When my Dad retired in 2017, my parents purchased a Nissan converted camper van to enjoy their retirement in. My daughter turned nineteen two weeks later and our first trip out in their new found pleasure was to Chatsworth, Derbyshire where we set up camp in a secluded spot by the river. Pulled out the folding chairs and fired up the burners for sausage and bacon rolls, coffee and birthday cake. We watched a group of elderly swimmers disappear down stream and in glorious August sunshine, a wonderful day was had by all.
Three years later we are living in a global pandemic and life has changed beyond recognition. The pubs and restaurants are open once more, encouraging customers through the doors with half price food and cheap drinks. I cannot speak for everybody, but I am more than happy to enjoy more freedom from a deckchair beneath the shade of a tree. So yesterday when my daughter turned 22 we decided to have a repeat of 2017.
This time we went to Bradgate Country Park, Leicestershire. The thermostat on the latest heatwave had been turned down a few degrees, which was gratefully received. And the sun broke through the clouds just as the deckchairs were being set up. The local supermarket caused a menu alteration when half its fridges broke down, this time we munched on burgers and hotdogs just as delicious. We strolled through the park where deer roamed and a family of swans nested. Giggled at a row of ducks upon a wall in front of a sign saying no swimming, and raced some paper boats my father made: personalising them with amusing versions of our names. There was race tampering and a couple of wreckages, but Little JC was victorious.
Happy 22nd birthday Rebecca and here is to many more fabulous days. Stay safe everybody.