You can’t beat a good old-fashioned beach holiday up the north coast.
Last weekend the Cousins family headed to Castlerock for the second year running and, as mathematics would have it, we had twice the fun.
With Lucy having accrued 12 months since the last trip up north and Ben having joined the party for Castlerock: Take II, all the players were in place to ensure there was never a dull moment.
However, the Imps were to be upstaged by their grandfather in providing the holiday’s highlight.
But before I get to my dad’s spectacular set piece I should apologise to those people I’ve run down for going on holidays to the same place every year.
Having been regaled by people who annually stay in the same room of the same hotel in the same resort in the same week of the same month, I vowed never to do a carbon copy holiday.
While I’ve gone back on my word by returning to Castlerock for the second time in as many years, I remain steadfast in my promise to never again to board a cruise ship so long as my heart is still beating. No, never again shall I sentence myself to five days on a floating prison for the lazy and the infirm.
Back to the weekend, and retracing the previous year’s steps in Castlerock with Lucy providing commentary and Ben smiling every step of way proved to be the makings of a very memorable holiday. Add to that my mother and father in tip-top form and my wife looking radiant in her first set of new clothes since before she became a mum and I was in ‘Family Holiday Of A Lifetime’ territory.
While I realise Castlerock isn’t featured as frequently in the same holiday brochures that contain packages to Disneyland, Peppa Pig World and Alton Towers, when your kids are under two all you really need is a bucket, a spade and a large expanse of sand.
Right, less of this teary-eyed sentimentally about yer man’s family and get to the bit where yer man’s dad crocks himself I hear you say.
In the early hours of Saturday I was awoken by Karen shaking me. Karen in turn had been awoken by an almighty bang which she presumed incorrectly was Lucy falling out of her travel cot.
Seconds earlier my dad had also been awoken by the call of nature. He’d got up and made his way to the toilet, but didn’t put on the light in case it woke Lucy next door.
As a consequence of his darkened surroundings and his unfamiliarity with the layout of the house, he contrived to crack his head off a low beam and tumble backwards onto the floor like a felled tree.
Enthralling as Lucy’s ability to count to 10 of her own volition is, and heart-melting as Ben’s gummy big grin can be, their party tricks were no match for my dad nearly knocking himself out.
I know I shouldn’t make light of his accident, but he’s no more dazed and confused than usual so he’s fair game for a few jibes.
He’s been left with a lovely red welt on his head, which prompted Lucy, who slept through the commotion, to declare ‘O Dee-a’ upon seeing it the following morning.
We’re not a great family for sympathy. In response to dad’s injury - mum tutted, Ben smiled (a beaming one), Karen shouted ‘Mind Your Head’ at every opportunity, I asked if he’d like a glass of Jim Beam to ease the pain, and to put the icing on the cake Lucy brought him a copy of her most appropriate Mr Men book - Mr Bump.