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  • Gareth Ellis

The Best Laid Plans…

This weekend was lovely.

To be fair I had Monday off as well so actually, this long weekend was lovely. It was full of family time, getting outside and getting stuff done.

There was no work stress, which right now seems to be at its worst, and it was so nice to feel real freedom.

Over the weekend we thought we’d get out and about as the sun was shining (on the Sunday) and seeing as we’re National Trust members we’d take the short drive to Stowe.

Now before I start this I should say that Jess and I are planners, we like to plan our days out so we can look forward to them. However, having a baby doesn’t always lend itself to plans.

The plan was to get Rupert outside and let him have a walk, then when he got tired we could put him in the pushchair and wander around admiring the sights.

Now before we had a baby we would decide where we wanted to go that morning, both have showers, get ready, get dressed and get in the car, all within in an hour, maybe an hour and a half.

Now let me take you back to Sunday. It was around 8am, Rupert had finished his breakfast, he was dressed and he was ready to go.

Jess and I had decided on Stowe as our destination so we set about the usual relay of one showering while the other plays with Rupert, then switch. It’s a system that seems to work every day.

Then after that we started to prepare for the trip, Jess made a picnic for us, as well as snacks for Rupert and made sure that we all had enough for the length of time we were going to be out. We packed Rupert’s bag, we made sure he had nappies, wipes, toys and his shoes. We put his reins in the car, as he’s walking so much more now, as well as his coat and his pushchair. I swear Jess and I pack less for a weekend away.

Anyway, by this point we were about two hours into our preparations, Rupert was getting increasingly stroppy – as we were past his usual nap time (the plan was to leave around that time and have him nap in the car.)

Eventually we set off, Rupert did indeed nap in the car and we got to Stowe without any incident. We got Rupert in his coat and hat, put up the pushchair (just in case) and got his cute little Buzz Lightyear reins backpack on.

We had a slow walk up to the entrance and then slowly plodded along with our clever little walker in tow – for all of 15 minutes.

As soon as we got outside, through the visitors centre, the cold wind hit us, like a ton of freezing cold bricks. I mean, I couldn’t even feel my face at one point. Rupert wasn’t sure whether he should carry on walking, get picked up or go in the pushchair – eventually he was plonked in the pushchair so we could get back in the car as quickly as possible.

When we got back in the car it was 11.15am, so we did the obvious thing and ate our picnic in the car. By the time we got home it was before 12 and we’d eaten our picnic.

But being positive I said to Jess that it was a good day. And it WAS because we’d got out of the house as a family, Rupert got to have some more precious walking time and we were all together. Sometimes, when plans don’t go as you expected, you can get stressed, or you can do what we did and just laugh.

Total getting ready time: two and a half/three hours

Total driving time (there and back): one hour

Total time at Stowe: 15 mins.

Time spent with family: Priceless.

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