Monday, 1 February 2016

Just stuff

January has continued, and now it's February and we are mainly bored of it being dark the whole time. The Dutsons came to stay and we had a lovely time seeing them, but failed to take any photos at all! F and Thea have been busy - making slime:

and making their own wipe-clean silly faces

Thea is very in to making paper snowflakes. If you leave her alone for five minutes, she will have taken herself into a corner with paper and scissors and surrounded herself with a light floor covering of tiny pieces of cut paper. And of course, made a beautiful snowflake. But it's the many tiny, tiny pieces of paper that seem to make the most impact on our household!

Nathaniel has discovered coding. Last night he made a race for two arrows entirely unaided by me. You can play it here:

Here are the instructions:
Pres flag, pres space and riet-aroa and keep presing riet-R.
And for those of you who don't speak government-mandated phonics, the translation is:
Press the flag, press the space bar and the right arrow. Keep pressing the right arrow.

Think that just about covers us for now!

Sunday, 17 January 2016


It's at this time of year that I start thinking wistfully about Banff, and Grenoble, and Bellingham and pretty much any other pleasant place from which you can see the mountains. So it was important to leave York and find the relevant Yorkshire view. Which turned out to be this:
And there was much more snow than we expected. Our plan had been to have a bimble up to the Wainstones, do a bit of climbing, a bit of finding pre-historic carvings, a bit of searchig of geocaches, and to keep the kids interested and warm. But as we climbed up Carlton Edge, to everyone's delight, it looked like this:
You have to remember that Thea hasn't really ever seen snow. There was a good amount the year she was one, and we got in some reasonable sledging (and lost our beloved Olympus camera), but she doesn't remember it. Since then we've only had little flurries that have barely settled. Not enough to stomp in, let alone build a snowman. So she was pretty excited. It became apparent pretty quickly that even if we got to the Wainstones, we weren't going to be able to see them a foot under the snow, and we'd probably have lost Thea in a drift by then, so we just romped!
We played until the kids were properly cold and then retired to the car for hot chocolate. We drove back across the Moors, realising that it was shear chance that we had had such an amazing amount of snow. Carleton Bank is on the north-west edge, which had got all the weather. Once we had got onto the high moor, the snow was much more moderate. Once eveyone was warm again, we pulled into Newby Wood for some more romping in only a couple of inches deepness. We played and slid on our bottoms (it had never even crossed our minds to bring the sledge!), and managed to find a geocache without GPS, coordinates or clues. But we had been there before, so it was a bit of a cheat.

And we had lots of fun in the snowy car park, because Ian and I wanted to do doughnuts in our new toy:
Much fun!

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Thea three-cakes

Thea has had a lovely birthday. Thank you for all her wonderful gifts and cards. We started the day with pancakes filled with bananas and honey:

Then we had fun opening presents:

And then the day turned into a Tuesday and we ran around getting to school and kindergarten and work and things. But Thea was a happy person.

That afternoon we had cake. The first of three. Thea had asked for a pink cake, a lemon cake and a chocolate cake with jelly beans on. So we celebrated with F and co with a raspberry and white chocolate cake. And it was tasty. Very tasty.

Next day it was Thea's celebration at kindergarten. I got to come along to hear her story and see the candles being lit. She chose throne material and her cape and was jolly. And she took lemon cake to share.

Next week we have the party, well, gathering. And the last cake.......

Monday, 16 November 2015

Suzuki madness

So, clearly I am not doing a great job of updating the blog. And I'm not going to remedy that right now. So here are some photos of the Suzuki get together that the kids played at in Huddersfield yesterday. 120 kids, four instruments, quite a bit of chaos. And it was all organised with enthusiasm (do you hear the subtext?!). But the kids handled it all brilliantly (even if Thea did get a little bored by the start of the third hour!!!!!), and report that they had fun.

The recorders played beautifully:

And the cellos did great, especially considering the fact that most of them had only been playing for 6 weeks.

And everyone was fascinated by the workings of flutes:

But the playtogether was pretty amazing. Expecially for the recorders, because even a room-full of recorders only makes so much noise, but 60 violins behind you make a lot of noise!

Though my highlight has got to be Nathaniel's face when he heard the violins start to play the second Seitz (he was so excited!), and Thea delightedly and totally unselfconsciously playing air-cello to Hunter's Chorus. So much fun!

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Roseberry Topping

Its a good time of year for tramping up hills, so we joined some friends to climb Roseberry Topping. In an effort to make it a winge-free exercise, we went for the quick, steep route, which was lots of fun.

The first bit was up very steep woodland steps which the kids bounded up like rabbits.

And then up the side of the hill along dry stone steps. I love walking along stone paths - something about not wading in mud makes them so much more enjoyable. This is definitely the result of childhood walks always involving paths with 3 inches of mud at the bottom of them.

There were lots of opportunities to stop and admire the view, but on the whole the kids pressed on at a most gratifying speed. Something about being able to see the top I think....

And then we were there. And the sun came out! (And Nathaniel took off his Inuit costume)

We took a different way down and played in the woods and then dragged out the stove and a massive cauldron of sausage stew - very tasty.

And that was that - a most acceptable day.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

This and that and camping

In an effort not to neglect the blog for such a long time (whilst still aiming to actually write up Le Grand Trek), here are some bits and pieces that have happened:

Nathaniel became 7!

Thank you for his presents. He was not greatly impressed to have to go to school on his birthday, but I think he'll get over it. We shall have a party in a couple of weeks time. Oh, and Thea made the cake:

Thea and F and I spent the afternoon at the pump track. Which isn't really news, it's just that it was so much fun!

The kids zoomed around the track giggling and each other and I sat on a bench and read a book and suddenly properly realised that if we follow the recommended Govian trajectory, Thea will be at school this time next year. And instead of spending her afternoons learning about weights and measures and motion and all those other un-lessons that real life provides, she'll be in a classroom messing around with plastic in an attempt to provide "play". Hmmm. We'll have to see.

In the meatime, we shall enjoy cycling. And stopping for frequent blackberry and banana breaks!

Thea started cello lessons! So far it has been a great sucess and she is having soooooo much fun. Here is a particularly tuneless and scan-less rendition (not sure what came over her!) of her first song, designed to help them learn how to hold their cello firmly:
We had a camping trip to Slenningford.

New babies and house rennovations left us with a slightly different camping crew, but we still had lots of fun. The kids rampaged in and out of the water.

Nathaniel enjoyed discussing the relative merits of different tents and their materials:

And we were all jolly:

Beer o'clock!

Sunday, 6 September 2015


Yes, we are still here. And the garden has grown lots (massive courgettes):

And yes, we will post about The Holiday, but until I get around to it, here is what we did when we got back. We went sailing.

We all got a sail and Nathaniel did some helming and we all laughed at me who had insisted on everyone bringing jumpers with them (it felt distinctly chilly and not the 32 degrees we were used to!).

And we all had fun and got home far later than we had intended. Now we have just one day left to sort ourselves our for school and kindergarten starting......

Monday, 18 May 2015

Camping II

The weather was no more promising than usual, but we went anyway. Our consession was to find a campsite in a valley rather than on the side of a hill, and as most sane people felt it wasn't a camping weekend, we were able to go to an overly-commercial site and have it to ourselves, thus managing to keep the pretense that it was just a private clearing in a moorland wood! The most important thing was that it involved a fine journey across the moors.

It almost failed within the first hour. Thea was enjoying some gentle swinging from an adult when that cry was heard, and as Ian and I ran across the field, it became clear that Thea wasn't able to grasp anything with her hand and had made her own diagnosis. While the rather rattled adult sprinted back to the reception (a good 15 minutes walk away) to enquire as to the local A&E facilities, Thea and I were brave (don't know which one was more so), and I popped her elbow back in. Good thing I pay attention to doctors

Needless to say, I DO NOT INTEND TO DO THAT AGAIN! There will be no more swinging off adults. Ever. Not until she is 18. Understood?

Then we sat and consumed most of a packet of jelly babies between us (I needed them more than her!), until she was wiggling her fingers again happily and the camping trip could resume as planned.

I think you all know the drill by now. The kids play in ponds (catching tadpoles this time), in streams, on bikes, up trees etc and are pretty much left to themselves while we make fire, chat, admire the scenery, drink coffee and whisky and eat cake and other tastiness until the next meal arises.

Many feet went into the pond unintentionally and the amazing heated bathrooms were used to dry their boots and shoes and trousers by lying them on the underfloor-heated tiles overnight. Dorothea and F went on their own adventures by themselves - the first time that they've been confident enough to go off on their own. They found rabbits and ducks and all sorts.

There was fine eating as ever. We consumed proper Korean curry, a cowboy breakfast, toasted marshmallows, pitta heaped with mushrooms and scrambled eggs, pink custard (I don't recommend it), Jacy cake, chorizo pasta and more impressive coffee that you comfortably imagine.

On Saturday we ascended Chimney Bank in the howling wind to eat lunch in a hollow and explore.

And then there was visiting the park and more fire and more eating and more chatting and singing.

It doesn't sound that exciting, but it was lovely. It was on the chilly side (I had at least four layers on at all times), but we were never properly cold. Of course those with stoves in their teepee don't need to sleep entirely in their tent. They might need a breath of fresh air.....

Everyone was happy.