I absolutely love spontaneous adventures. Right from being little, my parents used to ‘plan’ spontaneous adventures (or a last minute holiday).
We had a touring caravan that we would use throughout all of the school holidays. At least once every holiday we would have a ‘sparky night’. A sparky night is a midnight adventure (probably more like 9 or 10o’clock when I was little) where you put pyjamas on and then clothes over the top. There would always be flasks made up and a surprise picnic at the intended destination. It made us children insanely excited (and somewhat hard to handle I imagine) when we found out that the moment had arrived during our stay for us to put our ‘jimmy-jams’ on and layer up. At the other end we would have all sorts to entertain us. Sometimes it would be to organised events like seeing a fireworks display over the sea, sometimes it was to meet family as a surprise and sometimes it was simply to have story books read by mum under the light of a torch or a special kind of story that only my Dad could tell (they were always telling the adventures of our day put into a magical, mystery setting). My favourite Sparky Nights to this day are the ones we had looking out over Thatcher Rock in Devon. We visited the spot every time we were holidaying in the area (lots of times). One year my Auntie and Uncle had also gone with my cousin. They arrived earlier than us and my Auntie decided to lay on the bench and make us jump when we arrived. I got so traumatised that I ate my picnic in the car cuddling on to my trusty unicorn! I think my mum and dad laughed at me and my scared stubbornness more than the prank!
Others have included Tivoli Gardens in Denmark, Poole Harbour, Dorset with the firework display. Lands End, Cornwall night show and lots more!
It’s a tradition we keep within the family although the adults no longer have to wear their pjs under clothes (I still do though, if I get the chance to change clothes)! It truly is the most magical experience as a child and a holiday isn’t quite a holiday without a sparky night. I mean, it’s not every husband that gets a wife on honeymoon saying “lets have a sparky night” and it not mean something other than a midnight picnic! – Romance is so not dead!
Sparky nights weren’t the only spontaneous things we did. Days after we returned from a planned holiday to Denmark (LEGOLAND), mum was packing the caravan and we were heading off to Scotland… Dad was booking a campsite as mum was packing and it was just always adventure when I was young.
I really would like to write a more in depth post about the holidays I had growing up. Something ALWAYS happened during a holiday where we would all be belly laughing for one reason or another (some have become giggles in hindsight rather than in the moment – hence my ‘tramp’ story above).
Anyway, you get my gist. I have a real love of adventure, of spontaneity. It’s been a difficult few years for our family so in some ways it has been difficult to plan for things and spontaneous has become the ‘norm’ most of the time. I mean, it comes to something when you are turning a planned hospital trip into an ‘adventure’ to find somewhere good to eat! – and getting ridiculously excited for a garden centre (I can highly recommend Bents, Warrington). After mothers day I knew that I could do something a bit different for my mum. I gave her the gifts we had bought but then last Monday I went and surprised her. I told her that we need to check for a date SOON to spend together – on me. That day was last Thursday. We had absolutely no plan other than afternoon tea – one of my mums favourites! I was going to drive but mum insisted that she did to give her car a good run out. We ended up at Derby shopping centre. It doesn’t sound all that thrilling for a mum and daughter day out but I can tell you hand on heart that it was amazing. We didn’t have to rush back for anything, we could go and do whatever we liked. Afternoon tea was exactly what we needed after browsing EVERY rack of sale items in m&s! My mum has kitted herself out with a whole new spring/summer wardrobe! I got some bits too and got the cutest little Easter decorations from Flying tiger. Mum bought me The F word book by Lily Pebbles. I’ve already read a huge chunk of it and I can relate on so many levels. A perfect gift from one of my favourite females and I am seriously considering buying it for one of my friends who doesn’t read much… I know she will love it! So, different from our planned place to have afternoon tea, we changed our mind and went to Patisserie Valerie. Cucumber sandwiches on an afternoon tea menu sells it to us and the little added bonus of no marmalade – they must have known I was going. Not only am I allergic to the stuff, I also think it is wrong to put marmalade on a scone. It was one of the best afternoon teas I (and mum) have had. We went at just the right time for it to be quiet enough to enjoy a conversation and busy enough for us to not be over heard or rushed out of the door. Mum driving was a huge blessing in the end because by the time we had walked around and carried the bags, my head was letting me know it had had enough for one day. (That’s the kind of spontaneous I don’t like!)
So, the lovely day of last Thursday meant I needed a bit of ‘down time’ at home…
By Saturday lunch time I was in need of some fresh air. Dan and I have been enjoying a weekly outing to blow off the cobwebs so to speak. Even if I’m having a really bad day, it is nice to go and sit somewhere with Dan without the dryness of central heating and the same old boring drone of the TV. Some real quality time where it’s just us (and others occasionally).
I suggested going up to Ladybower Resevoir because We love it up there and I was absolutely convinced that the Derwent dam up at the top would be overflowing. As simple as it may seem, that’s one of the small things (well, not in actual size) that makes me happy – water, waterfalls, flowing water – you get my drift (no pun intended). Like I said, it was lunch time when I was finally up and ready with the idea to go out. As Dan had put his old walking boots on they disintegrated into flakey bits of foam and just gross looking so before we went anywhere he had to go any buy some new ones. (I would have mega sulked if that happened to my boots – they have done many miles and look absolutely battered but are the most comfy things that carry me on long, muddy walks). We definitely needed sensible footwear because we were hoping to go and explore routes for when friends visit. Dan knows the place like the back of his hand. I on the other hand, can just about figure out the route from the car to the dam and to the plug holes. It was about time I went further to enjoy all of the beauty in that area.
There was a little of flurry of snow at home as we left for our trip out. Well, it was more like sleet. As we were travelling, we noticed the snow on the ground and on top of the hills in the distance. We had a chat about whether it was worth trundling through the snow but it really wasn’t that bad.
The lorry in the picture above started following us, gently working our way through the pretty, winding roads but we were enjoying the view and Mr Lorry was probably in a rush to get somewhere so we pulled into a layby to take some pictures.
As soon as I got out of the car the wind hit me. It was absolutely bitter but I wanted to take some photos. After a couple of selfies I turned around… only to see NOTHING. Litterally nothing! Well, okay there was something. A huge white/grey ‘fog’. We had stopped just as a huge snow drift was headed our way! And when I say huge I mean HUUUUUGE! I know that there’s a bit of me that should have been a bit scared because it was as dramatic as it sounded in the last sentence but the truth is that Dan and I went into a fit of hysterics. There we were, being blown all over the place just hysterically laughing that we were in the middle of a snow storm. We couldn’t stay out for long before we had to go to the warmth (and safety) of the car which by this point was rocking in the force of the wind.
(Hover over the images for captions)
The road we had stopped by became covered in thick snow so at that point we decided to abort the mission and head somewhere more local! I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to attempt the drive back down the hills (that’s if we actually got up them) to get back home so we definitely made the right decision to leave the area before things got worse.
Our eventual destination was Clumber Park. We are members of the National Trust so we made use of it by visiting another of our favourite places. The snow so much clearer the nearer to home we headed so it felt much safer and with another flurry greeting us when we got there we knew we wouldn’t be out for too long. We couldn’t cross the damaged bridge due to the weather conditions. It had been totally fenced off so we couldn’t do our usual walk but we had a wander to read the messages that were written on little tags at the fencing.
Whilst on the walk I made up a song to the tune of walking in a winter wonderland. As I was filming myself with a snapchat filter on, there was a couple walking towards me… heavens know what they were thinking of me but whatever, Dan found the situation very funny. When the snow started to come down heavily, we decided it was probably time to head back home.
We had a thoroughly lovely adventure. We giggled all afternoon and by the time we went to bed, the main road where we live was totally snowed over, coming up higher than the curbs. My parents were at the theatre and ended up getting stuck so we were called to go and rescue them. Dan was an absolute gem. He took over the rescue and the recovery of the car the next day after clearing our drive and my parents’ of snow.
I said I love an adventure and this was one that I want to always look back on. I absolutely loved my afternoon with Dan and so glad that I get to have fun times amongst my poorly ones. (you can probably tell I wasn’t my best given how rough I look in the pictures).
*Nothing in this post is sponsored and opinions are all my own*