Sunday, 28 June 2009


On Friday we went to Ullswater!

We packed the car to the rafters (quite literally - we need to learn to travel light!) and set off at morning nap time. By luncthime we were set up and ready for another snooze - aided by Tassy wheeling the buggy around the campsite.

made campeverybody wave hello!

sleep time...

After lunch we went down to the lake and spent quite a while trying to put together Pete's Streaker. We only had one bit left over when we'd finished rigging it, which we thought was a good effort! As Pete was already somewhere in the middle of a large expanse of water we decided that a single piece of elastic was unliklely to be critical and so I merrily jumped in and headed out across the lake.

"Streaking" across the lake.

After a short while we swapped over and Tassy went out. It was really good to sail on some open water again in a steady breeze. Tassy particularly enjoyed it as it's only the second time she's been sailing since this time last year!

A most contented Tassy

Conscious that we'd left things a little late in the afternoon, we quickly packed up and whizzed back up to the camp site to make some dinner and get the little man ready for bed and settled down into his travel cot, before the game of "multiple frisbees in the near darkness" started. This entirely risk-free(!) passtime started last year and managed to expand this year into to five frisbees, one child's football and a couple of chewed up tennis balls that Colin found in the bushes. Miraculously, we avoided serious injury, though several people were nearly decapitated by a well-thown Aerobie!

Despite taking quite a bit longer than usual to get him to sleep, Nathaniel did then demonstrate his superior sleeping skills by not waking up all night until after 6am on Saturday morning. Given that we were expecting him to be up with the sun, this was most refreshing!

We'd already decided that there's only so many ways you can entertain a small boy at the side of a like and the next mornings's forecast wasn't superb, so we opted to go for a walk over the morning/lunchtime for variety. There's also the rather helpful fact that the Lakes are probably better for walking than for sailing anyway!! For Nimmy's benefit - to demonstrate the world of outdoor pursuits does not have to end when one finally leaves the states, here's a picture of two of our friends going out on their mountain bikes after seeing the wind forecast:

So we headed down to Patterdale which is on the other side at the bottom end of the lake. It took lots longer than we expected as we ended up following a triathalon team out cycling. They were going pretty fast, but there is no-where to overtake on lake-side roads. We'd planned to do a circular walk up Place Fell and then down the other side, to return back lower down near edge of the lake. It was overcast but still quite muggy and hot and the path turned out to be quite a steep climb all the way up to the top and it turns out that carrying a baby on your back when going up a stepped path is hard work! Needless to say, by the time we got to the top 2.5 hours later, we decided that going back the long way round the six remaining miles was probably a bit much. (well, I say we decided... Tassy wanted to carry on lest the walk defeat her and she have to hang her head in shame!)

View from the way up

Jolly baby pauses for a snack

Walk, walk, walk...

Near the top

Jolly people

Hilltop baby attack - raaaaaah!

Some crawling after lunch at the top

Fambly!Men on hill

Brightly coloured foxgloves on the way down

exitting the carrier!

Despite not being our intended route it was a very fine walk and we all enjoyed ourselves.

We went back to the campsite to grab some soggy gloves and wet boots and went back down to the lake for a spot more sailing. Once again, it transpired out that everything takes much longer with a Nathaniel! There wasn't time for much sailing at all before we had to hurry back to get the BBQ lit in time to to cook before bed time. Nathaniel greatly enjoyed his sausage, burger, bread, tomato and grapes(!). The traditional saturday night BBQ then progressed as always.

Eating in the "low chair" we borrowedThe Saturday BBQ.

However, we may have over tired him as he didn't sleep so well this time! We were therefore up in plenty of time for the traditional Sunday morning 5am sail (which was only every really once the true "5am sail" as it rapidly became the 6am sail after we found it a little too early the first year we did it!) We had intended to take Nathaniel out for his first sail at this early morning session - in all previous years it has been a flat calm (albeit a beautiful one - see Ullswater 2008) and we've slowly made our way around the lake with tea & jaffa cakes on the foredeck with not the slightest risk of heeling, let alone capsize. This time however, it was the windiest it was all day as the boats were setting off, so the boy and I had an extended breakfast instead, whilst Tassy went out with the others.

Nathaniel's pre-6am sail breakfast

After returning to the campsite later for proper breakfast and dismantling of the tent (another activity which the presence of Nathaniel seems to extend the duration of) we went back down and Nathaniel then had his first ever sail! Tassy & I went with Hugh in his boat, Hugh and I sailing the boat and Tassy looking after the small man. He was not enitely sure at points, but seemed to be ok with the experience overall. I think the amount that was happening in the boat and the noise of the sails etc just meant that there was a lot to take in!

Not really sure about his lifejacket!

Setting offHeading out to sea...

(all's well so far)

Everyone back safe and sound

The de-brief

Coming ashore again

Undecided about the whole experience...!

The day then progressed with a bit more sailing for us, some snoozing, eating crawling attempts and grabbing of sunglasses for Nathaniel, before we set off home mid afternoon. Nathaniel particularly enjoyed the traffic jam ended up in...! Needless to say, we're rather tired after a day that began at 4:30am, but we're now full of pizza, at least.

To finish, here's a picture of the drive home. Not exactly Canada, but quite pretty nonetheless...

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

New experiences

Today was our friend Madeleine's first birthday, so Nathaniel and I joined her at Creepy Crawlies to celebrate. Creepy Crawlies is the sort of place that you should never take The Beard to! It is a big industrial hanger filled with soft play equipment in a giant multi-level cage. It is really good fun, but the smell of the junk food served at the canteen area mixes with the echoing yells of the children, and combined with the bright colours of all the crash mats, it can only be described as an assault on the senses! Nathaniel enjoyed it immensley, and particularly liked the big slide. He looked worried all the way down, but grinned and waved his arms with excitement when we got to the bottom each time!

After lunch we went outside to where all the animals were and Nathaniel made friends with a pony named Fudge who proceeded to nip his toe! Nathaniel was not impressed, but was still keen to go back for more!

Then we went to the sand pit and Nathaniel had his first sand experience. He found it gritty with a bitter taste and wasn't too bothered by it. He watched the older children with great interest and a hint of perplexion.

When it was time to leave, Nathaniel discovered something that was almost as good as swinging - shopping trolleys! Its hard to describe quite how fun he found riding in the child seat as opposed to the baby seat!

Catch up

Oh dear! We are receiving complaints about the lack of photos and stories! What can I say, we've been busy playing on swings, visiting nurseries, cutting teeth and playing in the sun. I'll update backwards as much as I can today, so you may need to scroll down to find where I've added things in (waving is right back at the start of June)!


We have pretty much declared that Nathaniel can crawl (at last)! He does lots of belly flops, but, when he really wants to and can see the reason for making so much effort, he can get across the floor with a mixture of knee steps and downward facing dogs. So far I have been unable to get any photographic evidence, as he would really rather laugh at the camera than have to expend so much energy! So here are a couple of photos of his preferred position, standing.

Of course, his new found mobility has allowed Nathaniel to explore much more easily and he has taken the opportunity to investigate everything!

The turn on speed he put on to watch motor racing (!!) was quite impressive!

Nimmy's toys

Auntie Nimmy has sent a wonderful blue car from a farmers market. Nathaniel gives it a big thumbs up! Thank you Nimmy!

He also still greatly enjoys the giant M&Ms that Nimmy brought back at Christmas. They are wonderful for chasing across the floor, and now that that are filled with random small things, they make good rattles as well!

Tuesday, 23 June 2009


Never let it be said that we don't give Nathaniel the opportunity to join us in our interests!

He greatly enjoys the piano and will sometimes sit happily on your lap and listen to what you are playing, especially if there is singing as well. However, more often than not, he'd rather join in!

And when he's bored of playing, there is always the music stand to bash!

This might not be so much the case of learning about technology, more about wondering if he can pick up the four-track's knobs!

Monday, 22 June 2009


This weekend it was my turn to sail at last, the first time I've been able to since Ulswater last year! It was beautifully sunny (though you can't really tell from the photos), and although the wind was light and fluky, it was great for single-handed GP sailing. I didn't do badly - I was ahead of the RS200 on the water for 1.5 of the 2 laps of one race and I annihilated the fully crewed GP. More importantly I got to do lots of watching swans while drifting down wind as well as some hiking out when the gusts eventually did arrive.

(NB I want no comments on the bad setting of my sails please!!!)

Tuesday, 16 June 2009


Nathaniel's newest, most favourite activity is swinging. On Friday we played on two swings in two different parks. On Sunday we only visited one park, but took in two swings of different designs.

When we got home, wonderful Aunt Becky from next door lent Nathaniel their swing to have in our yard for a while, so now he can swing whenever he wants!

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

General life

Not much has been going on for the last couple of weeks, and either me or ian have been out every night with rehersals or sailing courses or pubs, so we haven't got around to blogging much. Nathaniel has been teething, so he hasn't presented a large number of opportunities for endearing photographs. However, here are a few things he has been up to:

Trying new foods; this was his first strawberry. He was confused at first and then devoured a large number with great gusto and alarmingly little mess or waste!

Playing with his favourite toy - a basket.

More fun with the basket - taking everything out of it.

No-one can be uncheered with a slotted spoon!