Last weekend me, my friends and our children ventured over to the East Coast to reside for two nights at Primrose Valley. Despite having quite a pretty name, there is nothing Primmy or rosey about this place. Plus, it is definitely not in a valley. We knew what we were buying into though so it was all good. Primmy V (our affectionate name for it) is, in fact, a caravan site. Without sounding like a complete and utter prude, caravans just aren't my thing and a few people warned me that it could get cold in the night and that is fundamentally what this blog is going to be about: warmth. Or the lack of it. More on that later though.
I was very much looking forward to a weekend with the besties as I don't go out much anymore and I certainly don't holiday as much as I would like. Plus, I had a new car that I had picked up the day before so the drive there would be pretty sweet. And it was. The boy slept throughout the whole drive and the girl was very well behaved and was so excited to be spending the weekend in a 'camper van' with her little buddies. Like every young child, she asked the age old question: 'are we there yet?' approximately every three minutes but, I didn't snap or become agitated. In fact, I did quite the opposite. As a child, my mum, dad and I used to go to Cornwall every year to visit friends and I had a bit of an unhealthy obsession with Dogtanian and the Muskehounds (you're totally singing the theme tune). So when I used to ask 'Are we there yet?' My mum would reply with something along the lines of 'six Dogtanians'. Leeds to Cornwall is a long ass drive; therefore much kudos to my mum for never getting frustrated and for mentally working out how many Dogtanians I would have to watch before arriving in Cornwall. This was of course the eighties and unless we had a Hitachi TV and a Betamax in the Ford Capri then no way was the squeaky dog and his trusty steed, Sandy, getting watched. She could have just told me to shut up and read a book and she didn't. My mum is the greatest woman I know for many many reasons.
The sun was still shining as we pulled into Primmy V. The Raybans were on as were the tunes (turned way down though due to the explicit lyrics on some of my songs. Disney does not reside in my car.) I was directed to the caravan, I emptied the car, bagsied myself a room, realised the travel cot wouldn't fit in it, bagsied another room, realised the travel cot wouldn't fit in it. You see where I am going with this? It didn't matter, I would sort out the cot later. We made our way to the other caravan to say hi to my friends and their kids and the sun disappeared. The law of Sod right there. The night passed with no real events. The kids had a little pizza party while my friends and I kicked back with a bit of booze. I am still boobing the boy so before judgement is passed, it was just a light beer for me. Yes, that is a halo you see on top of my head. We headed out, saw the children's 'turn' (a tiger and elephant singing Uptown Trunk, if I remember rightly). The boy was epic and slept in his pram and the girl danced with her buds and her newly acquired flashing wand (thank you CG.) We were back in the caravans before half 9 with a cuppa and a toffee apple Sourz shot. Not kidding. (Thanks again CG.)
I was sharing a caravan with my oldest and most dearest friend in the world. She has a five year old boy and a three year old girl. We tried and failed to figure out a way we could use the travel cot. By this time, our girls were groggy and despite my daughter saying she would share a room with my friend's daughter, she wouldn't and didn't and how dare I ever suggest such a thing.
There were three in the bed and I most certainly didn't roll over roll over. I didn't move barely an inch all night. With my girl snoozing beside me, it was time to get the boy to sleep. Earlier in the evening I had tried to give him some formula as I didn't really want the happy campers of Primmy V being subjected to my boobs. I was just giving him a bit of mama's milk to put him to sleep when...bleugh. Up the formula came all over my pjs, maternity bra, his pjs and his little Grobag. By this point the cold had set in. An artic breeze swept through the wet bra and my silk pyjamas. Yes, I said silk. What kind of moron takes silk pyjamas to stay in a caravan? Yep, that would be me. My little man's clothes were wet too but, he had many layers on and his skin felt dry.
What to do. Do I change us both? Thus subjecting us to more wind chill or do I allow us to self dry? Yup, I went with self dry. Do wet clothes dry in the cold? No, of course they bloody don't.
Half an hour or so later and both kids were asleep in the bed. They didn't appear to be affected by the cold unlike me. My dilemma continued. The girl was by the wall (which the following night I realised was the coldest place on Earth) so that left me with two options: the boy in the middle next to his sis who might roll over in the night or me in the middle with the boy at the edge of the bed and what if he learnt how to roll over in the night? By this point the room was freezing and my silk pyjamas were hardening as the wet spewed up formula was turning to ice. Before leaving for Primrose Valley, my mummy dearest had begged me to be vigilant when it came to heating the caravan. There was an electric heater in the room and I was dubious about using it and leaving it on in the night. I couldn't feel my nose though so on it went. I positioned myself slightly underneath my son so he was kind of in the middle but far enough from his sister that he wouldn't get a mean right hook in the face if she turned in the night. Then I just laid there. And laid. And laid. Hours passed and my son woke for a night feed and he went back to sleep (how he did this is beyond me) and I went back to just laying. Somewhere around 4am I must have dozed as I dreamt that one of the kids from our little group was dressed as Spider-Man, hiding under our bed and taunting us; it was quite freaky actually. The only thing that made me realise it was a dream was the fact that this said child hadn't arrived at Primmy V yet as his mum was just making a day trip on the Saturday. If it had been any of the other kids in the dream then my sanity may have been pushed over the edge.
I was woken around 6.30 to the cutest little voice singing 'Let it Go' to herself in the next room. My friend's three year old daughter was in fact the bravest person in the caravan that night as while I was being tormented by Spideman under the bed and literally freezing a boob off, she had slept in a room on her own all night without so much as a moan.
Saturday had arrived and with it came a luke warm shower, two cups of tea, an hour or two de thawing by the fire in the room, a trip to Starbucks for a caffeine fix and a walk to the beach. The kids played in the sand, a few selfies were taken, I boobed on the beach, which was a first for me, and then we had lunch. It was a pleasant day. Rain pretty much destroyed the afternoon and soon it was the evening again.
Once again, we embarked upon the complex's entertainment bar and slot machines. While the other girls and children returned to the 'party caravan' I went to my caravan to get my two to bed. I know I sound like a stick in the mud but my boy is five months, remember. Right, this time I was thinking it through. I pushed the bed to the wall; the boy would sleep there. I would go in the middle and my daughter at the end. Once again the artic wind hit like a knife. There was a window on the wall and the most deathly of chills coming from it. I couldn't have the boy there. He went back into the middle (both were asleep at this point and I was moving them around myself). I laid under the duvets (we had two tonight) with a vest on, socks on and my silk pyjamas and lay there shivering. I heard my friend and her children return from the party caravan. Her daughter was crying and her son was running up and down. I heard a loud clatter and then her son was crying. But, my children slept on.
Eventually silence fell upon us once more. Panic then set in. Maybe my boy was so sound asleep because he was weakened by the cold. I had visions of me waking in the night and he would be a little block of ice. His head wasn't covered. I had to find him a hat. I climbed out of bed and whimpered. I made my way into the main part of the caravan and I could see my breath. Digging out a hat, I returned to the room and put it on his head. Before I climbed back into bed, I saw our bags half packed. That was it. It was decided. We were going home. I could totally do this. It was midnight by this point and I figured that I could get home by 2am. I text the other half (who was fast asleep of course) and told him my plan. Thankfully, he didn't reply and I didn't wake him. I started to pack the bags together. I even put the travel cot away as it had been left out in the living area. I was tottering around freezing and still in my silks; I didn't think about waking the others, which was very selfish of me. I packed away the steriliser and the few bottles of formula I had brought. I returned to my room to see if I had woken anyone and was crippled by the cold. I reluctantly turned the electric heater back on and returned to my packing. Then (thankfully) my common sense kicked in. How viable was it for me to leave a camp site in the dead of night with my precious bundles? I was already knackered from the night before and it was pitch black and freezing. More to the point - how many trips to the car would I have to make to pack it up? It was parked just outside but did I mention that it was Baltic? I would also be a very very bad friend and mum if I up and left in the night. By this time it was about 12.30am and I crawled back into bed. My daughter was stirring and she asked me to cuddle her; I did and to my delight, she was warm. With my favourite people around me and with the electric heater taking the sting out of the room, I fell asleep.
With the morning came the thawing. Two teas and a Starbucks later, my friends suggested swimming. Swimming! It's safe to say that I hastily returned to the caravan, packed up and drove home with the kids to Daddy and my wonderful warm bed.
It took me three nights to catch up on my sleep. Upon posting some pictures on Facebook, my friend put the comment: 'if we book now for next year we can save 30%'. It made me smile; she always makes me smile. They all do. And that's why I would do it all again but, the silk pyjamas would be replaced by thermals and the formula with brandy!
Pictures: bed partners, giant deckchair and a selfie stick!