Sometimes in this hectic world , you just need to stop, re-charge, collect all your thoughts and have time to reflect on what is going on in your own personal life, not the world around you. This week we were given the fabulous opportunity (quite literally by my fairy godmother) to get away to Corfu and we took it. It wasn’t planned and it was all very last minute; in fact so last minute that I had to take a quick trip to Liverpool to get Leo a fast tracked passport as he didn’t have one.
Lying here now in this extremely comfortable hammock, looking over the Albanian mountains, it is beyond peaceful. We are in this amazing villa that is high up in the hills and feels so secluded that we could be the only ones left in the world right now – apart from the birds I can hear tweeting ( I’m not actually a huge fan of birds, so it’s rather unusual that this was so peaceful for me – I must’ve REALLY needed the break )
Dan (my husband) is asleep on the sofa and Leo (my son) is asleep next to me in the shade. I have the last of the day’s sun rays shining down on me and I can’t see a cloud in the sky.
The trees are so calm. The sea looks so peaceful. The sunshine is so bright.
This is my view right now.
15 hours ago I was on my way the airport in a very cold Manchester and as we arrived there, I had a “funny turn”, shall we call it. That feeling came back, the one where the world is closing in me, my chest hurt, the teeth and fist clenching began and the tears began to fall, my good old friend “panic attack” was looming – they don’t last as long these days, I’ve learnt to control them , not let them control me. I know what the trigger was, taking Leo away abroad, something we never got chance to do with Millie. An underlying trigger was me fretting about whether Leo’s car seat was fitted correctly in the taxi on the way to the airport – because if it wasn’t and something happened on the way there, it would be my fault – that’s what my head was telling me. I needed to protect my son, to ensure my son’s safety, I couldn’t wait to get out of that thing. This might sound daft to a lot of you, because surely you’re thinking that I have Leo in my car all the time – yes I do; but we use an Isofix in our car. A clever little device that beeps and has dot changing colours if the car seat is not fitted correctly – in the taxi, we had to lock him in the good old fashioned way, safety for any parent is paramount to your children I am sure, but for me after losing Millie,sometimes I cannot help but go extreme for our son and this was no exception.
Leo was an absolute star from leaving the house to getting to the villa in Corfu. He slept the majority of the time with hardly any crying at all (and this wasn’t because he had overheard the ignorant man at security whining there were two babies in the queue).
The most ironic thing was that this man did more whining than the two babies put together! I just don’t understand people that make comments like he did, if you don’t like children using public transport – then don’t use it yourself and if you cannot afford to commission that private jet to take you on holiday (to somewhere without a child in sight, I’m guessing) then what a shame, you’ll have to stay at home. You would have thought that this man didn’t have any children – but he actually did, because he was clearly with his son, who was maybe in his thirties and looked just like him. This got me thinking, maybe he was a dad that was never around for one reason or another when his child was small or not around enough to experience him being a baby, well, just being a baby.
Then I felt sorry for him instead of being angry at him.
The place we are staying is absolutely gorgeous, in fact probably one of the most tranquil places that I have ever stayed in AND Leo has taken a liking to the travel cot, which means we are getting about 7 hours sleep straight through the night – maybe we should set up a travel cot for him at home if he sleeps this well in them.
Another necessity that has made our week easier is a PACAPOD. My organisation skills are so much better this holiday because of this. For those of you that don’t know about these if you have a baby, take a look. Whenever I had the changing bag with Millie , it was like a storm had made its way through it, I was so bad at throwing things in it and never being able to find anything in it… This time around, we have PACAPOD. An amazing changing bag that comes with two internal bags, one for feeding items and one for changing items, so wherever I am , I can just grab the bag I need knowing I have packed everything in the smaller internal bag and run off to the baby changing without having to take the whole big bag with me. Even Dan has been gobsmacked at how organised PACAPOD has made me when it comes to packing for an outing with Leo, I am so glad our friend suggest this item to us when I was pregnant with Leo.
Next came the pool. Well, Leo is not a fan of water. He absolutely detests bath time and generally cries from start to finish and then for at least ten minutes afterwards. This has been our opportunity to see what he is like in a swimming pool and it has been a complete mixed bag. He screams A LOT in the water but then smiles when he is being pushed around in his floating device, I don’t think he is quite sure what to make of it. This was a toughie – we have lovely memories of Mille in pools, some of our favourite photos are of Millie in her swimming ring ( which is now Leo’s) with Dan pushing her around when she was 6 months old. This hit Dan hard, I’ve not seen him cry in a while – but this hit him like a ton of bricks in the pool watching Leo, the tears came and he couldn’t stop them. I knew what he was thinking about – I didn’t need to ask, I just knew. What we did find out later on in the week is that Leo likes to have his feet and his bum dipped in the water – this was ok, it was good enough to keep him cool.
Did I ever mention that I have a touch of Vertigo? I’m not sure I did, it developed after I gave birth to Millie. Don’t ask me why because I have absolutely no idea as to why I developed such a random condition. I may have forgotten to mention this little fact to my fairy godmother, which has meant for an interesting journey getting to the villa and bobbing to some shops today as I would not like to guess how high above sea level we are! The disorientation whilst having a phase of vertigo is surreal and being off balance is such a strange feeling. Luckily , this one was only a short attack – not like previously when it’s lasted for days!
Looking out from the balconies in the villa I can cope with, the view is stunning at eye level. It is the looking down the mountain when Dan is driving around that sends me dizzy! It’s quite an unusual thing to develop following a pregnancy I believe, but I have never had it before and I have never been scared of heights (I have previously jumped out of a plane) it is like my brain has gotten all confused without telling me! It’s made for an interesting week anyway!
Honestly, this place has had us so relaxed. We have literally done nothing other than spend the days by the side of the pool and then sat reading in the evening during the stormy nights. I do not even remember the last time that I got to sit and read something that I wanted to, never mind get the chance to read three books in a week! I will say that again, THREE in a week. That’s because I have had Dan obviously around all week and instead of having to prepare our tea ( dinner to some of you ) sort Rolo ( the dog out) and generally attempt to do other household chores whilst Dan is at work everyday, there is no time for me! If I am lucky, at the weekend, I’ll get to have a long hot soak in the bath – to be honest, it doesn’t last that long as I tend to get bored very easily – as you may have realised by now, I don’t do staying still too long very well, I am one of the world’s most impatient people – I believe that Dan finds this very irritating , ha.
It’s the same for Dan though – he never gets time to himself unless it’s when he goes on the football, blue of course. Other than that, we struggle like most parents around right now to get time to ourself, but i really don’t care in the slightest – Leo can keep me up every minute of every day because it just means that I get more cuddles, kisses and smiles with him.
Anyway back to Corfu …
So today has been interesting, our last day. We decided to spend the day in Corfu town, have you been? If you have, you may know where I am going with the this. Greek Driving and Greek roads, Well, it’s been rather …erm… what’s the word? Eventful..no, scary, no, maybe nerve wracking would be the best choice of words here. We noticed very quickly that a lot of the cars in Corfu have scratches and dents on them and we were wondering why. I normally enjoy driving abroad , it doesn’t usually bother me; not since I was left in airport car park in Holland with a set of car keys and a car and my work colleague left in another car not realising I had never driven in a foreign country before and not only that – I had never driven a left hand drive car before. This made for an interesting 30 minutes driving backwards and forwards and round and the round at Schippol Airport in Amsterdam to make sure I used the correct hand for the gearstick and I even asked someone the question ” Are the pedals in the same place?” – I have no idea why i would have genuinely thought they may have been backwards. Anyway, I actually came to love driving in Holland as it’s beautiful.
I’m digressing here, Corfu. Ah yes.
So, Dan is being cautious driving as he always is when we are in a foreign country and he takes a turn and we are stuck, it’s a dead end. I kid you not, there must have been 25 cars parked bumper to bumper, side by side and nearly every single one of them had some sort of mark on it – at one point I think I decided that people must literally bump their way out of car parking spaces to get home at the end of a work day. Dan must’ve spent 20 minutes easily going backwards, forward, backwards forwards and we got nowhere.
Every time a local walked past us, it was very clear that they were telling us that it was a dead end road – what they didn’t seem to be able to see was that we were stuck and I’m talking, completely and utterly stuck. Did I tell you that it was currently around mid day, around 30 degrees and Leo was ready to wake up for a feed? We can’t just do things by halves can we? I was stood there scratching my head thinking what an absolute tool I looked saying “forwards, backwards, forwards, backwards and STOP” to someone who was clearly getting nowhere. So a plan B was needed. I decided it was time to ask the locals for help. I took Leo out of the car and wandered up the little hill to find some very kind people who came back down with me to help us – they had to come and see for themselves as my Greek is clearly – well, it doesn’t exist at all and these guys only understood limited English. By this point Dan was out of the car clearly scratching his head wondering how we were going to get out of this pickle. Well that it was it, the locals took charge. One helped Dan to move a bike out of the way that was blocking the road and the other ( a cyclist in full cycling kit who to be honest, I don’t know where he appeared from ) jumped into the car reversed all the way back up the hill, turned the car around and gave us instructions and how to get back to where we needed to be … What amazing helpful and friendly people to help us like this, I was left wondering how many lost tourists they get down that particular street and how often they have to help. I’m pretty sure they will be chuckling about our little predicament this evening in their homes, that’s fine, if we can make them laugh then that is a good thing.
Dan now absolutely distraught at the fact we thought we were never going to get out of there and me sat in the back of the car with my head in my hands and my heart in my month, needed to park up and get out of the car and walk. All we wanted to do was abandon the car for a few hours before we had to make the short journey back to the airport. So that’s exactly what we did, left the car in the nearest car park that we could find and walked until we found some shops and had time to calm down.
So much for a peaceful last day but a least we met some friendly locals.
Corfu Town’s traditional architecture is absolutely beautiful but the roads were clearly not built to handle the traffic of today, pretty sure it will take Dan a while to get over this one … Until next time 😀
So now here we are, back on the plane two hours into our flight home. Delayed for around 40 minutes and being the last flight out of Corfu for this evening.
Leo has been an absolute dream again sleeping from around 10pm ( Corfu Time )waking for some milk to make sure his ears did not hurt during take off, straight back to sleep and it’s now 3am ( Corfu Time) and he is still passed out on Dan’s lap fast asleep without a care in the world xxx