Spontaneous adventures are, um, tricky with four small children. It isn't exactly easy to get us all out of the door, let alone carrying everything we need to spend long out of the house. When I think of our freedom of movement, I remember the days of one (or two) children with slight wistfulness!
After booking our train tickets, I set a very early alarm, packed the change bag with spare clothes, sunglasses, hats, snacks, drinks, and phone. A bag of swim gear - and waterproof coats just in case. Then persuaded the children to bed with promises of a surprise in the morning. So it began, at six in the morning, with me as nervous as can be!
These guys *love* surprises, so when we were dropped at the station they had no idea where we were going - or even that we were getting on a train. *so much squeeing*
For over an hour I had excited children saying, "Train! Horse! Tree!" at everything we went past. Eventually, the train pulled in at Boston, and the children all shouted, "ASHLEIGH!" They had just, moments before, guessed that we were going to the sea and that Ash would be joining us ("are you *sure* you want me to tell you if your guess is right?" haha).
The day itself was beautiful - warm, peaceful, fun, interesting. Rowan did some stomping when Talia was asleep on the towel she wanted. The sound of the sea and snuggles with my sweet baby, sand in her hair, time to read a book. Tiny blackbirds hopped almost onto Morgan's foot, and squabbled over any chips we dropped. Ash found a crab shell for us to examine. Morgan got a bit invested in walking the route she had planned, when everyone else wanted to go a different way. I got annoyed with them all bickering and threatened no ice-cream if they wouldn't just come to a bloody agreement (fail) but I did get a sweet apology later after I had calmed down and said that of course we would still get ice cream.
Transferring sand from one spade to another was Talia's favourite game of the day!
Talia crawled around some sculptures and got completely filthy (I had to wash her in the station toilets). Our train home was cancelled and we ended up buying cheap bread rolls and sausages for our tea.
By the time we finally got on a train, the children were exhausted, and decided to sit under the table. Lucky us, we had the most crotchetty rude conductor ever, who got aggressive when asked to back up his assertion that my children would die if they didn't sit upright in their seats (and threatened to put us off the train if I let them leave their seats for any reason when I again calmly asked him for statistics): I'd like to think the other passengers might have also complained about him, because they then had to put up with Rowan screaming for an hour when I wouldn't let her get down rather than risk him actually putting us off). Pony-distraction to the rescue (ish).
When we got in I had a good cry on hubby, and then cuddled Roo to sleep (who had totally forgiven me, and chatted all evening about jumping in the sea and the little birds who ate Tali's dinner).
I'd do it all again in a heartbeat though. Well, maybe in a couple of months...