Family Days Out Are a Bad Idea #5: The National Trust


Plans for this Sunday – Father’s Day – started thus:

My sister:

It’s a shame my dad (to my knowledge) doesn’t have a blog otherwise my sister and I would have had no problem choosing the perfect present. Instead, this happened:



So, let it be known today’s bad idea was MY bad idea. I accept the blame, which is why I’m now taking the punishment. The punishment being I missed tonight’s episode of Fargo by dint of us still being on the road and Noodles is on his second wind whilst I’m ready to flake. I’ll be lucky to see my bed before 2am.

It wasn’t entirely bad though. In fact, parts of it were lovely. We visited Dunham Massey with its extensive parkland – perfect for a runaround after being cooped up in the car for nearly 4 hours. From the deer to the ice cream to the creepy cottage in the woods it was all rather lovely and we had some definite family quality time moments together.

Give Noodles a distant horizon and he’s off like a greyhound out of a trap.

However, there were definitely some considerations to be made:

In hindsight, it may have been better if my sister had come to us, rather than us to her. It would surely be better for one person to endure the Hell that is the A17 rather than four? My sister (probably) wouldn’t have screamed for the last hour of the outward journey, caught a second wind having slept the way home or tantrumed on arriving home again. Whereas Noodles did ALL of the above.

The north-west, in terms of weather, doesn’t make for the best of choices as a destination. Leaving one of the driest counties for one of the wettest: not a great move.

Deer are incredibly cute…but picking your way through grass covered in deer poo is NOT especially lovely.


Bear this in mind when I come to the bit about the ice cream later.

Deer are less cute when they’re ready to bolt because your 2-year-old has got too close and exciteable. Noodles could be the new Fenton. ‘Jesus Christ, NO!’

The glint in Noodles eye is from him having the idea to bolt towards the deer, excitedly shouting ‘Hello, Animals!’

Never leave my dad in charge. My sister, Boo and I popped in for a quick look at the saw mill. Five minutes later we re-emerged to no sign of my dad and Noodles. Then a phonecall:

My dad: We’re in the gardens. Noodles snuck in the exit and you’re meant to have a ticket.

I walked back to the reception desk to pay for the rest of us to join them in the gardens.

Me: Can I have tickets for 2 adults and a child for the gardens please? My 2-year-old son has run in through the exit and my dad’s chased after him, but we’d like to catch them up.

Woman on the desk: That’ll be £18 please.

Me: £18?! I’ll leave it and just wait for them to come out, thanks.

Perhaps I should have pretended that my dad has Alzheimer’s. Maybe then we’d have got in for free and been offered an energy ride in the golf buggy. (Edit: I was beyond tired when I wrote this post and have NO idea what I meant by ‘energy ride.’ I’m blaming a combination of bad typing and auto-correct, but cant work out what I meant to put. Any suggestions?

Just as well I left it. When I reached the gardens exit again there they all stood by the gate. Best £18 saved ever. Never let it be said that being a laissez-faire parent doesn’t have its advantages.

Ice cream and toddlers aren’t an ideal combination. I deferred on the basis that I’d probably end up eating most of Noodles’. Indeed I did.

But the only reason Noodles didn’t want his was because it wasn’t as big as the others, so he lay claim to my dad’s instead…which he then refused to eat, preferring to carry it around as though it was the Olympic torch…


…before dropping it on the floor. He then picked it up again. ‘Oh well,’ we all simultaneously thought, ‘it wasn’t as though he was eating it.’

At which point he started to lick it. But of course he did. And remember what I said earlier about the state of the grass!


Still, it wasn’t long before he dropped it again, the whole thing well beyond rescue this time (thank God!).


We all stood with baited breath waiting for the tears. Thankfully none came (at that point). ‘Bye, ice cream!’ And then he trampled on it for good measure.

Always make sure the kids have been to the loo before leaving for home. Enough said.

Still, Dad enjoyed himself.

***Happy Father’s Day, Dad.***
It really does take one in a million to put up with us!


12 thoughts on “Family Days Out Are a Bad Idea #5: The National Trust”

    1. It was a lovely day. Maybe the crazy bits, where I wonder ‘Why is it always MY family?’ help highlight the good bits as we all came away agreeing we’d had a nice time.

  1. You’re so funny! You have a big age spread between your kids too, right? (We do- 8 to 23.) Reading this makes me glad that I don’t have a toddler any more! But he’s awfully cute 🙂

    1. It’s a good job he’s cute as I could strangle him some days. He really knows how to lead us on a merry dance – you can see it coming a mile off too as he gets a glint in his eye. But his tantrums can be heard a mile away too, so he gets away with it.
      Yes, we’ve got a big age gap, ranging from 19 to 2. It definitely makes for a mix of issues at any given time. Toddlers and teens definitely have their own ‘ways’ about them (to attempt to phrase it nicely).

      1. You have me beat 🙂 My oldest was 14 when my youngest was born. I had NO IDEA what I was in for. Those years are just a blur. People think it’s all about free babysitting and help around the house… not exactly.
        I’m really looking forward to the teen years this time around, only because I won’t have little ones to take care of at the same time!

      2. Free babysitting?! I have to pay Eve (although fair enough as looking after Noodles is far harder than sitting behind an office desk) and Indy is the least maternal person I know.

        I think (hope!) the teenage years will be easier the second time around as I’ll have learnt which battles to pick, plus the older ones can warn the younger ones when it’s not a good idea to push my buttons. 😉 Well, it’s a plan, at least.

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