If we were to suspend logic and belief for a second I would introduce you to the ghost of holiday past who would recount the time when :-
in the summer of 2008 we had booked and were looking forward to going on our first proper family holiday we had been able to afford for many years. It was still only a camping holiday but we were determined it was going to be wonderful and surpass all of our expectations. Well it did for all the wrong reasons unfortunately.
The week beforehand the church we were attending at the time were holding a tent mission in the local park with free food and events for families and children. My husband and I were as involved as we could be, around work commitments etc. A large group of Americans had come over to help out at the mission. The very last day there was a” friendly” game of rugby going on between the Welsh and the American boys. My husband had been playing but we had packed up and were just about to go home when he ran back in for 5 more minutes. And that’s when disaster literally struck. He was involved in a tackle which ended with a fairly large American landing on his knee. It went crunch. Your knee joint is meant to resemble a baked potato , his resembled a packet of crisps. Basically his knee-joint was smashed although not according to the paramedic who was first on the scene. That was another drama in itself trying to get an ambulance in through the park gates. The long and the short of it, ho, ho, was that his leg was as broken as could be and he would be in 2 different kinds of plaster for 6 months while the metal pins did their work of repairing him.
So that was the end of that planned holiday. I don’t drive and he was in a wheelchair so a camping holiday was not possible. Another thing chalked down to experience. It also just goes to prove sometimes its better to ignore that oh just 5 more minutes temptation.!
Now the ghost of holiday past is beckoning with his long bony finger and transporting us forward one year to the Easter of 2009. Having watched over my hubby all year I was determined that this would be take two and our longed for holiday would take place. After getting him out of plaster and keeping him a prisoner in the house(not really but I felt like it) and banning him from ever playing rugby again (really) we remade our plans.
Friends had told us about a campsite roughly 40 minutes away from the market town where we live. It was far enough away to feel you were away but close enough to be able to get back home if necessary.ie another family member stupidly breaking something!
This time fate did not intervene cruelly and we made it to our destination unscathed other than some petty squabbling on the way. The campsite was just off a busy road but once you were in it was safe and traffic free. A number of factors made it a fantastic holiday. The surroundings were idyllic. The camp field was large and surrounded by a gentle tinkling stream. The bluebells were out in their thousands. The weather was the hottest it had been for months. The fact our previous holiday had been suspended meant we appreciated it more. We had a large family tent and were excited at christening that. The sense of peace and hope that permeated that holiday are unexplainable. Everybody got along terrifically. The children enjoyed a sense of freedom and the chance to run off steam. They spent hours playing in the park at the site and floating down the stream on an air bed that went kaput shortly after our arrival. We took hikes into the woods that surrounded the campsite and discovered a massive tree with a rope swing and a bendy branch we could all sit on.
We initially booked our stay there for 3 days but kept rebooking, staying for 10 days in the end. We came home regretfully, slightly sunburnt but renewed and ready to face reality again.
We have been back since and had good times too but it’s never been as wonderful as the first visit. The trouble is you become used to a place and it loses its magic then. What once charmed you becomes commonplace.
We had another special holiday last year in a different place. It had clifftop views, a small beach ideal for surfers, and coastal walks. It was another much-needed holiday at a pivotal time and it was serendipitous but it will never replace that first holiday at Abermarlais in 2009.