I realise that it is stupid o'clock, but I am wide awake and see no point in trying (and failing) to get back to sleep again. It's Saturday - I can go back to bed when I feel tired! So here I am, coffee beside me . . .
As I said a few entries and several days ago, it has been a long time since I went to Center Parcs. We (the 'children' and I) went to Sherwood the year it opened and as soon as we got home I booked another week the following year. That first visit was the only time I have ever taken the children out of school in term time. I had been given some unexpected supply work and could afford it, we went into the travel agents and they were full of this 'new place' so I booked. We had a simply wonderful week, that very first time, and the children cried as we drove away. I was pretty sad myself.
After Elveden opened (much closer than Sherwood), we spent three (I think it was three) happy holidays there before it really because too expensive and anyway the children started taking holidays with their dad.
So - this year it was back to Elveden for me and Beth and a new experience for Alex. All our holidays with Alex have been the self catering, quiet, low arousal environment and safe cottage with a swimming pool sort so, in many ways, this was definitely a huge change. For a start we had rooms in the Lakeview hotel rather than a villa. We've always had a week before but this time it was a five day break, Monday to Friday. And there were people. Lots and lots of people, strangers, noisy and unpredictable.
We were able to make the most of the swimming on offer as new arrivals can use the pool from 2:00 and on departure day you can use the pool all day, if you want. So we had a refreshing dip not long after we arrived, before we unloaded and we had a jolly good swim yesterday after we had left our rooms and handed in our keys.
Apart from walk, eat and swim we didn't do much else. All three of us, while not being in any way 'good' swimmers, love the water and are very confident in just meandering around, floating, relaxing and generally having a good time. Alex headed for the swift and splashy stuff while Beth and I rested and relaxed in the main pool and the slow river.
We had to organise meals, of course. I've never eaten out so much in such a short space of time and, while the food was good and we enjoyed it, I think we were all looking forward to more simple fare by the end. Funnily enough, what I remember with most enjoyment are the two evenings when we went for a 'late' swim followed by instant soup and fresh rolls back in the hotel rooms. It felt just so 'right', if you know what I mean. Fresh, home made soup was not an option, of course!
It was a very different holiday to the ones we have loved at Streele Farm for so long. I was worried about the crowds and the noise and, yes, it was crowded and it was noisy. I think we all had a bit of a 'blip' on the first day but we got used to it to some extent. The swimming was very different with all the facilities - death ride (that's what I called it because I could never remember the proper name), wild water rapids, hot tubs, wave machines, flumes, slow rivers and billions of children all having a simply wonderful time. I am never really bothered by the noise of children enjoying themselves which was just as well this week because they did . . . and they were . . . very!
Now I'm home - we're home - and I have four weeks of holiday to organise. The diary is filling up, which is very nice, and there's a pile of washing waiting my attention. The ironing board won't be empty for very long! The shopping list is about ready - I think I will go to Sainsbury's today and get the car washed at the same time.
Food will be simple. I am having bacon and home grown tomatoes, fried, for breakfast, some home made soup and bread for lunch (if I get round to the making of it) and probably a very easy salad for the evening meal. I'm all chipped out!!
And water: lots and lots of water. One forgets quite how dehydrating swimming can be!
There will be a few photos when I can get them off the laptop. Not so many - it's not a wonderful views sort of place and once you've taken a few 'trees' photos, you've taken them all. But there are a few.
Have a lovely day!