Our northern (and Midlands) exposure

Even though we have departed, I’m still not done with goodbyes. So this part of the trip is a bit stoppy, starty for the next week.  We are travelling across to Rotherham and then down to Loughborough before having a few ‘rest days’ around Leighton Buzzard (i.e near Harry potter studios… more on that later) before ending up in Surrey with more friends for the week end.

We said farewell to our family and friends (for the umpteenth time!) and ran to the motorhome for fear of missing the steam packet check in, as we had actually lost track of time. It would seriously not have been a good start!

Setting sail

It was all good though, as we headed away from Mannanan’s cloak and into blue skies and scorching heat! And thankfully the crossing was blissfully smooth (not the norm we expect when travelling across the Irish sea).

 

As we settled on the boat it still didn’t feel real. The past few days have been a bit of a blur. A mixture of cleaning, packing, organising, loading the motorhome and a bucketful of emotions. The boys have been on their own rollercoaster with my patience tested a few times… I hope they start to calm down soon!!

But now we are on the journey it seems surreal. My head is not yet into travel mode. To be fair it’s actually spinning!  How could I have done all this planning and have no idea where I am!?!

Travelling to Rotherham

We’d opted to break up the journey towards Rotherham for fear of teary, tired children (and parents), so we stayed in Oldham for the first night. Quite an eye opener and not quite a round the world bucket list stop. But it was cheap and convenient. This was me trying to adjust to cheaper living.  I’m not sure I’m ready!?  In hindsight we should have just pushed through and travelled into Rotherham.

This is where my ignorance of life in England becomes apparent. As everything takes 20 minutes in the Isle of Man!  Yes, Google Maps told me how long… but in my mind we would have to deal with issues, such as tail backs and roadworks and not forgetting my ability to get lost, even while following a sat nav! I clearly overestimated the dramas!

However, after our uneventful and rather sleepless first night (lots of birds happily tweeting in Oldham!) we headed off to Rotherham to see my little sister.  But drinking coffee and chatting isn’t much fun for the boys so we needed to find them something to do.

That’s when we stumbled across a science museum called Magna. It sounded quite interesting and would provide the kids with a chance to burn off their excess energy.  

First things first we had  jobs to do!! We needed to get to Asda pharmacy to pick up the malaria tablets as it was the cheapest place to buy them. Literally, nearly half the price! (I phoned ahead to order in what we needed!)

Once all that was done (and after a spot of motorhome picnic lunch) we excitedly headed to Magna, only to find that they were randomly closing at 2pm!!! Arggghhhhhhh. The lady took pity on us and told us we could play in the park area for free for an hour. Luckily this appeased the emotional outbursts which were about to arise!!

We accepted that we would just visit our campsite for the night and come back tomorrow.

Thrybergh country park campsite

We were staying at Thrybergh Country Park, which was a beautiful area with a lovely Lakeside walk, 2 cafes and small park area. The boys particularly enjoyed feeding the swans, geese and ducks.

 

A better night’s sleep was had by all as we adjusted to zoning out nature’s noises and the warmth from this mini heatwave.  We were up and out early so that we had time for a stroll around the lake before it was time for Magna – take 2!

Magna science museum

Wow! It was brilliant. It was very dark and atmospheric… like something out of a Death Star scene.  The boys were so giddy, they couldn’t get to each activity fast enough. It was great though as the place was practically empty, so no waiting!

We moved through each area and stopped the boys to ensure that their play was accompanied by learning. We entered the 4 ‘element’ areas: fire, water, air and earth. Each had a range of interactive games, gadgets and puzzles.

We all had great fun and bonus for us was that the boys used their blue Peter badges and so got in for free!

Tired from all the walking we piled back into the motorhome and began our journey to Loughborough area to visit one of my best friends from my school days & stay a couple of nights with them.

 

Loughborough and relaxing

It’s definitely been a relaxing and fun few days gossiping, drinking, dog walking, eating, cycling and just generally taking it easy.

I think I needed it more than the boys as my head is spinning less (except for the alcohol fuzziness!).  Ok, so it’s not the reality of travelling and the budget… well that starts next week! But it was just sooo nice.

We’ve now arrived for 3 days around Leighton Buzzard and a chance to sort the motorhome out. Everything needs a home and the way I threw everything in, I’m lucky I can find anything!

It will also be chance for the boys to have some much needed downtime and I can get organised… again!

Well that’s before we head off to Harry Potter Studios today. Expelliarmus!!!!!

 

 

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