart from Joe. Then we had a round of Monopoly. Josh was out first, then Dad, then Mum, then Joe. Which meant Chelsea won with £12,853. When someone went out, they went to bed, so it was just Joe and Chelsea left at the end when they went to bed too.

Day 4

We got up bright and early and headed off to Lake Windermere. It was a nice different route so felt shorter. There were a lot of twisty roads and we ended up driving through a cloud which was fun. We passed the old Booths we used to go to and found a car park. Joe paid on his phone so we didn’t have to fight a ticket machine.

We were running late so Mum and Dad took a leisurely walk to the toilets whilst Joe, Josh, and Chelsea ran off to find the boat and hold it. We got there bang on half past ten but were supposed to be there 15 minutes before for a safety meeting. Mum and Dad rocked up 5 minutes later with no sense of urgency. The man gave us a little briefing and told us to steer clear of the red buoys, he gave us lifejackets and helped us into the boat. Joe drove first and headed out for a yellow buoy that the man had told us about. Then Josh had a turn, then Chelsea, then Mum, then Dad, then Josh again. Mum had kittens when anyone stood up or rocked the boat. Josh spun us in circles and did a slalom through some buoys. Chelsea started heading us back home once she got the hang of where to point the boat. Joe took us in for a smooth docking.

A timelapse of our trip
Chelsea driving the boat
Joe docking the boat

We then wandered up the high street and went into a toy shop and charity shop. We stopped at Bryson’s for lunch for Mum. Dad had an English Grill because they’d stopped serving breakfast and a large coffee but he didn’t think it was very large. Josh had a hot chocolate and cheese and ham toastie but he wasn’t impressed with the orange cheese. Mum had a Lakeside special which was actually a scone with rum butter and of course a gingerbread latte. Chelsea had a tuna melt panini but wasn’t very impressed because it was just toast with a cold filling. Chelsea and Joe both had a chocolate milkshake each which they thought was nice. Joe had cheesy chips without the cheese and a lemon drizzle cake. He didn’t think much of the cheeseless chips but liked the lemon drizzle cake as it had a nice sweet on it which is the only reason he ordered it.

Then we went to The World of Beatrix Potter after walking up a hill and then down a hill for Dad’s benefit. There were a lot of Asian tourists and lots of little kids and it was very busy and there was no information about the displays. It was just some nice paper mache dioramas of scenes from the books. Joe, Josh, Mum, and Dad weren’t very impressed. Chelsea lapped it up and bought a Peter Rabbit cuddly for £30 and ummed and arred about getting a photo taken before going back with Joe and getting 3 keyrings with our photo in. We thought we needed the ticket to get the photos so made Mum run all the way back up the hill as Mum, Josh, and Dad had left ages ago via a different exit. Turns out, no ticket was needed!

Joe and Josh then raced back to the car as time on the ticket was running out. Chelsea came with them part of the way but dropped off to get a Windermere magnet. Mum and Dad made their leisurely walk back.

We drove to Kendal Halfords to see if we could buy some tools to tamper with the windscreen wipers some more. Dad went for a wee at Morrisons first. Joe waited in the car. Chelsea, Josh, and Mum wandered around B&M and Matalan. Dad came back to the car after his wee but couldn’t see Joe so wandered round the shops in a fluster before finding Mum who explained Joe was in the car. Dad then went to Halfords and bought the tools he needed. Joe and Dad fiddled with the wipers for a good half an hour during which time a Halfords man came out to ask if we needed any help but we said no thanks we’ve got this. We got a solution that sort of worked and then drove home.

Fixing the windscreen wipers

Chelsea and Josh and Dad all had a nap. Joe played Surviving Mars. Mum cooked pork medals and chips for dinner. We woke everyone up for dinner and sat up the table. We then roasted marshmallows for pudding. We tried some of Tracey’s bubbly but all thought it was disgusting. Dad then went back off to bed and Joe had a shower. Josh and Mum and Chelsea got some glow sticks out ready for New Years’ celebrations. Joe came back and Chelsea had assigned herself the fun police and made sure everyone was having fun. We watched the BBC propaganda and then all slinked off to bed.

Day 5 

We got up bright and early ready to go for our Whiskey Tour and tasting at the Lakes Distillery. We left plenty of time as we didn’t want to be late like yesterday. We ended up getting there 50 minutes early so we sat in their bistro and had cuppa. It then got to 10 to 11, and we had to be there 15 minutes early! So we all had a panic and sent Joe off to book in. We then finished off our drinks and headed out to the courtyard to meet our tour guide. She took us through the buildings and showed us a video aerial view of the river from start to sea and then we saw all the vats where they brew their whiskey, vodkas and gins. The vats were called Susan, Rachel, and Olaf. We then saw the kegs that were either imported from America where they had been used to make Jack Daniels or their custom-made ones in Spain. The American ones can only be used once over there so we get them for a bargain at about £100/barrel. The custom-made Spanish oak ones are between £1500 and £5000 a barrel. Depending on the wood, you can get a different colour whiskey and they had a nice wall of bottles demonstrating this. We smelled one barrel which smelt like Christmas pudding. Overall the tour was very high-end and classy so Mum and Joe enjoyed that very much.

Then it was time for the tasting. We sat around a 5 seater table on bar stalls. Josh sat with the whiskey and gin and Chelsea sat with the apple juice, they then had to switch. We tried the whiskey first which was very nice tasting but burnt a lot once you swallowed it. Next, the lady brought out ice cold vodka which was very smooth but reminded Joe of lots of hangovers. The lady brought out some tonic for our gin which none of us really like but we tried it anyway. It tasted like gin with a hint of orange. Chelsea and Dad both left a lot of theirs so it was up to Joe to get our monies worth. He ended up being rather tipsy. Joe said he could feel the whiskey in his ears.

The alpacas were booked for 2:30 but it was only 12 so we drove into Cockermouth hoping to go somewhere for lunch. Everywhere was closed because it was New Years’ Day and it was also a tiny little town. Then we drove around looking for a farm shop or a pub but they were all closed too. Then we drove back to the distillery to go to their Bistro but they were fully booked so then we drove again on to Cockermouth for their services. Chelsea had Subway. Joe and Josh had Greggs. Dad had a Spa sandwich. Mum had Starbies. Then we drove back to the distillery again and all went for a much-needed drunk wee. 

We walked over to the alpaca fields and saw them all following after the man as they thought he had food. We waited for everyone to turn up, then went into the field and had cuddles whilst the man came around and filled our buckets with food. He told us that the skinny alpacas have to wear coats and Mum said “oh just like Joe”. Delilah the alpaca is the best in the world because she gives lots of cuddles and sits down for you to stroke her neck. You’re only supposed to stroke their neck as that’s their favourite and they can’t see if you stroke their head or back. The man told us not to ride or pick up the alpacas at the beginning and a lady said thank you for telling us because her kids really would try. When an alpaca gives birth it’s called unpacking. He also told us that their fur is not flammable and completely waterproof. It’s also very strong and soft. There were a few baby alpacas and one called squirrel. Baby alpacas are called criers. It went quite quick but we all had fun.

We went to the shop and Chelsea bought a baby alpaca. Joe bought some special whiskey glasses. Mum bought a tumbler, and an alpaca purse for Cam.

We didn’t have anything else planned for that day but we stopped at Tebay Services on the way home as Mum had been dying for it. Dad was a grinch and stayed in the car. Mum wasn’t that impressed but we got some mince and milk and a pork pie for Dad. Chelsea found a bauble made of paper for £7. We got back to the car and saw lots of birds coming in to roost on the telegraph poles.

We got home and Chelsea had a bit of a cough so we went back out again to Co-Op to get some cough sweets and chips for dinner and some coke so we didn’t die. We finally got home and had a rest. Joe played Surviving Mars. Mum cooked Shepherds Pie. Chelsea, Josh, and Dad all had their afternoon sleep. We had dinner at about 9 o’clock and then everyone slinked off to bed again.

Day 6

Josh told us to get up for 9:30 for our walk and we were all ready. It took him until 11 to get ready. We were annoyed. We drove into Kirkby Stephen up the road and parked in a little car park. We then walked down to the river which was very fast and noisy and wet. The trail got muddier and muddier and muddier until we were walking up a stream. Mum and Josh forgot to bring their wellies so ruined their shoes. Luckily no-one fell over. We walked for miles and miles and then came out on a bridge, walked for a few yards more and ended up back at the car! We were all most annoyed as there was no pretty viaduct to see and signs all the way back to the car park asking us to donate money for the viaducts.

We then got petrol and had a family meeting on what to do for the day. We went to co-op for meal deals and ate them back at the ranch. We dumped Dad off and Joe drove us all the way back to Keswick. Mum had a snooze in the car. We found some good parking and went off on a mission to find the charity shop and toy shop that we had missed the other day. The toy shop was alright but didn’t have that many interesting things in it. Josh bought 2 models. We then went to the Oxfam which was big and had lots of our hobbies in. Chelsea managed to get the Kristoff she’d been after, after seeing it in the window.

There wasn’t anything left to do in Keswick and we didn’t fancy a tearoom so we drove on to Long Meg and her Daughters. There were some really fun roads getting there and we drove across a single-track bridge. We drove right up to the stone circle and there was no parking so we just parked on the grass in the middle of the circle. Joe and Josh and Chelsea all ran round and touched the stones then got cold and out of breath so sat in the car. Mum chatted up some hikers and soaked up the atmosphere. We went off home again and finally saw a viaduct and then nearly died when it rained cos we don’t have wipers. 

We had chicken burgers for tea and Josh stayed in his room. Joe played Surviving Mars. Chelsea played on her phone. Dad also played on his phone. We lit the fire as if it wasn’t warm enough. Joe, Josh, Chelsea, and Mum had a game of Cluedo. Chelsea won. Josh, Chelsea, and Mum also played Buckaroo and Josh and Mum jumped into the ceiling every time the buck rooed.

Day 7 – Karting

We woke up quite early to go to Tebay services for breakfast. Joe and Josh weren’t very impressed with the posh food but Chelsea and Dad Bailey had a full English while Mom Bailey had a healthy salad thing. We ate our breakfast, had a cheeky morning cake, took a few photos with the ducks and then headed off for our activity of the day.

A Bailey holiday wouldn’t be a Bailey holiday without cars of some form, in this case, it was petrol-powered karts. When we got to the karting place we were a bit early so we sat in the car for a bit and then headed inside.

There were some people already racing so Joe and Dad Bailey were judging them and already working out how to take each corner. We got our race suits and helmets on and waited to be assigned a kart each. We gave Mom Bailey the camera because we knew if she joined in she would beat all of us and we wanted a fair race. Dad Bailey got kart Number 11, Josh got Number 7, Chelsea got Number 12, and Joe got Number 6.

Then we were off! The man who was running the karting place gave Chelsea and Josh the front two karts so that we would have a few laps without being passed by Joe and Dad Bailey. We zoomed around for half an hour at which point we were all exhausted (excuse the pun). We collected our time cards and of course, Joe got the fastest lap. Dad Bailey came second, then Josh, and then Chelsea although she did well for her first time karting.

When we got back to the car Joe was complaining that his back hurt and we all thought it was just Joe being Joe until Chelsea lifted up his top to show a rather gross hole that had formed in his back from rubbing against the kart seat. We didn’t have any plasters but thought lunch would make him feel better so found a little cafe by the harbour right next to a Sea Life Centre that Chelsea was excited about. We all had lunch and then Chelsea got an ice cream for dessert. We had a quick look in the Sea Life Centre gift shop but decided it was too expensive and everyone was too tired to look round so we bundled back in the car and went back to the cottage.

That night as we were all sitting in the front room we noticed that it had started to snow!! Being southerners we all got very excited, Mom Bailey and Chelsea even ran outside to dance in the snow. Mom Bailey then decided that Joe and Chelsea needed to do a snowy engagement shoot as Joe had proposed to Chelsea a few weeks before. We looked on Pinterest for a few pose ideas and then headed out into the cold much to the delight of Joe.

We managed to find some plasters from a small shop on our way home for Joe whose back was still hurting. He refused to let Chelsea put them on his back until we all went to bed. Chelsea took a photo of Joe’s Back to show him how back it was at which point he needed to sit down before he fell down because it was too gross. Chelsea plastered him up and we all went off to sleep.

Day 8 – Leaving the Lake District

We woke up, packed the car, enjoyed the snow, and set off home.

Pumpkin Picking

It was very cold and wet so the pumpkin patch we were originally going to go to was closed. After a lovely day shopping in Hitchin, we stopped at The Patch in Weston which was equally cold and wet but was indeed open. We took some obligatory family portraits and found the biggest pumpkins we could. We were also looking for a golden pumpkin to win a prize, but alas, we could not find it. We got back in the car and started to leave but were not going anywhere. The car was stuck in the mud! Joe gave it some revs and we drove out of the field sideways. Another person was stuck but we couldn’t stop our momentum or we would end up like them!

North Wales Family Holiday

Day 1 – The drive

Ruthin, where we’re staying was a four hour drive from us. We left at around 10am and headed to McDonald’s Royston for some breakfast. The staff were rude, so we’re glad we got Rishi’s (as Dad likes to call it) Eat Out To Help Out Deal meaning breakfast was only £20 for the 5 of us. We then filled up with diesel and set off. The hours ticked by and motorway slowly turned into A roads which slowly turned into country lanes as we entered Wales.

We arrived in Ruthin and struggled with the one-way system for a little on the roads. We eventually pulled into Ruthin Castle Hotel & Spa and thought that it looked far too posh for us. Alas, it was. We headed back out and to The Castle Hotel, Wetherspoons. We checked in and went to our rooms, which were lovely and big. Chelsea was happy because our room came with a sort-of bay window. She’s yet to use it.

We all reconvened for dinner outside. Me and Chelsea shared 3 pizzas. I had 2 coronas as they’re 2 for £5 and Chelsea had a cider. Mum had 3 deli deals and a cider, Josh had some chicken nuggets, with a coke and shared Mum’s nachos. Dad had a deluxe burger and coke.

A wasp decided to join us but I trapped him in a glass. Chelsea was both happy and sad as she didn’t want the wasp to suffocate.

We then all went for a walk around the town. We dropped Dad off back at the hotel and continued with a man down. We found a park and stream and went on a zip wire.

We then parted ways and went to our own rooms. Chelsea was full of beans and wanted some pudding so I took her down to the restaurant to get a brownie ice cream. I was a bit hungry too but not in the mood for something sweet so I got a bowl of chicken strips. We got caught by Dad who was outside having a fag. We got the keys off him and got the waters and crisps from the car to take back to our room so that we had something to drink in the night and something for midnight snacks.

Day 2 – Caernarfon Castle

We woke up at 8 and met downstairs for breakfast at half past. Dad had told Mum and Josh about mine and Chelsea’s late night escapade and they were very jealous. Dad had read a book on the history of Ruthin and Mum and Josh went to sleep. I had a breakfast wrap but the bacon tasted a bit weird which put me off the whole thing. I also had an orange juice. Josh and Chelsea had an apple juice but for some reason it came with lime in it. Josh had a bacon sandwich and Chelsea had a Freedom Breakfast and Mum had a traditional breakfast.

It was an hours drive to Caernarfon Castle and we got to go along the A55, the main road in North Wales which goes along the coast for some of it and through some tunnels to get through mountains. It is a gorgeous road. We even got to see multiple rainbows and even drove directly through one. We came from the Conwy side and so had to go all the way passed Caernarfon and then back again in order to get to the castle.

We passed the Welsh Highland Railway as we parked up at the castle. The car park was a bit expensive at £5.50 but we got the tickets for the castle free on Tesco Clubcard so that made up for it.

We arrived dead on 11 and made our way to the entrance. The man thought we were a party of 7 because we had booked for one family and two adults, he kept asking if we were sure there were only 5 of us. We walked around the castle grounds and up and down about 10,000 steps to get to the top of the castle towers. There were some amazing views. I liked the slate rooftops. We could see the sea from the castle and we took lots of photos. There was some building work going on so we couldn’t see all of the castle, but we did do a lot of walking so I don’t think we could have even managed. The weather got progressively worse as we wandered around the castle, and made some of the steps quite treacherous. Chelsea and Dad both bought a dragon and Josh got a TY dragon as when in Wales.

By the time we got back to the car, the heavens had opened and it was raining extremely heavily. As an added bonus the car windscreen was steaming up. We carefully drove to Burger King for lunch. We were planning on skipping lunch as we had a big breakfast, but I got hungry. It was a really small service station and there was a massive queue. We also had to share chairs when we finally did get our food. So lucky it was cheap with Rishi’s deal.

After our quick pit stop, we drove to Conwy, as we’d booked that castle for 3:00 pm. I took us the scenic route and we drove along the A55 right on the edge of the cliff, and then on a bridge leading into the castle. We paid only £2 for parking this time and made our way to the castle, only to be informed by passers-by that it had shut due to the high winds. Gutted! We drove home soaked.

We played Exploding Kittens over dinner and saw some more rainbows.

Day 3 – Talyllyn Railway, Tywyn beach, Dolgoch Falls

As usual, we went down for breakfast, this time a bit later as me and Mum had booked the train at the Talyllyn Railway for 2:05 pm. For breakfast me and Chelsea had sausage sandwiches, Dad had a large breakfast, mum a traditional and Josh a bacon sandwich.

We left just before 11 and made our way south towards Tywyn where we would get on the train. We were lucky enough to drive through the Mach Loop, but unfortunately, nothing was flying. I’m glad we didn’t make a day of it waiting around in the cold on top of a mountain. We also drove past Bala lake which was very picturesque. The roads were very narrow and we learnt that Araf meant Slow, so we kept shouting it at Dad.

We arrived half an hour early and the car park was free which was great. We had a look in the shop first and I bought a magnet and Chelsea bought a keyring. We then got on our carriage and began our journey through the beautiful Welsh countryside. We had pre-ordered a hamper which contained cheese sandwiches, a sausage roll, a quiche, a bottle of water, a salad, and welsh crisps. We shared all the snacks on the way. We passed Dolgoch Falls and decided to go back there in the car. We stopped at a station with a cafe and had some cake.

When we arrived back at the beginning we watched the engines go into their engine shed.

We then drove to Tywyn beach and we climbed on some rocks and Chelsea collected some pebbles to create a fairy house. It was really flat so the waves were really big and long.

Dolgoch falls was on our way back to Ruthin which was nice. We stopped and thought we’d only be there for a few minutes, but we were actualyl there for 2 hours! Me and Chelsea both took loads of photos, and I brought my tripod so I could do some long-exposure ones. There were some skimpy models in the waterfall on a professional photoshoot. We had great fun walking up through the forest and then above the falls. Josh, Dad, and Chelsea both put their feet in and had an explore in the stream, they all got freezing feet.

By the time we got back to Ruthin it was 9 o’clock. We changed out of our wet clothes and met downstairs for dinner. I had a burger and corona. Chelsea, Josh, and Dad all had Chicken Tikka Misala and mum had a 3 plate deli deal consisting of loaded chips, nachos, and king prawns. For some reason, they’d sold out of pizza! We’d started playing a card game as dinner arrived, so that was a bit embarrassing. We were all shattered so ate our dinner quickly and then retired for the night.

Day 4 – Colwyn Bay, Great Orme Mines

We met downstairs for breakfast at 10. I decided to have a wrap again, Josh and Dad had bacon sandwiches, Chelsea had the traditional breakfast and mum had beans on toast. Mum had to send her beans on toast back because they were cold.

I directed Dad to a Morrisons’ petrol station and then we got underway to Colwyn Bay. We parked up and Chelsea collected some shells on the beach. We met back up and continued on to Rhos-on-sea where we found a few antique shops. Mum even found a Cornishware bowl which put her in a good mood for the rest of the day. We then drove to Old Colwyn in search of a model and record shop. The record shop didn’t exist and neither did a lot of the charity shops Google was showing us. The model shop did but was closed for lunch so we drove to the mine instead.

The Great Orme Mine is situated at the top of a mountain just passed Llandudno. We had to drive up a very steep road, which was single-track by the way, to get there. An exhilarating experience to say the least. First, we watched a video on the mine and learnt that it was used in the 19th and 20th century’s and was originally going to be turned into a car park in 1987, but surveyors found evidence of a bronze-age civilization. It turns out that all previous knowledge of the bronze-age in Britain was wrong, there were people that mined and had access to copper nearly 4,000 years ago, not when the Romans came in 43AD as originally thought. We went on a self-guided tour around the mine. We could only explore 2 levels, but that was enough. It was very tight and there were a lot of very deep holes. The tunnels were so small because children used to work in there, and the average height of people 4,000 years ago was a lot less than it is today.

Dad then drove us up to the top of the mountain so Josh could have a frolic. Me and Chelsea took some pictures of the nice view. We then drove back down the mountain but Dad went a different way which went right along the edge of the cliff, much to Mum’s delight. We drove back to the model shop, which was small and sweet.

When we returned back to Ruthin we got a Co-Op meal deal and ate it in our rooms before having an afternoon sleep. We met back downstairs and finally got our hands on a Wetherspoons Warm Cookie Dough and Icecream.

Day 5 – Driving Home

We all got a cuddle with the pub cat before we left, which was nice.

Being in the North of Wales we were relatively close to Liverpool (about 50 minutes) so I wanted to go to Hattons, one of the biggest train stores in the country. Google assured me they were open and we drove all the way there to find they were shut because of the damn virus. We then had another 5 hours in the car to get home. Google let us down a fair bit on this holiday.

Overall, we had a much needed break. The weather was nice, for the most part, and when it rained it was atmospheric. We got to do a lot of activities and can all tick Wales off our travel list now.