A Weekend Away


Recently, we rented a cottage near the coast for the bank holiday weekend. A short family break, away from the drudgery of everyday life. Looked forward to with expectation by the family – I think we managed to escape many of the most common pitfalls that I was expecting.

When first perusing a area that you’ve never visited before online. You are inevitably shown numerous regional dusty attractions – normally a combination of small museums and visitor centers. You have to applaud them for their effort in attempting to make the dull, dusty exhibits interesting. But the biggest problem is that they contain information about somewhere very regional and are run by very regional people. As an outsider this can be a little off putting.

I think it is fair to say that there there are 3 types of people that work in museums. The older person that has a basic interest in the museum & wants something to do with their time that brings in a few extra pounds each month. The second is the person that is genuinely passionate and interested in what they are doing – they live and breathe the world & have the ability to fill kids with awe and wonder. The third type, the type that we always attract, is the unwashed, nerdy, obsessive middle aged man – who, presumably, still lives with his mother and desperately needs a haircut. This third man, can talk the rear end off a donkey at 30 paces & is incredibly difficult to escape once ‘engaged’. This is probably the main reason that I view museums with a certain level of fear and disdain…I always end up having to try to escape this dull, smelly person talking about something that I really don’t care about at all – museums, you should stop employing these people, they’re doing you harm!

One of the more enjoyable aspects of a weekend away is the prospect of finding a new, exciting eatery in the form of a cafe. A good cafe (god forbid not one at a museum), is a joy to behold & will serve a fine coffee with a range of cakes that excite & possibly offer something that you’ve not experienced before. In parts of the country this is quite a common and relatively easy beast to find…in the more regional, or rural parts of the country – they still seem to think that a dried out victoria sponge with a hideous dark roasted coffee is everything that the weary traveler requires. These people obviously don’t have taste buds or much life experience – we left the 1970′s behind for a reason, please kindly provide me with a fine medium-dark roasted artisan coffee & a slice of bustrengo…i’ll be much happier for it!

As a family, we have now developed a new tradition. A weekend away together is about quality time together, but we have now found great enjoyment in playing games together.

The weekend away now almost revolves around the board game – this often requires me to find a new game to entertain the troops with. My kids are now obsessed about finding the best family board games – they have a long list that they want to play (that I need to invest in!). For this trip away I chose Lego Creationary. While it is more expensive than the cheapskate in me would normal go for, it is a game that I actually wanted to play myself. I remember playing the original Creationary game as kid a myself & loved it…I was also obsessed (as most boys are) with lego – combine these two great things & I think you’ll find most families will have a great time! Needless to say, the kids loved it & it truly did give us some quality family time…in my book, that’s worth every penny.