East Midlands

East Midlands 

Summer 2010

We decided to go to Butlin’s Skegnessholiday camp” with the boys’ uncle David from Ecuador and cousin Matt from England. It was a bit of a mixed bag to be honest, gone (or nearly gone) are the days of knobbly knees competitions

We opted for a self catering option, but what we never realised was that the ‘kitchen’ was virtually unusable, I guess to get the guests out tucking into the camp fare. The rest of the portacabin wasn’t much better and was reminiscent of a 1950’s army camp.

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside
Oh I do like to be beside the seaside
Round and round and round....
Round and round and round….

Still we ploughed on,and went to the silent disco, watched the Abba tribute and poured money into the slot machines….

We also had a sightly surreal night off camp when we hooked up with a Colombian acrobat (in Skegness!), who was more surprised to hear Spanish than we were. We ended up down the boozer and my 18 year-old brother-in-law and my old-enough-to-know-better nephew had the conversation with the big white telephone after several too many Bacardi Breezers…

Bob the Builder is one of many tie-ins at Butlin's
Bob the Builder is one of many tie-ins at Butlin’s

Overall the main problem with the Butlin’s experience is that it feels like you are being herded from one corporate experience to another. Even in the nearish past of the early 90’s, when I had a stint working behind the bar at Butlin’s it still felt like a British institution and was all the better for it, but their attempts to glam things up with international pizza franchises and the like really did miss the point for me. Oh and the kids were frenetic the whole time running round spending money.

Norfolk and Lincolnshire

Our trip to Norfolk was my first trip with just me and Tommy from Ecuador when he was only two. We did the trip for me to say goodbye to Ken my stepdad who was not doing too well and we wanted one last hurrah to say goodbye like I said. The trip was in April so Britain didn’t look it’s best, and in fact we had some snow, and to be honest as we were living in Ecuador at the time we weren’t really prepared for it.

It's a great idea to get a big family farmhouse rental
It’s a great idea to get a big family farmhouse rental

The house we rented was near Cromer and it seems there are quite a few like it, old farmhouses for rent. They’re not cheap but if a big group of you go they become affordable.

The view the other way, perfect wheelchair country
The view the other way, perfect wheelchair country

This was, as you can see pretty much in the middle of a field, and the April wind was bone chilling, but the indoor pool was all weather, and a little cold was not about to deter us.

Look at how many of us fit in the house
Look at how many of us fit in the house

So this week was all about relaxing, eating and messing about which is what we did.

Uncle John strangling Tommy inside the house
Uncle John strangling Tommy inside the house

We did manage a couple of side trips, to Cromer and the beach and the obligatory boat trip on the Broads, the extensive network of waterways for which Norfolk is known.

On a Norfolk broads boat
On a Norfolk broads boat

With more time (and warmer weather), it would be a great idea to have a week or on a boat, the trip afternoon trip we took was nice enough, but didn’t really capture the pace of life that you could get on the Broads on a longer boat trip.

The view from th eboat
The view from the boat

The seaside pursuits were a little bit like hard work because of the weather, but we did manage to eat outside a pub garden and play with a bucket and spade, even if we didn’t manage a swim.

Chips at the back of a pub
Chips at the back of a pub
On the beach with Aunty Chris
On the beach with Aunty Chris

Me and Tommy combined the Norfolk trip with a quick side trip to see the family in South Lincolnshire, another very flat place.

 A walk in fens with Aunty Debbie and cousins Kelly and Jamie
A walk in fens with Aunty Debbie and cousins Kelly and Jamie

This part of the world is my ancestral seat, me a load of red faced Tory farmers, so although I have family here I don’t get back too often and have no memories of living here when I was a nipper.

Anyway it’s worth a trip to see Stamford if you’re in the area and there’s always a walk in the fens, but I’m not too sure what else to recommend in the area.

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