My son and I went to go visit someone I met through Twitter! That person was the lovely Livi, who has her own blog at Livi's Little Bubble.
I'd been following Livi for quite a while on Twitter, and she following me, and we Tweeted now and then... However as can happen on Twitter, you can end up finding someone you just tweet all the damn time, and Livi ended up becoming one of my most tweeted people for about the 6 months or so before we arranged to meet up.
We not only tweeted, but we chatted via Skype too, and via email and texts. I'd tell her things that worried/upset me/issues I had going on in my life, and she'd tell me hers... and at one point I was texting her in the middle of the night, whilst I was on nightshift with worries about something someone had tweeted out. That's what you call friendship I guess! You look out for each other, and for those they care for.
I think the whole meeting up started with "it'll never happen but wow it'd be cool to meet up but we live SO far apart" sorta tweets etc... the kind of "it would be SO AWESOME to be able to meet up...." tweets. You see, I live up in the Highlands of Scotland - hundreds of miles at least, from most bloggers (as far as I know), and Livi lives down Cheshire. Not exactly a jumping on a bus to visit kind of possibility.
However I soon found that I had a weeks holiday off work during the school holidays, and no plans. My boyfriend and my best friend both working rubbishy shifts for that week, and I had my 6 year old son full-time during that week with nothing to do! I can't even remember who stated first that we should go down to Cheshire to visit Livi! I have a memory much like Dory from Finding Nemo....
Soon the plans took forth and multiplied - thanks to Livi and her amazing organisational skills! She sent D and I some leaflets of things that were within travelling distance to where she lived, and asked what we'd like to do. It was also arranged that we would stay at Livi's house! I also asked if Thomas Land (at Drayton Manor) were achievable from her house, and it turned out it was! D's had been asking me to go there for YEARS as a Thomas-fanatic little boy.
Well in July this year D and I went down to visit Livi. It took 3 different trains to get there, and about 8 hours, but the journey wasn't too bad! D had his excitement of being on trains and his Nintendo DS keeping him occupied, and me - my iPhone, tweeting, facebooking and reading to keep me occupied!
When I met Livi, it struck me, like all folk I've met after getting to know them online first, how she was so much like I expected her to be - except the accent. I'm rubbish at accents!
Whilst down visiting Livi, we went to Chester and walked around the famous walled city, and even Daniel didn't moan about the long walk and he really enjoyed it! We also visited Chester zoo another day, which is a fantastic zoo! We were graced with good weather too on the day we went to the zoo, so really couldn't asked for a better day for it. Daniel loved the zoo too, especially the giraffes which are his favourite animal.
One day we spent at Alton Towers! I went on all the Rollercoasters pretty much! Livi doesn't like them, so she was on childminding and bagminding duties, though she didn't mind! I felt a bit bad leaving them for ages at a time - the queues were mental! Even if you bought the express tickets you sometimes still waited up to half an hour for a ride! Rip off really... Would've been very easy to spend two days at Alton Towers, and it would've been less rushed, but we pretty much did what we wanted to do whilst we were there. Daniel LOVED the kiddy area, and also HEX. Livi went on this with us too... we were unsure what kinda ride it was, and it certainly wasn't what we expected! Whilst we were in the queue - we thought it would have been some time of haunted house! It wasn't Livi's cup of tea.... lol, but Daniel LOVED it. I wasn't all that fussed with it, and found it a bit on the tame side for me *winks* - sorry Livi hehe!!
Another day we went to Drayton Manor - for Thomas Land. For Daniel this was "his day" and let him take the charge in what he wanted to do... and he loved every SECOND of it. I'd thoroughly recommend Thomas Land to any Thomas obsessed child! He was in AWE! Though I'd have loved to taken him last year I guess, as he clicked that some things weren't "real" and I had to ask him to be quiet, as he was saying things out loud in front of the younger children lol! It was amazing to be able to take him to Thomas Land... I've got the most amazing video, with cracking facial expressions of him on the Rosie train (real train ride).... totally in his element!
The funniest thing about Thomas Land though, was the Troublesome Trucks rollercoaster... Livi agreed to come on it - it was a kiddy one after all! However, I was sitting there expecting it to be a breeze after the big 'coasters at Alton Towers and was NOT expecting it to be a bit twisty and thrill ride! The on-ride camera photo was so hillarious I just HAD to buy a copy for us and for Livi... I look PETRIFIED whilst my son and Livi look thrilled!
After Thomas Land, we went out to Drayton Manor and went on yet more rides that D was able to go on, including the river rapids with Livi. It was a cracking day full of smiles by all. It was even more special, as in the past month my son has gotten over his Thomas stage... even letting me pack up all his trains and track. I'm so grateful to Livi for assisting me with giving D something that he's dreamed of all his life pretty much, before it was too late.
On our last day we went for a walk around Livi's small town in all it's prettiness! I really did fall in love with red bricked houses/buildings more than I already was whilst down England - and Tudor buildings! SO gorgeous! We also stopped off by the charity shop Hope House, that Livi volunteers at!
At night times, Livi and I would drink some wine... tweet... watch Big Brother... wish John James and Josie to GET IT ON in Big Brother... talk... Facebook... share photos... edit pics... and she introduced me to Sex and the City! Oh yes... I was a Sex and the City virgin til my trip down to Livi's!
It was a truly awesome break away! Livi was amazing with D too - a true natural!
Before I went on the trip, when telling some folk at work about it I got a lot of criticism. One student nurse even raised her voice and told me I was a bad Mother and Livi could be a paedophile! However, it's not my first time I've met folk from online... or stayed in their houses. It didn't really bother me, this criticism or talking behind my back that I'm sure would've went on - if it did I'd have kept my mouth shut, or pretended that I already knew Livi "in person". Folk who don't blog/tweet/IM or whatever... they just will never get it. My mother never did either, though she didn't mind me doing it, and even went on webcam with me once years ago (about 11 years ago when I still lived at home) with a gal I chat to in Amsterdam! However since my Mum re-married a guy who speaks to folk on the Playstation 3 gaming malarky, she and him went on a meet up to go and stay in folk he played games with online - in their house!! You just gotta be doing it to understand... and I perfectly understand that.
So meeting Livi wasn't the first time I've met someone from online, but it was the first time I took my wee boy along, and it was the first time it was an actual holiday - doing holiday type things together! It won't be the last time I meet up with people online either... it's a great way to meet new people, especially those who have problems meeting folk "in real life" for whatever reason.
So I guess I really did have quite an unusual Summer holiday! Hopefully next year Livi will have her quite unusual Summer holiday up here in Inverness, in the Scottish Highlands - with D and I! We'd be glad to have her up here anytime. Friend for life. Love you Livi.
Here's just a FEW pics of our time down there...
Here's to next year!