Lengthy lie-ins, pub crawls and long afternoons drinking chilled white wine in the sunshine. Oh yes, I remember those bank holidays. Just about. But I don’t actually miss them as much as I thought I would.
Now, I would be telling porkies if I said I didn’t sometimes mourn the loss of some of the simple pleasures of my child-free days (bottle of afternoon Prosecco anyone?) but on the whole family life has opened up my eyes to a whole new range of ways to squander long weekends. Without the hangovers.
With a hyperactive toddler and a baby to keep entertained, I’m finding we’re all a lot happier and more content when we go out. Lazing at home for too long inevitably involves painful negotiations over how much CBeebies viewing is acceptable and how many pots of fromage frais should be consumed in one sitting. All whilst pacing around our modest abode trying to get a baby to nap (stationary in her cot is not an option it seems). Basically, when it comes to bank holidays (or any day come to think of it) venturing beyond the four walls of chez Johnson is better for all of our moods. Thank goodness we’re members of the National Trust.
Within the first year of the arrival of a first born, I’d say 90 per cent of new parents find themselves doing something they would never have imagined themselves doing pre the onset of middle age and retirement. Joining the National Trust. Yes, to officially join the parent club, it’s obligatory to display the distinctive leafy windscreen sticker in your car with as much pride as you flash your infant seat whilst smugly pulling into a designated parent and child spot at the supermarket. As a result, nowadays expect to see as many buggies touring the grounds of the National Trust’s perfectly manicured estates and gardens as silver haired historic building lovers savouring the architecture and grand interiors.
It’s almost guaranteed we’ll visit at least one National Trust attraction nowadays on a bank holiday, or indeed any mild weathered weekend. Our favourite being Attingham Park near Shrewsbury. We spent a particularly amazing day there over the Easter weekend with my mum, dad and nephews. It just seems to have everything we want nowadays for a day out – great buggy friendly walks with stunning views and strategically placed tree trunks for a toddler to clamber on as they meander around. There are several tea rooms serving caffeine and cakes (absolutely essential), a huge play area with a whole host of swings, slides and more of the aforementioned strategically placed logs that little legs can’t seem to resist. What more can you ask for? Ok, an all day (non- Disney) movie marathon and a post-10am (actually just make that 8am) wake up wouldn’t go amiss, but hey-ho, I’m very content with my new bank holidays for now.