Happiness on holiday


I wrote the piece below whilst we were away on our British holiday. Although I dislike the term 'staycation', it is very much what it was. With the beautiful weather that has been upon us over the last month who needs to go abroad? With a car full of food and drink, sun cream and our puppy, off we went on our little adventure.


This post has come to me whilst I watch the sun rise over the top of the Brecon Beacons, listen to the sheep Baa their morning conversations with one another and Larry sits at my feet. It is 20 degrees at 7am, I have a coffee and some water and am going to cook some local asparagus and free range eggs for breakfast. I have not had any phone signal or internet since leaving the supermarket carpark 48 hours ago; that’s no calls, no whatsapp, no Instagram and not even my Harry Potter game, as it only works with data!


We’ve been away now for 5 days and for the last 2 days I have felt completely relaxed. I have not felt like this since just after I got married nearly two years ago and it is so liberating. Somehow my money worries about not working and affording our new house, going back to work, packing up the house and starting a new job, family and my health all seem either not important or manageable concerns. 


Staying in the UK for a summer holiday was dictated by the fact we now have a small, black hairy four-legged child called Larry. If he was not in our lives I’d be sunning myself on the beach in Santorini reliving our wedding holiday, drinking and constantly being in touch with the rest of the world whilst eating 2 course meals, 3 times a day and spending a fortune. As it happens, the furry tearaway meant that we looked into where would be fun to go that was dog-friendly yet we could still relax. South Wales! 


We have been staying in a cottage on a farm that is 5 miles from the nearest phone signal and has satellite broadband only outside their farmhouse that we are not allowed to download anything on. It is half an hour to the nearest pub and the same to the local vegetable shop in the other direction (a little further for a Waitrose!).


I have been woken each morning by the house martins in the nest outside our window, the sheep in the field opposite or the sun rising over the hill and it has made me smile before I’ve even opened my eyes. It truly is the simple life and I am loving it. 


This has not been written so I can boast about how great my holiday is whilst you’ve all been working hard, and some of you probably don’t think I deserve to be away right now with all this amazing weather when I have already been off work for 3 weeks and I’ve been informed of the truly horrendous bed state of my works Emergency Department and the hospital. This is to urge and encourage everyone that for £70 a night you can fill up your car with your favourite food and drink and completely and utterly escape to true happiness. 

After 4 weeks on crutches, this was such an achievement for me to get to the top of the hill.

After 4 weeks on crutches, this was such an achievement for me to get to the top of the hill.

Yesterday I was sitting in this chair, watching the sun set with a glass of prosecco in my hand, my husband and my dog at my side and I honestly couldn’t remember the last time I felt that truly happy. I think it was probably the day after our wedding when I was sitting on the terrace from our room, talking of the day before and having a drink with my new husband and bridesmaid whose birthday it was. 


I cannot believe we have never thought to do this before, with or without a dog. I know I will come back here either for the same again, or by myself for some escapism if Chris is away on business. I would come with a friend or my mum, or there is a cottage next door and it would be lovely to come with friends for a weekend. 


Yes, the weather has meant that we can sit outside for 17 hours, which is what I’ve been doing, but even if it was raining there is a log fire and a cosy day bed with a caffetiere and fridge full of fizz. We packed the boardgames and I’ve already read 3 books so, what more could you want? 


A consultant colleague of mine books his next holiday whilst on his current holiday. We don’t and won’t do that because we don’t know when our next free time is but it will always stick with me because of his reasoning; you should always have the next adventure to look forward to amongst the stresses of life. It is one of the most memorable things I have taken away from 3 years at work! Also, it is so true. 


Money doesn’t grow on trees, but happiness does grow from inside of us and I will be forever grateful to my husband for just booking this place even though I said we “couldn’t afford to go away”. I will also be forever grateful for Larry and those of you who know me personally, know that that statement is pretty groundbreaking! Without him we would not have found this idyllic spot, I would not have swum in a stream yesterday or managed to climb a small hill in Malvern. Instead I would probably be waking up with a bit of a hangover from too many sugary cocktails and some sunburn after spending 100 euros a day eating out! 


Whenever I feel sad, frustrated or stressed, or if everything just seems a bit ‘too much’ I shall close my eyes and think back to this spot. It has brought me true happiness and peace and I would wholeheartedly recommend to anyone that a British hideaway is one of the best holidays you could ever have.


Harriet, x