Day Zero: Bristol to Portsmouth to somewhere in the Bay of Biscay

Parenthood. It’ll change your life. That’s what everyone said to me when news of the extension to the Rusbridge family spread. Well, most people. My closest mates just laughed a bit.

But it’s true, and we’ve all spent enough time with existing parents to know what to expect. On one hand there will be sacrifices: fewer boys’ trips away, less going to watch football/rugby/cricket, less talking bollocks and generally upsetting the locals of pubs around Bristol’s Gloucester Road and harbourside areas.

Are these really sacrifices? Because on the other hand there will be the indescribable feelings that we experience for the first time. Indeed the amount of love I have for little Evelyn and the never ending awe I hold for Laura, following the discomfort of pregnancy, the strain of a (very) drawn-out labour and an amazing connection within motherhood, are just that – indescribable. Frankly I didn’t think I was capable of it.

And then there are things you don’t expect to come rolling into your new family alongside a pram. A 25 year old caravan for instance, in which you then swan off to Spain and France for three months!

Shared parental leave is a wonderful concept (reliant on family-friendly employers) by which Laura ‘gives up’ three months of her maternity leave which I then take on, enabling us all to spend time together. Laura has an amazing connection with Evelyn, and I find it difficult to believe that I could ever replicate this, but having much more time to spend together can only be a benefit to the bond that we all create. I had never considered this before it became relevant to me, but I do believe the connection between me and the little sprout is hindered by me being at work all day. I am sure that this time together will go some way to overcoming that obstacle.

And that is why I find myself writing this, in a bar, on a ferry, somewhere towards the Bay of Biscay. Ironically alone.

With Laura and Evelyn both still in bed, I set off from home for Portsmouth Harbour at 6:30 this morning to take our ‘new’ old caravan on the 24 hour ferry to Bilbao. I arrive at lunchtime tomorrow, by which time Laura and Evelyn should be in the departure lounge of Bristol Airport, bound also for Bilbao, albeit via somewhat more time efficient means. By the time they’ve arrived I will have hopefully navigated my way across Bilbao to pick them up and then we go onwards to start our adventures in Northern Spain in our 1992 Abi Tristar Award caravan (thanks to Dan and Chris at North Road Caravans in Yate for the excellent servicing and advice by the way).

So there’s not really much to report at this stage, other than that I am now on my fourth pint of Kronnnebourg and so amstarting t finf=d typing a liytle moe difficult. I think I’ll head off shortly to find out what entertainment is on in the ferry’s ‘Planets Bar’ this evening. I overheard someone talking about a Fleetwood Mac tribute band earlier – possibly rumours!

In an entirely self-indulgent manner we’ll keep anyone who is interested in our fun-times up to date via this blog over the next 12 weeks. We apologise if the page is not particularly inspiring at this point – we’ve been run off our feet the past couple of weeks getting everything sorted for this trip and so aesthetics of a mere blog page have been the least of our worries. Maybe we’ll do it when we find a quiet bar in Spain with wi-fi. On a Tuesday afternoon. Or maybe not – maybe we’ll just have another sangria.

Next stop: Bilbao.

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