We all had a marvelous time on holiday in Donegal. Even the weather was surprisingly fine. Though, last Saturday, when we arrived at the caravan park, it was fairly bleak; wet and windy. We all donned boots and rain coats for our first walk around the site. Duncan got soaked, because as far as he was concerned, when you're wearing wellies, you're supposed to jump into every puddle! He was running along a muddy path, through a patch of puddles, saying 'Big Thunder Mountain!' He was pretending to be the coaster splashing through the water.
By Sunday afternoon it had dried up and from then on it stayed mostly dry with just a few light showers once or twice. Knowing the climate in Donegal, and given what an awful summer we've had so far, that was astounding...and welcome.
The site had a great playground, a couple of bouncy castles, a climbing wall and a bungee-jump-trampoline thing. There were little go-kart bikes and a bike that the whole family could ride, with the adults steering and peddling. I also made use of the laundry; just 'cause we're on holiday doesn't mean everyones bladders last the night.
Duncan loved the go-kart, and took one out for a while every day. Whoever was accompanying him had to run fast to keep up. But what was great about the place, was we didn't need to be right there at his side all the time. We could let him go off 30m or so in front of us, knowing that he was safe enough.
Lady and Thomas were allowed to go to the playground without us. It was such a big deal to them, getting that little bit of freedom. Thomas made friends immediately, he just asked the other children if they wanted to play with him. Lady did as she always has, and waited for the other children to approach her. By the end of the week they both had a little gang of buddies. The site provided a sort of summer club, with organised and supervised activities for the children. Lady and Thomas went to several of these; tennis, rounders, arts and crafts, football, dance-camp etc. Watching Thomas play football was hilarious. He was all effort and no effect. He ran around lots, always making a big dramatic start like Sportacus.
The site was in the Fanad Peninsula, a stunning part of the country and we enjoyed some beautiful views driving around. Duncan was frightened when we were on the mountain roads, especially whenever we stopped the car or when there was a panoramic view over the sea. The steep inclines worried him too. He was saying, 'brakes, brakes Mr Conductor', 'I don't want to die!' and 'hold back, hold back' as well as a few other train related phrases. I held his hand and kept reassuring him that we were fine and safe, that Daddy was driving very carefully and he seemed to be mollified.
We went to the beach a few times. One trip was to Ballymastocker Bay, right at the north of Fanad head. This beach didn't border a mere lough, this looked onto the wide Atlantic Ocean. We'd bought short wetsuits for the children, and they had such a magical time splashing in the sea and digging and rolling down sand dunes and clambering over rocks. It was actually warm and sunny that day (I topped up my farmer's tan). Gordon and I sat on the soft sand, away from the children on the nearly deserted beach, watching them and enjoying a moment of perfect happiness. (Image taken from the Donegal Ancestry Centre website; we forgot the camera that day.)
Of course we all had our moments of sub-optimal temper. But we always got over it. Even on the last night, when there was a little concert organised as an opportunity for the children to show off the songs and dances they'd learned in dance-camp, Duncan was manageable. He stayed outside the barn which was serving as the concert hall and was too noisy and crowded inside for him. He passed the time riding a tricycle up and down a wooden ramp. Gordon and I took it in turn to stay outside or to stand in the doorway, so we could keep an eye on Duncan, while watching the show.
Thomas and lady were taking part in the concert. In their first number, they were doing a wee dance. Thomas performed the whole thing with his back to the audience. It wasn't that he was shy, it just never seemed to occur to him to face us! He did better the next time (after I reminded him that we did want to see him!) and was so funny shaking his little booty. Lady had her big moment in the spotlight, when she and another girl took the mike to sing 'Chim Chiminee' (from Mary Poppins) and she did great!
Anyway, we're home again and glad to be back. When we were leaving, lady and Thomas said they wanted to go back to the same place next year. I asked Duncan if he wanted to go there again too, he said 'Yes I did!'