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.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

The 'Cello

Just to prove that we are not pushy parents.....

It's all her idea. Really!

Monday, 11 May 2015

The Moor

It has already been well documented that I love the moor dearly. It is one of the best things about living where we do. Here are two reasons why:

Because sometimes it's nice just to cycle to the shops to buy some not entirely necessary eggs and then come back cross-country.

The route back is along an ancient (maybe) path that leads directly to the Minster, so you always feel as if you are heading straight for it. When the sun is shining and the west towers are almost glowing, it is even better.

Because sometimes it's fun to take lunch onto the moor for no apparent reason. Then we can eat and play with kites, which is nice.

Except this time it didn't end very well. Good bye red kite-kite. You have been loved.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015


Nathaniel has decided that he would like to be an architect when he grows up and spends a great deal of time reading his various buildings books and designing his own constructions. He is very interested in columns at the minute and we have to stop to examine every one we pass and establish whether it is true to its order or not.

Today we took a leisurely scoot after school to the Yorkshire Museum. It was very pleasant.

Then we examined the Roman section of the museum in detail and spent half an hour making mosaics.

Then, before music, we killed some time eating cake at the library and browsing in the architecture section. Somehow, Nathaniel has got to the ripe old age of 6 without realising that we can just find the section of the adult library which deals with his interest and then sit on the floor and look at all the pictures! We had a very good 20 minutes in the architecture section looking at pictures of Roman and Greek ruins and Arts and Crafts houses.

His next plan is to design a cathedral in modern/classic style. Here is one of his prototypes. It has a selection of columns (he admits that he got the widths wrong) and domes (like Hagia Sophia), with sky lights in the top to let in light. There is a modern stained glass window in an inverted V-shape, and a music room from which is appearing the Tallis Canon.

Monday, 20 April 2015

First camping

Don't worry, we are still here. We're just busy. Not with anything exciting - just everyday life. But I will get around to back-updating soon. Promise.

In the meantime.....

This weekend was the first of our camping collective adventures. We were one family down due to ear infections, but the rest of us were keen and raring to go. Actually, all of us almost called it off in the week before as its been mighty chilly oop here in the north, but we braved ourselves, and it was well worth it. There was ice on the car the first night, but we had a fire, and the sun shone during the day, and so we were warm. We actually removed thermals for great parts of the day! (cf last year when most of us just spent the entire weekend in the same five layers.)

For various reasons, we needed to be close to Harrogate, and so we payed an extortionate amount of money for a field to ourselves, a long walk from some distinctly average facilities. Fortunately, our main criteria for a campsite is good scenery, good location, and to be left alone to burn stuff, so we were happy. We camped on the banks of the Nidd, in a valley below a caravan park and were disturbed only by the distant sound of snoring DofE-ers.

A steep climb down from the toilets

The kids ran around and flew kites and kicked footballs (except Nathaniel who is not into that at the minute), and collected wild garlic and drew complicated pictures and ate long and many-coursed breakfasts.

Thea and J made boats and peopled them with baby flower people who were rudely capsized into the torrent seconds after being launched!

The adults managed to sit and chat, teach Katherine the main musical themes to Jurassic Park (ill-educated woman!) and play with fires.

We climbed across stepping stones and only two of our party got a leg in.

We wandered out to Brimham Rocks which were amazing! I can't believe we've never been before!

However, future visits are likely to happen in the dead of winter because the number of people there was astronomic! Far too busy - and that's on a chilly April Saturday. I simply can't imagine what it is like in the height of summer. We picniced halfway up a rock, and played a very long game of wolf and pigs (I was a wolf who could eat any pigs not on the safety of a rock). Lots of screaming ensued!

We did lots of climbing and the narrower of us squeezed through what we are affectionately calling the sandwich gap. It was very narrow with a massive step halfway up!

Nathaniel was very pleased with himself for mastering it!

All in all it was a very good start to the camping season.