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I think over the past year we’ve all learned something about ourselves and, for me, there’s been a realisation that life is really, really, good – the simple things, such as baking with the kids, walking the dog on a sunny day, and gossiping with my closest friends for example, are really what matters. One silver lining of being in lockdown was being reminded of just how lucky we are to live in Dundee, to have the beach and the countryside on our doorstep while still having the culture that comes with living within reach of a city.
When restrictions started to ease on 26 April Kris and I were excited to be able to take the kids out to new places, and experience things they’ve probably forgotten.
If you follow me on Instagram you know we love our beach and spend a good amount of time there, regardless of the season. The beach is such a great place for the kids – they can spend hours there digging in the sand, dodging the waves as they lap at their tiny toes, building sandcastles only to knock them over. The joy of it all is that they’re safe, and as parents we can relax and absorb it all for a while.
We went for a walk on the beach, with Nathan singing a new song from nursery about picking up litter and putting it in the bin, which made me think that perhaps next time we go we should wear gloves, take a bag and show them how to take care of their surroundings, giving back to the beach that gives us so much.
Past the castle and through the harbour we went, waving at people in the windows as we made our way into town to Visocchi’s, a legend of a bistro/restaurant which is famous for its ice creams. Needless to say we treated ourselves… Kittie’s dairy-free diet was catered to with an orange sorbet cone, Nathan chose chocolate, I had Nutella ripple, and Kris went all out with a double scoop of vanilla and chocolate. What a joy it was to see the kids sitting on an old stone wall at the waterfront, having ice creams that were dripping faster than they were being licked, despite the cool breeze. It made me wonder how many people over the years have sat on that wall and watched the River Tay sparkle as they ate their cones.
IN THE CITY
The following weekend, we decided to go out for brunch as a family. I can’t remember the last time that we took the kids out to eat, it’s been so long. It’s definitely one of life’s little pleasures that we’ve missed – as busy working parents we love being able to eat out, though we realise how privileged we are to be able to pay for delicious food and leave the clearing-up for someone else for a change.
We went to Vandal & Co, who caught my husband’s eye on Instagram. Located on Exchange Street, one of Dundee’s coolest wee streets, it’s well positioned for fuelling up before spending a couple of hours in town because it’s near many city-centre attractions, including Discovery Point where we went afterwards. The kids were well looked after with poached eggs and avocado on sourdough, while Kris had the full Scottish vegetarian breakfast and I ordered a BLT, which came with a fried egg and a side of fries. It was delicious, and the service was spot on.
One of the most famous facts about Dundee is the story of the Discovery, a ship which set off from Dundee on an expedition to Antarctica with Captain Scott at the helm. Discovery Point is the museum which houses various artefacts, galleries and videos, and interactives about the story of the Discovery and her voyages and when they say it appeals to all ages, it’s true – here were we, a family of four (made up of 42 year-old dad, 38-year-old mum, a four-year-old and a two-and-a-half-year-old) and we were all fascinated by the different attractions. I know that if our mums had been with us, they too would have loved exploring the galleries as well as the ship, which you can climb aboard and investigate all the nooks and crannies which feature the men at work, the sounds of the engines roaring below deck, and even the little cabins in which the sailors slept and worked. It’s absolutely amazing and, as someone who isn’t really into shipping or history, I found myself thinking I might return alone one day to truly understand and appreciate such a huge part of my city’s history.
A SUMMER AT HOME
It’s safe to say that we will be spending most of summer 2021 in Dundee, so seeing our home town through the eyes of a tourist is how we will be looking at our weekends and holidays this year. Rediscovering local attractions such as Discovery Point, the Science Centre, DCA, The McManus, V&A Dundee, and possibly even Olympia for swimming is high on our list of things to do. But, of course, so is the quiet, peaceful side of Dundee – pretty picnic spots in the countryside, afternoons at the beach, and bike rides along the cycle path will continue to play a huge part in our life as a family.
What’s more, looking after it all has become even more important to us – Dundee has been there for us through an extremely tough 18 months, so the least we can do is offer her the support and care that she now needs from us.
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