Before River was even conceived we knew we would be taking our baby to the Ambleside Lantern Parade. We had our heart set as we looked enviously at photos from previous festivals. As soon as River was 2 blue lines we booked our favourite cottage, Low Brow Barn, for the end of November 2017. River would be 3 or 4 months old give or take by the time it came round so we were confident it would be a nice time to take a baby away.
What they don’t tell you is pregnancy is never that bloody easy and it’s not over when the baby is out. Oh no. I had to have all the bells and whistles that could possibly come as a result of pregnancy and one such delight came in the form of a small blister on the end of my right big toe. Which grew and grew and grew until it was the size of James’ Giant Peach and I couldn’t get a shoe on. At first I ignored it, and then I googled it. Then I convinced myself I was dying. I obviously had skin cancer and I was going to die. I sobbed down the phone to the receptionist at the hospital who took pity on me and rushed me through to have it seen. I had to have it removed and a biopsy but they were confident it was just a “pyogenic granuloma” and nothing to be too concerned about but it must come off immediately.
I was booked in for surgery 2 days before our big trip to Ambleside. When I saw the date I called the hospital who told me it was just a small operation and I should be fine to drive myself home and absolutely fine to go on holiday so I didn’t change the date.
When I got out of surgery I knew it was curtains on the walking holiday. They had removed a great chunk of flesh and my toe had to be stitched and quarterized back together. I asked hopefully “will I be able to walk on it by Friday?” And the surgeon laughed at me. “No, you can’t walk on it for at least two weeks. It mustn’t get wet. You need to have complete rest.”
We hatched all sorts of mad plans, including procuring a free wheelchair and some crutches. I would just get Frankie to wheel me into the lantern parade, it would be fine.
The wheelchair didn’t fit in the car. Bollocks.
Right well I’ll just use the crutches, I’ll hobble in. It’s not far from Low Brow Barn into Ambleside.
I couldn’t walk, it was far too painful. Double Bollocks.
Luckily, Low Brow Barn is on the main Road into Ambleside so whist I couldn’t make it to the parade, at least we could see Santa coming up on his sleigh. So we dressed River up ready to dash out whilst I stood at the big window looking over the road excitedly waiting for Father Christmas to appear.
15 minutes went by, 30 minutes, an hour… Where was he?! We checked the Facebook group and re-read the route – Santa went the other way in! A complete failure!
We have booked again for this year… I won’t be missing out this time round!