Sometimes I’m so organised I scare myself. Sometimes it’s in the middle and other times it’s a complete disaster zone. With this year being our tenth wedding anniversary, I wanted to go on an adventure but it didn’t go so smoothly.
This time things fall pretty much in the last category.
Ever since we went to Amsterdam for our Honeymoon in 2007, I’ve been talking about going back to Holland. With us celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary this year it made sense to try and go back this year. When we went to Rome in January, we had a whole discussion about how I needed to get my passport renewed. This came up again at the end of March while sorting paperwork for the boys’ crazy adventure this summer.
The thing I find about blogging is that I get into so much detail that my post ends up too long. And it really doesn’t need to be…
I’ve spent time over the last fortnight writing and rewriting the same post but I’ve started again with a sort of TL;DR kind of version instead.
On the Wednesday before we were due to go to Amsterdam, Chris went upstairs to pack his stuff while I was working. About 10-15 minutes later, he reappeared behind me waving my passport around. He got me to read the expiry date.
Even though we’d discussed it when we were in Italy, I had completely forgotten to get my passport renewed. We looked at ways to resolve the issue but they were all complicated and involved a long car journey. We could get an appointment for a premium service on my passport. But, because of the time of the appointment, it wouldn’t be ready by the time we needed to be on the flight.
Following a couple of rather upset calls to the Passport Office and then our Travel Insurance, we had to go ahead and cancel our trip to Amsterdam.
I spent a large chunk of Thursday semi-moping on the sofa. Every time I tried to focus I kept going round in circles about what a doughnut I had been!
When Chris got in from work on Thursday, he’d got a plan B. we were off to go glamping at YHA Wye Valley near Ross-On-Wye. Now with it being almost in Wales, we were going to need to stop for multiple charges along the way to make it there. I think a lot of people would be like “Camping is so not the kind of thing to do to celebrate your wedding anniversary!” But actually I really loved it. Staying at YHA hostels around the country have actually played parts in our story, so going to stay at one for our anniversary was kind of cool in a cheesy way! We stayed at YHA National Forest on the way home from The Lakes shortly after Our Sidekick came to live with us, then we stayed at YHA Ironbridge Coalport when we went on our last holiday as a three. Well it was almost three and a half as Jaxon was a bump.
Once we’d dropped Jaxon off at Preschool and dropped his suitcase etc off with my Mum, we got on the road. Our two stops were at Oxford and Cheltenham. Although the Oxford stop didn’t go quite to plan, we were able to see some of Oxford anyway. I managed to spot The Eagle and Child pub which is the one that Tolkien and C. S. Lewis used to go to with their writers group The Inklings.
When we got to Cheltenham it was really time for some lunch so we went to find something to eat while the car was charging. We were asked for directions as someone stopped us thinking that we were locals. Thanksfully we were able to find the directions they needed on my phone and we were able to help them anyway.
Following lunch we got back on the road and did the finaly bit of the journey. Some of the roads leading to the YHA site were really steep and a bit crazy to drive along. It’s in a tiny parish called Welsh Bicknor – it’s no longer part of Wales but in it’s past it was an exclave of Monmouthshire.
After arriving at the campsite and resting for a little while we headed to Pizza Express for dinner. Chris had already got the vouchers as a plan for a different celebration but that didn’t go to plan so he still had them to be able to use for our anniversary.
Dinner was very lovely and it was a lovely evening out. I did feel like I was going to have to roll back to the car!
Our tent had an inbuilt wood burner which was great. Chris was excited to test his fire lighting skills and got the fire going to heat the tent. He was having issues with it on the Friday evening but definitely had the knack of it on Saturday evening when he lit the fire again. I had been up to the main hostel building to use the showers and when I got back the tent was so toasty I didn’t need to worry about being cold with wet hair!
On Saturday we explored the local area and walked from the campsite to Goodrich Castle. This was a two mile walk and normally probably would have been fine but because of how steep the paths were both upwards and then down again, by the time we got to the castle I was ready to curl up and even nap. I think the whole sleeping in a different bed along with all the sitting still in the car meant that my back was hurting a little bit.
We headed into Ross-on-Wye to get lunch, I had hoped to be able to get some white DK wool for a project I’m working on but finding it was a challenge. There doesn’t seem to be any specific knitting shops in Ross-on-Wye but I was able to find some white DK in B&M in the end which meant I could carry on with my crochet. (Especially when Chris was taking the steep roads to and from the youth hostel).
While Chris still wanted to explore Ross-On-Wye, I decided to sit in the car and do some reading as I actually could. I started on The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan and was glued. In the weekend I finished the whole book. It was a great read and would happily read it again sometime.
For tea on Saturday we got fish and chips and headed back to the campsite. I carried on reading while Chris went for a shower then while I was in the shower he got the fire going. When we went to bed it was so cosy I didn’t need as many layers on, then when we woke up on Sunday morning I didn’t want to get out of the bed because it was so cosy and yet so cold in the rest of the tent.
On Sunday morning before heading for home we headed across the border into Wales to go to Monmouth. We had intended to stop and go for a wander but alot of shops seemed to be closed as it was Sunday and finding somewhere to charge the car was a challenge.
Accommodation: YHA Wye Valley
The accommodation was lovely. The mattress on the bed was a bit hard for me but the nice thick duvet made up for it! I think had we been there as a family, we would have probably driven each other crazy by being such closed quarters. The breakfast was lovely although even though we’d asked for Chris to have Gluten Free provision the message hadn’t been passed on to the kitchen staff – fortunately enough the guy Chris spoke to on Saturday morning was on it and happened to have some Gluten Free bread to hand.
Meals out: Pizza Express, Seven Seas Fish Bar
Pizza Express – a lovely meal out with great staff. Lovely prompt and polite service.
Seven Seas – a lovely chip shop with great staff. They don’t accept card though so make sure you have cash on you. Good size portions so even a regular would be enough between two adults.
Charging for Zoe
Most of the charging points in Cheltenham and Ross-on-Wye involved paying for parking as well as any payment for the charging. The charging point in Monmouth is token operated so if the community centre is closed you can’t always get a token (We could be wrong on that one – we didn’t chance it in the end).