Lessons for all the family

After we left our friends in Loughborough we headed down to a lovely campsite in the Chiltern Hills to gather our thoughts, explore the area and to have some quiet time. Little did we know we would be having some lessons of our own!

The boys have settled quite well into homeschooling. They know they have spellings everyday, as well as writing, numeracy and topic work regularly throughout the week. We had the added bonus of science at magna and now imaginative learning at Harry potter and Roald Dahl.

Getting the job done

As for us, we are on a learning path ourselves. We left in quite a flurry from the island and I felt as though my head was spinning. So these few days were going to be bliss, or so I’d hoped!

We didn’t manage to finish all our tasks before we left and so were finding it hard to complete these with no easy access to the information we needed or telephone. How on earth had we planned this for 2 years and still not be organised!! Those who know me well, will know this caused me great stress!

Unfortunately it meant that we had to spend time playing catch up, rather than exploring & relaxing! However, we did manage to have a good day out at Harry Potter Studios and have a little walk up to the Ivinghoe Beacon.

Lesson 1: don’t put off tomorrow what can be done today! It will bite you on the bum!!

Medical issues

To add to this Keith had hurt his knee before we left the island and this was gradually getting worse. He had managed to see a physio before he left, but unfortunately this creates more anxiety as the prognosis wasn’t good… a miniscus tear!

Surgery was likely to be the only option!! But we thought it would be ok for the trip. Wrong!! After lots of texts/phonecalls & help from friends he was booked to see an orthopedic surgeon the next day. If it was necessary then we would have to adapt our plans. As it turns out (following a speedy MRI scan) his knee is in perfect condition. And we still have no idea why he’s having difficulty?!? However, now that we know it’s not severe we can relax a little and hope it feels better soon!

Lesson 2: you’re getting old… get a full medical or as near to it, especially if you are planning a worldwide adventure!

Relaxing with friends

We left the Chiltern hills after a few days and joined some very dear friends! By this point I was desperately in need of a drink and so my resolve to take it easy this weekend had diminished! Ah well!!

Our friends have 2 boys who were born in the Isle of Man at a similar time so they were delighted to be seeing each other again! In fact they got on amazingly well all weekend. Hardly a bicker or punch up between them – ha ha!!

The weather was not playing ball though and we were constantly checking wet weather options. However, we fell lucky and with grey, cold and cloudy days we were able to get out more than we expected. Walking, running, cycling and rowing. By the end of it we were all exhausted physically and mentally. It was just lovely!

Rollercoaster rather than train.. into France

The next step was our journey through the eurotunnel! Having been on it before we knew what to expect and were booked on early Monday morning to ensure a good days drive through France.

What we didn’t expect was a 3 hour delay, which scuppered our plans!


Add to this 2 very tired and emotional boys, driving rain and gale force winds it made for a difficult drive! We changed our destination and arrived at an Aires (free!!) for the night!

We had chosen to drive on non-toll roads, which was fine but I hadn’t realised that there weren’t any service stations on this route. The non-toll roads take you on a longer route and through lots of villages. It’s doesn’t have many stopping opportunities for a motorhome and so the boys were grumpy as we didn’t stop much. Also, the time it was taking us to drive through this area was longer than we anticipated! Not a good combination with grumpy children

Lesson 3: Google assumes you are driving in a car (and very fast), adjust if you are in a motorhome!!

Lesson 4: If you have grumpy, tired children take the toll-roads for easy stops and earlier arrival at your destination. Yes it may cost you in the wallet but it’s sooooo worth it!

Emotional overload

To add to this the boys were not having a good time of it, especially Ethan. A combination of tiredness and realisation that we weren’t going to see friends for some time were all too much. We had lots of tears and sobbing! We were expecting this, but not while we were in the middle of a long (and delayed drive). As soon as we stopped he just curled up on me to let it all out – bless!

Entertainment during the drive

After the boys were in bed Keith and I set about finding a campsite to provide some enjoyment for the boys and relaxation for us all. We were looking on the ACSI camping list (note: card costs around EUR 12 and then offers a discount rate for out of season dates!). We found just what we were looking for in a town just past Macon.

After a good nights sleep we all woke up bright and breezy and feeling a little more in control of our emotions. To be honest I have been feeling slightly overwhelmed with it all too and found myself being quite snappy and frustrated the past day or two. I think we all need a little relaxation. We knew it would be another long drive today so we got a little better organised with activities.

First it was homework, then hit the button timetable, creative writing from Roald Dahl, some word search activity, decorating their writing books, MP3 players and finally some tablet time and a movie. Phew!! 6 hours of drama free driving!!

Lesson 5: include the boys in the selection of toys/activities for a journey and ensure headphones & MP3 players are available. Music is good for the soul and mummy’s sanity!

Switching to toll roads

Due to our time constraints and our change of objective (sanity over budget) we opted to drive on toll roads. Firstly, I’m surprised Keith agreed and secondly I may need to bank ‘sanity reasons’ for future upgrades!!

The drive was a breeze, the weather was good and the journey was without problems… or so we thought. We noticed recently that the fridge in the motorhome was not as cold as it should be. We thought it would sort itself out but putting it on electric at the new campsite didn’t solve the problem as we thought. We made a few frantic phone calls back to my mum and dad and with some jiggery pokery we managed to get it back up and running… how?! I have no idea but I hope it doesn’t happen again! ha ha

Lesson 6: Don’t park the motorhome on a slant with the gas on (we think this is what might have triggered it to have a tilt!)

Time to relax

So now, having arrived early afternoon to a lovely campsite with a lake at Cormanche-sur-saone we started to unwind and relax. The boys were in their element as they ran to the park and dipped their toes in the freezing cold water. Everyone was coming back to normality… and the squabbling began again.

I’ll fill you in on our few days around this beautiful area  and our visit to Roald Dahl shortly!

Soo much driving and not enough Wi-Fi!!

You may also like...

2 Responses

  1. Janet says:

    It all sounds perfectly normal travelling to me.
    You will all ease into your groove soon xxx

    We discovered the gas problem with the fridge early on on our motor home travels. We used to use the chocks to level up and fill a plastic beaker to a line in with some water so we could check it was level. The fridges are really sensitive on gas.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *