Well ok, not quite.....
Typical British holiday weather! But, if you're going to explore t'dales you might as well go for the full experience I say. You haven't really had an authentic time if you haven't used the words 'fresh' or 'bracing' to describe your excursions.
I will happily take the inclement weather because Elin surpassed herself once again and was amazing. Even in her chair!! Not perfect but so much better than we could have wished for...
Boarding the Drake-mobile!
On the way we had a pit-stop at Chanock services. Paul and I cried in the service station and not just because of the price of a cup of coffee. Apologies if you were there last Tuesday and you saw two adults burst into tears at their table in Starbucks. But something lovely happened which you don't frankly expect when you stop for a wee and an overpriced hot drink. We got chatting briefly to a couple on their way home to Scotland. The tables were so squashed together that the woman was practically sitting on my knee anyway, but being used to people turning their heads away when they rest their eyes on us with Elin I was pleased that she engaged in conversation and asked Elin's name etc. She also spoke directly to Elin which doesn't sound like a lot but actually is quite rare. The man told Paul that they had been to a classic car show, so we talked about that for a bit (you know, because my knowledge of classic cars is extensive ha) and then they talked a bit about their grandchildren when we said we were visiting Gruffy chops. As they got up to leave, the man passed me a £5 note, nodding in Elin's direction and said "Here, just some wee pennies for her holidays". We held our composure enough to thank them and as soon as they had gone we just looked at each other and burst into tears!!!!! People can be SO AMAZING. Elin was pretty chuffed with her pocket money too :-)
Those who know Elin well may not believe this was taken in the back of a moving vehicle, but it was and this is how she behaved in the car for most of the holiday! She was occasionally dystonic of course but did manage to calm herself down each time which is a new pattern of behaviour we have been pleased to notice.
So, lovely journey on the way augured well for a good holiday and hat's exactly what we had! You remember fluffy egg-head baby Gruff ? Well now he's two years old, a big boy and obsessed with trains, tractors, engines, diggers and vans. he couldn't wait to show Elin his 'Chuggington' toy...
Elin absolutely LOVED being around Gruff. Her eyes followed him around the room. She was delighted anytime he came near her to play but also loved listening to his constant chatter and buzzing round the place. Gruff is still at that magical age where he is just happy to play with Elin (and regularly tried to share his food, breaking biscuits etc in half and saying 'for Elin'- heart melting!) and doesn't really worry too much about why she's not doing an awful lot. He brought her a pine cone on a walk and when she didn't take it it just fell to the floor so her just picked it back up and tucked it in between her knee's instead. I have blogged before that there is a certain age, around three, where children start to become very wary of Elin, it's like they become a little bit inhibited- maybe even a little scared or worried of the unknown, they know something's not quite right but they can't put their finger on it. Then, usually by about five they don't tend to include her or play with her at all- it's just too much to take in and understand for them- why she can't hold the toy they brought her, whys he can't chase after them, why she doesn't answer back. It makes me thank our lucky stars for schools like Elin's who work everyday to try and break down those inhibitions between the able bodied children and the kids like Elin, teaching them not to be worried and showing how they can engage in a different way with her to what they are used to. Oh Gruffy, I wish you could stay two years old forever!!!
We did actually have a little bit of sun at first and used the time to go and see Skipton castle and get some famous Skipton fish and chips. As castles go I'd give it a 5/10. Pretty, but no wheelchair access (it's like they weren't even considering the disabled back in the Medieval times when it was built! TUT!!!) Also, when you've got Chirk castle on your doorstep and Caernarfon castle not too far away you become a bit of a castle-snob ('There aren't even any interactive re-enactments happening or giant dragon heads anywhere' etc) But still it was great to see and Gruff liked the cannons. (bang!)
Proof that the yellow orb in the sky does sometimes float above Yorkshire!
Of course the sunshine was short-lived and since no visit to Yorkshire is complete without a walk oop in t'dales, off we trotted in the rain. we went to a stunning place called Malham, which Gruff's Daddy Gareth had chosen from a 'Miles Without Styles' booklet for buggy/wheelchair users. It was a little rocky and bumpy but we made it to the waterfall, which Elin loved listening to. Considering bumps are usually something she doesn't enjoy a lot of in her chair, she did brilliantly. We did have to abandon the chair for the final leg though :-)
She LOVED the gale-force winds!!!
On our way back down we met another Mummy, who has an 11 year old boy with C.P in a very cool all-terrain lightweight buggy. 'I thought I was the only one mad enough to do this' she joked. Nope. When in Rome!!
So concludes this instalment of the Chronicles of Elin. It is my birthday and I've had the best birthday present watching Elin enjoy her holiday. Gruffy's Mummy and Daddy made us a lovely pre-birthday dinner with champagne and an actual proper coal fire the night before we left, which concluded a lovely, relaxing holiday. Perfect.
Maybe being 35 isn't so bad after all.
Until next time folks........