Anyway, this post is about something else:
I don't go on many vacations mainly because with a family my size there is always something on that prevents us being away from home for too long – (usually sporting activities that play a prominent part in our family life.) But, when summer comes we try our best to take our children somewhere – so, just last week my wife and I took some of our younger children down to the south west – to Devon, where we had been invited to stay in Paignton with my youngest son’s best friend’s family.
Well, what a holiday it was. That part of England is just beautiful – it was just like being in the Mediterranean with the weather holding up so fine. My youngest son Gabriel had travelled down with his friend’s brother a few days earlier and met us cheerfully on our arrival. As soon as we arrived, we were shown around the house which was beautiful with the best views on the street. Have you ever visited somewhere and felt that it is bound not to quite live up to your expectations? As we approached and could see all the nice houses, slowly looking better and better, we thought to ourselves it can't possibly be the best house on the street! Well, just as luck would have it, it was the best house we came to. Built as an upside down house into a hill. It had views overlooking the beautiful surrounding south coast of England, and we could even see the animals in the nearby zoo.
On theTuesday, we took a short drive out to Brixham, the nearby town. We looked around and my wife and daughter did some shopping before we decided to explore the rocks and coves and nearby beaches.
Almost as soon as I set foot on one particular beach I felt the waves of inspiration start to flow – the things I could write about would be never-ending. One thing in particular took my imagination, there was an old building in the corner of the beach – apparently an old bathing house owned by a noble family that had been built in the seventeenth century. My mind started to create a fictional history for the place. What went on here? Who might have lived and/or died here? What were their lives like?
Think of the things you could come up with? Yes, there is the traditional idea of Kings, Queens and other noblemen occupying such a place but what about it being the basis of a mystery? How about this: an old man lived on his own before he mysteriously vanished leaving no trace behind? I know these are simple ideas, but the more time I spent there the more ideas came to me. You never know, this source of inspiration may hold the basis to one of my future stories.
A highlight of the holiday had to be the visit to splashdown – one of the biggest and best water slide attractions in the country. I did not personally go in, our friends took our children with theirs while my wife and I took a bit of time to ourselves and wandered into the village. However, my kids told me about it all afterwards, telling me the rush of adrenaline they felt as the bolted backwards on a water slide.
Another amusing incident happened involving a seagull, a baguette, and my 16-year-old daughter. There she sat eating a baguette that we had just bought for lunch, when a seagull swooped down and pulled it out of her hand and onto the floor with its beak leaving the wrapper entirely intact. My daughter, with her face held in an expression of sheer shock, could not believe what had happened.
The next couple of days were filled with exploring beaches and coves and walking the cliff tops as we enjoyed the company of one another and eating the local ice cream.
To continue the exploring theme right until the end, we decided to go a different way home. I hate driving on the motorways so to change the journey up a bit, we went another way home. We travelled up through the south west and across the middle of England, passing Stone henge – a piece of history that all of us in the car wanted to see. We headed through Wiltshire to Oxford and then drove the country route back to Peterborough, arriving home some eight hours later.
It felt very strange to be away from home, not doing my usual work or following a routine, but then, that’s the beauty of a holiday – no routine, no work, just time spent entirely devoted to loved ones.
As a writer, real eperiences give me the inspiration and allow me to develop my ideas. They are the food and drink, the seeds of inspiration for me. When I got home I looked up that little ruin on the edge of Elbury cove, Devon, what a quaint old history it actually has – you never quite know the mysteries of the past – who might have lived and died there - what their lives were like . . . until you bother to find out that is, and then, let your imagination loose . . .