Sunday, 12 December 2010


Sorry that there haven't been many posts recently - it's all been a bit quiet here. We haven't been very busy with exciting things as we have been rather preoccupied with Ian applying for jobs and preparing for interviews, and me having a three-week hideous cold and cough and injuring myself in various and amusing ways (its not great that at the tender age of two years and two months, Nathaniel knows that "sharp knifes (sic) hurt lots" and "head wounds make lots blood").

What we have been doing is:

decorating a christmas tree

making villages

and doing lots of cooking. This time, T biscuits.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

der Schnee

What do you think we saw this morning?

Are you bored of this subject yet? I think that there might be more to come!

Nathaniel and I got dressed up and went out to play.

The snow on the stray is now up to tassy-mid-thigh level, but the drifts can be anything up to waist height. You have pick spots for Nathaniel to tramp in with some care. Some knowledge of the hidden topology is helpful.

It's all rather pretty.

Nathaniel declined to throw himself down slopes, so I played and he stood at the top and played with the camera. In true toddler style, he is perfectly aware of how to switch it on, zoom in and out, and take photos. Shame he didn't manage to take any of me having fun!

When we got home, we made a den and stuff like that, and then Nathaniel decided that he wanted to "dress up in this dress". So we did:

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

La Neige

Today, York stopped.

Some snow fell.

At 10:30, my office decided that it was all getting a little silly and that people should consider going home.

Snow fell.

First York stopped running buses through suburbia. Only main arterials were served - you had to walk from then.

Snow fell.

First York stopped running any buses at all.

Snow fell.

The "last" trains were anounced.

Snow fell.

I walked home across the strays, wading through drifts that went over my knees.

Snow fell.

Most of the nurseries closed. Ours (they are brilliant!), didn't even think about it! But at one point, there was the possibility that I would have four toddlers to look after all afternoon until their parents could get here!

Snow fell.

I decided to have a quick walk outside to take some photos.

The dark line of cloud along the bottom of the sky was about to appear and drop, you guessed it, snow on me!

It's almost impossible to take a photo to show how deep the snow is, without someone with you to bury!

These pictures were taken in colour!

It took me 15 minutes to walk the 5 minute walk to Nathaniel's nursery, and if it weren't for the fact that it was already there and needed bringing back to the house, I never would have attempted pushing the buggy!

We came home and cooked pancakes filled with spicy applesauce and raisins. It was a fine end to a cold day!

Saturday, 27 November 2010

More impressive

Today, the snow is much more convincing.

Unfortunately, I am in no position to enjoy it, as I am tucked up in bed with a temperature and a most painful throat. I am feeling miserable, as I am going to miss tonight's Micklegate concert, in which I was supposed to be singing a solo. Grump.

But Ian and Nathaniel have been enjoying themselves. They went on a cold walk to the butcher across the frozen wastes.

Most importantly, they managed to secure, that very precious of comodities, a sledge. Last year there were none to had after day one of the snow, not even for ready money, and we really intended to buy one the second that Pexton's had managed to get a delivery, but of course, we forgot. Fortunately, we were in time, and are the proud possessors of a funky round sledge (chosen by Nathaniel).

Let the fun begin!

Thursday, 25 November 2010


It's not proper snow, but it was very pretty when it was falling. After breakfast, Nathaniel and I went to play in it in the garden. For once, Nathaniel agreed that he probably ought to wear his dungarees and coat. Recently every walk has been accompanied by the mantra "Not need coat. Not need hat".

Our snow playing wasn't a roaring sucess. At first Nathaniel wouldn't walk on it at all and played a complicated sort of hopscotch up the muddy bits on the garden path. At last I persuaded him that it was okay to walk on it, and we held hands and listened to the "crunch crunch noise snow make" when we stood on it. The he spent a giggly few minutes stamping a small patch to smitherines and discovering that it wasn't terribly good snow and so melted at the slightest touch.

Then he decided that it was time to "go back new house, do hoo-vring". And that was that.

But I enjoyed it!

Monday, 15 November 2010


Nathaniel is presently very interested by cutting. Having learnt how to use scissors a couple of weeks ago, he now appears to be harrassing the nursery staff to allow him to do cutting on a daily basis. Fortunately they seem pretty chilled out about allowing a rather "enthusiastic" (their words!) 2 year old to have control of sharp blades!

At home we have made many lions (making the mane involves lots of cutting), and now our favourite is tree pictures. You get to use three whole crafts! First you cut the trees with pinking scissors, then glue them on with prit stick, and then draw on the tree trunks. Nathaniel enjoyed carefully lining up the pen to draw the trunk, but at least once in every picture, he gets carried away, and before you know it, the picture also sports "big wheel and little wheel"!

Sunday, 14 November 2010


Recently we bought Nathaniel a tall stool to stand on which has opened up a whole range of activites (climbing up to the stereo and putting on CDs is one of the less entertaining ones).

One of the things that he likes best is cooking, and so we have done lots. We graduated from raisin buns and jam tarts to apple sauce, cheese crackers and stew!

Apple sauce was pretty good. Nathaniel waved a peeler around while I peeled and chopped apples and then he stirred them (what, you'd forgotten that important step in the recipe?!), and added the cinnamon. I've already mentioned Nathaniel's love of strong flavours. Lets just say that that batch of apple sauce was particularly spicy!

Stew was his favourite activity. We went on a very cold and wet cycle ride to the butcher's to buy the ingredients and then Nathaniel helped peel and chop the onions and then layered the meat and onions in the stew pot. He was so proud when Ian came home and could be presented with "Daddy's stew"!

So basically, making supper has become a million times easier (ie he doesn't hang round my ankles whining "Mummy come too and play"), and simultaneously a million times harder (you have to find a Nathaniel friendly recipe). I anticipate lots more stew and roasted veg!!

Peeling onions!

Saturday, 13 November 2010


I've spent quite a lot of time over the years in various science centres, but it was only when a friend reminded me that I recalled that we live in easy distance of Eureka - the children's museum. And now we have a bona fide reason for going. (Ian, Phil and I once spent a happy afternoon in the Launch Pad at the Science Museum getting wierd looks from kids as we were the only adults trying to play with all the exhibits).

So, with a gaggle of friends (and four two year olds), we went off to Halifax.

Yes, Eureka is wonderful! Nathaniel enjoyed it. The other toddlers enjoyed it. And I loved it!

Probably the best bit was the town square. There is a shop, a bank, a post office and a garage (and some other bits we didn't see), all at child size. The kids spent ages and ages filling their trolleys with food and taking it through the checkout.

They only left because we were bored, but were very happy with the garage. They drove cars and trucks and filled the cars up with petrol (from a proper, though child-size, petrol pump).

Then we went into "the house" and cooked in the kitchen, dressed up in the bedroom, flushed the toilet and turned on the shower in the bathroom, and romped up and down the stairs.

Nathaniel was absolutely taken by the exhibit on renewable energy. Ever since we allowed him to watch an episode of Camberwick Green on the television, he has been fascinated by windmills. He does a very convincing impression of the noise that Windy Miller's windmill makes and idenitfies windmills in all sorts of strange places. His interest in the modern windmills on the way to and from Polzeath almost lead to a full on tantrum until he realised that a)Daddy did not have the power to make them turn, and b)we were not going to be able to conjure "more modern windmills again" out of thin air.

So when he and Aunt Nimmy (now known as Auny Minnie!) found not just a modern windmill, but also a light bulb, Nathaniel was a very happy boy. Eventually, when I realised that I hadn't seen either of them for about 15 mins, I retraced my steps to find them carefully observing said windmill. Nathaniel pointed out that when the sails turned fast the light bulb came on, and when they slowed and stopped, it went off. That's not a bad learning point for a 2 year old!

I won't describe all of the wonderful different areas and exhibits that we enjoyed (though I am very tempted) - it would very quickly descend into an over academic exploration of different aspects of interactive exhibits. I will content myself with saying that we all had a great time!

Most of our photos are blurry (not very much light), or have other children in them, but here are some highlights:

Nathaniel controlling the backdrop in a studio. He pressed one set of button to chose an image (town (with bus), beach or countryside (with tractor)), and then used another set of buttons to chose appropriate sound effects. Mixing the image of the bus with the sound of a cow mooing resulted in much giggling!

My favourite exhibit. Place different sound blocks on the wall to make music composed of samples of each sound. They lit up as they were played.

Nathaniel's favourite exhibit: paint a butterfly using a touch screen. Then press "fly away" and the butterfly flutters off and onto a big screen on the wall where it joins a few of the recently painted butterflies.

Dressing up as a bumble bee. (Both me and Nimmy independently carefully observed the seams and shape of pattern pieces for future use!)

Friday, 5 November 2010


What can I say? We have always loved Polzeath and we will always love Polzeath. We had a lovely week there, doing not much. A lot of digging on the beach. A good bit of walking on cliffs. A smattering of surfing (and getting way to cold). A fine set of Rick Stein's fish and chips. Lots of cake for afternoon tea. Many books.

New additions were many tractors made out of Duplo and much playing with three plastic stools, but apart from that it was the same relaxing, chilled out week. The weather was warm and sunny and the waves were rather slow and small (not great for surfing). At night the rain appeared and lashed the skylights of our attic room.

We had lots of fun.
Polzeath 2010

Catching up

Sorry - we've been a bit rubbish at the whole blogging thing recently. So, prompted by the October folder in our photos, this is what we've been up to:

Finding our autumn clothes and going for walks:

Becoming obsessed with the book "The Elephant and the Bad Baby". Unfortunately, this occured after I had taken the said book back to the library. Ian stepped up to the challenge and created our own version!

Exploring the Otley Chevin and climbing up ever so steep hills ("Han-yul climbed to top!!"):

Raking leaves:


Moving furniture around the house and riding on the sofa boat:

Monday, 4 October 2010

A milestone

When we were little, journeys were measured in two different units; multiples of the journey to Nanny's house in London, and the number of repetitions of our well-loved cassette of Rupert Sings an Hour of Nursery Rhymes. It doesn't sound very promising, but actually, this hour of children's songs linked by a slightly bizarre story is really good! The arrangements are intricate and pretty and orchestrated for a good range of instruments. This tape is why I know three verses of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and why I hear floating counter melodies over all sorts of really simple rhymes.

Nathaniel received a marvellous CD version last Christmas, which Grandpa Beard created from our very old tape, and the sound quality is really rather good. Until recently, Nathaniel hasn't been too bothered about it - happy to listen to it for a bit while he is playing with something, but not really paying attention.

But then, the other day, as we set out to drive to Otley (a reasonably long journey), I put the CD on in the car. Nathaniel was obsolutely rivetted! After about 20 mins, he reqested "One Two again" (the first song on the CD), and so we went back to the beginning and had it all again. By the time we arrived, he was singing along and repeating his favourite bits: "That's not bird! That's my friend Tom!".

A week later, and he sings One, Two Buckle My Shoe ad infinitum, and requests the CD everytime we get into the car. Its a real milestone - no longer are long journeys a cause for concern - we have Rupert!

Thursday, 30 September 2010


This morning, the weather was so perfectly autumnal that Nathaniel and I just threw coats and wellies over sleepsuits (him, not me), and took the daschund for a walk on the moor.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010


Seemingly overnight we have been overun by mysterious intruders.....

Can any one tell me how to get rid of them?

Monday, 27 September 2010


Nathaniel had a great birthday week. Despite us all being very busy, me having the most ridiculously hellish week at work, all of us (except Nathaniel) having a stomach bug that made us extremely bad company for 24 hours, and manic preparations for a birthday party, we all had lots of fun.

Thank you everyone for your lovely cards and presents!

Nathaniel moved up into the big children's room at nursery with great enthusiasm and is generally enjoying romping about with new and complicated toys and reading endless books. He shows limited interest in coming home with us at the end of the day!

The birthday party was a roaring sucess (sorry no pictures, as they all have other children in), and the piece de resistance was Nimmy! Her baking was much admired and commented on, and I'm still getting texts of congratulations for her!