C is for…

Castles

Little boys and castles seem to go together, just as big boys and castles and Bookgrrl and op shops (or Bookgrrl and lipstick)  go together. So in Ireland, the family visited a couple near to where we were staying.

Enniskillen Castle is in the centre of town. It was originally the stronghold of the Maguire clan (to which my granny Kitty insists we are related) before it was ousted from their cold dead hands by the British in the 17th century.

It eventually became a military garrison and barracks for the Inniskillings regiment to which Captain Oates from the ill-fated Scott Antarctic expedition was a part. Today it’s part regimental museum and more interestingly, a county museum which detailed the history of country life. While it looked like a castle from the outside there was extensive remodelling and not much of the original castle remained.

Carrickfergus Castle is just outside of Belfast. It’s really well preserved and has a lot of detail about parts of the castle and its history. The day we were there we lucked out twice- we got in for free and it was sunny!!

My son was throroughly stoked about the castle and loved all the stairs and climbing on the battlements. There were a few tourists, but none of the crowds you would get at Edinburgh Castle so there was space to move. We adjourned across the road for fish and chips for lunch. It was a great day!

Club Orange Biscuits

I remember eating my first Club Orange when I was 6 and visiting Ireland for the first time. They are always something I have when I go back, and when I do, they bring back the excitement of that first holiday and trying something new.

I managed to bring back a couple of packets ( they come in packs of 8). I have yet to break into them- I’ll keep them for a special occasion. I know I can get them in specialist shops which stock British groceries, but where’s the fun of buying them here when you can go on a long plane trip and get them yourself?

Children, travelling with (actually this could be a book, rather than just a blog post!)

It was the first time the kids had been on a plane. As we were flying late at night, I had made the assumption they would both be tired and we would be carrying them onto the plane.

Err, not exactly.

They were tired, but wired with excitement, which led to over-tired, cranky children. We had them seated beside each other with the two adults on either end. This led to even more cranky behaviour. Miss BG hated the seat belt and kept taking it off, and would stand on the seat conversing with the little boy seated behind us.

The cabin crew were not particularly interested in assisting either. In short, the 14 hour leg from Melbourne to Abu Dhabi were the longest in my life. Miss BG was asleep for two hours and couldn’t get comfortable and as such was constantly squirming. Master BG kept on getting woken up by his sister’s antics and I was hating every single second of being a parent. I was saved by a lovely lady sitting behind me who offered to have Emily for 10 minutes.

The seating configuration was changed with Miss BG seated between myself and husband, with Master BG on the aisle. After being incredibly cranky and hyper at the airport, Miss BG promptly fell asleep for 4 hours. I got to see a movie and show my son how to play some of the games on the screen, and take him to the toilet about 6 times.

Mum and Dad who had flown earlier in the day (via another airline and business class) met us with my brothers at the airport. How was the flight? we were asked. Hellish and let us never speak of it again, answered Mr BG. And we haven’t, until now 🙂

Subsequent flights between London and Belfast and the return leg were much better. We flew back at 9am London time, with the children rested. They also slept most of the long leg between Abu Dhabi and Melbourne, with Miss BG sleeping 10 hours non-stop. Two of the cabin crew befriended Master BG and commented on his nce manners and his dog. A nearby passenger commented on the nice behaviour of the kids which made my day!

So now I know what to do next time, and yes there will be a next time, just as long as I don’t kill my kids in the meantime…

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