Comedy, Mini Breaks & The Bruce

ComedyMy family do enjoy getting away for a few days and with half term in mind we decided to go to Center Parcs in the Lake District.

It was quite a surprise to find that on contacting CP a good while before we intended to go, they were almost full!

The only lodge of the size we wanted was at the very edge of the 500 acre forest, a good 20 minute walk from the main facilities. As it usually pours with rain in the lakes in November, we ideally wanted to be nearer the village centre.

We were very lucky however, as chatting to the CP lady on the phone she said they had had a cancellation and that a suitable lodge had come up just 5 minutes from the centre.


Now, it’s true to say that these places are not cheap.

But overall I would say they are good value if you get out and about and in particular use the amazing swimming pools, wave machine and water slides etc.

In addition the lodges/town houses have good facilities and are comfortable and warm. You also get a lot of wildlife coming to your back door to look cute and get fed!

The ducks in particular were experts in staring into our lounge and even pecking on the patio door. My daughter had invited a friend, Georgia, and they both squealed in delight as a red squirrel made an acrobatic appearance which was rewarded with lots of (my) nuts.

The girls’ favourite without doubt though was the wave machine and the rapids. They both tried the fast slide (after some hesitation), and Charlotte then wanted to keep going on them. As long as I did of course!

They both thought it very funny seeing me shoot out of the slide tubes at quite a lick and crash landing in the deep pool.

The restaurants were also good and the amount of different sports you could try is very impressive.

I have to confess however that the girls stuck to 10 pin bowling, table tennis and swimming.

And yes, it did pour down most of the time!

I also enjoy a good comedy show, and noticing that Fascinating Aida were due to appear at The Tyne Theatre, my sister and I got booked up for a treat. I don’t know how many of you are aware of this ‘act’, but they really are very talented and extremely funny.

Led by Dillie Kean, they have been going for 30 years, with different performers but Dillie being a constant.

All I will say that is you need to be reasonably broad minded!

We came out after 2 hours with our jaws aching from laughing so much and will aim to catch them again on their next tour.

To get a taste just google Fascinating Aida and there are loads of You Tube snippets.

Back to mini breaks.

As some of you may know, I am writing a book about Robert The Bruce and one of my (possible) ancestors William Irving of Bonshaw.

DNA matching shows I am from this ‘clan’ and the legend is that William helped The Bruce escape from Edward Longshanks King of England and The Hammer of the Scots in the early 1300s.

William was with Bruce all the way through to Bruce’s death from leprosy in 1329 and in particular his armour bearer and secretary at Bannockburn, an amazing Scottich victory against the odds.

William was rewarded with a huge estate in Aberdeenshire called Drum, the inference being that Bruce was very grateful for all the support he had from William over many years.

Anyway, I wanted to get away for a few days to really concentrate on developing the storyline and tidy up some research.

So I booked a few days away – in the Lakes! It could have been anywhere, but as this area is only 90 minutes away and I had found a nice cottage, I kept it simple and drove down on a Saturday with 4 days booked.

It was fantastic to be able to sit down each day with no distractions except to check messages and emails.

My myriad of books and maps were spread out all over the place and I achieved a lot, including several new scenes.

I also encountered something I hadn’t experienced before – writers block!

I may sound like a bit of a luvvy at this point of course, but for about an hour I just could not get down on paper what I could see in my head.

Anyway, several cups of tea and a bit of fresh air later all was well, with me scribbling away like a demon.

I have also found that I have to write longhand, then type it up while rewriting as I go. I then leave a scene I am reasonable happy with for a few days and then re read it, usually able to improve it again.

So mission accomplished here, and I am trying to do at least 10 hours a week to keep the momentum going.

It is a fascinating challenge and I am really enjoying being creative.

Oh yes, by the way it rained again – every day!

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About Graeme Urwin

My passion is to help senior doctors and dentists organise their finances to create their own strategy to achieve their goals in life. I do this impartially as I charge fees. Outside of work the words that best describe me are: family man, squash, badminton, jogging, travel, reading, archaeology, genealogy, writing a book on Robert the Bruce. I live in the hills of Northumberland in Rothbury and believe in living the life you love.