Monday, 31 August 2009

Clay Bank

Today we decided to go up to Urra Moor and appreciate the purple heather.

We were not alone! When we got to the car park, it was full of canoes and people in lycra. We chatted to the guy parked next to us in very fine campervan conversion and he told us all about the multi-discipline coast to caost that they were doing. Across the country along the standard Coast to Coast trail but running, mountain biking and paddling! It sounded so much fun! He was waiting for his team mate to arrive at the end of the first run of the morning and then he was taking off on the mountain bike.

Here ends today's edition of "Remind Nimmy that people do cool stuff in the UK".

We set off up the Cleveland Way, and indeed the heather was wonderfully purple. But the wind was also wonderfully strong and we spent a good amount of time trying to keep Nathaniel from getting earache.

Then the sun came out and we all got very hot and the heather was even prettier!

Eventually the trail dipped into a plantation and we enjoyed the shade. We would have enjoyed the views too, but we were all getting curiously tired!

All in all it was a very pleasant walk, though not a step too short! Some people found it more tiring than others:

A fine view:

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Impending birthday

It is quite amazing - Nathaniel will be one year old in a matter of weeks! Its all gone by both very fast and extremely slowly!

A couple of people have asked what he would like for his birthday, so we have put together an Amazon Wishlist to give you some ideas. There are a good number of books and a selection of toys. Please read the comments on each item, because sometimes the item is just an illustration of a type of thing, eg the rubber duck represents bath toys in general. Also, you can't link to Early Learning Centre (ELC) items, and the amazon equivalents are very expensive, so the item may just be an example of the type of toy eg the lift out puzzles - ELC does much better and simple ones. But of course, don't feel that you have to buy him things - he'll not really know whats going on this year, and he'll enjoy the box the best anyway!

After spending many months simply eating them, Nathaniel now loves books! He is probably beating me in bookworm status. Here is him enjoying his present favourite:

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Reenacting fun

One of the great things about York is that there is always something going on, and it is more often than not much more exiting than a continental or farmers market.

This weekend we stumbled across the largest civil war reenactment this year! This is a few of them practising - we missed the actual thing, but we heard the cannons and muskets!

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Tom and Jen's Wedding

Today we went to Tom and Jen's wedding in Saltaire. I really like Saltaire! It's a model village built in the 1850's by Sir Titus Salt to house all his workers right next to his mill. At the time it was ground breaking - all the houses from those of the lowest paid workers to those of the executives had running water, an outside toilet and enough bedrooms to fit a family into. The streets are really wide so that all the houses get enough natural light despite mainly being terraces. There is a park and a church and a school and an institute (with gym!) - all so that the workers could live a pleasant life whilst they worked their fingers to the bone for Sir Titus!

Now its a World Heritage site so it is always clean and in good repair and no-one has been allowed to add tacky conservatories onto their beautiful stone teraces. The mill now houses a Hockney exhibition, high-tech companies and poncy shops (including the wonderful early music shop). There are independent coffee shops and off licenses and the whole place feels decidedly pacific north-westy. All in all, a lovely place to have a wander and a wedding!

Nathaniel was remarkably good throughout the whole thing! He had a bit of a wobble when he first realised he didn't really know most of the people telling him how big he was, but then calmed down and did a lot of eating cake and running around! He found some other children to chase after and seemed to have lots of fun.

He even managed to go to sleep in his buggy so that we could stay all evening and then didn't even protest as we moved him into the car and then into his cot. What a good child!

Friday, 21 August 2009

Horsey, horsey

This week was the Ebor Festival which is the biggest race meeting in York. This means that South Bank is full of drunken race-goers, all of whom want a lift on your bike or directions to town (which they ignore). The pub is heaving from 10am and you can't get into the butcher at lunch time because everyone is getting their over priced roast sandwiches. (I once asked Sean how much it would cost me if I ordered a roast beef sandwich on race day. I was gratified to hear that it would be the normal price!)

We decided that going to the family enclosure was slightly pointless as I have no interest on gambling my money away, and all you ever see are drunken race-goers and the very end of the race. Instead we walked across the Knavesmire and watched the start (very exciting - one jockey even waved to Nathaniel) and the horses walking back to their stables afterwards. Much more fun and totally free!

Sunday, 16 August 2009


Its been a pretty typical York weekend. We spent some time in the park with friends, did some sailing and attended the appropriate council sponsored festival. This weekend it was the turn of frisbee in the Museum Gardens accompanied by pasties, chocolate goo cake and lots of climbing! Nathaniel climbed on bits of ruined Abbey and lots of different people - liberally covering them in whatever he was eating at the time. This is after he removed Mikey's hat and started the assault on his glasses!

Sailing was reasonable - there was a good amount of wind, but it was from an irritating direction resulting in frustrating sailing through giant gusts and totally dead patches. Ian tried a Topper, got rather squashed, and resorted to crewing a Wanderer which was a rather sedate experience! Nathaniel enjoyed the wind in the trees and watching the flags flutter.

This week's festival was the Festival of Cycling, so we watched some BMX stunts and had great fun on the try-a-bike track. There were loads of weird, wonderful and normal bikes to try. I liked the one where the wheel axles weren't at the wheel's centre so you bounced up and down as you went along. There were a few with giant tires that looked like motorcycles and several penny farthing types.

Nathaniel was seriously non-plussed by his experiences. He tried two different sorts of front-mounted child seats, and although he didn't make any fuss about being in them, he didn't seem to be having as much fun as us! He was most interested in the bell on the handlebars which he pinged all the way round!

Ian managed to find a new bike for commuting that could be easily stored in the office:

Thursday, 6 August 2009


Nimmy came home from North Carolina for a couple of weeks, so we all descended on Abingdon for general merriment, Nathaniel admiring, and doing very British things!

We played in the garden and ate lots of bread and cheese (apologies to pretty much everyone in this picture - you are all pulling rather silly expressions!):

Followed Morris Travellers along typical Oxfordshire roads to typical Oxfordshire villages where we climbed "hills" and drank ale:

Learnt a new cheeky grin:

Did some exploring:

And read some books (mainly about frogs with long tongues that stick out):

It was a lovely week!