So here we are at the end of our summer holiday! The last morning before we drive back up home.
Sitting on the dock of the bay wasting time? Well, sitting in on of our self catering South Shields holiday home really writing this blog post!
And its been a funny one to say the least.
In the week or 2 leading up to it we didn’t even know if we would be allowed to come!
Would the government rules change or would we still be confined to only being able to travel near to our home?
We live in Aberdeen. Sonny & Lola were born there and have always lived there.
I am from South Shields, Tyne & Wear originally.
But live in Aberdeen now.
And Aberdeen is in Scotland. (Remember this blog is on our family business website and we run self catering homes in South Shields and Aberdeen).
So the Scottish First Minister sets the rules which we must follow.
At the start of the year, before “you know what” was recorded as hitting our shores I booked a holiday cottage to stay in with my kids and my Mam.
We were to go to Keswick, the Lake District for 4 days, from 6-10th July.
The first week of the Scottish school holidays!
It was my mams idea and we all were looking forward to it.
Then the lockdown came, the rules changed.
Everyones lives changed!
Sonny & Lola decided they wanted to stay with me alternate weeks now that I was properly back up in Aberdeen.
It was a constant semi-holiday.
Working from home, schooling from home, travel as little as possible please.
But we were only allowed to travel 5 miles from our home, for exercise!
And preferably not in a motor vehicle!
So to quash disappointment, and being a realist, I told the kids that at the moment our Keswick holiday was not certain and I thought, less likely to happen than to happen!
Then suddenly the announcement came from Nicola Sturgeon that from July 3rd we would be able to travel an unlimited distance for leisure and our holiday was maybe back on.
And Boris confirmed the it was possible when UK/English hospitality was allowed to reopen on 4th July!
And this bubble thing meant that as a single person with kids, I could bubble with my mam (who had been shielding anyway – and we had more or less being living in isolation, getting groceries delivered, etc)!
Basically living like monks.
It felt pretty safe and having worked in risk management all of my life the risk felt pretty low and definitely worth the prize of a nice holiday with my kids and mam!
We had a holiday to look forward to.
To see my mam / their nana for the first time since New Year.
We would go to the Lakes, the place of my childhood family holidays, to reconnect with some form of reality after the months of craziness.
Then over to South Shields for a nice 2 week break.
But at first Lola did not want to leave Aberdeen.
She loves nana! But didnt want to go to the Lakes.
She wouldn’t say why (she usually doesn’t).
“I just don’t dad!”
Sonny wanted to go.
After a while Lola changed her mind.
So we went!
The long drive to Keswick was successfully completed in our old VW T4 camper.
We had a nice time.
We did a couple of nice walks.
Just around Buttermere and Derwentwater.
My only venture into a pub in Keswick, The Mary Mount Hotel beer garden overlooking Derwentwater on out 10 mile lake walk.
Enjoyed the scenery, the parks.
But unlike other times, we didnt go into pubs (well only one and it was so quiet!), restaurants, and hardly even into a shop.
We tried to socially distance during walks, maximising distance away from other walkers.
Many folk didn’t seem to acknowledge this was “a thing” and made no attempt to keep distance and may as well given me a hug when the skimmed past us.
But most people were fine.
Then onto South Shields.
Again, we didnt go into shops for anything other than food.
We didn’t venture into Newcastle.
We usually do. Without fail.
To walk around, still along the quayside, see a show, shop to treat the kids, have a meal in Panis.
We didn’t get onto a metro. We usually do. Without fail.
So we stuck to hugging the beaches and the coastline and the parks.
Hugging the coastline. Santorini or South Shields? This was taken on from the kayak a friend let us use a couple of days ago! Stunning.
And we had an amazing time.
We passed the surf school yesterday.
It was great to see Nick who runs it, and the place open again.
Doing all they can to manage things.
On our first morning here we went for a walk along Sandhaven beach.
And then to the Sanddancer right on the beach.
My favourite pub/eatery along the coast.
The views are stunning.
A 5 minute walk from our Seawinning holiday home, and 5 minutes drive from the others!
We had breakfast and it was the first time I or my kids have been in a public place at all since lockdown started in March!
We were really impressed with what had been to improve the inside and outside facilities and the systems in place to manage things.
And later we popped into Platform 33, another pub along there and it felt safe as well.
Fair enough both times the pubs were quiet.
And once they get busier I hope that the systems in place help keep it safe for all!
Sandhaven beach. Middle of the day.
So what was the point of this post?
I’m not really sure to be honest!
But if feels that were all trying to do the right things generally.
Despite the pictures of the packed beaches down south (of England) it feels that in South Shields and Aberdeen that the majority of people are being sensible and looking after each other.
Marsden Beach, South Shields. good local distancing on view!
And I have just received a Whattsapp from the girl I contacted via a friend last night saying our 10 reusable cloth face masks are ready!
God I cant wait to start wearing these whenever I need to go for a bottle of milk! Haha.
Before the lockdown hit I was lucky enough to have a holiday in Japan.
Where 80-90% of folk seemed to wear masks.
And I wonder if when we get back up to Aberdeen later today, or next time we come to South Shields it will feel a bit like I am in Tokyo again!
To those who’s kids “break up” from the English schools today, have a great summer!