As my sister tucks my 10 year old into bed for the fifteenth time, he tells her ‘I like the luxury life’. Himself and my niece have been in and out of bed like yo-yos, such is the excitement of being away together! Our 12 year old, who is a prolific reader, slopes off to his (single) room to enjoy the benefits of the dimmer lamp that he’s discovered. #1 son mutters something about ‘streaks’ and makes his way up the wooden hill to Bedfordshire. I won’t spoil the surprise for any future visitors to the Farmhouse but one of the staircases is particularly quirky; I wanted to put it in the car and bring it home (logistical issues prevented this).
All of the adults settle in front of the woodburner and the television with fingers and toes crossed and a well-deserved glass of vino. It’s a novelty to be spending two weekends in a row with my big sister and we are the last women sitting as our respective husbands head for bed. We finally call it a night, but not before enjoying another slice of cake.
I wake early on Saturday to the sound of excited feet up and down stairs. I remember a conversation with my sister from the night before where she tells me that the Farmhouse is only fifteen years old*. I think to myself how impressive it is that the whole place manages to feel old with all the creaks and quirks that you’d expect to come with that. Husband, in particular, has noted the low door frames. Anyway up I get up (having aged a year overnight) to find my sister sorting out everybody’s breakfast orders and getting the kettle on. A knock on the door from Farmer Dave brings a beautiful bouquet of flowers from the sister and mother-in-law from hell, as I affectionately call them.
Once all children are fed, washed, clothed and counted, we head off for our booking at Clip ‘n’ Climb Cornwall, which is located at Cornwall Services. I was a little dubious about booking this initially as while our eldest is a total adrenaline junkie, our younger two are a little more reserved. Within minutes of our arrival, all four children are in their harnesses and being attached to various climbing walls. My usually shy and retiring 12 year old quickly scales the ‘The Big Cheese’ (a very holey climbing wall) and hits the button when he reaches the top! Our ten year old embraces his inner Spidey and tackles ‘Aliens’. #1 son hops onto the ‘Leap of Faith’ while every fibre of my inner being silently shouts ‘GET DOWN’ but I am actually observed to be saying ‘good lad, keep going’! Attached to Clip ‘n’ Climb is a soft play area (also part of Indoor Active) so while the children burn off even more energy, the adults take on caffeine, exhausted after needing eyes everywhere while our children reached new heights. Kudos to the cafe here as the milkshakes are amazing (I may have consumed some while the children were at play, for quality control purposes only) and everything on the menu is very reasonably priced.
As we head back to Bosinver, the sun is shining on us. The menfolk, elated that the TV in The Farmhouse has Sky, settle down to watch Saturday afternoon football while my sister and I don our wellies and round up the youngest two for a walk. #1 son and our 12 year old advise that they have located the Games Room on an earlier recce so they are off to play table football. We enjoy a slightly muddy but sunny walk down to the zipline and slide, which they love. After a good blowout, I return to the cottage with one muddy knee, glad that I followed my own advice and brought more than one pair of trousers. On seeing the state of us, my brother-in-law agrees to take the kids swimming in Bosinver’s lovely pool.
Time really does fly when you’re having fun and it’s almost five thirty by the time we’ve finished a cuppa in front of the woodburner. Fortunately for us, they’ll be no cooking tonight as the lovely Fiona Were (aka Chef Fiona NZ) will be taking care of that. One thing I knew when I booked the weekend was that I wanted everyone to be able to switch off and unwind. The last thing that I wanted for my birthday dinner (or tea, as we call it up north) was for someone (most likely my husband) to be stuck in the kitchen while everybody else let their hair down. I found Fiona after a trawl of the internet and her pictures of her food immediately had me sold. It did seem a bit odd thinking about what I might want to eat in March in August but Fiona reassured me that I wouldn’t have to make up my mind about any final menu until closer to the time.
As Fiona, and Rachel from Serve Cornwall, arrive with mysterious boxes of ‘stuff’ I retreat to the double with ensuite to start the cement mixer. Husbands coordinate children’s changing from outdoor to smart casual wear and in the distance I can smell balloons…
Watch this space for more about how we celebrated my 40th in style or you can visit my Insta for the edited highlights!
*Correction, the Farmhouse has been around since the 18th century; for someone with a GCSE in History my sister managed to miss the mark on this one. Any higgledy piggledy bits are totally authentic!