There’s a girl who’s very happy to be home tonight and that’s Eloïse. Her toys lie strewn across the floor, she’s been racing around on her wooden bike, and has been beaming from ear to ear since the moment she got through the door.
It was six weeks ago to the day that we embarked on our summer trip. That was long enough ago that I’m flicking the wrong light switches and looking in the wrong cupboards for drinking glasses.
We covered more than 5000 km over the last six weeks, 20% of that in the last three days, just getting home. It was a great trip, but, as good as it was, I’m also glad to be home.
Poor old Lucas. Before this trip, the furthest he’d been in a car was Schiphol airport. He probably didn’t have more than 50 km under his belt when we left. Now he’s seen Ireland and Northern Ireland, plus selected bits of England and Wales.
It was another long drive today. We took an earlier train than planned through the Channel Tunnel and made good progress from Calais into Belgium until an accident somewhere near Bruges slowed us down for a good half hour.
Lucas needed regular attention, but was nowhere near as fussy as the last couple of days, so we didn’t have to stop as much en route.
Things started to choke up around Antwerp — a lot of people were coming back from their holidays — so that was as good a moment as any to take a break. We dropped in at a Quick, the Belgian variety of fast-food burgers, primarily to let Eloïse pee, but then she noticed their admittedly fantastic playing area and asked — no, demanded — to play there.
That sealed our fate. Bad burgers and a ninety minute delay ensued. Still, our little girl emerged as happy as Larry, having shaken off some of her energy.
The rest of the drive was dull and uneventful. The roads were busy, but thankfully there weren’t too many caravans or other slow moving vehicles. We eventually arrived home at around 18:30 and Lucas woke up on cue.
Mountains of post awaited us, along with countless hours of television recordings. There’s a lot of stuff to catch up on.
Eloïse goes back to peuterspeelzaal tomorrow afternoon and is very excited at the prospect.
Lucas, if only he knew that all of the driving was over for the foreseeable future, would also, I’m sure, be elated.
It really is great to get back. I’ve never really had a holiday before that I was glad to get back from; and that says nothing about the quality of this one, which was terrific.
Rather, it says more about the fact that, these days, we have a home we both love, plus a daughter who is also very attached to her home and belongings. I suppose we’re a lot more settled these days than we used to be. After four weeks away from home, I didn’t really feel it all that much, but in the last few days I’ve been looking forward to getting home. Perhaps that’s just because I knew that’s what we had planned for ourselves; I don’t know.
Thanks to Fenella, Tim, Cameron, Willow, Lucy, Toby, Tony, Bernie, Ronan, Shane and Jason for making our stays with you such a memorable experience. I’m sure we’ll be back.