We now have just 16 sleeps before we leave the UK, and 11 before we have to move out of the house and into a hotel, so the time has well and truly come to start the “Farewell Tour”.
This started with a visit to the Peppers in early September – a 2 hour drive to Cambridgeshire to share Evie cuddles with her grandparents, uncle and “honorary aunt”, great grandmother and great uncle and aunt. Unfortunately, Evie was not in the family photo mood, so in order to draw attention away from her untimely tantrum, I thought I’d play with some appropriate photo effects:
Evie had a lovely weekend playing with her doting Nana and Papa, and enjoying bucket loads of ice-cream, strawberries and delicious home-cooked fare. Her daddy’s old toys were located in the garden shed, dusted off, and proudly presented to the lady of the hour – who promptly took her digger to the dirt. Of course.
She got to visit the playground across the street, explored a caravan, saw an air-show (or, at least, the parts of it that flew over the garden!) and charged around that house as if she owned it – even forcing everyone to endure endless repeats of In The Night Garden and Baby Jake all weekend, despite the fact they were clearly bigger fans of X-Factor than Iggle Piggle.
And then, all too soon, it was Sunday afternoon and we were back in the car, heading home to get madam bathed and to bed, so we could rest and recover and prepare for the next weekend…the VJ visit – this time, a 3 hour drive to North Somerset.
Evie hung out with Grandma and Grandpa, her uncle, two aunts and two beautiful cousins. She ran between the TV room (Green Balloon Club being the favourite this weekend) and kitchen to make sure she wasn’t missing any of the fun, played in the treehouse lovingly built by her smitten Grandpa, and even had a trip to Horse World thrown in for good measure!
She played in their huge garden, chased Monty into the bushes, and checked out the local wildlife:
And then, again, it was time to hit the road and endure a tortuous, tantrum-filled drive across the country and home again…to our quiet little house, with just boring old us to entertain Evie.
It is at times like these that I have my fleeting “Oh God, are we doing the right thing here?” moments – it feels so mean to take this adorable little rugrat away from her doting families, and sad that she won’t have the relationship with them that comes of living in the same city, county or even country.
But…what are the chances our families will stay where they are forever? Evie already has one uncle in Abu Dhabi, and another with long-held dreams of big overseas adventures. Her aunt hopes for a career in travel journalism which will, I’m sure, take her to far-flung corners of the globe (via Seattle on expenses, hopefully), and who knows what lies ahead for her wee cousins.
So, we will continue with our fond farewells and emotional photo calls in the coming days, but always with the thought that there are no guarantees in life – we might hate America and its capitalist ways, and come running back with our tails between our legs in 18 months. Our parents may grow sick of the tedious British weather and retire to Florida. Evie may grow into a parent-hating, door-slamming “emotional” teenager and run away to Europe to be where people understand her. Whatever happens, in the truly inspiring words of John Connor (!!!), “the future is not set…” – and in the meantime, thank Microsoft for Skype!