Summer's Gone

Sep 5 2011

The twilight of the summer holidays has smothered us; in just a few days our little chickens will be shuffling off to their classroom from the rowdy playground for a new school year and for Camille it will be a step into a new frontier.


It wouldn’t be the summer holidays without a small summer holiday would it? So we were lucky that the wonderful Indee Rose Trust offered us their beach house in Kent for the week. It also coincided with me getting a new job, which has meant that I am on gardening leave for a few weeks. Originally, Hayley and the girls were going to leave me at home for the week while they enjoyed themselves but everything seemed to fit into place.


We were due to go on Saturday but we really wanted to go to another little girls "End of Treatment" party that night so we held off until Sunday. Ironically we didn't even make it to the party in the end as Camille was having a bad day and was tired, extremely upset and kept gagging on her only source of nutrition, Mily Bar yoghurts. I know Hayley was a bit upset that she didn't make it to the party, with Camille nothing can be planned.


We arrived in Kent, just a mile or so from Romney Marsh on Sunday. The house is situated right on the beach and as we entered the house we were overawed with the view from the first floor living room.  To one side you can see the White Cliffs of Dover, to the right you can see the Kent coastline for as far as the eye can see and using the telescope that stands positioned next to the window, you are able to see the French coastline rising up from the horizon.


The week was quite a relaxing time and we were under no pressure to do anything in particular. We did get out and about around the south Kent coast, spending a day at the Port Lympne wildlife park and heading into Ashford to do a little shopping.  Port Lympne was a pretty good day out as far as zoos go. Both Hayley and I freely admit that we are not huge zoo fans, I don’t know why. I really like the concept of seeing animals that you wouldn’t normally get to see and I’m not even sure that I have a huge issue with animals being held in captivity (unless the area is tiny, which some are). I think my biggest issue with zoos is that there are so many people milling around the front of enclosures, the ignorant adults blocking the view of the kids; the majority of us unable to actually spend a few minutes enjoying the animals. Perhaps we’ll make an effort to save some money and take the girls to the Masai Mara. But for now, all we have is an idiot packed day trip to Port Lympne. By the way, if you plan on going to Port Lympne one day; sell your car and your granny before going, they charge £19.00 for children over two years old.


So as I mentioned, we also had an opportunity to visit the bottom of the food chain when we popped into Ashford. The shopping in Ashford is pretty good, the people are somewhat questionable. Perhaps some of these guys should be held in captivity. As we walked down the High Street, a group of three lads swaggered towards us with their dog, from the Pitbull/Staffie ilk, not on a lead. Now, I don’t care if that dog is the friendliest dog in the world, I felt nervous as I’m sure the girls did. We kept our distance and made a break for a Pizza Express where the clientele rarely use their pets as weapons.


It was a great feeling heading back to the house in New Romney. The sensation you feel knowing that you are near the sea; the road that leads to the beach area which just gets more open and more blue the closer you get. The house itself was pretty impressive; not just the views but the space, the décor, the little treats that the Indee Rose Trust had left for us. It was a fantastic place to go, a place where I could sit and read in pure relaxation for weeks.


The girls always like coming home; but this week has an added edge to it with both the commencement of school and not forgetting Lucia’s birthday. Again, being on gardening leave is quite handy as I was desperate to drop Camille off at school on her first day. It’s going to be quite emotional for all of us. Luckily, she is really looking forward to going; it would have made it a hundred times worse if she didn’t want to go.


There are plenty of things that we can worry ourselves about: Camille’s diet, her mobility, her hearing, her sight. However, sometimes we just need to sit back and think about how far we have come and how much we wanted for this day to come. We’ll never be able to move on from the struggles and heartbreak of the last two years but moments like this week will certainly go a long way to making us feel a bit better about life.


Good luck Camille, have a good first day.