Sunday, 4 September 2016

Camping and Monster Jam

This weekend we went camping.  We discovered a couple of weeks ago that Monster Jam were coming to Cardiff on their world tour.  Sebastian loves Monster Jam, the other two like it a lot also.  We looked into tickets.  It was at the Principality Stadium (formally the Millennium Stadium).  Having seen Monster Jam in Greenville, we knew what to expect.  Given the size of the stadium in Wales, we were hoping they would really cut loose and go wild.....

We left mid morning on Friday.  The weather was not looking too great for the saturday, but we would be in Cardiff all day, so not have to worry about being bored around a tent.  The roads were pretty busy, but we reached the Severn Crossing in good time. Six pounds sixty it cost to enter Wales via bridge.  Thats about 4 dollars.......

We had booked a pitch at Heritage Coast Campsite, about a 45 minute drive from Cardiff.  The campsite was fairly quiet when we arrived, though it did start to fill up.  In the states we invested in a lot of camping gear.  We had a nice little set up.

Once we were set up, we took a little walk to the coast.  This area is in the Vale of Glamorgan, and has part of the path we took on the Wales Coast Path .  The lady in the reception at the campsite was very knowledgable, and gave good directions to get to the coast. 

Along the way we went past this derelict house.  We can only imagine it was a mill or something, as it was right next to a stream.

We kept going.  Can't remember the last time I went over so many styes.  It was the boys first experience of them  They were made of stone / slate too.  Good job no one took a tumble....

A stunning view awaited us once we had passed through the woods.

The foot path was pretty muddy, which the boys loved. The beach was stunning to look at, but very impractical.  All the same, beautiful.  The tide was on its way in, so we stopped for a bit and threw some massive rocks. 

We headed back to the campsite and had some dinner.  Spaghetti Bolognese, pre made at home, reheated on the stove, with garlic bread slices, cooked on a toaster rack.  It was yummy.  The boys even made friends with the boys next door, playing football until it got dark.

We awoke on Saturday morning to a beautiful sunset, early.  The boys thought 6am was a good wake up.  Think the rest of the campsite would have disagreed....... The sunshine didn't last either.  By 9am it was raining on and off, so we decided to head to Cardiff.

We took a little drive through Barry on the way.  Home of Gavin and Stacy (popular BBC comedy), it would have been rude not to!  Nice looking seaside town, would definitely like to come back once the weather is better......

Cardiff traffic was bad, but not as bad as I was expecting it to be. We manages to find somewhere to park right in the centre.  We were getting hungry, but were a little early for lunch.  We found a Harvester in the centre of time, and decided to sit it out until lunch service began.  The restaurant started to fill up, mainly with families who had been to Party in the Pits at Monster Jam.  

We enjoyed lunch, but had to take a walk round, as we were still to early to get in the stadium.  It was really raining by now.  We got into the stadium as soon as the doors opened.  It certainly was something.  Huge, much bigger than the one in Greenville. 

There were 12 trucks taking part in the spectacle.  The boys loved it.  Personally, I found the racing bit a little boring.  The Extreme Motocross riders in the intermission were awesome.  Then there was a wheelie competition.  Again, a little boring. The freestyles were good.  2 of the trucks did back flips and wrecked themselves in the process!

All in, the Principality Stadium is awesome.  Prices for refreshments reasonable.  The Monster Jam was a little under whelming to me.  But this wasn't for me, it was for the kids.  They loved it.  I can understand why.  I think the TV coverage and commentators really hype it up, but when you see it in real life, its just not the same...... It seems Monster Jam come to the UK every 4 years or so.  If they come again, we will probably end up going! 

Getting out of Cardiff was not to tricky.  We stopped for some fast food at the nearest big town before heading back to the campsite.  It was windy and wet when we arrived.  It was not a pretty sight..... Water had got through the tent and we had a swimming pool in the tent.  It would have been great, except all the bedding, clothing even the towels and food were soaked.  We weighed up out options, as it continued to rain.  We had no dry bedding or clothing, so we decided to cut our losses and pack up and head for home.  The kids were pretty upset, more about their wet teddies than the fact we were heading home.  We managed to get everything packed and in the car in under an hour.  

We arrived back home just before midnight.  It was a long old day.  The weather has been dry and windy here today, so we have dried out all the equipment.  We are all really tired after a super long day yesterday! 

We will give camping another go, but possibly get out other tent back from the inlaws.  Its a lot bigger, and hopefully more water proof........

Thursday, 1 September 2016

September already......

Wow, I can't believe it is September the 1st. We have been back for 2 months.  Its funny, in some respects it feels like we have never been away.  We have got ourselves in a nice little rut.

The house is working for us.  My dad recently moved, so we were able to take a whole lot of his furniture.  This has enabled us to make better use of the space.  My craft area is set up, and beading has begun.  The living room works ok as a living space and office/ craft space.  Paul has his iRacing set up in our bedroom.  Its not ideal, but the room is big enough to handle it.  The boys rooms work, just.  We took a trip to ikea to get some draws for their clothes.  The toys are a bit of a mess, but as they are constantly being played with it doesn't really matter.  The boys can even be pretty helpful at tidying them up too (sometimes)

Pauls racing set up

Paul is getting on ok at work.  Adjusting to being in a much smaller plant. He has a few trips away between now and Christmas, but I think I will survive......

The boys. Ahh the boys.  Nearly 100 days the older 2 will have been off.  60 for Sebastian.  I am so ready for them to go back to school.  So are they, they just don't realise it yet.....  School starts Tuesday. They are very happy in the house, and they love Hayling Island.  We all love Hayling Island.

I am busy! I have taken Zumba, and run with it.  Fortunately, the lady who did instruct on the island has moved away, so I am hoping it is really going to build once school goes back.  I have 3 different places on the island I will teach at, and have just been told of another one to look into.  I am still teaching in Havant for Activ8 Minds.  I really hope to continue this, as the ladies there currently are lovely! I also have a great group on the island on a thursday evening.  In two weeks time I will be adding another Monday evening class, a Zumba Gold on a Tuesday and a Friday Morning.  Then in 3 weeks time, a 45 minute class on a Wednesday evening.  Busy.... But I think I can handle it. It is 6 classes a week, 4 Zumba (one is 45 minutes), and 2 Zumba Gold.  I love it. I am so happy I am able to work at something I truly love.  Lets hope I can break even, so I can continue to do it.
The crafting is going good too.  I have signed up for 3 craft fairs between October and November, so once the kids go back to school I will be making again.  I have even set up a new etsy store, due to banking complications with the one in the US.  I am currently having a go at beaded christmas ornaments, as these may sell well in the next few months!  I do a lot of networking online, which also helps.

And the island.  Hayling Island is stunning.  It is like a little time capsule.  It is one of those places where everyone knows each other and people have lived here a long time, or all their lives.  There are some great characters.

The west of the island has what is called the Billy Trail.  This is an old railway line which was decommissioned in the 1950's and had since been turned into a bike / walking trial.  We have walked some of it, and Paul and Oliver have ridden some of it  It is very picturesque, and very popular.

Down on the seafront, right in the middle of the island, is Beachlands. My kids call this Kids Kingdom.  It is like a mini amusement park, aimed at kids aged 3-12 (roughly).  We have taken them once, and they loved it.

We have had a couple of stormy days, one when my dad came down.  Being near to the explosive power of the waves is awesome, yet dangerous too.  But the waves look so cool......

Thats all for now.  We are actually going away this weekend.  Camping.  To Wales.  Not like the remnants of a hurricane are blowing through or anything....... Wish us luck.....