Five go to Northumbria (via Cumbria)

Things I learned from our Easter holidays

Posh folk use Jo Malone candles instead of Febreze. In the wonderful Alnwick Castle you can tell the calibre of its inhabitants by the scented candles dotted around. Jo Malone no less – at £38 a pop -in the state rooms where tourists wander. Perhaps not so fragrant, but the rest of the castle is fabulous too. Knights and Dragons Quests and an a yummy cafe.

It doesn’t matter how old you are, sand dunes are for leaping off. Boys One, Two and the Panther had much airborne fun on the beach by Bamburgh Castle.

Sand has a life of its own. We went to the beach on Thursday in Northumbria. Children changed their clothes and had at least one shower each. Today (Saturday) I found a heap of sand on my sitting room floor. Could someone please explain?

Bookshops are more than just a place to buy books. We found the best bookshop since the closure of St Andrew’s Books in Penrith – Barters Books in Alnwick. It’s huge and friendly and also features a coffee shop, a kids’ section, sofas and a model train. Please can we go back again soon? Everyone except Boy Three loved it. He was less impressed, what with being unable to read yet.

Pepperoni is delicious. Well, obviously, I know this, but now so does Boy One. For years he didn’t want anything on his pizza that wasn’t tomato sauce (no green bits) or cheese (no blue bits), but now in M&S he told me: “Oh yes, I like pepperoni, it’s delicious.”

Boy Two’s word of the week – Awesome. This applied to the Star Wars Concert, the spinning corridor in the Dragon Quest, the sand dunes, ice cream and Monster House the movie.

Sticking to my parenting guns feels good. In the Alnwick Castle gift shop Boys One and Two were allowed £4.50 each to spend. The amount was arrived at through some long and involved calculation too tedious to recount. Both Boys found I-need-it-I-want-it objects that cost more than £5 and expected me to stump up. I didn’t, not even in the face of begging and strong small-boy logic. Guess what? They didn’t ask for anything else from gift shops the whole of the holiday.

Tom Lehrar was a very funny man. He did a song about the periodic table – which is likely to become Boy One’s all time favourite. The rest of his material has PoN and I in kinks. Off to buy a CD now.

Grace Darling had excellent PR. Not to take away from getting out of your scratcher to go with your dad into a frightenly stormy night to rescue some Dundonians from a rock, but she really did tick all the boxes. She had a lovely name, a nice shawl and everyone loved the idea of a beautiful spinster sitting in a lighthouse… then she became consumptive.

The Tories are sharpest with the posters. On Friday, the A1 boasted only Conservativia, oh, and a badly punctuated road sign. B&B’s! Shame on you.

Silence is golden… and its alchemy is just as hard to do. In looking for amusing in-car games we struck upon the Who Can Be Quietest the Longest game. Brilliant. Only Boy Two just can’t. Not for more than 73 seconds anyway. You could see him trying, but the words just kept popping out.

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  1. Anonymous says

    Great blog – saves a phone call! I've been trying all week to remember the name of that book shop. By the way St Andrews Bookshop is now an excellent second hand bookshop Beckside Books under new management.
    Feel ridiculously pleased to have introduced the younger and youngest generation to a treasure of the older gang, Tom Lehrar.
    As for Boy Two's inability to stay silent, can't possibly be genetic, can it? Mxx

  2. says

    Sounds fab. I love that stretch of coastline near Bamburgh, it's gorgeous. The best in the country! One of my friends used to live in Tynemouth and we'd drive up there in summer. Very fine.

    Keep sticking to the parenting guns.

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