Summer Holidays. Weeks 1 &2

Wednesday 6 September 2017

It's now two months since the summer holidays started, but here I am just getting around to putting our holiday memories down in type. I had planned to write up each week as it happened, but then my laptop decided to have a wee holiday of it's own and wouldn't switch on, and I didn't really make any time to sit down and fix it - which I managed to do with help from my good friend Google - until the holidays were over. 

Summer 2017 will be remembered by us for the sunshine. And the many, many beach trips we made as a result of that sunshine. If you spent your summer in the central belt of Scotland, or further south in the UK, it might not have been the same for you, as I believe it was a pretty wet and disappointing summer weather-wise elsewhere, but we spent all of July in the Outer Hebrides at Granny and Shen's and the sun shone for all but about three days of the month.

The boys and I drove up to Lewis at the very start of the school holidays.

We had a trouble free drive up to Ullapool and then sat on the shore eating some fish and chips while we waited for the ferry to come in.

Then we boarded the ferry and waved goodbye to the mainland for four weeks.

The first day of our trip home was bright and sunny. Based on my previous experience of many Hebridean summers I suggested to the boys that we should go for a trip to our favourite beach as it may be one of the few sunny days we could get all month. Last summer this was certainly the case, with only one or two days in the whole of July being sunny. I was, happily, proven wrong this year.

So we headed out bright and early to Tolsta, where there are two lovely beaches.

The first one we went to was the smaller of the two, Garry Sands, and we really just went so that the boys could run along to the cave there.

And jump off the rocks.

After a quick run around that beach we jumped back into the car and drove around the headland again to one of my favourite beaches, Traigh Mhòr, an amazingly beautiful stretch of white sand. I'm sure you'll all recognise it, after all I blog about it every summer!

I'll let the photos do the talking for the rest of our trip to this beach.


Back home at my mum and dad's that evening we had the first of many barbecues. (The sixth boy in the photo below is my youngest brother)

My dad made the most of his 'BBQ Boss' apron over the next few weeks!

And we finished our evening off with s'mores. Perfect.

That wasn't our only beach trip of week one. We also spent a day at the beach that was my dad's local beach when he was a boy. Another favourite of ours.

On most of our beach trips I had a portable craft project in my bag for any quiet moments!

But we didn't just spend our first week at the beach. Towards the end of the week we were all busy preparing our entries for the local agricultural show. David (11) made this chocolate hedgehog cake for the under 12s baking competition.

Ally (8) made some gluten, dairy and egg free melted snowman biscuits. Because they were egg free it meant he could handle the dough himself and so he did absolutely everything on his own. Closely watched by Fraser!

Every year the boys love making entries for the animals from fruit and veg competition.

Fraser (3) made his favourite animal, a giraffe, for the under 12s section. 

Ally made a tortoise, again for the under 12s section.

And also for the under 12s section, David made a watermelon shark.

For the 12-16s section, Calum (14) made this parrot and fruit bowl out of a pineapple.

Calum also made this sandcastle cake (gluten and dairy free) for his age group in the baking section.

We had other entries too, and they all did pretty well. 

Ally got a 3rd in his age group for the Art Competition with this drawing he did of a Lifeboat Man.

Calum just about did a clean sweep of the under 16s photography prizes, winning 1st and 2nd places in the People category, the Open category and the Wildlife category.

I was particularly pleased to win 1st place for my Christmas Graphgan Blanket in the crochet competition. 

David's hedgehog cake came 3rd.

My little crochet elf came 3rd in the open craft competition - there was no category for crocheted toy, only for knitted toy and so I stuck him in the open section.

David's shark came 1st and also won a Best in Show prize.

Ally's tortoise came 3rd.

And Fraser's giraffe was 2nd.

Oh yes, and Calum also won a 1st for his bird...

... and for his cake.

The only one of us who was a little disappointed was James (17) who didn't win anything for either of his two drawings. We all think he was robbed, I mean look at that wolf?! But then, we are a little biased too :) 

The show day was one of the few exceptions to the beautiful weather. It rained and rained, the wind blew a gale, and the rain rained a bit more.

But that didn't stop the boys from enjoying the show.

 Fraser was so excited to get some candy floss.

We dried off and warmed up for a little while in at the teas, where the free from boys were delighted to get some homemade free from cakes.

There wasn't much point in drying off though, as we had to head back out into the rain for the children's sporting events. The photos just don't show how bad the weather really was. 

David was over the moon with his trophy for Best in Show. Last year Calum won a trophy for a Best in Show photo and the rivalry between these two boys is fierce, so I was glad that David equalled Calum's previous success!

Fraser with his sports prizes.

And our overall collection of prizes. I'm pretty sure we won't be able to top that next year!

Thankfully the rain only lasted a day, and soon it was back to blue skies and outdoors fun again.

Like walks in the Castle Grounds.

We took another trip to Traigh Mhòr, this time later on one afternoon/evening, to have a barbecue there with friends. An absolutely perfect way to spend a summer evening.

The boys played outside at Granny and Shen's lots.

We visited our favourite cafe for milkshakes (or fizzy juice for those who can't have)

And spent even more time outdoors, crafting in the sunshine.

(I'll share more about my hexagon project in another post)

The end of the second week of our holidays was a little bittersweet. Because on the one hand we said goodbye to James as he headed away to Army Cadet Camp for two weeks, but then we also had the excitement of welcoming Dad home to spend the next two weeks at Granny and Shen's with us.

 Since that is probably more than enough photos for one post, weeks 3 and 4 will follow in another!