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Why is it that boys when they're away on holiday have this ability to assume that you have nothing better to do than sort out their life in their absence? My son is currently inter-railing with his girlfriend and having a lovely time - I know this only because I am "stalking" him on Facebook - "stalking" being the words the kids use if they think you are actually looking at their Facebook page. Chilling and strolling and eating and drinking whilst I am busy trying very hard not to get heat exhaustion on the trains and tubes on my way to work and back. He's off to a festival this weekend and a friend of his is driving his car there to meet him. I was quite impressed that they'd even managed to formulate a plan of this magnitude, but forgot that inevitably they would have missed out a few things... First from work I get a text asking if I could urgently send a photocopy of his passport or driving licence to a friend who needs to prove that the ticket she bought off him is his. No idea what he's talking about and strangely I don't carry photocopies of my children's passports about my person at all times and no I can't leave the office to go home and sort it.
On account of the fact that my twelve year old son successfully survived two days in the country on his own with his Grandmother without a friend or shop in sight and was subsequently delighted to see me, I decided that as a special treat and thank you for looking after her (he even cooked her a meal!) he and I would take a little road trip and go and stay in a hotel for the night. Being the youngest of three, he doesn't often get to have my full on one to one attention, so it was a real treat for both of us. We stayed in a hotel called The Magdalen Chapter, which was perfect for us. It's five minutes walk from the centre of Exeter - which was looking particularly gorgeous and buzzy on the first proper day of spring we have had so far. The building used to be the old eye infirmary so lots of interesting features but the style of the interior is now very modern. No real reception area - just laptops and friendly staff wearing the key purple colourway jumpers and Converse trainers. Ipads to borrow and choose wine from and Apple chargers in all the rooms. The small but lovely in/out pool was just warm enough for me to stay in and we rather indulgently were able to watch the Grand National from the pool on another guest's ipad. They were very accommodating regarding the rooms - moved us to a larger one at no extra cost when they realised that they'd squeezed us into one a little bit too small to add an extra bed and all the rooms were lovely. I have many photos I could show you but unfortunately my son is swearing in some way shape or form in all of them, so not really appropriate. Our meal was delicious - the only complaint he had was that all the other tables were full of women! When the waiter asked us if it was a special occasion we agreed that we looked a little bit odd together - "we could pretend we were getting divorced" he said....which to be honest, wasn't really the look I was going for so I told the waiter it was an early birthday celebration for him, not expecting of course that he would rush off at the rate of knots to ensure that a very special candlelit cake with "Happy Birthday" written on it would be rustled up in no time. Then I felt bad for marginally stretching the truth - but you know what? It is an early birthday treat and it was lovely to have cake and I was really impressed with our waiter and the service and all was good.... So, here are some photos of our road trip:- Exeter looking lovely and buzzy:- Exeter Cathedral:- Cathedral grounds in the sunshine:- A fabulous busker:- Successful shopping trip:- Outside the hotel:- The pool:- The indoor/outdoor bit:- A relic from the past:- Loving the art and butterfly themes:- Best Gin & Tonic ever:- Early birthday celebrations - and apologies for the swearing - I can only think that he developed the desire to express himself after staying with his Grandmother for too long!! Not acceptable behaviour I know, but they're the only photos I've got so they will have to do:-