Our holiday this year was shared with a friend and her son and partner. The first weekend was a bit hectic. Friday, 25th June was the last day of school for L and also the day of the Bo'ness Fair. L had been dropped at school at 9am, so a frantic couple of hours were spent by me, packing the car and doing the last tidying jobs, because to make it more complicated, a new heating system and new bathroom were being installed while we were gone.
At 11, I headed along to the Town Hall for the official ceremony, where the new Fair Queen was crowned and various displays took place. Then back along the road for an hour's uncomfortable wait for the parade. L's school nominated the Queen this year so his school led the parade and as the youngest boy in Primary 1, he led his school, just after the flag bearers. Here he is, enjoying a pre-parade gingerbread man, with his teacher.
Once I'd collected him from school at the end of the parade, we hit the road, making it to Oxford in 7 hours, pretty much exactly. The reason for our rush was that the following day we had tickets for They Might Be Giants, who were doing a kids' show at the Royal Festival Hall. We drove into London, the Southbank Centre being nice enough to provide free parking to disabled badge holders attending concerts (but beware - in the above ground carpark there are no actual disabled spaces - Hayward Gallery carpark might be better).
Central London driving is busy, sure, but I never find it as bad as people think. That may be the Auckland trained driver in me coming out! Although there is no congestion charge on a Saturday anyway, cars with a disabled exempt tax disc are exempt from it at all times.
The concert was great, the venue also, but I have a wee gripe in that, although I'd asked if there were time to go to the loo before the show and been told there was, we were told we'd have to go to the back of the hall and climb down the stairs to get back in - luckily someone came out then and I just went in anyway. Oh and there are *NOT ENOUGH LIFTS* - especially when half the crowd have buggies!
Sunday morning we got up at "OMG o'clock" to get an 8:15 ferry from Portsmouth. I do like Brittany Ferries and last year's trip had taught me the lesson of specifying we needed access to the lift (which got us a special sticker and we had to put hazards on so the loaders spotted it) and also a cabin nearer the centre of the boat. Last year, we were stuck at the farthest edge of the ship, a long walk to and from the cabin and that was an overnight crossing!
The rest of Sunday was a longish (about 6 hours) drive down the west of France to our first stop, Les Charmettes a campsite a wee bit south of La Rochelle. More of which, later...