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The Last Hurrah

Over the past few days, I have been concentrating on getting myself ready to get back to work. I’ve been away for nine months of maternity leave and one month of annual leave (I could either take the annual leave at the beginning of my maternity leave, or lose it).

 

With this in mind, I have done a variety of things.

 

I’ve fed the ducks and watched the squirrels with my girls at the end of the school run.

 

I have stripped wall paper off the walls of our front bedroom with the help of my five year old and husband. We’re getting the place looking cool so it can go on the market. It is taking us forever to get the house sorted – a year now! But it will be worth it when it goes on.

 

My lovely husband also whisked me off to the Parsonage Museum in Haworth for part two of my Bronte adventure.

 

That was interesting as my baby kept grabbing the ropes in Patrick Bronte’s study and setting the alarms off! The staff were ever so lovely about it though.

 

They were terribly friendly and thoughtful, even lending me a hip-seat to help me carry my baby round the museum. My baby in turn, also amused all the tourists by chattering away in her own unique way. Who on earth can resist a cute eight month old baby with an infectious smile and bright blue eyes?

 

It is never too early to learn about the Bronte’s in my opinion and I thoroughly intend on brainwashing my children until they agree that Jane Eyre is the best novel ever written in any language, let along the English.

 

Lunch - Chilli, nom :-)
Lunch – Chilli, nom 🙂

After a saunter onto Main Street again, we headed back to the car park (this time using the Bradford Council one, which proudly displays a sign announcing ‘No Clamping’, no doubt in response to our friends at the private car park up the road that love a bit of clamping) and headed off for some lunch in Shipley.

We spent the rest of the day stripping off more wallpaper, but it was a lovely treat.

Then, on Friday afternoon after the school run, I took my girls over the Pennine’s to St. Helens to see my family for the weekend.

My brother and his family were coming up on a rare visit from their home in Portsmouth, so it was good to get up there and see them too.

My niece and nephew are similar in age to my five year old daughter, so they just run off as a pack, never to be seen again. On the rare glimpses I did get to see of my child and her cousins as they ran riot over the three floors of my Dad’s house, they were playing Barbie Mariposa. How my daughter convinced my seven, nearly eight year old, nephew to join in, I’ll never know. I put it down to her very bossy nature and Yorkshire ways, which I am rather proud of.

We ate and drank al fresco, which is rare enough these days. We sat out until 2am, just chatting and having a laugh.

Drinking outside
Drinking outside

On the Saturday, we headed off to a kids farm in Burscough that my step-mum’s school (that she works at) had just visited that week for their end of year outing. So, with four bored children in tow, we went off there to see if we couldn’t get them as excited as her nursery and reception classes had been.

We’re pretty spoiled in Yorkshire for farms to visit, as we have the likes of Cannon Hall Farm, which is frankly epic.

Either way, my girls both loved it there and it was good to pass the time.

I also think I fell in love with an Alpaca they had there. Seriously kids, I’ve been out with guys less

Love this Alpaca
Love this Alpaca

attractive than that Alpaca.

It was, for the record, odd to be in Burscough. I had a Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy moment when we were driving through with me going “I’ve been here before. Have I been here before? Yeah, I’ve been here before”.

I used to drive through Burscough in my third year of Uni to either take my husband (then my fiancé) to the train station in Preston, or pick him up. It was just quicker than relying on the trains to and from Ormskirk.

Being reminded of all those odd little places I used to know so well was strange and disconcerting really. I don’t really go back to West Lancashire very often, bar my yearly pilgrimage to Skelmersdale to see my absolutely enormous family at Christmas.

I’ve sworn that I won’t go back, but recent events (too weird and complicated for me to describe in a blog to be honest) have meant that I don’t feel worried about going there anymore and bumping into people from my past. I actually feel like I’ve been freed of an old tormentor’s last hold over me. I’m no longer terrified of my old shadow when it comes to that particular monster.

Again, long and complicated, it’s better you don’t know.

So, I suppose I’ll have to get back up that way a bit more often. I’ve not taken my daughter to Martin Mere yet, which she’d love.

Thomas joined us on Saturday tea-time because he had had to work Friday and Saturday, so he got the train over. It was a nostalgic experience for him, as he hadn’t gotten the train anywhere for 6 years and hadn’t had to get the train to St. Helens in a heck of a lot longer.

After spending so much of my maternity leave with my older daughter, not just her baby sister, I have certainly learnt how absolutely fiercely intelligent and  curious my child is (who’da thunk my offspring could be reet smart with an above average intelligence?). So she’d love somewhere like that.

Flowers in my Dad's back garden
Flowers in my Dad’s back garden

We rounded off the weekend with a barbeque in my Dad’s gorgeous and florally lush back garden, before we packed up the car (babies do not travel light) and returned home.

My kids had a wonderful time being fussed to death by their grandparents and family, but I think they were both a bit over tired.

My Dad’s house has two flights of stairs, so my exploring and frighteningly mobile eight month old baby spent the weekend climbing those over and over, under the astonished supervision of my relatives.

I also got to see my step-aunt, my uncle, my cousin and my wonderful Nan too. My bit of St. Helens is really tiny and everyone knows everyone. So seeing umpteen relatives for the short time I was there for was a given.

Now, I am back at work. My baby bearing days behind me, I can now concentrate on keeping myself well, making my man proud of me and above all – bringing up my stupendously gorgeous and amazing children.

I will also get back into writing a tad more. I have recently started writing a series of very short (no more than 800 words, if that) stories, which I will get up on here when there are enough of them to make into a series and I’m happy enough with them for them to leave my creative nursery. I’ve written five so far, but I’d like to get a few more so I can schedule their release on here.

I’m going to find leaving my babies very wrenching whilst being at work, but I’m glad I’m bringing home the bacon and making them proud too, hopefully.

Cat x

 

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