Diary of foster carers Anthony and Declan

August 2021 - Camping and the wedding

Men exchanging wedding rings.
"We managed to get a cracking photo of the 4 of us standing on the steps which now takes pride of place on our fireplace"

Well, summer is almost over so I thought I would write about a couple of things we have done this summer.

This is our first summer spent with Ron and Hermione and having a full 7 weeks to entertain children is no easy task. But we had lots planned and were excited for everything we were going to do. Let's hope we get the weather, eh?!

We went camping

It was Monday morning but not the usual routine of getting ready for school, that's right, it was camping time!!

The day started very hectically: breakfast. Get ready. Packing cars up. Try to set off by 10am!

I had nipped to the shop for supplies for the journey and that's when things started to go slightly wrong. On my return from the shop, I had noticed a banging noise on my car, turns out the exhaust had fallen off, great start. Luckily it was something and nothing and after a quick trip to the garage, we managed to set off, a bit behind schedule.

We were feeling quite nervous as this was Ron and Hermione's first-ever camping trip and we didn't know how they would react to the change. They previously said they were not that up for it. Fear of the unknown, I think. They were both excited though and looking forward to it now the day had come.

We set off and were soon there. Not too long a drive. Arriving at the campsite we were meeting 4 other families; surprisingly we were the second family to arrive (a first for us!). The weather was on our side, not raining and slightly cloudy, a great start for setting up camp.

Dec's, not particularly up for the manual labour, decided to go and get us some lunch whilst I stayed and set up the tent with Ron and Hermione playing in the huge field at the side with all the other kids. After 2 or so hours it was done.

Now the hard bit was done, it was time to relax and get ready for the week's activities.

That evening was great as everyone was relaxed and Ron and Hermione were making new friends who they had never met before. All the kids seemed to be getting on great sat around the campfire toasting giant marshmallows. We were feeling slightly apprehensive about the first night's sleep; no toilet outside the door, having to use a torch to find our way, but luckily it was only Dec that night who needed it!!

We had so much planned for the next few days thanks to our brilliant organiser, Mrs Weasley, she had planned walks, days out and much more.

The first day was a 5-kilometre walk to a castle, Ron being Ron complained about the walking side of things stating, "It's boring!!" Typical teenager who enjoys it once we set off. Hermione, on the other hand, was raring to go with kids the same age and younger, she was excited. The walk there was glorious. On the way back though the heavens opened. Mrs Weasley's wonderful magical tour took us on a few wrong turns and got us lost a few times, thankful though for Google Maps. We arrived back at camp just in time for the swimming session which we had booked each day. 15 kids and a pool, all I can say is it was absolute chaos!!

The next few days we relaxed around camp playing games, cooking and generally chilling, the kids loved this. The camp we were on was so safe for children just to run and be free. Hermione loved every second of this trip. She loves to be around nature, every walk we go on we end up collecting either sticks, leaves, or stones!! The house is full of them. We broke the day up with our madness swimming session, the pool was great as both Ron and Hermione enjoyed the silliness of the games and water fights in which there were a lot of. Dec, I think was the biggest kid of them all in the pool, to be honest.

It was coming to the end of our week away the weather forecast was looking grim, so we all decided that it was time to pack up a day early. Hermione was disappointed with this as she was loving camping life. Ron on the other hand was more excited about getting back home to his X-Box.

We had packed all our things away but had one last trip planned for that day to the ironworks. We had a short drive to this, both Ron and Hermione were quiet all the way. I think they were feeling tired after a long week. When we arrived at the ironworks they soon perked up.

All the sculptures lined up from tiny mushrooms to giant robots. Ron had a good time climbing on these, even asking for pictures to be taken, which wasn't like him. It was a great ending to the week and Ron and Hermione had really enjoyed themselves. Back to camp and with the car packed up we set off home.

We asked the children their verdict on the week and they both said it was amazing and they loved it and wanted to do it again. Result!!

One to add to our list for the future!!

And then….

The one with the wedding

Our wedding day had arrived!!

Oh my days, we were getting married!!

It was kind of surreal and something we were both so excited about. We had been planning for months and the day was finally about to be here. All arrangements had been made. I stayed with my sister the night before, Declan stayed in a fancy hotel with my best woman and the kids on a sleepover.

The day arrived and the nerves and apprehension of the day started to set in. We both couldn't eat much and we were both so nervous. We had agreed to meet at the registry office and do it all properly. The kids were also meeting us there.

I was walking into the registry office with my mum and sister and Declan was walking in with Ron and Hermione. Dec kept saying to me you better not be late, as if I was always late or something, a true story.

I was on time though, and as we pulled up I caught a glimpse of Declan. I looked away quickly and he scuttled to the side of the building.

I went in for my interview and was secreted away in another room whilst Declan had his and then I was asked to wait outside. It felt like an eternity but was probably only a few minutes and then we were told we could come in. I was so nervous that I was shaking like a leaf.

When I write this now it is quite blurry, the walk into the registry office. I remember us not being able to all fit through the door, and us having to go sideways, and then the walk to the front with my mum and sister. At the front stood Declan, looking every bit as nervous as me with tears in his eyes. This then set me off!!

I saw all the guests staring at me and right at the front sat Ron and Hermione. Oh, they looked so amazing. Ron looked proper smart in his blue suit and Hermione looked beautiful in her blue dress and her hair was gorgeous. So, so proud of them both.

As we stood at the front and we started the ceremony, it seemed to pass so quickly.

My friend had recorded 2 songs for the ceremony and she had done an acoustic version of Madonna's 'Crazy for You' and as it played we both stood there nervously looking at each other. The registrar began to speak and we started to make our declarations.

One of the highlights for me was my cousin doing a reading from the sitcom Friends. As I stood there listening I could see some of the guests laughing and most of them looking like they didn't have a clue!! It didn't matter as Declan and I understood as it was one of our favourite shows. It certainly made us giggle and lighten the atmosphere.

And then it came to saying our own vows. So nerve-wracking!! Declan went first and we both cried trying to get through them. I could see the guests crying as well and that set me off more. So when it came to my vows I was a bit of a wreck. One of my lines was "I'm so happy to be marrying you today." As I said this I was crying so much that everybody started laughing. I managed to get through them eventually and the registrar then declared us to be married.

As everybody clapped and cheered, we looked out to the guests, and we could see Ron and Hermione with tears running down their faces and as we started to walk out of the ceremony we ran up to them to give them a hug. Hermione kept saying it was just so beautiful, I've never been to a wedding before. She was super excited and as we were walking out she ran to grab my hand and walk out with us. Once we were on the steps of the registry office, she ran around hugging everyone and talking excitedly.

We managed to get a cracking photo of the 4 of us standing on the steps which now takes pride of place on our fireplace.

Off we all went to the reception and had a cracking meal and lots of speeches, laughter, tears and wedding cake!! Ron and Hermione sat at the table with us and met loads of our friends they hadn't met yet. When it came time for them to leave, Hermione made sure she went round to every table and hugged every single person. She kept saying what a great day it had been and made sure she didn't miss anyone. Bless her.

She was a little star throughout, as was Ron who made sure he made the effort to talk to people and socialise.

As they left, we were not far behind them and as we made our way to our car, we were feeling truly blessed. Married!! With 2 foster children!! And a dog!! It doesn't get much better than this!!

And as we drove off with a huge 'Just married' sign as well as Mr and Mr signs on the windscreen and the tin cans rattled along the road, we realised the best was yet to come!!