Yep, it's over - well nearly - the children don't go back to school 'till next Monday but in effect summer hols are over aren't they? We've had our trip-of-all-trips to America and been to Wales for a week and now it's a week of going to the Dentist, getting haircuts, buying stationery and new shoes. Boo hooo hoooo.
We had a great week in Wales with my sister and family and the house we rented was perfect (for once). There were two sitting rooms - one for the six children and one for us adults and a games room in the garage that had table tennis and pool in it. The garden was huge so many games of cricket were played too. We had a glimpse of the sea from the garden but if you walked along the road you saw this:
and if you crossed the main road and walked down to the beach you saw this:
that's Harlech beach. Beautiful isn't it? It never got very busy and even if there had been a lot of people about I don't think it would ever get full. There are some pics of Harlech here courtesey of Flickr.
We had some days on the beach and the brave swam and then trembled in the chilly wind afterwards. One day we went on a steam railway:
another day we walked in the hills - that's after going down the wrong road and the boys hopping out about twelve times to open and close gates. We went to Portmeirion one morning which is an amazing place:
More pics here. Another time we went to Shell Island on Rebecca's recommendation and it is indeed a nice place with lovely sand dunes, a harbour and a beach. It's not really an island but does get cut off at high tide I believe.
In the evenings we adults sat and chatted and watched a few films like the old Belles of St Trinians with Alistair Simm; Shadowlands which made me weep into my knitting and an old 60's film called The Leather Boys. Yes, I did say knitting and you'll laugh to hear that I took two projects with me one which was a bit of a disaster and the other which was OK but not what I'd had in mind to knit.
You see I'd hastily grabbed the wool that Kristin had given me and some other balls from my stash and decided to crochet the Ripple Stitch blanket that I'd seen at Georgia's. Amber read the pattern for me and got me started but at some point I started making mistakes at the edge which meant that my dips and peaks didn't lie flat and whole thing was bumpy:
So I gave up and cast on to make a small cotton hand-towel for the kitchen. However, the pattern that I had printed was not the same as the one in the picture so I had to unravel that and determined not to let my hands sit idle during the films I cast on as for the King Charles Brocade dishcloth hoping that my wool wouldn't run out before it was long enough:
I think that thought might be in vain as I'm nearly at the end of my ball. Might have to ask Jodi to try and get me another ball from Weaver's sometime or else keep it as a dishcloth.
Sadly, the last day came all to soon and for some crazy reason we decided to drive back across country which in the end took all day rather than the four hours it had taken on the first day. Still it meant that we stopped off at Colinette and I bought some wool (from the sale section) for Amber and Rohan:
there wasn't enough of the turquoise for Amber so she went for the green and Rohan opted for the former. However, he's having second thoughts now about how bright it is (although one of the sales ladies was gushing about how it suited him so much with his colouring).
Then we stopped briefly in Montgomery, far too briefly. What a find. The town has a beautiful market square, nice buildings and an amazing view if you climb up to the castle (we didn't as we were in a hurry). Sorry I didn't take any pics but if you look on Flickr you'll see what it's like or click here.
That was the last of Wales and we passed into Shropshire where we saw the nicest views and the prettiest houses before we finally arrived in Ludlow just in time for tea:
Of course, it had to be a cream tea - how else were we going to bribe the children to sit in the car for eight hours? More pics of Ludlow here.
We finally reached home around 6 o'clock and hastily made supper for ten. The children who had got on so well all week decided to have a huge row that night leaving Rohan and his girl cousin in tears, the older two sulking and being told to apologise by their parents to no avail. We finally locked them in their bedrooms at nine and managed to have another cosy evening.
After a quick visit to the local farmer's market next morning and a speedy lunch it was the moment I'd been dreading all week - saying goodbye to my sister. We always end up in tears every time and wish with all our might that we could repeat those years that we lived near each other in London and saw each other all the time.
So hols and fun times with family are over. I've done four machine loads of washing and hoovered half of the dirty house. I need to go to the supermarket and stock up, nag the children to finish their scrapbooks and get ready for school - welcome back to the real world.
PS I hope those links to Flickr work. If not, go to my Flickr page and type in the various place names into the search bar. There are some great pics of Montgomery, Ludlow, Portmeirion and Harlech, taken by many people, to see.