Coombe Mill has always been on my to-do list, and as if by magic, up pops this year’s Christmas at Coombe Mill competition. So I’m going to give it a go.
Christmas at Coombe Mill sounds amazing. I know what Coombe Mill is like now – while we didn’t stay there when we visited Cornwall, The Boy and Me gang did and invited us over. We all made friends – and that is the first thing about the place. You make friends. I like to think I can make friends easily, and indeed, get me chatting and you might wish I’d shut up… and what I loved the most about our two visits was how social the place is.
We’d be sat outside TBaM’s lodge and people would come past saying ‘hello’. You really have to get out of that London frame of mind where nobody speaks to anyone. We’re all escaping somewhere people don’t look you in the eye and going somewhere that opens up new opportunities, new friendships and happiness.
I love that outside the Scandinavian Lodges is a large grass area where children can play. Get them dressed up in the right gear and it’s all-weather play there too.
The thing I will always go on about is the BBQ Hut – what a brilliant idea. A hut which can seat plenty of adults and you can set your BBQ going and it’s cosy. How flipping brilliant would it be to have a BBQ in December? Toasting marshmallows on Christmas Eve? Yep, I’m dreaming now…
Of course, there’s the morning feed run – H loved it, and got stuck in after running around and looking a bit cross. The animals ran away from her (err, that’s what they do… you need to pick them up with a sense of purpose rather than hope they’ll come to you). Once she had picked up her first there was no stopping her and her confidence grew. Feeding the animals and wandering around with Farmer Nick and the other kids was a brilliant experience for her. She loved picking branches from the trees and feeding them to the donkeys. I loved that she did it without a second glance back to Shaun or I, apart from when she proudly showed us what she had done.
I think that’s another important Coombe Mill thing. It’s brilliantly geared for children to do things and adults to take a bit of time out (while still casting a watchful eye over them of course), that you can switch off from it all. Add that Cornwall thing of a patchy mobile signal, and you can really get away from your phone. You have to when there’s no signal! Talking of signals, H loved operating the one on the train line which runs every weekday. This service is way more reliable than Southern Railways and probably runs over Christmas too!
My overall impression of Coombe Mill was having the space to breathe again. Every Christmas we tend to stay at home and slob out… and if I’m to be honest it’s a lovely family thing, but not a special moment for H. She knows no different. I remember at her age having a pillowcase at the bottom of my bed and checking all the time to see if Santa had been. Christmas Day was a big family occasion with grandparents, aunties and more. Sadly that’s impossible with her surviving grandparents living in York and Australia! She’s also reaching that age where she could stop believing in the next year or two. I want her to have one big magical Christmas before things change.
This is why I think Christmas at Coombe Mill would be just that. We’d all switch off and enjoy some quality time together as a family and as part of the Coombe Mill celebrations. I’m hoping the BBQ Hut will feature too, of course!
This is my entry for the Christmas at Coombe Mill competition over here. Even if I don’t win, we’re going next August and I CAN’T WAIT!!!!!