Sunday, 10 June 2012

Abstract Adolescence: Or, Building Character One Mind-Bogglingly Dull Family Holiday at a Time

We had an UNPLUGGED holiday in Appledore, Devon, where you'd be hard pressed to get mobile phone reception. There was a certain amount of writhing on the floor moaning "Noooooooo, I am going to DIIIIIEEEE of boredom, can we go home tomorrow? Can I play tetris on your phone? WHYYYYYYY???"
But, it was mostly really great. The drive there was long, and luckily my friend Cherise lent me her SatNav because NEVER ASK MY MUM TO NAVIGATE! We learned a lot about places on other pages in the map where there once lived someone Mum once knew, and that there is probably a really good river nearby where there are otters, and heard all about the Bristol Channel where the Pobble Who Had No Toes once allegedly swam, and the very useful fact that we were probably nearly at the M5, "About an inch and a half." We laughed and laughed, with the boys squeeezed into the back of my little car with an air bed, a bag of waterproofs and much food on their laps. We never needed the air bed or most of the food and they had to have them on their laps all the way home too, PLUS muddy boots. Good thing we were entertained. 

I loved having my boys' full attention. We snuggled and had long conversations about 'Stuff'. We were there the week of the Appledore Arts Festival and there were exhibitions, interesting talks for grownups and lovely craft projects for kids. Chas and Sam both attended grownup talks and got a lot out of them.


The weather was patchy: Rain and wind some days, boiling sun on others. Dramatic landscapes and lots of mud. The town is tiny enough that kids can go off wandering on their own and not get lost. Shops sell crafts and yummy fish 'n' chips. There was an incredibly touching exhibition based on the death of a soldier, which made everyone cry. I am so glad the boys got to experience that. I am too sleepy for links tonight, so another time...
I said "I'm writing an article about the Benefits of Boredom" "Having nothing to do builds character" "Who's coming for a walk with me in the rain?" And lo, they came. Sam and I walked along, holding our raincoat hoods clamped to our heads so we wouldn't blow away in the gale, and thought about what it must be like to be lost at sea in that kind of weather.
A churchyard full of life stories... the stories of many generations. "Wow, a whole family is buried here!" Some very sad. Mum gave an interesting presentation to assembled artists, and we went to a panel discussion about Abstract Art. Sam got stuck fast in the mud and had to rescue his wellies. This is no ordinary mud, either! It's black and smelly. Sam said that when he is old, he will have something to tell his great grandchildren about. They will come around and say "Grandpa, tell us about the time you got mired in the Appledore mud!"
When you unplug, amazing things happen. You may even find you can walk on water.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

We went unplugged yesterday -- wandered through this cool amusement park from the 1960s... my son kept saying "Vintage!" We talk to each other in a whole different way, without the devices, no? Glad you had fun, and thanks for the pictures.

Grandmother said...

Great post as always! We're having lots of time together, some plugged and some unplugged, and having fun in the process. Hugs to the boys!

Luna said...

Between you and a close friend of mine, I am inspired to unplug for the weekend. Can I do it?! I'm very interested in finding out. :)