July 31, 2010
After the best night’s sleep in a week, we woke up early and got things ready. Hit a small snag with getting everybody showers, but still made it out the door at 8:30. We took the A11 to the A14 to the A1(M). The A1 took us into Nottinghamshire, where we left the main road for about 10 minutes to arrive at the Sherwood Forest visitor center exactly 2 hours after leaving home. Just to keep life fair (and interesting), we were allowed to park for free for being in a minibus.
I’d been to Sherwood twice before; once in January with my parents, and once two years ago with Bob and children. This time we went through the “experience” and the gift shops. The prices (and the merchandise) were quite cheap, so we bought the boys each a bow and arrow, and the girls picked out a pen, a bear, and a coloring book.
Then we walked down to the Major Oak, where tents were being set up for the Robin Hood festival which starts Monday. We were surprised to find the “have a go” archery was operating. We found a table that was mostly dry (it had been raining most of the morning), and had a picnic lunch. Then we played in the woods a bit before walking back to the shops where Bob got a mug and we all used the toilets (again) before getting back on the road. Total time there: 3 hours.
About an hour back on the road, where we were to get off the A1, we stopped at a “services” area with hotel, gas station, and McDonald’s. I thought it was a potty break/stretch kind of stop, but apparently we were hungry again, and ate almost a full meal. Elijah was desperate to get down and play, so as soon as Taryn was finished eating she took him outside to play in the grass. We finally finished up there and were back in the car by 4pm. I forgot to check the clock after that.
It was a short drive to our holiday cottage, but on a narrow winding road through the hills and dales, so it took a while. Lovely country! Free ranging sheep, little streams, rock walls… Anyway, we found the place with only one turnaround. Key in a lockbox by the door, and we were in. The place is exactly like it looked in the advertisements, except a little smaller. When we came in the front door we were in the dining room. Next is the utility room, with washer and fridge. Turn left into the living room with mini kitchen. Upstairs to the right is the girls’ room with double bed and wardrobe. To the left, is the master bedroom with a double four poster bed, or go left again down a hall with built-in bench to the bathroom, with a teeny tiny room on the right with bunk beds for the boys.
After unpacking the bus and running around and disturbing the neighbors, we drove on up to the nearest town, where Bob soon discovered we’d been before. Richmond, where we stopped with Mom and Dad on our way from Newcastle to York. This weekend the castle is having 60’s days, with an Elvis contest of some sort. I think we’ll find something else to do tomorrow. Anyway, we parked with some difficulty and found a ”family restaurant” where we ate yet again. The service was friendly if inefficient, and the food was good and generous.
After dinner we took the long road home, stopping by some sheep and an old church. Bob worked on teaching Elijah not to go up the stairs, and we all got ready for bed. The boys had the typical “he poked me in the eye” trips down the stairs, but I think they are all settled now. Bob is falling asleep to “The Matrix” (the welcome pack warns you that not all the DVDs provided are suitable for children), and I am here.
A neighbor has internet with a wireless router, but the network is secure, so I can’t get on.
Good night, world.