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So I think I’ll recap happenings on our short holiday away to Kell’s mum and stepdad in Blyth, Northumberland. A long drive but we made good time and covered the distance in just under 4 hours. Xander was very excited to see his Mommaw and despite not really liking her that much in his early days, he has come around and loves her to bits now much to her relief.

On the Friday we visited Grom, Kell’s grandma and Xander had a case of the “I don’t like little old ladies” syndrome. He gets that a lot, but before we left for home she did get her hug. In the afternoon that day we went to the home of Koast Radio and cousin Vicky who runs the station. Xander proceeded to polish off an entire iced donut and we couldn’t scrape him off the walls the rest of the day. He even got one away with him, but Daddy nicked it, lol. I won’t tell him if you don’t.

Saturday was a trip to the Metrocentre in Gateshead. A massive shopping centre that we don’t get to go to very often, and its pretty much a bigger version of what we have here in Aberdeen but there are a couple of different shops. Xander decided he was going to be a little brat this day and in the end we cut our losses and headed back. Not before Xander had stroked a snake for the very first time though. Very brave of him I thought considering he’d only seen one before behind the glass.

Sunday lunch was lovely with a nice cooked meal followed by a visit to Auntie Lynn and her two lads Nick and Roy who are grown men these days, scary considering they were just kids when Kell and I were married. Xander was funny though, at one point he was in the TV room with the two guys, chilling out and watching the MotoGP on the telly. A proper lads day in. He just needed the can of beer and the remote to complete the look. He followed the motorbikes with some Top Gear and then Toy Story 3. Just one of those Kodak moments we didn’t get on camera lol.

Monday was great. We were kid free for just the second or third time since he was born. A day to ourselves! We revisited the Metrocentre and managed to get round in peace this time although finding Pizza Hut was a challenge that would have been fitting for The Crystal Maze. In the end we went to a nice restaurant called Est… which was great. The service was good, the food excellent and the the prices very good. After getting a couple of presents for Xander’s Christmas we headed back to sort out our bags for heading home on Tuesday morning.

And so home again we were with a planned visit to Blair Drummond Safari Park near Stirling on Thursday. Oh my birthday was in between times aswell, but these days at my advanced age of 37 going on 60 its just another day. The Safari Park was brilliant and is very popular. Worth the two hour drive to get there and £12.50 per adult was a steal when you consider what they have on offer.

I must admit, its been a very long time since I saw animals of this kind up close and personal. Elephants, lions, bears, a tiger, giraffes and zebras make up just some of the attractions. The highlights for me though were the sea lions who performed a show which was great and a first for me. Over in the Lemur section of the park they roam free and you can almost reach out and stroke them, but I don’t think it would be wise, but there is no fencing between you and them and they run around and chase right past you. The agility of the animals is incredible and it was thoroughly enjoyable to see them in their own surroundings having fun.

Xander was on a boat for the very first time and seemed to really enjoy it after initially not wanting to go on, but upon seeing the actual boat quickly announced “I want to go on the boat now?” and so we did. Kell also met up with one of her old college buddies Jen who has two little boys of her own now and she was very happy to catch up with her.

And so its now back to normality, but with still one more week of my holiday to go I can relax a little more before going back to the horror of work and the pressures of delivering all your lovely letters and packets to your doors.