Well I think we've given Judith Chalmers a run for her money with our combined holiday memories and experiences! Thanks so much – I've loved reading through them and getting an insight into how you spend your leisure time. I also feel a lot more normal having heard about some of your unusual sojourns!!
Isn't it funny though how quickly you forget your holiday and are right back in the thick of things? The tumble drier had barely cooled before I was trying to conjure up images of windswept beaches and warm seas.
Infact I always make a note to self when away in the warm weather, to hold tight to the memory, because when it's lashing down with rain and I'm stuck in traffic, I can mentally transport myself back there And by crikey I've needed to do that more than once with all the rain we've had over the last week!
Coupled with 'Crafting for Christmas' – my hour with Dawn Bibby on Wednesday, surrounded by snow scenes and reindeer - I felt I'd missed out on autumn altogether! The weird thing is that it's stayed warm yet wet, so I've been faced with everyone's dilemma – what to wear!!
Lots of layers I'm reliably informed, but as soon as the sun comes out, my layers came off, and duped into believing it would still be warm when I came out of the supermarket, I headed for my trolley in very little – a skimpy top and shorts…WHO IS IT with the warped sense of humour that finds it funny to have the chilled food aisles at temperatures of minus 30?? I knew I was in trouble when I lost all sense of feeling in my index fingers and thumbs, closely followed by symptoms close to lock jaw. Uncontrollable shivering was only mildly relieved by jogging on the spot, but with no bra, jogger's nipple was the least of my worries!!
How in heaven's name are you then supposed to lean INTO these frozen cabinets and make an educated decision as to which type of cooked ham you want is beyond me! I left the shop with two toilet rolls, a bag of cat food and a damaged reputation, having sworn out loud when a chocolate swirl pudding slipped out of my grasp and down the front of my T shirt… don't even go there…
My off roading experience
So when Sam asked me if I'd like to go off roading with him and a few of his mates, I decided to pack for every eventuality! For those of you uninitiated in the art of 'off roading' (as I was up until last week), it's basically finding somewhere with no tarmac or white lines, impossibly deep ravines (filled with water and mud) and one in three inclines, and then getting a ridiculously large, loud and decrepid vehicle to traverse said landscape…
I bought Sam an old Range Rover which he has since 'customised' so that he could spend his spare time doing just this. As well as fitting a 'snorkel' (should have given me a clue there), he's raised it, fitted mighty great tyres, and altered the suspension. He and his friends have found a place just north of here where for a small sum they can go mad for a day, and so this is where I was headed with my wellingtons, fleece, blanket, water bottle, shovel (incase we had to dig ourselves out of a hole) and camera – never one to waste a photo opportunity
As luck would have it, the sun shone all afternoon, and so I was able to capture Sam driving up ridiculously steep hills, ploughing through horribly deep ravines (at crazy angles) and also witness his mates taking a nose dive into a pool of water that was a jolly sight deeper than they thought!!
Both James and Ollie were fine, but the family of four crammed into a very small Japanese 4×4 were not as lucky. They charged at it like a bull in a china shop and were then left sitting in the car with water up to their chests while Sam had to reverse in and pull them out. I did wonder if they had perhaps lost their way, and were infact hoping for a day out at Woburn, but didn't get the chance to ask them.
Sadly Sam's International Rescue type deed cost him one of his coolant pipes and so he had to give up on the driving, but not before I'd had the chance to be strapped into the back (safer than the front I was told) and taken for the ride of my life.
It's a good job I trust my son, because as he hit the accelerator and headed towards an impossibly steep hill, I saw my life flash before me… the noise was deafening as the engine strained to get us to the top, and when we were almost vertical, with a mighty roar, Sam maneouvered us up and over the other side.
"Awesome" he said, as I struggled to regain my composure and smile through gritted teeth. "Yes, awesome," I agreed :) I have to say though, watching him controlling this beast of a car over all kinds of terrain, ploughing through mud-filled trenches, his sticker proudly explaiming 'One life live it', I felt very proud of my boy!
At least I'm perhaps a little more ready for the adrenalin rush that's going to be required for my Aston Martin drive round the circuit at Silverstone! I've booked it for just before Sam goes to Uni so we can have the day out together, and as promised, it'll be filmed so it'll be like having you there :) Am currently searching for a Stig type catsuit to wear on the day – hair up or down?? I guess with a crash helmet on it won't matter
Hope you've had a lovely Bank Holiday, and as always I look forward to hearing your news.
Love Ali xx