We’ve never really bothered to do anything for Easter, which is probably largely due to not having made a big deal out of it during my childhood. But, rather like dorky Christmas jumpers, Easter has kind of become A Thing over the last few years. I mean, is it just me? Did everyone else make a big thing out of it and we just didn’t? When I was growing up, it was mostly about the eggs with a small nod to the religious aspect and that was about it for us, but now there are decorations and cards and chicks and bunnies popping up everywhere you go for at least a month beforehand. And, of course, there are the organised egg hunts.
Egg hunts have been a talking point with O for a few weeks now, so I obviously needed to put my thinking mummy pants on and figure something out to avoid one of those frankly fucking awful threenager meltdowns we’ve been battling with for the last forever. We are very lucky in that only a two minute drive from our house is the countryside. Proper countryside. Rugged, middle-of-nowhere countryside. And about ten minutes away is a lovely little village (which is actually more of a hamlet) called Harwood Dale, which is where we ended up for our egg hunt at a brilliant farm/tea room/guesthouse called The Grainary (if you’re planning a trip to North Yorkshire this summer, I would highly recommend checking out their website and reviews on Trip Advisor).
When we arrived just before 1pm, a herd of excited children were gathered around, waiting to be allowed through a temporary gate (strategically positioned to stop over-eager egg hunters from pilfering the spoils), where they were gently reminded of the “one egg per child” policy of the hunt. For obvious reasons, hiding chocolate eggs around a working farm would be a particularly terrible idea, so the haphazard gaggle of treat-seekers clamouring at the gate were told that they would be looking for plastic eggs which could be exchanged for sweets. After a countdown from 10, the gate was removed and O promptly disappeared into the excitable throng on a single-minded mission to snag himself an egg. Upon spying one under the slide, he grabbed it and sprinted back the way he’d come, manic with the promise of sugar. I think he probably would have benefitted from being held back a little so he might have had a harder time finding an egg, but it’s never really a great idea to throw oneself in the path of stampeding children at the best of times, not least when there is chocolate involved.
After the eggshilaration (sorry) of the hunt, we decided to go visit some of the animals and have a walk down to the lake. O ran ahead, squashing molehills and leaping over cowpats, then wanted to be chased through the woodland around the lake. Of course, he fell on his face about a thousand times and ended up covered in mud and leaves and other stuff I probably shouldn’t give too much thought to, but he had a great time. Meanwhile, I realised how woefully unfit I am. But that’s a story for another day.
There’s also a pretty huge play area with loads of stuff to climb and a big sandpit, so I pretty much just stood back and let O run loose in there since he had absolutely no desire to have anything to do with me in the presence of other children. Go figure. I’m sure I can expect plenty more of that in the future. After 20 minutes of running around, I persuaded him to consider heading inside for a drink and he decided he was hungry. Whenever I take O out, I never really know whether or not I’m going to be able to get him to eat anything because he is alarmingly picky, and I don’t have much chance of eating myself if he doesn’t want to since he won’t fucking sit still for more than 20 seconds at a time. But, since he actually wanted to eat for a change, I ordered myself a nut roast from the Easter menu and WOW. As a vegetarian, I’ve come to realise that nut roast is either done really well or really badly and there is no in between. This nut roast was amazing. I can’t even… there are just no words.
After we were done eating, O was ready for home and I was hoping we could pick up F and go do something else for the afternoon. But O was tired and throwing myriad tantrums and it became one of those you-must-learn-a-lesson-from-this situations, so I left him at home with his daddy and took F out without him.
We decided to go to the beach, which seemed like a really great idea until we were walking along the sand, struggling into the wind while F whinged in the pushchair. I mean, he had fun walking about and playing chase and stuff, but then the wind got so strong that he got blown around and fell over. And, of course, he didn’t want to go back into the pushchair because they never fucking do, so there was a screaming/planking incident and everybody ended up with sand in their eyes, which just made the screaming worse. But it was fine. I don’t think he will remember it as being The Worst Day Ever or anything. It just probably won’t be one of the best either.
The thing is, with children there’s this huge pressure to make any kind of “holiday” period memorable. So you try to find fun activities to do and second-guess what your kids might like – even though half the time they end up moaning “I want to go hoooooome!” like they’re having a really horrible time – and everybody ends up feeling kind of flat and exhausted by the end of it. I was guilty today of thinking that I should take O out for the day when, in reality, hunting for eggs and rambling around The Grainary was more than enough for him to handle. After I left with F this afternoon, my husband pretty much just left O to his own devices in the back garden while he cut the grass, and he was perfectly happy apparently. Which makes me think that maybe it’s just not worth driving myself crazy trying to think of ways to occupy either of my children when they’d probably be content with digging holes in the garden and fighting over whose turn it is to go on the trampoline.
Many thanks to everyone at The Grainary for having us. We had a great time and we will see you again soon!