Is not sleeping on planes genetic?

Will we sleep, as we fly through this night? Thousands of miles above our planet, crossing time zone after time zone, chasing the future while it gets impossibly late both in the land where we took off and the land where we’ll land.

Oh, we tried. We even had an extra seat. But fresh ten year olds take up a lot of space. Young enough to need sleep, old enough to cope for just a little longer.

So they both lay their heads on my lap; I wonder if I’ll be trapped and need to pee. Just as sleep steals in, turbulence hits, a baby cries. The sound of a hundred metallic clicks of people fastening seatbelts surrounds us.

We sit up. We lean heads on tray tables. I listen to music, you both watch movies. I think about the likelihood of there being tears and despair as we wait in the immigration queue.

It’s been two years since we’ve flown this far – well, only a month, technically, but two years since we overnighted on the way home. Dim glows of screens. Me wondering if I need to pee for the eighth time in five hours, if people around me assume I’ve got a bladder infection or am pregnant.

Darkness gets deeper around us as we are poised, perfectly balanced between the sunset we left behind and the sunrise we are heading for.

Do we sleep? 1522 miles remain, two hours and fifty six minutes. Memories of another flight where you stayed up all night, until the last fifteen minutes where you both passed out and I couldn’t wake you up again. The stewardess demanded we leave the plane, you were screaming, you fought each other at baggage claim while tears filled my eyes and a pair of older women – probably the age I am now – swooped in and hugged me and got our bags.

I watch a mother five rows up with her screaming baby and think I may offer to swoop in. Seeing as you’re ten, and you’re awake, and I’m thinking middle of the night movies are better than middle of the night misery.

Will we sleep?

I’ll say no. And hope it’s okay, anyway.

What our classroom looks like. 

A selection of not unusual days over the past couple of weeks:

Awesome places to visit, galore!

We have recently been doing a lot of little road trips and travelling. Here’s just a few of the places we’ve been in the last few weeks – we definitely recommend visits!

Sand Bay, near Weston Super Mare

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This is one of our go to haunts. It’s got a bit of woodland, a bit of rocks, and a whole lot of beach. There are mini sand dunes to explore, a nice firm sandy beach, and rarely other people. There’s even a little pub opposite the beach.

We have actually been here twice in the last week or so. We stayed well past sunset to see the elusive tide come in, and every second was worth it. 

Stourhead National Trust property 

  

This place is overflowing with magic. Yes, actual magic. The trees are what really do it for me – so many different kinds, all growing a little bit crooked, all old abs magnificent. You can climb them, slide down them, do bark rubbings, or just take endless pictures. 

It’s also got little pagan temples scattered around, watery grottos, amazing flowers,  a big lake, and an excellent pub courtyard to get ice cream at. 

Caerphilly Castle, Wales

 
  

A truly fab castle to visit. It’s got a giant dragon statue (complete with smoking nostrils!) emerging from the ground, an oddly challenging children’s trail to follow, an unexpected statue man holding up a turret, and a film you should not let younger children – or sensitive ones – get within a mile of. There are also tonnes of Canadian geese outside in the large and free park. 

Of course all castles in Wales are free for home educators – I’ll have to write a post explaining how to access that!

St. Fagan’s, Wales

  

This is officially called the National Welsh Living History museum. Or something like that. 

It’s a bunch of very old buildings – thatch roofed cottages, a gazillion year old church, stables, etc set in a gorgeous, huge outdoors space. (Free to enter for all, barring carpark charges.) You can easily spend all day wandering and playing – and still not see everything. 

We particularly like the village green, bordered by ye olde shoppes and businesses. 

Kenilworth Castle

Near Birmingham and Coventry. And other places. 

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Flipping fantastic!!! We had a mini trip to Birmingham for a few days, and hit up this castle on the way home. Largely ruins, but with an excellent, kid friendly visitor centre museum place. Lots to see and explore – our kids were absolutely wowed by a massive hill at the rear of the castle. This is the steepest, highest hill. Pictures cannot do it justice.

They climbed and rolled and played for literal hours on the thing while Suzy and I sat at the top and watched as the sun set. Pretty near bliss, I’ll tell you. 

 

We have been a few others places and done a lot of other stuff, but that’s all best left for future posts, perhaps. 

Hopefully this post has given you some ideas of places that are great days out….and please, if you guys ever go anywhere fabulous, leave a comment! I’m in the mood for new places. 

From sea to shining sea.

Last September, my children were ‘due’ to start full time school, mere days after turning four years old. Instead of going to school, we went to Italy.

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We ate a lot of gelato, learned a bit of Italian, and explored the always wonderful Boboli Gardens. I’d been there years before, alone with Suzy, and it was a curious experience going back with our children. So much the same – things unchanged that had been so for hundreds of years, but interacting with them in new ways.

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We wandered small alleyways, rode tall busses, ate even more gelato. We stayed in a big old amazing, secret wonder of a place with twisting hallways and low ceilings. It was lovely.

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That first week of official school time was spent immersed in another country, melodic words flowing around us, chatting to people and touching old statues.

We are now approaching what would have have been their last week of the school year. We’ll be spending that time in America. We’re here now, awake since 3 am, in that curious black space of nighttime jetlag. Lightening strobes the sky, thunder has been rumbling for six hours. I don’t know what this trip will bring, but I know it will add to our lives more than any other thing we could have been doing with this time.

What an amazing blessing. Starting this ‘school’ year in Italy, exploring England and Wales throughout the months between then and now, and ending things here, sitting at my mother’s kitchen table.

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