Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Our holiday

We have arrived back from our holiday, well last Saturday we actually got back but this is my first chance to blog. We stayed in a caravan on a Haven park (Greenacres) which is near Porthmadog in Wales. As we have been there twice before we pretty much knew what we were getting. The park is a nice clean park with direct access to the beach. It took us about a minute to walk from our caravan to the beach. Black Rock sands has some nice sand dunes for the kids to play in as well as a lovely clean sandy beach. Beware of the little jellyfish though - eugh!

The funstars are normally pretty good with kids and provide reasonable entertainment each night. Not so this year. They barely smiled, hardly interacted with either children or adults and were not good performers for the shows. All week they seemed lack lustre and disinterested. I did wonder if it was anything to do with their uniform this year which was also lacking in fun. Black trousers and waistcoat, purple shirts.

We decided to set off earlier this year rather than wasting half a day of our holiday. We left about half nine and arrived about half twelve. We dumped the car in the car park at the camp and headed off to the beach with a barbeque. The children have obviously led a very deprived life as it was the first time either of them had tried BBQed food! Once it was time for check in we headed back to the park for our keys. Luckily this time we struck gold with a decent caravan first time round. The first year we went it took 3 attempts to get a decent caravan. It was about 6 minute walk to the main area of the park - shops etc but as mentioned only 1 minute to the beach. Saturday night saw us watching Dr Who!

Weather forecast - rain
Weather - hot and sunny

Sunday morning we went to the park swimming pool. To be honest the pool is lousy but is worth a visit for the splashzone outside. This features various things that squirt, dribbled, douse or otherwise cover you with water. Unfortunately this wasn't open, perhaps because of the weather forecast, and so we were reduced to having a game of tag in the water with Colin being victimised into mainly being "on".

In the afternoon we went to the West Highland Railway for a Teddy Bear Hunt. This year though there didn't seem to be many to spot or any sort of competition like last time. On the ride back the guard who is lovely came round with chocolate teddies for the children. They were also having a colouring competition where everyone got a prize. The lady offered Rachael a ring and then asked Luke if he would like a Thomas the Tank engine colouring book. He said no thank you and she looked really taken aback. To her credit though she quickly found him something else.

Weather forecast - rain
Weather - hot and sunny
We were off to see Criccieth castle. This is a lovely old ruined castle that is perched on top of a hill on the cliff. It was fought over by the Welsh and the English until the Welsh burnt it down. We had a lovely picnic lunch in the grounds looking out over the bay. Afterwards we went down the hill - pausing on the way down for an icecream at Cadwalders. We spent the afternoon on the beach with Colin and Luke making sand castles with a "moat" going down to the sea and watching the tide come in to destroy it. Luke and I went for a bit of a climb over the rocks but Rachael was not so keen as there might be something alive in there! To help us back up the hill on the way home we stopped off at the ice cream shop again!

Weather forecast - rain
Weather - hot and sunny

Somewhere over the last couple of days I had picked up a leaflet for a place called Shell Island. What a great place!! You have to drive over a causeway that is covered in water at high tide to reach the island and it is £5 to take your car on the island too. It is great though with huge rocky areas rich in various marine life, a lovely sandy beach and huge sand dunes. One of them took Rachael one minute and ten seconds to run up. It was massive. Shell Island though gets its name from the vast quantity of shells that are found there. After a while you stop looking for shells as there are that many. Luke and Colin went rock pooling until Luke fell and grazed his shin.

Forecast - sun
Weather - sun
We decided to have a lazy day and played crazy golf on the holiday park in the morning. This was probably the longest game of golf ever as some of the holes were remarkably tricky and no one wanted to give up on them!

In the afternoon, Colin took the children swimming whilst I went to the local Tesco's to get some buffet food for Luke's birthday on Thursday.

Forecast - rain
Weather - rain!!

Luke was given the choice of what he wanted to do today with it being his birthday. Unfortunately his choice was some what limited by them actually getting the weather forecast correct for a change. We all decided to go to King Arthur's Labyrinth after he had opened the small bits that we brought with us. You may remember that he had all his main presents before we went away as they wouldn't all fit in the car. This is something that Colin found on the internet and is an undiscovered gem. You go down to what used to be an old slate mine. There is an underground boat ride and then you walk about the caves for some of the stories about King Arthur from the Welsh perspective. Then you have a boat ride back. There is also something called the Bard's Quest to do and this has you wandering through a maze to find storytellers regaling you with traditional Welsh tales. The maze is lovely and is made by planters with trellis and a wide variety of clematis and honeysuckles forming the maze. I would imagine that in about 6 weeks when everything is in bloom it will be a stunning maze.

Luke chose to have a buffet for his birthday meal and had a Manchester United birthday cake. He had a really nice day despite the rain.

forecast - overcast
weather - sun

We decided to have another trip back to Shell Island. We arrived about the same time as we did on Tuesday to find the causeway underwater. We sat around for about 20 minutes and then the cars in front decided to give it a go at crossing. We followed them and I admit that even though I could see that the water was not high from the other cars it was pretty worrying following them. We found a great spot that was reasonably away from other people which was on top of a small sand dunes with massive ones behind and the sea in front. This meant the children had a wide area to run around in without actually being out of sight from us. Normally I am pretty careful about sunburn but my legs got sunburn which still hasn't gone and it's now Tuesday.

We decided that although we had to be out of the caravan for 10 am that we didn't need to go straight home. Whilst I was checking out and returning bed linen etc, Colin took the children down to the beach for a couple of hours. We had to be careful about the timing of food as Rachael does tend to get carsick on long journeys. When we arrived home we had another BBQ to round off the holiday.

Most nights we went to the Showbar for the entertainment and afterwards the children had a few pounds in the arcades. On Friday, Rachael and I managed to win a nice teddy out of one of the crane machines. Luke was dead upset that we couldn't win him one. I nipped back in Saturday morning and won him one on the second go. I just put it in his car seat for him to see and he was absolutely thrilled to bits. They were actually really nice teddies - Forever Friends.

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