Tuesday, 27 December 2011

The Windmill

Nathaniel has been a great fan of windmills ever since we introduced him to Camberwick Green and Windy Miller. So he was very excited when the Holgate Windmill got it's long-awaited sails up and a trip had to be taken in the pouring rain to see them.

He's even more excited to find that he can see them from his bedroom window. They look pretty impressive against a leaden sky.

Thursday, 22 December 2011


There are lots of things that were a big deal when Nathaniel was little that are a hundred times more complicated with Dorothea. Baths are one. But we needed a bedtime routine, and there is only so much washing you can do with a bit of wet cotton wool, so we embarked on the first bath.

Fortunately, Nathaniel was incredibly keen on this idea and was excited all day. He was absolutely certain that this activity should involve him! Dorothea wasn't desperately impressed by the whole proceedings, but neither was she unimpressed. I'd go with puzzled.

I can understand why!

Nathaniel is currently sulking because I said that we couldn't have another first bath. I'm am waiting to introduce him to the idea that we'll be able to have a second bath, and a third, and a fourth....


We discovered a useful thing last week - we'll be able to use our favourite new toy earlier than we thought!

We bought the trailer knowing that it was going to be a while before Thea would be able to go in it. Even with the baby sling, she'd need to be at least 3 months before she could cope with the bumps. But on reading the info that came with the sling, we discovered that actually they recommend that you can use it from a month if you just walk with it. So now we have a double buggy!

We celebrated by using it to go for a foraging trip to the woods. Nathaniel was very keen to go and got quite grumpy that it took us so long to get Dorothea installed and appropriately wrapped up!

But everyone was jolly by the time we got to the sunny woods. Nathaniel and I took to the holly bushes with secateurs.

Then a friendly gentleman who was out to watch birds told us about a big bush covered in berries, so we headed there via pine cones and ivy.

Lots of fun was had!

When we got home, we released the tree from its netting and got to work installing it and decorating.

Most of the house is now covered in holly and ivy. Nathaniel spent some time in the garden collecting ivy (more secateurs always leads to a fun game!) and twigs, and Ian and I have done artistic things!

It's a shame it can't stay decorated all year.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Spot the difference

Actually they don't look that alike in these photos, but rest assured, there is a striking resemblance!

Friday, 16 December 2011

Christmas Songs

Today was Nathaniel's Nursery christmas carol concert. All the parents are invited to hear them sing the Christmas "carols" that they have been singing. Carols include such favourites as Santa Claus is Coming to Town and I'm a little Snowman.

The children are all encouraged to come in costume, but when I asked Nathaniel about what he would like to wear, he was very insistant that he didn't want to dress up as anything and just wanted to be a little boy.

However, I made appropriate arrangements just in case (two options!), and it's just as well, as half an hour before I set out to nursery, one of the staff rang to ask if I was bringing a costume as Nathaniel was upset that he didn't have one!

So I turned up with my options, and unsurprisingly Nathaniel decided again that he didn't want to dress up! I persuaded him that although he didn't want to be a christmas tree, he might like to be a Nathaniel with baubles, and so he was the only kid wearing half a costume!

It was well worth attending. I wasn't sure whether he would join in the songs with such a giant audience, but in fact he was one of a very few kids who sang with gusto all the way through. He knew all the words, even to the verses of some of the more obscure songs, and sang so loudly (though tunefully), that I could hear him clearly along with the nursery staff.

I figured that you'd all like to see his Christmas tree costume (which he became interested in once we got home), but once he had dressed up in it, he suddenly became all shy and just wanted to sit down. So here is the moodiest of all christmas trees:

It looked more impressive with the green t-shirt and the baubles pinned in more elegant places.

Ian was more jolly!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Four Weeks

Dorothea is four weeks old today, and I'm afraid that nothing partcularly interesting has happened. Also, entertaining a three year old has ensured that we haven't been sitting around with nothing better to do then take cute photos!

Unexpectedly, Dorothea's interest in sleep has remained an obsession far beyond the two weeks that it took Nathaniel to get over it, and so most of the time she looks like this:

Most of our friends have never seen her eyes!

In some ways this has been incredibly convenient as Nathaniel has had a tonsilitis-like virus resulting in a roaring temperature and some extremely sleepless nights. What's more fun than looking after an ill toddler? Lokking after asn ill toddler and a new born!

I'm sure there's more fun ahead.....

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

More Dorothea

When Nathaniel was little, we were very good at posting about every little thing and sharing lots of photos. But somehow, I can see us being less diligent this time!

But to try and start off on the right foot, here are some random pictures of Thea's first two weeks:

Day 4: Being a potato

Day 6

Day 7: Thriller baby

Day 13: Interested in supper

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Commodore's Trophy Part 2

As you recall, the sailing club were generally very pleased that Nathaniel had won the Commodore's Trophy, albeit with a little help from Ian. They were also rather keen to meet Thea.

So we broke with our normal obsession with getting to bed at a sensible bedtime, and decided to attend the beginning of the YRISC Annual Dinner en famille.

Nathaniel was very excited. After supper, instead of having five minutes playing and then going to bed, he put on his smart "work shirt" (plus a rather fine t-shirt that says "can't sail (yet)" on it), and we went out to the hotel at which the dinner was being held.

At a special ceremony before everyone sat down to supper, Steve, the Commodore, presented Nathaniel with the Commodore's Trophy plus a matchbox jeep towing a rescue boat on a trailer (the later doesn't have to be returned next year!).

Despite our best efforts to prepare him with endless renditions of the story "Nathaniel wins a prize", Nathaniel had a moment of shyness, and had to accept the trophy with my help.

He regained his composure afterwards and was able to put his firm handshake into practice.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Dorothea Hilary Graham

Dorothea arrived on Thursday 17th November at 7pm. She managed to be born at home, and everything was really quite chilled out! We never managed to use the birth pool, despite Ian eventually filling it with a bucket!

Nathaniel is being an ideal older brother and looking after Thea very well. He is very diligent about finding her blankets to keep her warm! He looks like a plague victim because he had his face painted for Children in Need!

Friday, 11 November 2011


Sorry - we never took a proper "before" picture. But you can probably remember what it was like - turquoise walls, delightful orange and brown flowery carpet. And don't forget that the carpet never reached the walls - there was a border of unsanded floorboards around the edge, and that the underlay felt like plastic bags - it crackled as you walked across it and barely added any padding to the floorboards.

This is the best photo I could find:

(Jan 2011 - building the expedit (essential ikea part of all childrens' rooms)

Of course, the room was also furnished with all the boxes that we haven't unpacked since moving. Even when Nim was living in it, the whole of one wall had a line (sometimes two thick), of packing boxes full of useful things such as playstations and games, notebooks with only two or three pages filled, baby clothes that have never been worn. I won't tell you where they all are now, but you wouldn't be surprised.

But thanks to the parents, all these things are gone and we now have cream walls. Two days of fierce painting have eliminated the turquoise, and although we will have to come back to it one day and deal with the textured wall paper which is still in place, it looks amazing! And no young child ever cares to that extent!

We have never told Nathaniel that he should move into the room - we didn't want him to feel that he was being moved to make room for Adama. He has just been told that we are sorting out Auntie Nimmy's room and that he wants to move into it, he can. And he really does want to!

He watched the carpet fitter very carefully (he has been playing laying carpets ever since), and gave him a running commentary on how he was planning to move in. He then spent all afternoon and evening playing in there and running around - "I really enjoying all this space, Mummy!". He was disappointed not to sleep in there, and has been quite clear that we should move his bed this evening. He seems rather taken by the idea!

Sunday, 6 November 2011


I've never been terribly convinced about the merits of taking small children to firework displays. Particularly when the small child in question isn't altogether convinced about loud noises (he sometimes asks to put on his headphones that we bought him for seeing bands at festivals when the drill or hoover is being used!), or about large crowds of people (we are raising a hermit!).

So we decided not to bother with the various spectacles on offer and just have a look and see what we could see in the sky from here.

Fortunately, on Friday we were treated to a really good display just east of the house, just at bedtime. So after teeth brushing and pyjamaing, we sat on our bed and looked out of our giant bedroom window (so that was why they put in such ridiculous windows in the 60s - for watching fireworks!), and watched a great display in the warm, with double glazing insulating us from the loudest bangs.

N was pretty convinced by this, and talked all day on Saturday about fireworks, and as he had a good nap in the afternoon, we decided to go out at bedtime and see what could be seen.

The views from the Moor were amazing. Standing in the middle we got 360 degrees of fireworks, and due to the low cloud and damp conditions, all the smell of being in close proximity to a bonfire! As every display/pile in someone's garden died out, another would begin, and we mostly were spoilt for choice in where to look.

Nathaniel enjoyed himself and was pleased to report that he liked the ones that banged the best, and that I liked the fizzing ones; "There's another fizzy one Mummy - you are a big fan of them"; "Bang - did you jump?!".

We didn't manage to leave until past 8 o'clock, and the boy would have stayed for longer if we had let him.

A most sucessful adventure.

Monday, 31 October 2011


Last year, Nathaniel and I marked the changing of the clocks by embarking on torch walks before supper. We'd go out, armed with a torch each, and chase the "dancing lights", light up trees and generally play in the dark.

This year, the scooty bike is the preferred method of transport, and Nathaniel has become very interested in sunsets. Fortunately, at this point, the sunset is late enough to make it interesting to chase. He is also very excited as he has lights on his bike, and has been really looking forward to it being dark enough to use them.

So off we went on to the Moor. It was mild with a warm breeze and felt properly autumnal. We met several friends on their way home from work, and many exciting dogs.

We enjoyed the sunset, and I discovered that I couldn't work out how to take a picture in which you could see both the sunset and the boy.

Then we went off-piste and explored a muddy path and collected golden leaves for making art with later in the week.

By the time we got home, it was properly dark, so N felt that he had got the most out of his bike lights, and we were ready for warm spiced apple juice. Marvellous!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Something different

Poor Nathaniel has suffered lately from our to-do list. Weekends are filled with me having random naps and us not doing anything exciting because we have to purchase some random bit of baby gear that we forgot that we didn't have, or varnish some boat, or paint some walls. He was quite distraught when we left the sailing club at lunch time on Sunday. He couldn't possibly see how returning to the house to sort out some more boxes of accumalated junk could be more important than sailing.

So when we had a random Monday with everyone at home, we decided that we wouldn't be useful and do stuff just for fun instead. A couple of weeks ago we noticed how interested Nathaniel was in town. We never go there except to dash into a particular shop to buy a specific thing and hardly ever wander. So we decided to go into town, have some lunch, go to the slipper shop (N needs slippers), but have no other proper agenda.

We even decided to get the bus rather than cycling, which was greeted with great enthusiasm. Waiting at the bus stop meant we had to watch all the different vehicles (always fun), and then there was the excitement of sitting at the front of the top of a double decker bus!

Lunch was taken at Pizza Express, and Nathaniel excelled in remembering all the guidlines about eating out that we had discussed. His behaviour was marvellous. We were seated in the bar area, which normally I dislike, but it meant that we could watch the waiters preparing all the drinks, which was a great hit.

Nathaniel took this picture:

It was so over stimulating, that N was exhausted by the end and suggested that we went and had a nap somewhere! So we had a brief rest at the library with some books and then wandered leisurely through town towards the slipper shop, with lots of time to stop and chase pigeons.

Nathaniel was very thorough about seeing them all off, and his plan of campaign was so efficient, that by the time I had got the camera out, he had rid the square of almost all of them. Hence my photo is not the entertaining action shot I was after!

Then there was some good climbing along walls and running along pavements. All good Nathaniel fun.

After all that, we were all good for nothing apart from home and some quiet reading! Auntie Nimmy came over for supper (always well received) and then Ian and I went out for dinner at a real restaurant. A very superb day!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

new posts

Sorry - we've been a bit tired, busy and generally distracted. But a post about N's birthday has eventually appeared. Of course, it had to be put in the right order, so please scroll down to read..........

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Commodore's Trophy

Trophies at our sailing club are a serious business. Not so much the competition! For some reason we have a collosal number of trophies to give out at the end of each year, and it sometimes feels like we are just dividing them equally between us all rather than competing for them. There are some that no-one wants - the Alex Smith trophy is giant and unwieldy and requires polishing. There are some that are just a pain - a few of the second crew ones are so light that the wind blows them off the mantlepiece. Most people just put them in a box in the loft and forget about them until they are demanded back the following year!

However, when we are actually racing, we somehow manage to maintain that it is important who wins them, and so sometimes the races end up a little strange. This year, Steve, as Commodore, decided that the Commodore's trophy should be a personal pursuit race in order to allow everyone a good chance of winning. He and Hugh and I were OD, and Nathaniel decided to race with Ian.

There really wasn't any wind, so they decided to take the RS200 (!). Nathaniel, as usual, helped to rig and launch the boat with enthusiasm.

There really wasn't ANY wind!

But Nathaniel enjoyed himself (and the chocolate rations that were taken on board).

And it didn't stop them from winning the race and therefore the trophy! There was general excitement across the club about this, and most people failed to note that Ian may have something to do with the result. Even now, several weeks later, everyone refers to the fact that Nathaniel has won the Commodore's Cup.

There is general disappointment about the fact that he will not be at the Annual Dinner to collect his trophy (it's on the same night that we are expecting Adama to arrive, so we've sent our apologies), and no-one can seem to remember, that even if Ian and I were planning to go, it would be unusual for a 3 year old to be attending a dinner that starts at 8pm!

You can't say that YRISC doesn't support it's younger members!

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Maisie's Wings

When I saw these wings on the internet, I knew that Maisie would need a pair to dress up with. So I made them for her birthday, and I'm rather pleased with them.

Fortunately, after modeling them for me, Nathaniel wasn't that interested by them, and was happy to package them up for Maisie.