We've just had a sunny week away in Devon, staying in a house reminiscent of Milly Molly Mandy's "white cottage with a thatched roof".
After a busy few months, it was relaxing to be right in the middle of the countryside and not to have strict time schedules.
We burnt our feet on the hot, red Devon sand
and looked for crabs in rock pools.
We took the younger two to the Dartmoor Miniature Pony Centre. This was really appreciated although probably wouldn't have suited the older children.
Some of the ponies were really small. They would have been far too small for my four year old to ride although they seemed quite happy to be stroked and even have heads laid on their backs.
The Centre also has larger horses,
indoor and outdoor playareas, other animals
including some which can be held and animal feeding.
There was time on the River Exe
and wandering down riverside town streets.
And the complicated? Well getting away for a week with a self employed husband and as a carer for an elderly relative is not simple.
We are grateful for the friends who stayed in our house to cover the evenings and other parts of care that the formal care givers don't cover. However, we are grateful for the respite care givers and all they do to cover meals.
Oddly, and this is something that I wasn't happy about initially, staying in a house with internet access did make it easier for my husband to get away for a week.
Yes, there were moments, before we left, when I thought that chasing up whether we had been awarded funding for respite care givers, leaving the right food in the fridge and freezer and leaving instructions for the agency wasn't worth it but it was! Yes, and I'm probably writing this to remind myself but also for others reading this who have caring responsibilities.
Overall, I'm very grateful that we've had a holiday when many won't get away this summer and that unlike many carers, we've been able to have a break.