Christmas 2016 wasn’t the most successful I’ve ever had. Two days before Santa was due to climb down the chimney, my dad suddenly died. This put an unfestive spanner in the works; at Christmas, you want boisterous fun, not burials. And then suddenly it was New Year and my two girls, Molly, 10, and Daisy, 6, were due back at school. As I felt they hadn’t had much of a holiday, I asked them whether they would rather go to school or have an adventure by the sea. Molly, being the studious and conscientious one, decided she had better go to school. Daisy, being more like me (i.e. not so studious or conscientious) leapt at the idea of a coastal adventure.
School gave the go-ahead for our seaside jaunt, so one cold, sunny day at the beginning of January, I left Molly under the wing of my mum and my husband Gary, while Daisy, my 3-year-old son Jack and I headed for the Isle of Wight. I had no idea how far we would get in a day so booked no accommodation, just hoping we would find some sort of B&B despite the season.
My plan was to follow the coastal footpath for as far as we could get in about five days. Daisy and Jack would ride their own bikes, while I carried a rucksack and pushed a pram for Jack to climb into should his little legs get tired. Technically, bikes aren’t allowed on footpaths, but I thought: “What the heck: they are young children.” And if they were to ride the coast road on their bikes with all that fast-rushing traffic alongside, it would be almost suicidal.
On the seafront