Sunday, 28 February 2010

Not sailing

Today was the first day of sailing, which means that there was no sailing whatsoever, just a lot of clearing and sweeping and washing. The annual clearing day always happens just before the season starts and is supposed to be about getting the whole place in working order after the winter break. We clear up the club house and remove any boats that have been sheltering in there. We remove all the debris that the river has flooded in and sweep out the layer of mud that is left on every surface that the water has touched.

Of course, traditionally the river the floods the week afterwards, destroying our hopes of a frostbite series and ruining all our good work.

This year it was all a little closer than we would like. We cleaned and cleared with the river pretty much lapping the edge of the enclosure. We were pretty sure that it had been in last week and therefore was, in theory, going down, but you can never be too sure. Nevertheless, an executive decision was made to clear up anyway. So we did.

The best bit is definitely sweeping the mud. We flood the whole place with the hoses and then sweep the muddy suspension into the field next door. It is very wet and very very muddy. Despite being dosed up to keep his temperature down, Nathaniel seemed to rather enjoy himself. Early on he took control of the hose.

He seemed slightly confused as to what the rest of us were doing which is quite reasonable, some of us weren't really sure either!

He didn't look well!

But there are few ailments that can't be relieved by a tub of dates!

Of course, everyone else was working hard. Here are Max, Hugh, Phil, Ian and Nicky hard at work supervising James and Pete actually doing something!

Behind them you can see the swirling, brown, sticky stuff that is the river. Its usually a good metre below this.

The little boy is much better now (Wednesday). He's got his first lot of banana medicine and is now prancing round the house like the kids in the calpol advert (I have never seen a truer advert in my life!).

Friday, 26 February 2010


I have an embarrassing confession to make: I am totally scared of knitting! I am really inspired by Nimmy's amazing blanket and Mf's wonderful jumpers, but when I see knitting needles, my fingers just get tangled up and I feel like I have been tied up with stringy bits of wool. So, inspired by this woman, I decided to learn to crochet and make Nathaniel a hat.

While in progess, we check to make sure it'll fit. Nathaniel is saying "ha(t), ha(t), ha(t)!"

And now finished!

Tuesday, 23 February 2010


We have all had a few days off and so had time to do lots of fun things like eating out and playing at the park. We had a fun day in town visiting friends and playing in Marks and Spencer. Nathaniel would have ridden the escalator all day! There were almost tantrums when it was time to go!

We went swimming twice in the new pool. Unfortunately, we have been rather spoilt by the Abingdon pool, so we were not totally blown away by the new facilities despite them being a million times better than the previous ones. But we still had lots of fun and enjoyed drinking coffee afterwards and watching everyone else.

Today Nathaniel went to nursery and Ian and I had a holiday! We spent the morning sitting in window-seat sofas and drinking coffee and reading paper and books and having conversations that didn't revolve around the washing machine and the highchair.

Then,after a quick poddle in town, we went to Loch Fyne and ate far too many courses of delicious sea food! It was delicious! I like Loch Fyne because the atmosphere is so pleasant. Its in the building that housed Stubbs' for years and years. They sold everything from screwdrivers to kitchen stuff to planks of wood. It was really sad when it closed so it was nice that Loch Fyne have left a bit of a tribute to them.

We've had a lovely few days!

Monday, 22 February 2010

Kite Flying

It probably wasn't really the best day for it. Rather cold, rather damp, relatively still ie not much wind. Silly, that!

But we went anyway and had a fun time on the racecourse with Ian's christmas kite. Nathaniel said "ti(te), ti(te), ti(te)" a lot (he has forgotten how to say the letter C, so now we see a lot of tats and tars). We got it in the air easily enough, but then did a lot of crashing. Not sure whether that was because there was not enough wind to get it high in the sky and therefore stable or if it was just user error. We had fun though!

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Being Great

This week we made a list of some of the reasons why Nathaniel is great. Here is a selection:

- He likes interesting tastes - he licks chutney off toast. His favourite (and unfortunately mine), is the Yorkshire chutney that we got for Christmas.

- He loves the phone (which he calls "Hone") and picks it up, puts it nearish his ears (more often than not it ends up at the back of his neck) and says "Hello!"

- When told that it's time to do a new activity (eg time to go outside, or go and change his nappy), his first action is to say and wave goodbye to the thing he is looking at/playing with.

- He gets very excited when he sees Daddy walking down the street on his way home from work.

- When walking along the road, he'll try and stop at every car and point out their indicator and try and open their front doors.

- He likes to dunk! Bread in soup, peas in ketchup.....

- When he wants some food he collects a bowl or plate from the cupboard and puts it on the highchair tray.

- He makes tea in the tea caddy full of tea bags by dribbling in water from his sippy cup.

- After the nursery staff have told you about his day, he takes the report paper from them and reads it to you "Blah, b-ll-ahh, wubble, wubble".

- He asks for specific songs and rhymes by starting the actions for them. His favourites at the minute are the snowman rhyme and "Dance, Thumbkin, dance".

Here are some photos of general fun:
Being upside down:

"You there.....!"

Hugging Daddy

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Being busy

The great thing about Nathaniel is that he is now old enough to be interested in all sorts of boring, everyday activities! This weekend we spent some time in the yard trying to sort out Ian's ailing bike and Nathaniel enjoyed helping.

There are lots of interesting places to explore:

And things that move in interesting ways:

You can help with pumping up tyres:

And then have a go yourself:

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Spring is coming

Well, it's trying!

In other news, Ian finds the cause of his rapidly deflating tyre:

Not a pot hole after all.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Trains and burgers

We have now officially reached the stage where a cold, wet Sunday afternoon starts to pose problems. You can't just stay in the house because you get bored, but the park really isn't that fun. Unless you have got a prior adventure arranged, you don't have many options.

But, someone in their wisdom (the government!!!) decided to make all the national museums free, so off we went to enjoy the railway museum at the tax payers' expense! Thank you tax payers!

Our route to the NRM goes through the station, so we got into the mood by watching several long London trains arrive and depart and even got to see a Virgin train leave on time! Nathaniel, unsuprisingly, did a lot of "tra, tra, tra, tra, TRA!"

And then onto the NRM. There was a brief wobble when we got him out of the carrier and put him down in the great hall. To be honest, its pretty overwhelming when you are a full grown adult. Trains seem so big when you are at wheel height.

But we got into the Japanese bullet train, and Nathaniel had fun storming up and down the isles and then lead us out to explore.

I'm not entirely sure how obvious it is to a 16 month old that some of the big hunks of metal are actually trains. After all, they don'l lok much like modern trains, and from 2 ft from the ground they are mainly giant pieces of oddly shapped iron. But there are lots of interesting textures to feel and shapes to find, all of which is fun.

There are also lots of giant, brightly coloured wheels. They are totally recognisable and interesting.

But one of the best things about the NRM, especially on a deserted Sunday afternoon, is that there is lots of space to charge around, most of which is totally safe, so you don't have irritating parents running after you taking way interesting items that you have picked up (note to self: Marks and Spencers, though fun, is not an ideal playground).

Nathaniel declared the outing a (blurry!) success.

And the great thing is that we only went to half of one of the rooms! There are plenty of other rooms that we haven't even glanced into! By the time we have worked our way around them, it will be time to come back to the Great Hall and Nathaniel will have a totally new take on it! Expect many, many, many more visits!

We wound our way back through the station (still more "tra, tra, tra, TRA!" - how many trains until he gets bored?!), and started to walk back through the sleet, when we passed a pub pumping out the most delicious smell of beer and burgers and chips. We are not great at being spontaneous at the best of times, we tend always to have a well thought out and prepared plan, so we decided to act on whim and head back into town for some food. After smelling those burgers, it could only be to the Gormet Burger Kitchen. After all, we eat horribly healthily normally!

So we had a lovely evening consuming delicious burgers in a deserted restaurant. Nathaniel played with straws very well, and ate all his food off a ceramic plate with no breakages! Obviously our love of eating out is improving his table manners, as yesterday we ended up in the Pig and Pastry for lunch and Nathaniel coped with their breakables as well!

All in all it was an extremely satisfying solution to a miserable Sunday afternoon!

Thursday, 4 February 2010


Moving house is a bit like having a hair cut. As soon as you have absolutely decided on it, you start to really appreciate what you've already got. Today, while most sensible people were hiding from the freezing mist-drizzle-sleet (yes, all of those at the same time) inside, Nathaniel and I decided to go out for a walk in the meadows behind our house. It was actually his idea - he brought me the carrier just as the sleet started to splatter the windows.

But as the obedient parent that I am, I put us all in coats and snowsuits and gloves and hats and scarves and took us all outside. And I'm very pleased that I did. It was lovely. The sleet accomodatingly stopped and left us in a thick cotton-woolly fog. There was no-one else around and we had the fields to ourselves. Even the sheep were absent. We enjoyed squelching through mud (Nathaniel has read the Bear Hunt book about 3 times a day for the last week, so he is well acquainted with mud), and watching the crows silently flap out of the gloom and catching the drips from the bare branches. Everything was muffled except for the occasional cry of "boa(t), boa(t)!" and "bir(d), bir(d)" (Nathaniel hasn't quite mastered the final consonant of words yet). We had such a nice time.

I wanted to take photos of how pretty it was, but I think even Ian's swish camera would have been hard-pressed to capture the wierd dusk-like qualities of the stillness. My phone didn't really do a very good job:

Then we came home and made rooibos (Nathaniel's favourite drink at the minute) and toast and bramble jam. Much fun!

Tuesday, 2 February 2010


Nathaniel has suddenly worked out how to effectively use his cutlery. He now gets frustrated if his food can't be simply stabbed with a fork or scooped with a spoon, and most meals are relatively tidy affairs until he gets tired and irritated with how slow the whole process is.


Monday, 1 February 2010

Loud noises

Nathaniel has always taken a robust view towards things that alarm him. He usually uses the "hide-behind-a-parent" method, but also regularly employs the do-it-til-its-not-scary method which bodes well for the future!

When he got scared by the pop-up crocodile in a birthday book, we had to read it at least 5 times a day while he cowered behind us as the final crocodile page loomed. His alarm at hoovers has lead to him being totally obsessed with them and seeking them out in everyone's houses.

But until recently we hadn't worked out how to deal with the food processor. For months, I have been using it in the living room, mounted on an insulating bean-bag tray while Nathaniel is asleep. But then the other day, I decided to see if he was still bothered by it and discovered that it was now quite the opposite. He enjoyed the "brrrmmmm" so much that he has been trying to get it out of the cupboard ever since! He points hopefully at it asking "brrrmmmm?" and brings the blender jug attachments to you. If any part of it has been left on the draining rack, he'll stand in the kitchen for hours pointing at it and brrrrmmming at it and will retrieve you from the living room, carefully taking your hand and leading you to it.

Here he is enjoying us whizzing up some butternut squash soup.

Here it comes:

How exciting!

Its quite loud

"Why has it stopped?"