Jean died a couple of weeks ago at the age of 83. We worked out I hadn’t seen her since I was 13 (on a holiday where I drank to much and barfed everywhere!) but I remember her with fondness nonetheless. So when I heard she had died I knew I had to go to her funeral.
And I wanted to take the little one so that she could meet some more family. You see my grandfather on my mother’s side was one of 12 kids and Jean was the daughter of his sister. She was the matriarch of the family and kept everyone connected.
It wasn’t ideal circumstances but it was a good opportunity.
We agreed to take my mother as her disabilities make a trip like that under her own steam nearly impossible and the little one and her adore each other so it was a good opportunity for them to spend some time together. We decided to stay in Anglesey for 3 nights: travel down on the Thursday, day trip to Cheshire for the funeral on Friday, a day to chill and have fun on Saturday and drive home Sunday.
So firstly, let me just state for the record that the little one is an angel. I couldn’t have asked for her to be better behaved. On all the trips, in the church, at the house after – it didn’t matter what we did her behaviour was impeccable – well beyond what I would expect of a 4 year old.
She approached everything as she always does, adapting easily and find the best way to get the most out of every situation. Let me just summarise before I show you all the photos
1. She travelled down on a journey that took about 7.5 hours if you include stops. She did whine, fall asleep, cry, barf or anything. She happily sang, chatted and played for the whole trip. We stopped 3 times. Twice proper breaks and once for the loo.
2. She was quiet and patient in the church. She whispered when she wanted to talk and she loved watching everyone sing.
3. She played happily at the house after with the other kids and didn’t complain that all the food was inedible to her because it was sandwiches and pork pies etc.
4. She came out to dinner, with my mother and I, and behaved wonderfully – usually playing on her little computer. Even when we inadvertently gate crashed a women's golf event at the golf clubhouse near where we were staying, she clapped along with the presentations!
5. She slept in the same bed as me and despite the excitement each day went to bed with a minimum of fuss and woke up smiling each morning ready for the day ahead.
I shouldn’t be surprised by now but she never fails to amaze me!
Anyway, some photos
She kept insisting on travelling in the back on the way down. She liked having her own space
She loves bears. We picked up this Pillow Pet on the way down. She made up a little tune about him.
Whenever we stopped she dug out her MobiGo and played happily
The cottage was great with a double bedroom, a twin room, a lounge and a kitchen. It even had a little dining table set up
She loved my mother’s garden. She calls her Nana Pink because of the pink hair and love of pink things. They totally adore each other
The funeral was in a lovely church. Unfortunately I forgot to take photos. Jean had a huuuuuge garden. This photo doesn’t do it justice really
My mother (who is very into horses) was very impressed with the little one’s balance. We had a lovely day for the funeral but it started raining when we got back to the house. There was the most amazing reading from Jean’s eldest daughter. It summed up beautiful what a truly lovely and inspirational lady she was. It talked about not regretting the opportunity to repay a favour, or forgive, but instead to apply that to someone else.
I took a sticker book and colouring in book for the little one. She spent about 30 seconds on each and participated in the whole ceremony for the rest of the time. And it was a long one too!
Saturday was play day.
We started off meeting an online friend, Ruth, for brekkie in McDonalds. The house has no wifi and poor coverage on my mifi so it was lovely to do a Facetime session with the hubby from there too.
We went to the Pier House cafe in Beaumaris for lunch. This is the little one playing peek-a-boo with my mother
Then we went across the road to the beach. It was windy and wild and we did lots of running
Then we went to a kind of nature zoo on the island called Pili Palas because they now have Meerkats which my mother is very much into.
The little one got to stroke a dragon! Jerry the bearded dragon lizard.
But really wasn’t interested in anything else. In the bird area she just wanted to climb the railings!
The meerkats were cute
But the bouncy castle was apparently better. She spent about 45 minutes on it and was red faced and boiling when she came off!
Then she went on these go-kart tractors. My mother and I were stunned by how good she was at steering and controlling them
There was a brief tantrum when we tried to leave but that was because she was enjoying herself so much!
We had access to the Golf Clubhouse as part of our accomodation package so we went there to eat on Saturday night. Unfortunately there had been a Women’s golf tournament all day and we arrived at the time of the presentations. Oops! The little one loved it though. She clapped along and told my mother and I to shut up!
We got her two lizards from Pili Palas. She played with them in the car all the way home. In fact she was so happy doing that, that we only had 2 stops for the whole 350 or so miles. Pretty good with a 4 year old don’t you think?
All in all it was an unexpected holiday when it could have been just a very challenging 3 days.
There was an incident with poo but I will blog that in a separate post because it needs one all of its own to be told!
When I asked her what her favourite bit was she said “Meeting Nana Pink”
So there you go. All worth it in the end.