My friend Lisa and I had a discussion that got me thinking. Her and Matthew had booked to go to the south of France on summer holiday with the kids. Matt wanted to drive down through France to give the older kids an adventure, but Lisa felt it was too much for Lily – who is the youngest, as Lily can’t sleep in the car. They came to an un-usual agreement – Matt drove down with the older children and Lisa flew with Lily. They were both happy with the arrangement and it worked out for all concerned.
It struck me that neither Soph or I like long journeys in the car which proved a challenge for trips to Nanna and Grampys new des res near to coast, but was sure she’d like the train as she could read, colour and interact. Guy’s not so keen on the train. So, we decided to trial Soph and I going ahead on the train, on Thursday and Guy following after work on Friday. The plan was good because it meant I just needed 1 day off work (Friday) for a 5 day mini break(thur to Mon) and Guy could join us without giving up any work days as he was too busy to take any holiday.
A little bit of planning ensued as we needed to have some kit at Nanna and Grampy’s house. We ordered a car seat from Kiddicare, got a cheap buggy from an ebay seller a few miles away picked up by Grampy and Nanna & Grampy sourced a fetching pink ready bed for Sophie to use and a large trug to act as a tempory Sophie bath (as well as all the little special bits and bobs they get to make us feel welcome).
I borrowed a big rucksack from our friends Francesca and David, bought some advance train tickets and a few small toys and books for the trip. We also found some clever travel pens with lids that can’t be lost.
On Thursday morning Guy dropped us a Leeds station on his way to work and we trotted off to get our train at 9.05am.
The train was on time and we had a seat booked. The man who was booked to be next to us saw we could do with a bit more room and said he’d sit the other side of the aisle so we could spread out. We went to Peterborough, then Peterborough to Norwich. Sophie played and read and was a thoroughly good girl all the way.
We had a spot of lunch in Norwich station (pasty and sausage roll) and then got on the little train to North Walsham. On that train we got talking to a man who was visting relatives and had come from New Zealand 2 days before. Then we found out he’d lived in North Shore for 20 years and had only moved recently to another area. We could have chatted for ages but we arrived at North Walsham to see a welcome party!!!
We were all very excited and after dropping our kit off at Chez Fitzhugh Grampy drove us straight for the beach. The buggy served us well as Soph went to sleep in the car and so after transferring her into the new transport we had a long walk along the prom with her snoozing.
Guy arrived in good time on Friday evening and had an easy and quiet journey without us!
On Saturday we all went to look round Cromer having randomly found a little restaurant to have sneeky lunch in. Soph decided to go to sleep so she snuggled while we had a rather splendid selection of Italian dishes, lovely olives and bread, pasta, pizza and risotto. Coffee was perhaps the best tasted in a long while.
On Sunday Helly and Stuart came over fresh from their holiday in Barcelona (well, 18 hours since) and we all enjoyed lovely birthday lunch and a large selection of mini ice creams and chocolate cake desserts. Soph then ran around the garden and generally monopolised Helly. Guy headed home Sunday and Soph and I stayed on for one more night of Norfolk hospitality.
On Monday, Nanny and Grampy took us to the station for our train home, which was another successful, if busy, journey. Next visit I’d consider booking earlier to get even cheaper tickets so that I can book Sophie a seat as well. Its all very well not paying for them til they’re 5 but really, on a long journey it’s not practical to expect them to sit on your knee for that length of time.
We look forward to our next train adventure to North Walsham!