This time last year I had holiday-planned to within an inch of my life and had experienced amazing support from the folks at Virgin Atlantic. We had arrived at Disneyworld Florida, were impressed by the positive approach to M’s restricted diet shown by all and were loving our days in the sun. It really was a trip of a lifetime and we’ve all been reminiscing a lot about where we were and what we were doing this time last year.
Our plans this year have been much less grandiose and much closer to home. When we first started thinking about our summer holiday plans back in November, all we knew was that M was going to be going elemental sometime soon and would have a NG-tube in place. We didn’t know if it would still be there by the time this summer rolled around and had no idea what he’d be able to eat or how we’d all be coping with the change. We toyed with the idea of a holiday in Portugal, a favourite destination of us all, but just weren’t sure how confident we would be if we needed to travel abroad with a tube in place. Of course, with the benefit of hindsight and nearly 9 months experience, I am sure we would have coped just fine, but the uncertainty of all we’d be dealing with meant that instead we opted for staying in the UK and so we are now on our countdown to Cornwall.
Our front hallway currently resembles a storage facility as I pull out ready for packing, not just clothes and beach essentials, but safe food supplies for both G and M and, of course, everything we’ll need for M’s tube feeds. We have each chosen a day-trip we’d like to do whilst we’re there as well as researching the beaches surrounding Fowey, our base for the week. Mike has spent time looking at various “wet-weather” options as there’s no guarantee of sun in the UK, even in August, and we have been able to pencil in a day with G’s godmother, Godmama C and her lovely family as they will be holidaying there too. We might be staying in a self-catering apartment, but we’re also hoping to venture out to eat and my time has been spent trawling the internet looking for allergy-friendly restaurants and emailing to find out whether they will be able to accommodate M’s current food needs. The great news is that a couple have already replied to tell me that they are up for the challenge and I can’t wait to try them out and share our reviews of just how well they did for both M and G with you all. Even better, thanks to timely posts from fellow bloggers such as The Intolerant Gourmand and dedicated websites like Can I eat there?, I’ve been given some great top tips for making this a holiday to remember.
We’re nearing the end of the first week of the summer holidays and what a busy week it has been:
G has been taking part in the Explore week arranged by her new secondary school, which allows the current Year 6s and 7s to meet each other, build some new friendships and orientate themselves around the school. She has had lots of fun learning more about CSI techniques, photography and archery, with pottery, media and innovation and a Mini-Olympics still to come. I suspect G would be hard pressed to name her favourite, but the cookery session got a huge thumbs up from me. I had warned her in advance that, as I had no idea what they would be cooking, it would most probably be a case of preparing the food, but not being able to taste it herself. However, the amazing staff had made note of her allergies and provided gluten-free flour and a dairy-free alternative to the margarine for the cupcakes as well as gluten-free pasta for the pasta sauce they made. I needn’t have worried and couldn’t have asked for anything more.
Whilst G has been engrossed in the numerous activities at school, M has been equally busy at the week-long holiday club organised by our church. Every year for the last 20+ years. around 250 children from our community have attended this holiday club, which is supported and run by our church. They take part in a whole range of activities from puppet-making to electronics, go out on a day trip and are entertained daily with songs and skits based cleverly on a set of themed Bible stories. M and G have been attending the club for a few years and M couldn’t wait to go along again this year. It’s been a different year for him with G choosing to do something else, but he’s loved every moment so far and can’t wait for the rest of the week.
Mike has had the week off work to support M and be one of the very many volunteers helping lead the groups and look after the children at the holiday club. Having survived the day’s activities, it has been a case of coming home for a quick tea before heading off with G to be a leader at the church’s youth club equivalent of the daytime holiday club, which runs every evening of this week. So far, he has splashed in the open air pool, had a cake built from raw ingredients on his head and indulged in a lengthy water fight. As for me, well, it’s been business as usual and after doing the “school-run” with G each morning, I’ve headed into my office to do a full day’s work. My evenings have been a little quieter than normal as once dinner is out of the way for us all it’s been just M and me to enjoy some time together before bed. All in all, a great start to the rest of our summer.
The culture of bullying ,abuse & corruption at mental health charity MIND ruins lives. This national organisation has an annual income of £56 million and provides no frontline services. Yet they dupe the public into believing they do and asking for yet more cash! Those in positions to effect change must listen! MIND is not fit for purpose and MUST be held to account.. My personal account as a former member of staff and victim of workplace bullying at MIND.