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Luck: When one good thing comes of another

On one of the many three-day weekends we had this year (with the royal wedding and all) we went to visit my husband’s family in the place where he grew up and the rest of them still live.  The Wye is a beautiful wooded river valley that snakes back and forth across the border between England and Wales.  We were enjoying our visit but I wasn’t very pleased when my husband told me his brother, who works shifts, was only free to see us on the Monday afternoon.  As always, I was itching to get back to London, but naturally we stayed and later went with them to a summer fair at the primary school my husband and his sister attended, and where our 3 year old niece will start next September.

Now,  as a mother and PTA committee member of my younger son’s school, I know a thing or two about school fairs and this was a good one.  It was a gorgeous day, and the event had an old-fashioned, rural feel to it that reminded me more of my own childhood than my sons’.  There was a superb home-baked cake stall, and properly brewed tea served from china teapots into flowery porcelaine cups lent by the villagers.  The atmosphere was delightful.  But best of all, for my sons aged 13 and 9, there was a ‘Hit the Crossbar’ football challenge using a small goalpost.  A lot of kids struggled to hit the bar even once and after a while it was quite embarrassing that my cocky London kids could seem to do it on demand.  Anyone who managed 3 in a row went into a draw to win a 3 night activity camp for 2 children (worth a lot of money) and both boys had their names in the hat.  Once they’d established they couldn’t increase their chances of winning by having any more turns, it wasn’t too hard to persuade them to leave for the 3 hour drive home, and we thought no more of it.

A couple of weeks later, you’ve guessed it, we received a call to say our younger son had scooped the big prize !  His brother had already been on one of these holidays with school, where they do high-ropes, abseiling, canoeing and many other things you’d never catch us doing.  The kids were very excited.  It wasn’t until later that evening when my husband returned from work that we realised there was a hidden half to this prize.  We would get three days to ourselves which is almost unheard of in our family set-up.  We have never had relatives nearby and have had only a handful of weekends away since becoming parents nearly 14 years ago, the last one nearly two years ago when friends generously took the boys so we could go to Paris for our 15th wedding anniversary.

So this Saturday we head to Dorset, where the boys are having their big adventure.  We worked out that for the price of three nights in a decent hotel we could rent a cottage with a sea view for the whole half term week, so the two of us will spend our precious time in Lyme Regis on the fabulously named Jurassic Coast (if you haven’t read Tracy Chevalier’s Remarkable Creatures, you must) before spending the rest of the week all together.

Sometimes everybody wins!

About Isabel Costello

Writer (novels: Paris Mon Amour 2017; Scent 2021).Host of the Literary Sofa blog. Co-founder of Resilience for Writers with Voula Tsoflias. Perfume lover and Francophile.


6 thoughts on “Luck: When one good thing comes of another

  1. What a lovely post – always brightens my day to hear of something really nice happening – hope you have a lovely few days sans kids, and a great weeks overall.

    Posted by susan elliot wright | October 20, 2011, 12:08
  2. Thanks, Susan! It’s a lovely character trait to be pleased at others’ good luck. It will certainly be a nice break from trying to get the ending of my novel right (no doubt it’ll be blindingly obvious when I get back to my desk afterwards!) and hopefully the weather will be as good as it is today.

    Posted by Isabel Costello | October 20, 2011, 12:53
  3. A wonderful story and I am sure all the local boys were muttering to themselves for not winning. I can relate to the “no time off” parenting, my wife and I have no relatives within 2,000 miles and have been parenting for 12 years now, with only minimal breaks thanks to friends.

    I hope your entire family enjoys the time away, just to relax and soak up some silence the first few days, but I have a feeling that soon enough you will miss the boys and welcome them back gladly.

    Nice post, give one a warm feeling inside.

    Posted by peterhobbs1 | October 25, 2011, 17:25
  4. A very lovely post, Isabel. It’s not often the whole family hits the jackpot. Here’s hoping your family thoroughly enjoyed their respective adventures. Here in central Florida, we’re longing for respite from what has been a sweltering summer–with temps still in the 80s F daily, looks like we’ll have to wait a while longer.

    Posted by jaurquhart | October 29, 2011, 22:03
    • Thanks Jack, and very nice to have met you via Peter’s blog – yours looks great too by the way. I expect my forthcoming post about our week away will seem rather tame by the standards of Central Florida ! We were there in May 2009 and had torrential rain the whole week we were at Disney (didn’t really matter, there were no lines that’s for sure) and then when we decamped to the Gulf Coast at Sarasota I got the worst sunburn of my entire life, to the point I could hardly walk because I had to stuff my flipflops with tissue paper because my feet were so sore. I felt like the total idiot I undoubtedly was, being partly of lrish descent and having the skin to match. I don’t think I could cope with your climate but it must be very pleasant for those of you who can !

      Posted by Isabel Costello | October 30, 2011, 09:35

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