I thought it was unlikely we’d go away this year. Our camping trip had been cancelled because it’s impossible to socially distance in Robin Hood’s Bay, there’s tonnes going on at work for both of us and what would we do when we got away anyway – spend all week looking for toilets?

Well we went away. We, and my parents, needed to see each other (and frankly a new set of scenery).

Despite the fact that the house we’d picked was a little interesting (the bed kept giving way and I had to buy a shower curtain) it had a lot of positives. Garden to play in, rolling fields to walk in, lots of space inside, and near lots of gardens – visiting which appears to be the new holiday rock and roll. We wondered around taking photos of butterflies, frogs, bees, flowers. We ate picnics, and managed a trip on a miniature steam train and a walk around a dolls house and teddy bear exhibition – which under normal circumstances might have been underwhelming but, when you’ve been starved of everything, was actually very entertaining. There were expensive but delicious fat rascals in Harlow Carr, and cheap but delicious Morrisons’ scones eaten on a rock at Brimham. Then there was an impromptu trip to Ripley Castle – more gardens, cake and even a bit of shopping (rhubarb gin with an otter on the front).

We’ve seen lambs, cows, donkeys, deer, horses (including racehorses), a shetland pony, rabbits, hares, red kites swooping in the sky, bats whooshing past our window. We’ve been running to keep up with the kids Couch25k so they aren’t behind when we get home and it’s flippin hilly round here.

We’ve sorted through stacks and stacks of old photos putting names to faces on our family tree but still with a lot more questions that remain unanswered. The kids have coloured in for hours. We’ve read books and played games and watched TV. We’ve cooked and eaten well, and I’ve drunk too much wine. 

It’s been a lovely week, but it’s safe to safe there is an edge to it all. An underlying fear that we have Covid but just don’t know it and have given it to two of the most important people to me in the world. A general mistrust of other people in general. Mask wearing in shops even though it feels really alien it’s the right thing to do. Of course we didn’t technically have to until Friday so noone else was doing it (and that’s humanity for you). We went out for a pub lunch and I just didn’t dare sit inside so we sat outside by the road. We had to book pretty much everything. When wondering around a castle with no-one in it we weren’t allowed to access the tower for social distancing reasons. Tea rooms were closed or if open just takeaway. My hands are sore from antibacterial gel. “Frustrated from Sheffield” even arsily tweeted the National Trust to complain about how many people they let into Brimham Rocks and I was thankful we are always go early so were there when it was calm and beautiful. We were constantly on the hunt for toilets. The progress towards reusable is well and truly over – being handed individual packets of sugar and milk and disposable cups everywhere we went. The new normal is strange.

We needed to get away, and have come back home happier and reinvigorated to make some changes. But this has in some ways it’s been a weird old week. Certainly a memorable one. At least we don’t have to quarantine after visiting every stately home gardens in Yorkshire.

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