It all started a couple of months ago when I decided to have a surprise birthday party for my partner. Once the plan appeared in my head there was no reason for it not to happen. The only thing was that because he knows all my websites, I couldn’t write about it anywhere. Hence being absent from here for so long.
The first stage was to make a group on Facebook to message the different members of his family to invite them all to come to Scotland. With different parts of the family in Kent, London and Glasgow, I decided that the caravan park in Ayr would be best as he was in Perthshire at the time.
Once I knew who was coming I booked 3 caravans and started to plan what we would need for everyone to give them the basics when they arrived.
Messages were sent back and forth on the group about food, drink, what the kids ate, how to get him there at the right time and how to surprise him.
I think we were about six weeks out and everyone had arranged time off work and now it was time to start worrying about travel. There was driving and train travel and arrangements had to be made to get everyone checked in before I brought him to the park.
As all this was going on, we were messaging back and forth planning his stay, talking about going out on motorbikes and days out. Little did he know that all his plans would come to naught as there were other plans afoot. He arrived on the Wednesday and things carried on as normal until the Friday we were to check in.
Online shopping was done to be picked up from the supermarket before we went to the caravans. My daughter was roped in to have her car filled with items from the house and to pick up the shopping along with his brother and family. He was told she was helping a friend with a child’s party and that is why she was taking so many things from the house.
The family members from Kent and London left their homes at ridiculously early times on Friday morning to get to Ayr in plenty time. My daughter left our house at just after 9am to meet up with the others and collect the shopping. We however had a leisurely morning out and about with him knowing only that we were to leave at about 2pm.
For the next few hours, there were texts and phone calls flying back as there were car breakdowns, lack of space to transport shopping, decorations to go up etc. Suddenly from an absolute departure at 2pm I had to start delaying things.
Instead of our intended arrival at 4pm, we pulled up to reception at 4.45pm. I made him stay in the car as I went to check in. The check in staff were great, letting me know everyone else had arrived and making sure I had the paperwork as if we were the only people there.
Minutes later we arrived at the caravan in the rain and I gave him the key to let us in. When he went in his brother and sister in law pulled party poppers and yelled “Surprise” as he walked through the door.
He was suitably surprised and we all went to sit down and catch up. As I got up to put on the kettle for a cup of tea, I realised I had left something in the car. I got the keys from him and went outside.
The rest of his family came towards the car as I shouted on him to come and help. After two polite shouts, I ended up having to yell on him at which point he thought I had fallen and came rushing out of the caravan.
His face when he saw his daughter with her family who should have been in Kent and his son and his family who should have been in London and my daughter who should have been in Perthshire, made it all worthwhile.
We weren’t finished there, as we all sat in the caravan there were more arrivals including nieces and nephews from Glasgow.
I have to say it was something that started as a very small idea and ended up as a fantastic family event that had relatives from opposite ends of the country meeting each other for the first time.
Not something I would like to do very often as the secrecy is very hard to keep up for any length of time. It was however totally worth it for such a special occasion.