|a not very good photo of the spoils|
We learned many things on the not-holiday. We learned all about the dangers of the brown tailed moth on Spurn Point which was probably the most important and scary thing but we learned lots of other things too -
The things we did well -
The budget, we had £150 for petrol and £500 for everything else. That's a lot for a week, there's £21.95 left. What we learned is that we need an emergency fund even when on not-holiday. Day one we spent £25 on a new headlight bulb and a fix on a tyre slow puncture. Day six we spent £42 on socks and underwear.
The vast majority of the cash was spent on food and drink. No surprises there and it was well worth it. We took a picnic to Spurn, Bowes Museum and somewhere else I can't remember and that worked really well. We ate out in Glasgow, Clitheroe and Liverpool and that was the right choice. The most expensive day out was Glasgow, the cheapest was a soggy but brilliant afternoon in Arnside.
What's certain and what's flexible. We had non-negotiable places to visit like Glasgow, Bowes and Spurn but other than that we just had a list of 10 or so places we might fancy going to. In the end we had a change of plan and decided to go to Liverpool yesterday even though it wasn't on the list and it was the right choice. We went to the Museum of Liverpool and it was brilliant, well worth the admission which was free! For me it was a perfect balance of the big stuff and the mundane without being over the top about how much people love the city. It also felt like a shared space for everyone, more than anywhere else I've been, it was more than just a museum as people were using it as they wanted, the museum wasn't forcing anything onto the user.
Extra bonus was that The Caravan Gallery had been there earlier in the year so there was an exhibition of their stuff. I love them, they came to Lytham St Annes last year and the whole set up was great. I love their work in small places but to see what they found in a bigger city was hilarious and beautiful. Extra extra bonus was that it was Sea Shanty Sunday so we got to have a sing and dance too. Can't be better.
Make it a break. Last year I didn't feel like it was a holiday as I still had to do all my normal stuff. This year Dan did all the washing up, swept the floor and cleaned out the buns. It was brilliant and I thank him very much for my break from routine.
The flask. I loved the flask!
Lessons learned -
Prepare for the right things. Even though we knew we wouldn't be eating at home all that much we still over bought food. It meant we had to force ourselves to eat a stirfry, we chucked half a melon, some posh juice and some potatoes away and probably ate over-filled sandwiches a few times. Lesson learned is that when there's all the stuff in the world to be treated to when you're out it's not necessary to have it at home too. The benefit of all the eating out and not eating the stuff we'd prepared is that the freezer is full so I can ease my way back to normality with lots of home made ready meals.
All we really needed to have in was that stuff we always do - things for breakfast, lots and lots of tea and an emergency tin of baked beans.
Research and buying in advance. Getting the train tickets for Glasgow in advance was a great thing - even the train conductor commented on how good a deal it was. Going to a big place like Glasgow with no knowledge at all wasn't quite as great. We got off to a rocky start but once we found Mono and stuffed ourselves with lovely grub we were fine. Tip: if a vegetarian place looks shut it probably isn't. I also spent probably a bit too much on zines about the Bacup Coconut Dancers and Preston Bus Station but I didn't want to resist. What we learned was that we want to visit again but we'll have a different strategy to get around.
The Art Pass. We're on the fence about this. We only used it once, for the Bowes Museum so it hasn't paid for itself yet. We know it will throughout the year but to pay for it with holiday cash was maybe not the best choice. I think it will be a great investment though during the Autumn and Winter.
Clothing. I own 48 items of clothing and it wasn't really enough. Some of those clothes are winter clothes and coats so not really appropriate for August. I ran out of things to wear. There are a few unworn tops as well as the winter stuff but I don't own enough bottoms so I'm adding a couple of pairs of leggings and one or two pairs of trousers to my shopping list. I now have lots of socks.
Leaving Liverpool yesterday we took a small detour through Tuebrook (aka we took the wrong route) and can you believe it we ended up in Widnes, can't stay away from the place. But we ended up having that holiday conversation where you question where you live. Would it be better to live elsewhere and have other amenities closer? The answer is no, during our holiday we could have seen loads of free things where we live including an air show and the 1940's weekend, plus we can walk to the beach, there's a theatre nearby, we can get the train to exciting places, we have a great local pub, it's very very quiet and our sugarlump of a house is a wonderful place indeed. The one downside of the Fylde is that it is not a place to eat out if you're a vegetarian, but we only eat out on not-holiday so who cares?
Extra extra bonus good news it's a bank holiday next weekend! Let's do it all again!