Birthday Weekend in Bristol

We’ve just got back from a weekend with family in Bristol. It was Morgan’s birthday so we were travelling down to meet his cousins for some birthday activities, to visit Ikea and to look at some VW campervans. we had a bike ride planned too so it was going to be a busy weekend and we had a car full of bags, boxes and bikes.

Morgan’s birthday present this year is a complete re-decoration of his bedroom so the trip was also to enable us to visit Ikea to check out what furniture he wanted. Morgan had already picked a colour scheme based on a colour palette called ‘Pebble Drift’. He’d picked a carpet too and a triple bunk bed – one with a double bed at the bottom and a single up the top. I don’t know why he wants that but he does. I guess it’ll be good for sleepovers and will come in quite handy when we have visitors too.

An Early Start

As it was Half Term Morgan was off school and Anna had the day off on Friday too. I on the other hand was in work for 7am as we had a client in at 8am that I had to get things set up for. This did mean that I was able to finish work early so that we could start our journey south. We were heading to my parents house via a couple of stops in Llanelli and Swansea to look at VW vans. I’ll go into the VW van story in a separate post but we looked at a fully converted camper in Llanelli and a couple of panel vans in Swansea. We’d already looked at a couple of others over the past few weeks and now had an agonising decision to make. Whatever we decided it was going to get expensive!

A Likely Candidate

A Likely Candidate

After looking at the vans we made our way towards Bristol trying to decide what we wanted to spend on a camper van, how best to get what we wanted and where we should compromise in order to get things within budget.


Soon we were approaching the bright lights of Bristol and the blue and gold Ikea building. It was already around 6:30pm though and we were hungry so first stop once we’d parked was the café. It was pretty busy in here with quite a long queue so there was a bit of wait to get some food. Suitably nourished we then did battle with Ikea. It took a while and we ended up pretty much going around the whole place twice so as to make sure we had everything. Fortunately by 9pm we were sorted, just as the store was closing. Morgan had picked his wardrobes, picked doors for the wardrobes and various organisational components for them. He’d picked some book-shelves and a bedside table. He also wanted a set of shelving units and a table for lego modelling and storage and of course a chair to sit at the table. We didn’t buy any of this there and then as we wouldn’tfit it in the car so will have to have it delivered but at least we know what to order. We did buy some bedding for both the double bed and the single bed, a rubbish bin and a really cool lampshade. The lampshade is good – I want one now as well!

We also had to buy some child’s furniture for a colleague of Anna’s but this was fairly small so we could get it in the car. It was a bit of a squeeze though.

Birthday Tricks

We left Ikea as it was closing and headed off to my parents house for the evening. It was then that the tricks started. For some reason Anna and Morgan seem to be in some sort of trick-warfare with my Mum and Dad. Whenever they visit each other they do silly things like leaving plastic rats in each others beds or wrapping up an alarm clock as a Christmas present but setting the alarm to go off every hour on the hour for the couple of weeks that it is sat under the Christmas Tree. I stay out of it but there seemed to be a few things going on right from the start this weekend!

Birthday Ride

The next day was Morgan’s birthday. I was also heading out for a mountain bike ride with Jay, Brad, Eloise, Harry, Jack and Ian. Morgan was going to come with us but decided against it a the last minute. I therefore headed off on my own to meet the others down by the Cumberland Basin in Bristol. We were soon off on a super easy ride along the towpath under the Suspension Bridge up through Leigh Woods and into Ashton Court. These are all places we used to go when I was Morgan’s Age. Things have changed quite a bit since then though as there are proper way-marked trails now and lots of people about too. It was a nice ride though. Everyone sort of did their own thing with Jay taking Jack on a shorter ride, Eloise taking some shorter easier routes too and Brad, Ian, Harry and myself doing a ride together. We met Eloise in various places though and met her for a coffee and bacon sandwich at the café too.

Re-fueled we set off again. During the coffee stop I had mentioned to Harry that he was taking after his Dad with the mounaain-biking but then also said at least he didn’t fall off as much as his Dad. Guess what, not long after as Brad, Harry and I headed back into Leigh Woods Harry decided to fall off his bike and throw himself down a small cliff! We looked around and there he was lying beside his bike on the floor. We ‘rushed’ to his aid – checked he was alive (which he was), so took some photos and then helped him back up. He’d hurt his shoulder, cut his knee a bit and had a bloodied mouth. His bike was OK though (except for a flat rear tyre) and once we’d fixed that and he’d had a breather he was OK to ride.

We headed back to the cars and then went our separate ways. For me this was back to my parents house to see the birthday boy!

Birthday Boy

Birthday Boy

Birthday Climbing

Next on the agenda was meeting back up with Jay and Jenny so that Morgan, Charlie and Jack could go to the X-Height climbing walls as a bit of a birthday treat. They all seemed to enjoy it and Morgan liked showing off while he was there. He was fairly good at it though so why not!

We watched from the sidelines had coffee and a cake and took some photos. There was a short interlude while we evacuated the premises for a fire alarm but it was a false alarm so we were soon back in and the boys had a final 10 minutes of climbing. Morgan had been trying to complete one of the walls that had playing pieces from board-games on it by using only five pieces. He gave it a good go and almost did it but in the end was just too tired to make it.

We then all headed back to my parents for a birthday dinner. As usual there were quite a few of us so things were a little lively in the house but everyone seemed to be having fun. As well as Me, Anna and Morgan, my Mum and Dad were there, Jay, Jennie, Harry, Charlie and Jack were there as were Trudi, Kia, Shaun, Ryder and Iola. Not quite as many as usual but there were two dogs as well.

Morgan and Harry had their haircut by Kia whilst everyone was there too, so quite a busy night for all involved. Before we knew it though it was home time and bedtime and Morgan’s birthday was over and done with for another year. Quite how he got to be 12 years old already I’ll never know!

The Journey Home

Sunday started off nice and chilled with breakfast, chats and more trickstering at my parents house. The three of us then set off into Yate so that I could go for a swim. I’d usually run early in the morning on a Sunday and then go to the early morning lane swimming session in Yate pool. However, I couldn’t run as my foot is injured and there are lanes in the pool all day long so I decided to go a little later so that Morgan could swim too. It also meant that I didn’t have to drive backwards and forwards to Yate a couple of times as we had to be there again at 12:30pm. We’d offered to give Hannah (a girl who has been working with Anna for a few weeks) a lift back to Aberystwyth so were meeting her from the train in Yate. Hannah had been staying with friends at Bath Uni and thought a free trip back to Wales with us would be preferable to an expensive train journey. Mind you after spending several hours in a car with us I’m not sure if she still thinks it a good idea or not! Hannah’s really nice though so it was good to have someone different to chat to on the way back and it made the journey feel quicker for all of us.

Buying a Camper

We had also decided that we wanted the first camper we had seen on our way down on Friday. So, we were heading back via Llanelli to take it for a test drive and hopefully put a deposit on it. We’d already spent over £1,000 on Morgan’s bedroom this weekend, now we were about to spend close to £20,000 on a mobile bedroom! Things could get expensive and a little stressful.

By the time we got to Llanelli the weather was terrible but we took it out for a drive, did some rubbish haggling and put a deposit on it. I haven’t spent that much money for a while so I hope it was the right van to get. We’ll collect it next weekend and I’ll post more fully about it soon.

The usual busy weekend away but we did manage to fit lots in, managed to get everything done that we wanted to and spent a huge amount of money too.

1 Response

  1. Mum says:

    As usual a lovely week end with all the family banter, weird noises,rats and even a fluffy spider in my bed .
    Glad you bought the camper and hope you have lots of fun together with it……making memories to look back on when you’re old and grey xx

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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