I'm talking about having the run of a huge old school house in a picturesque Yorkshire village. A family sports day including a handstand competition and a potato-and-spoon race (anyone who knows my family and our legendary lack of athleticism will find the very concept hilarious). Afternoon birthday tea with the kiddos - followed by a massive dinner for the grown ups when they were all tucked up in bed. Albeit they were awake till 10 with the excitement of sharing a room with their cousins.
I'm talking Lady P taking baths with her big cousins who are basically rock stars in her eyes. A treasure hunt in a rambling house, organised by my oldest niece who gave us all certificates of participation. Older cousins pushing younger ones on swings, roundabouts and see-saws. A rambling run with my little sister and favourite running companion, replete with stunning Dales views and only getting a little bit lost.
Grown ups chilling out while seven small children ate cakes together on a picnic rug on the lawn. That brilliant thing where, when I lost sight of Lady P for a few minutes, a quick shout up the hall 'Anyone seen my baby?' brings the reassuring reply of a three year old saying 'Yes, I'm helping her on the stairs', and I could settle back down to a gossip with my sisters.
And Lady P shouting 'Bapa! Bapa!' as her Bapa (Grandpa) attempted a sneaky nap, giving in moments later to jiggle her on his knee and read her stories. A family trip around a lovely ruined castle, my nieces and nephews so delighted one of them actually went to bed that night wearing his paper crown.
|About 2/3 of us in front of the house|
|Race time: my child is the naked one going the wrong way|
|Lady P tickling Richard III's toes at the castle|
|Dreaming of kingdoms|
Pure bliss and the making of many happy memories. Bring on next year's trip.