I’ve longed to take Monkey to Coombe Mill in Cornwall ever since I discovered the Country Kids linky 2 years ago when I first started blogging. I just knew that he would love it. Last year, following a conversation with Iona at Redpeffer I saved some pennies and booked for us to stay for the first week of our Easter holiday this year.
Iona and her family were already booked in, so I knew Monkey would have friends and it would be nice for us adults to share experiences too. Of course, when you are really looking forward to something, there is always a danger that it won’t live up to expectations. Would being on a farm work for us? Would self catering work for us? Would both families get on ok for a week together? How would Monkey cope with it all? It would be our first proper family holiday, excluding our trips to Spain to visit family and we needed a good break.
I spent the weeks beforehand talking to Monkey about the feed run, Farmer Nick and Fiona and the Train rides and showed him the Coombe Mill blog, videos etc. As soon as he saw pictures of Rocky the Goat his little heart melted and he just become so excited.
So finally the day came and we made the journey down to Cornwall, arriving in thick fog – uum! Oh well, the weather wasn’t going to dampen our spirits, we were all just happy to be on holiday.
As we drove down the country lane to Coombe Mill itself, I swear something magical happened. From the moment we parked the car Monkey was a different child. He was straight on to the little tractor outside Reception chatting away to me. All very different with him being so reserved normally in new environments. He was shy when we met Fiona, but he was off, exploring Honeysuckle Cottage, deciding on which bedroom and bed would be his, which would be teddy’s. Then he discovered the toy room. Is this for me too Mummy? Yes Monkey, you can do whatever you like in there (within reason!).
Iona and family arrived not long after us and the children were excited to see each other. They have stayed before so knew the ropes and where the best fun could be had. Monkey was off without a backwards glance. Wow! Playground – check,
indoor play barn – check, fairy garden – check,
second Playground – check. It was wonderful to see the Coombe Mill magic take hold of him and the change in him didn’t actually seem to be just because he was with people he knew.
There was no train ride on the first evening and I was fully expecting that it would take half the holiday for Monkey to warm up to the feed run. I couldn’t see him sitting on the trailer as Farmer Nick drove around and he’d never fed any animals at any of the many farms we’ve visited. Well, that boy was in the mood to prove his mother wrong! Straight on the trailer he got, he may not have fed the animals straight away but he certainly was by the end of the week.
Trying to find eggs in the chicken coups was clearly a highlight for him.
But more amazing than all of that was the fact he was doing it alone. He’d be straight into the trailer each morning, and as soon as the tractor stopped, he’d be off, at the head of the queue for each pen. Not necessarily with his friends, showing true independence and rarely looking for either myself or Daddy P. I was totally redundant from day one.
It was a revelation for all of us. I could relax, my son was really going to enjoy the week. He was coming into his own and that was just the beginning. Again, with the train rides I was sure there would be a little reluctance to join in for the first few days. Wrong! First ride, first child on! Didn’t even look at us. Blimey! That was him attached to the train for the week.
Laughing, having a wonderful time, taking turns, enjoying himself, pulling the signal, with the biggest smile on his face. Just magical to watch.
Now trampolines have always been a big no go area with Monkey. Friends and my brother all have them, but as soon as there is the slightest whiff of a bounce Monkey would end up in tears, that was if we’d ever got him to sit on one in the first place. But the Coombe Mill magic sprinkled over him again. I was soon to find him in the play barn (having gone off with Iona and her son) I told you, I really wasn’t needed, it was a new experience. There was Monkey, in the play barn, jumping up and down on one of the trampolines. Wow! Not only was he jumping up and down, he was enjoying it, laughing. Look at me Mummy!
But little trampolines were not the end of this part of the magic. Oh no! It wasn’t long before my little ‘never do anything remotely scary’ Monkey was inside the bigger trampoline with friends! Jumping around, still having fun, still laughing. Is this really my son???
We all loved our holiday, it was very relaxing, no phone signal meant Daddy P had no option but to switch off, he couldn’t be reached – result! We had company when we wanted it and could just as easily be alone. I got really emotional, watching Monkey having such a wonderful, carefree holiday was just the best thing to see. A little part of me always feels guilty that for reasons beyond my control, he is an only child. To see him running around for a week with friends was just lovely. He’s very good at keeping himself entertained but there’s nothing really like playing silly games with other children. Playing them with your parents isn’t the same. Having a brother, as annoying as he could be (aren’t they all) I know how lovely it is to have someone to share adventures with. It was so nice for Monkey to have a little bit of that.
We arrived at Coombe Mill with great expectations and left full of wonderful memories. My son let go, relaxed, tried new things and had the holiday I really wanted him to. He fed his beloved Rocky, who he still talks about on a daily basis.
All you can ever want for your child is for them to be happy and confident enough to enjoy life and try new things. I hope our holiday gave Monkey the belief to bring some of his new-found confidence into his every day life. I don’t imagine that he will ever be the life and soul of the party, to be picked for the lead in school plays, but I do hope he can open up a bit and let his voice and personality to be heard.
The Coombe Mill Magic had a wonderful effect on Monkey, and the memories will stay with me forever.