Mixed bag. Sick bag.

I think I’d have to sum half term up as mixed.

All the omens were good as Steve had booked some time off and we’d planned a couple of days in Bristol doing things that pleased everyone. Zoo, an art exhibition, a kids theatre show at the Tobacco Factory.

Valentines day was my usual dichotomy of glee at the opportunity to celebrate and decorate and dislike of the whole hallmarkedyness and idea that I’m being bidden to declare love. It’s a regular cardfest here as everyone makes cards for everyone – Ida refusing to be left out of any paint and glitter opportunities. My best card this year was from Zeph. A carefully rendered picture of a shark savaging a swimmer. I’m particularly moved by the entrails gracefully drifting down to the seafloor.

A biting indictment and perceptive summing up of love I’m sure you’ll agree. Especially from someone so young. *sigh*

These and the chocolate ladybirds Steve threw into the mix made for a cheerful morning piled into the bed which was probably the highlight of the day where I made an effort to de-mould the bathroom.

Our time away was lovely. I like that we’ve established some family rituals about train travel – like taking bagels for breakfast which we can’t eat ’til Cam and Dursley. Watching out for the llama farm and the field where there’s often deer watching the train pass with the seriousness of spotter anoraks.

The zoo was also its usual pleasure with everyone absorbed in their favourite routines. I’m pleased to see how the new stumpery, adorned with a lovely range of ferns, is blossoming and Ida spent the usual ludicrous chunk of time inspecting the ants. The sun shone as well, casting hopeful thoughts of spring and more garden time.

Although the camellia walk showed a sad array of frost burnt flowers there are plenty of new buds pressing through.

I may have attempted some kind of heavy life metaphor  if I hadn’t been shoved out-of-the-way and trampled by other people eager to get to the fruit bats. Nevermind – I always have you guys for weighty introspection eh?

There was the usual riotous joy at booking into the travelodge and then a really delicious meal out at a fantastic tapas place in the docks. Followed by a happy wander home through neon landscapes.

We went for breakfast the next morning at Bordeaux Quay on the waterfront. Gorgeous food, upmarket place – Zeph is desperate to do one of their kids cookery days. Well – he was.

Ida was explosively, spectacularly, slow-motion-horror sick right… in…the… middle of the restaurant… and then into my hair and down my back as I ran with her to the toilets. She was then sick in an art gallery, on a boat, by a boat, in Boots, at the bus stop, on the bus, in the train station, in a lift, and several times on the train home.

We arrived home – pale and wan. Everyone had sick in their hair. There was elbowing around the shower door. Never have clean clothes and the soapy scent of shampoo been more welcome.

Inevitably the rest of half-term was spent being ill.

*sigh again*

Zeph was incensed by recovering just in time to go back to school.

Still we fitted in lots of happy stuff. I finished an order that means the mortgage is achievable this month. We ‘ve had a lot of happy domestic stuff with Steve. PJ days with the papers and lazy afternoons playing board games that usually end badly, (show me one that doesn’t when there’s a three-year old involved.) Lots of story sharing and book mooching and some secretive present preparation for Steve’s birthday on Wednesday.

Also, actually a lot of strangers were very kind during what I have mentally christened; the grand vomit tour of Bristol. Thank you universe and thank you anyone who drops a pebble of kindness in the pool.

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