Living with Cerebral Palsy 🍋🍋

Friday, 2 June 2017

A Postcard from The Cotswolds......

Well we're back from the Drake family get-together holiday we've come to call 'Drakation' (geddit? 😜) and this year was definitely not a disappointment! This was our stunning home for the week, 'Swan House' in Winson, Cirencester. (You can find the website here: ) I think it might be my favourite Drakation destination so far. Last year's house was brilliant but this was a little less stately and a little more homely. There was a lovely open plan downstairs (perfect for wheelchairs!) and the kitchen/ dining area where everyone always tends to congregate had a more 'farmhouse kitchen' than 'Downton Abby' feel- complete with massive Aga (soooo jealous!!). The bedrooms were really tastefully decorated, all with an ensuite  and there were two super-cute attic rooms accessed by a secret-looking spiralling staircase, perfect for children wanting to escape and explore away from the adults!
The lounge was also pretty large and even had a grand piano, but aside from tuning into the odd election debate this week we hardly went in there, the kitchen/ dining room and all the French windows leading directly onto the patio and garden were just too nice not to sit in!
Speaking of the garden, it was pretty amazing. I can only imagine the work that had gone into it and it was definitely much appreciated by us! Being so lucky with the weather we actually didn't venture much from the garden all week- there just wasn't any need. Aside from the lake which wasn't ideal for very young children (we all developed eyes in the backs of our heads this week!) it was basically fantastic for the kids to run around in all day. There was even a shallow river right at the bottom for paddling. Bliss!!! 

If running around the garden all day or paddling in the stream wasn't your bag, there was a beautiful flower-garden to sit by and enjoy in peace- simply stunning. Elin liked this because it smelled wonderful and the colours were so bright.
Elin sitting at the table using her new 'Go To' seat by Firefly 😊
Not that we stayed at the house the whole time! We did get out for the day to a lovely little town called 'Bourton On The Water' which had a model village, car museum and 'Birdland' attraction. We took Elin to Birdland thinking she would love it and she did! The Emperor Penguins were her favourite of course 😊
Elin not only saw Penguins but also went exploring for Dinosaurs! How exciting!!
Did I mention just how good Elin has been in her chair this holiday? We've been so proud of her. When Elin is sitting well it makes everything so much less stressful for her and for us. We were able to join in and get about with everyone without worrying how it would affect Elin's dystonia and that's been fabulous. 
We also visited a real chocolate-box style village called Bibury. So did about a million other tourists that day which made negotiating parking and pavements a bit tricky but it was well worth a visit even if random strangers do photo-bomb your photographs!!
Elin has absolutely loved this holiday. Without a shadow of a doubt she revels in the company of others, in particular when there are children around. It's been so nice to see her enjoying being around the other kids. Little Ivy who is only 18 months took it upon herself to be a sort of protector to Elin and not an hour went by without her shouting 'Elin!' and trotting off to find her and stroke her hand/give her a kiss. So cute! 

All the other young Drakation attendee's as well as Elin .. Tabitha, Gruff, Ivy and Arthur. 😊 Needless to say these guys also had a ball and were SO GOOD!!! We were all very proud of them this holiday.
Of course Elin's big sister Caitlin was missing this year-apparently  young trainee actors are not allowed half terms!! Luckily she was able to come home for bank holiday weekend so Elin did get some Caitlin-cuddles in, but we were all very sad she couldn't make the holiday and it wasn't quite the same! Elin would have loved to have her there but we know there will be other times and in the meantime we had to make do with face time and WhatsApp. Thank god for modern technology! 
We really were so lucky this week with the weather. Whilst the rain was almost biblical on the way down and the way back, fortunately we seemed to enter a completely different tropic at the border of The Cotswolds and didn't see a drop. This meant lovely lazy lunches outside on the patio as well as all the playing in the garden. Unfortunately, we didn't get the traditional group photo this year- we spoke about getting it all week and never actually did! Way to much going on all the time with nine adults and five children to keep track of! 
Did manage a couple of selfies though (this one looks a bit 'Midsummer Murders' I think! Watch your back.....)

Although the house wasn't adapted for disabilities, we managed Elin pretty well there. We are lucky she is still quite small for her age so at the moment we can stay pretty much anywhere as long as we are prepared to do some careful lifting and strategic sitting/resting. What has made this easier though, is the purchase of an 'Aero-bed' for when we travel. I would really recommend them for parents of younger disabled children. It's basically an air bed that blows up to full single bed size and height (you just plug it in and it take about two minutes) then deflates again to a relatively small size which you can pop into it's own carry-bag. Easier for your back for bedtime/changing time. Annoyingly I forgot to get a picture of it but here is the link to them if you're interested.
Since check-in wasn't until 4pm on the day we arrived, we all met (coming from Wales, Yorkshire and London as we all were!) in a pub for lunch. I think this is when I knew for sure Elin was going to be in a good mood this week. She was so chilled out and sat in her new 'Go To' seat by the table with everyone brilliantly, which was exactly why we bought it. Result! 
So in summary a great time was had by all and I would highly recommend Swan House at Winson if incredibly quiet, picturesque dry-stone walled villages are your thing. 

Just glad we stocked up on wine because the only thing missing was a village pub. Ah well, you can't have everything I guess! Hope you all had a lovely week too, folks! 

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