Daisy beside tent topped in her DIY headdress of dried palm fronds and feather.

Daisy beside tent topped in her DIY headdress of dried palm fronds and feather.

Last summer I was going to cycle around Holland with Jack and the girls. But then at the eleventh hour  5 year-old Daisy came down with appendicitis (which initially the hospital misdiagnosed) so I had to abandon mission as Daisy spent the first 3 weeks of the summer holidays in and out of hospital. With one week to go before school started and amidst floods and storms and mini hurricanes (well it was summer in England) I crammed everything including what felt like the kitchen sink into my tandem and trailer and set out without Gary (he was working) for the Isle of Wight with Molly, Daisy and young Jack.

Packing up the lengthy load in a Portsmouth backstreet.

Packing up the lengthy load in a Portsmouth backstreet.

First night. Sandown. Erecting tent in the rain and the dark. Not ideal, but very fun!

First night. Sandown. Erecting tent in the rain and the dark. Not ideal, but very fun!

Basecamp, Sandown.

Basecamp, Sandown.

Molly riding off down Ryde pier from the ferry terminal.

Molly riding off down Ryde pier from the ferry terminal.

A sleeping contented Jack in tent.

A sleeping contented Jack in tent.

Wet camping. It's raining again!

Wet camping. It’s raining again!

Molly dodging large puddles on the pedestrian-shared bike path to Shanklin.

Molly dodging large puddles on the pedestrian-shared bike path to Shanklin.

Taking a breather on the bike path that follows the old railway to Cowes.

Taking a breather on the bike path that follows the old railway to Cowes.

Daisy about to make conversation with the ducks on the bike path to Newport.

Daisy about to make conversation with the ducks on the bike path to Newport.

With tent, sleeping bags, food, pushchair, buckets, spades, books, bears, dollies, Lego, toy cars, miscellaneous camping clobber (not to mention the hefty weight of Daisy and Jack) the tandem and trailer weighed a ton. It felt like dragging half an elephant uphill. Here we are pushing, heaving, hauling again.

With tent, sleeping bags, food, pushchair, buckets, spades, books, bears, dollies, Lego, toy cars, miscellaneous camping clobber (not to mention the hefty weight of Daisy and Jack) the tandem and trailer weighed a ton. It felt like dragging half an elephant uphill. Here we are pushing, heaving, hauling again.

Molly and Daisy happy to be on top of Mersley Down.

Molly and Daisy happy to be on top of Mersley Down.

Jack sleeping through the excitement of riding along the old Cowes to Sandown railway.

Jack sleeping through the excitement of riding along the old Cowes to Sandown railway.

Just before the rain started again - Shanklin seafront.

Just before the rain started again – Shanklin seafront.

Jack sinking into soggy sand Shanklin beach.

Jack sinking into soggy sand Shanklin beach.

Giant chess in the rain.

Giant chess in the rain.

Jack dressed for the rain and the floods.

Jack dressed for the rain and the floods.

Sun! Letting off steam Sandown beach.

Sun! Letting off steam Sandown beach.

Molly and Daisy making friends with a caravanning neighbour.

Molly and Daisy making friends with a caravanning neighbour.

Inner tent activities listening to the summer rain fall.

Inner tent activities: listening to the summer monsoon battering our basecamp.

Molly, Daisy and Jack cosily cocooned in tent.

Molly, Daisy and Jack cosily cocooned in tent.

Wave hitting Shanklin seawall.

Wave hitting Shanklin seawall.

Back in Ryde ready to ride onto the...

Back in Ryde ready to ride onto the…

...ferry home to Portsmouth.

…ferry home to Portsmouth.