Sunday, 23 May 2010


Those of you who are not in the UK may not realise that this year has given us more rubbish weather than we are used to. We haven't had that end of April-beginning of May heat wave, and it's barely been warm enough to sit outside, even with a coat on!

So we were really ready for the first warm weekend of the year and spent it making sure that we got too much sun and slightly dehydrated.

James came to visit and so Nathaniel had an extra friend to play outside with.

We spent a good proportion of the day sitting in the Museum Gardens reading the papers, throwing frisbees and playing complicated ball games that involved Nathaniel dutifully carrying the ball to various adults to throw. After Nathaniel had gone to bed, we set fire to charcoal in the garden and feasted on many things:

And when we started to get chilly, retired inside for a 4 hour game of:

Here are the compulsory photos of people in the Evil Balaclava.

If you are confused and slightly disturbed, read the background here.

The next day, Nathaniel had a nice long nap while James and we had a pub lunch in the Ebor garden. Then the paddling pool came out!

Nathaniel enjoyed filling it with the hose, with the expected consequences!

And then played for hours with a camping kettle and a cup while I lay on the grass and considered how nice it was to have a real garden!

Wednesday, 19 May 2010


Nathaniel's latest favourite thing is digging. A few weeks ago I weeded out a butler sink that is in the garden, and ever since, Nathaniel has spent hours at a time doing important things there.

First you use your trowel ("trouw") to dig some soil:

Then you transfer the soil to a carrying device (its hard to transport soil on a trowel - you tend to get "dir shoo!"):

Then you empty your soil into a bucket and look at it carefully:

There are lots of interesting buckets to use to empty soil into, carry soil about in, or empty down your dungarees:

There are also lots of implements to use in the soil:

Best of all, eventually someone starts to tidy up all the soil on the paving slabs and brings out the most exciting implement - the brush:

Saturday, 15 May 2010

More sailing

Sailing club course part 2 was accompanied by sun! Which made it all the nicer for Nathaniel to enjoy the sailing club. We did some moving of the grass with the extremely loud petrol lawn mover and Nathaniel did some important playing in the wendy house: "li-how" (little house).

Nathaniel seems to be incredibly content at the sailing club. I imagine its because there are lot of things going on, lots of people who stop to say hello to him, lots of wierd and wonderful things to play with (strimmers, chainsaws etc) and it involves being outside all day which greatly appeals to him!

What ever the reason, he just seems to enjoy poddling around all day. There are things to pick up and explore in the club house:

Cows to talk to:

And if you get tired, you can sit down and have a snack:

Today, we went for a trip in the rescue boat to which Nathaniel gave his standard treatment: he didn't look terribly sure about the whole thing, but was very definite that "more" was the way to go. He wore his life jacket without a fuss and then posed in the topper as it was being derigged:

Sunday, 9 May 2010


Mikey's face was an absolute picture when he came round to find that the normally rather sticky little boy was being encouraged to play with melted butter and sugar and syrup!

However, this turned out to be a great idea as the flap jack was delicious (especially after it was cooked)!!

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Sailing and singing

Today was the first day of this year's level 1 course at the sailing club. We were debating whether to take Nathaniel down at all, but he gets very excited when you mention the sailing club and gets his shoes and coat and says "hay ub" all the way there.

There was a little more wind that we would have ideally liked - it was about 20mph but with frequent gusts of 30+mph. This made it rather difficult for the newbies to do any helming, but they got lots of crewing practise and there were only a few little squeaks.

Nathaniel enjoyed himself as usual, playing in the wendy house and on his sailing club trike (thanks to Neville for passing on his grandson's cast-offs!), and exploring all the more exciting toys that the sailing club has to offer.

He also enjoyed simply running around and watching the cows. Its not a bad life for a little boy!

Due to the amount of wind, the course finished a little earlier than planned, which was useful as it gave us time to pop home and do a couple of things before heading out on heavily laden bikes for Catherine's birthday party. It was an open-no-mike party and so we all ate interesting food that people had brought with them and listened (and danced) to a wide range of music. One little boy sang some songs from Les Mis, and other just sang their favourite songs. Ian played some folk on the guitar and sung which got everyone clapping along and jigging.

The Barbarellas bashed out a few old favourites aided and led some rounds. There was much percussion playing and general jollity.

The picture shows Catherine and I getting into the acting of "Diamonds are a girl's best friend" (barbershop style!), and Nathaniel running around with a tamborine round his waist!

Friday, 7 May 2010


Nathaniel's favourite thing at the minute is jigsaws. It didn't take him very long to get to grips with the mechanics of the two-piece animal jigsaws:

Now he likes to put the wrong tail end onto the head a say "no no cocka-do-do(or whatever the animal was supposed to be)". He also likes to make them with the wrong side facing up: "u(p)-si(de)-dow(n) do(g)"

He's got a bunch of 3, 4 and 6 piece jigsaws (though he is singularly uninterested by the 6 piece dinosaurs, and will chose a 3 piece train over them every time), but his absolute favourite is this:

In a bag of clothes from second-cousin Nicholas was the most marvellous tractor puzzle! It normally takes Nathaniel a maximum of two minutes in the living room before he is carrying around the tin case that contains the "tracta-da-da pu(z)". And he's getting pretty good at putting it together. He can manage about a third on his own, but hasn't quite got the knack of finding the right pieces to link the section with the wheels with the section with the farmer. But all you have to do is suggest pieces and he goes and tries them in appropriate spots and lets you know "no no no" if it is the wrong position.

He has his own way of taking it apart at the end!

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Fun things about our house #1

In the evenings Ian can play with his new lawn mower:

And do important things with pieces of wood in his garage: