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The weekend is almost upon us, well it is for me as I’ve got tomorrow off, but before I hop, skip and jump into a fun-filled, booze-drive weekend I thought I’d better finally catch up with what I’ve been up to this last week and a half.

Sorry it’s taken so long to get back on here and write up what’s been going on but (1) there was no time after getting back from Kent the other weekend after Elisa’s Birthday party to do hardly anything but pack and get ready for the holiday; (2) while away there was no wi-fi and I just about had a signal on my phone; and (3) it’s taken me most of this week to catch up with the photos, and I didn’t want to post an update until I’d finished that rather large task.

So, what have I been up to then? Good question!

The fun and games started the other weekend when Shelli and I drove down to Kent to stay at Val and Tony’s so that I could go to Elisa’s 5th Birthday party at their new place. To be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to it but Elisa had told me she wanted me to go so there was no way I was going to disappoint her, regardless of how uncomfortable it might be for me.

The party was okay and the children had a good time. Fortunately the rain held off just long enough for them all to play and have fun in the sunshine in the garden, which gave me ample opportunity to take a lot of photos.

Saturday afternoon was sent shopping for the final bits to take away with me and the girls and Saturday night Shelli, Val, Tony and I went out for a very nice meal at Chimichangas at the Dockside.

Sunday we went and picked up Alice and Elisa and drove home, ready for the week ahead.

The holiday

Monday, after rush hour, the girls and I headed down past the New Forest for a few days away. I’d gotten us a cabin until Friday at Shorefield Country Park but as we couldn’t check in until 3pm we stopped off in Lymington for some lunch and a look around followed by checking in and a stroll to Milford-on-Sea to the beach there for a bit.

Tuesday was Elisa’s Birthday and we started the day with her opening a few cards and presents I’d taken with me – hidden of course – just so she didn’t miss out on that “Birthday morning” thing. She was very excited!

I’d kept secret what we were doing for the day and didn’t tell the girls until we were in the car. We went to Adventure Wonderland for the day and they both thoroughly enjoyed themselves, topping the day off with pizza and Birthday cake back at the cabin.

After spending some time in the swimming pool Wednesday morning, we spent the rest of the day at the beach at Boscombe on Wednesday which was a good thing as it rained on Thursday. The girls had a great time playing in the sand and in the sea, even if the water was a little on the chilly side. We had a lovely dinner at a pub on the way back to the cabin where we stuffed ourselves silly.

As Thursday was a bit of a washout we spent the morning in the cabin which gave me a bit of a rest. I was ill all last week and this was the first time I’d really stopped. After lunch we went swimming again and then popped out for dinner at a pub Alice chose in Milford-on-Sea.

One thing I need to say about the swimming is, Alice has now [finally] learnt to trust her arm bands and is now “swimming” on her own. She did amazingly well and I hope that she keeps this up when we go swimming when they’re with me. Very very proud of her! I can now hopefully concentrate on building Elisa’s confidence. Only time will tell.

Friday came round all too quickly and after making sure everything was packed in the car we checked out and headed off to Beaulieu car museum for the day. Fortunately the weather had perked up a bit and we had a nice day walking round looking at the cars, riding the monorail and looking at all the works of art dotted around the grounds. There were lots of them and I can only assume it was some sort of exhibition.

We hit the road home around 2pm so we could beat the traffic which worked a treat as we had a pretty good drive back without any major delays. All in all it was a great time away, even if I was ill for the entire time, not that that stopped us all having a lot of fun!

One thing I did do while we were away was to tell the girls about Shelli and I. We spoke about it and they seemed very excited about daddy having a new girlfriend. I was very relieved that they were happy and it’s certainly taken a weight off my shoulders.

I have no idea whether or not they’ve mentioned anything to their mum – not that that matters of course – as she’s not said anything to me about it. I didn’t tell her before I told the girls as I didn’t see that there was a need to. We’ll see if anything’s said going forward won’t we?

The Weekend

Shelli came over for the weekend and, surprisingly, the girls asked to play on their bikes, even Elisa! So, we sorted them out, put on their helmets and off we went round the paths. Alice did really well on her own and, after a while, Elisa started to do really well too. A bit more practice and they’ll be shooting around!

While we were out we picked some blackberries for this year’s batch of brandy. We picked – I say “we” as Elisa picked them and ate what ever she picked! – enough for one bottle as that was all I could fit in the tub at the time.

Saturday we all went to the pub for dinner. It’s really nice to go out with Shelli and the girls and not have to pretend nothing going on 🙂

Sunday was out on the bikes again and more fruit picking. Although it was early the sloes were ready for picking and we found a sloe tree with a major branch hanging down almost touching the floor. This was too good an opportunity to miss so I ran back home, grabbed a big tub and we filled it with sloes. So many that we ended up with enough to make five – yes five – bottles of sloe gin. Nice! I’m going to be busy sorting that lot out!

My wife came and picked the girls up at the usual time and then they were gone. That week just disappeared – not happy!

The Week

After having such a great week with the girls my attention changed to the week ahead and more importantly the fact that Shelli was going to be going away on holiday on Tuesday, leaving little time for us to spend together before she left. Trying to make Monday night a bit special we went out to dinner at the Crooked Billet pub in Stoke Row. What a great choice as the food was just delightful, and more importantly filling!

It was a lovely evening but again all too soon it was time to say goodbye for over two weeks. This will mean we’ve only seen each other for a few short days this month 🙁

Other than working [boo!] I’ve spent my time sorting the photos from the past week or so. There are a load of new galleries for your viewing pleasure: 6 galleries with a total of 406 photos if you can believe it?! It took quite a few hours to sort that lot out I can tell you.

I’ve also been working on the site for my LEJOG walk a bit. I’ve started to put the route maps up; the first week is now done. I sorted out getting the interactive maps working and I also managed to get interactive plots of the day’s elevation working too. Probably more information than the average person would ever want to know about the routes I took but it’s all good stuff, well, I think so anyway. Only another 63 days to sort out – doh!

And there you have it. A great time away. A great weekend and lots of work done.