Wednesday, 29 June 2011


(For those of you who don't get the joke (and yes, this course was actually sailed), you may recall that we sail on the river. Normally courses are sausage shaped, going up and down the river. On open water, people sail triangular courses which allow you to sail on all points of sail (with the wind, against the wind and across the wind). Obviously this isn't possible on a narrow river.

But what if everyone took out toppers (little one-man boats designed for teenagers)? What silliness could occur then? Remember that the horizontal aspect of this course is only as wide as the river!)

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Running (2011)

Today was Mikey's 5k in the park so we went along to cheer him on in British style (ie clap for everyone politely as they passed us).

It occured to us, that our exciting weekend was somewhat similar, if not exactly the same as last year, which was almost depressing. But lets face it, fruit picking and cheering Mikey are fun activities, so why not do them annually?! And anyway, it's very Steinery to mark the rhythm of the year with annual festivals, and if they involve food and friends, what better way to do it.

So we pottered down to Rowntree Park and clapped politely as Mikey ran around rather quickly.

He got a great time, but as I'm writing this several weeks later, I can't for the life of me remember what it was, except that it was pleasing to all!

Afterwards we all had fun playing in the park:

All of us!

Parks aren't just for toddlers you know!

Saturday, 18 June 2011


It was a slightly chilly and damp morning, perfect for a bit of picking with Nimmy and James. It's Nimmy's favourite season:

Nathaniel got the idea of this activity very quickly:

We were pleased that they hadn't made us weigh him on the way in! But he got into everything very well and when he wasn't eating, greatly enjoyed carrying the basket to us.

We got rather carried away - no-one had strawberried for a while and we'd forgotten how wonderful it was when they were just all over the place - it's very hard to stop yourself from just picking another handful. And the longer we picked, the better ideas we had of things to do with our spoils. In the end, we sent James back to the shop for another basket, and just went wild!

Nathaniel enjoyed mainly finding delicious specimens for people to eat, and if they refused, did the job himself!

Then we moved onto blackcurrants amid much discussion on most successful picking method, pectin levels, required amounts of sugar to make them palatable and other subjects that quickly dissolved into a need for much more accurate scientific data than we could lay our hands on immediately. Nathaniel wasn't so keen on these fruits (less tasty), and it all started to go downhill when he fell into a patch of stinging nettles, and despite being pretty much immune to the York variety (over exposure at the sailing club has its up sides!), got a very stung bottom.

So we went home with a tonne (small exaggeration) of strawberries and a good amount of blackcurrants. The blackcurrants met a sticky end when Nimmy forgot about them halfway through the jamming process, but thanks to her and James' diligence, we now have a good supply of delicious strawberry jam, and Nathaniel and I have made some slightly dubious, but very munchable strawberry muffins. My gooseberry, elderflower and strawberry crumble was a surprise success (don't knock it til you've tried it!), and the freezer, needless to say, is full of fruit ready to liven up apple crumble for the rest of the year!

Friday, 17 June 2011

Nathaniel Gym

In the last couple of weeks, Nathaniel has show progressively less interest in playing with toys or reading books. Instead, he has run around in circles, faster and faster.

After a bit of thought, we realised that he was obviously going through a new developmental stage, one that was all about physical energy and coordination. Indeed, he is now a whizz at the assault course in the park, and although he still runs like a 14 month old (it's really funny - he looks ridiculous!), he's started to get much better at changing direction quickly.

So this morning Ian invented a new game - Nathaniel Gym. He turned on loud 70s rock (nothing like over-stimulation to wear out a toddler), and then romped around the living room for 90 minutes until Ian couldn't stand up!

The pictures are rather blurry - there wasn't a lot of staying still!

Everyone had a good nap!

Thursday, 9 June 2011


I have raved on many occasions about the bit of stray that is 2 minutes behind our house. Today we made great use of it for elderflowers. I'm not sure how I became such an elder fan, maybe something to do with how many memories I have of homemade elderberry wine spilling all over our kitchen floor when I was a toddler, but I have a total passion for all things elder - elderflower cordial, elderflower ice cream/cheesecake, elderberry jam, elderberry cordial......

Today Nathaniel and I intended elderberry juice which I planned to make up a recipe for once we got home. We got to use all the best bits of the moor, the rabbit-ful meadow with hummocks of springy grass, the woods with little paths and the moor with odd copses.

Nathaniel was in charge of carrying, and he enjoyed his responsibility, using the basket as a battering ram to get stinging nettles out of his way.

We found a good supply of elderflowers, and Nathaniel picked enthusiastically until I explained that if we decimated one bush, there would be no elderberries in the autumn. He remembered all about how much he enjoyed elderberries!

When we had a basketful, we headed up onto the stray proper for buttercup collecting:

running down hills:

tree hugging:

and climbing:

Then we went back to the house and improvised elderberry juice with boiling water, a little lemon and sugar and a big blanket.

It was declared a great sucess!

Saturday, 4 June 2011

The Solar System

We've all been pretty tired this week, so we thought we'd deal with our lack of energy and avoid lurking irritably in the house by going on a bike ride with Mikey. We got to use our new toy:

I won't bore you with details, but needless to say, we spent many happy hours comparison shopping and admiring different models and we are confident that this one has just enough, but not too many gimmicks.

One of it's good points is that there is plenty of luggage space.

We set off down the track to the solar system, but almost came to blows with Nathaniel immediately as he realised that this was also the way to the sailing club. We didn't have the keys and weren't planning to go in, but try telling him that! Then he remembered that this route also took in the "big bumps" - a set of lumps for skateboarding over. Last week we extracted great shrieks of excitement and exclamations of "I like this!!" as Ian cycled him up and down while he bounced in his bike seat. How would the trailer cope?

Very well:

Then on to the planets. We again got a very careful look and several minutes of thoughtful silence as Nathaniel's brain tried to cope with our explanation that this bit of metal was a model of the earth, and the one next to it a model of the moon. But then he just reverted to excitement about each new planet.

He decided that it was important to hug each planet. "I a planet hugger!"

He was very interested by the relative sizes of each planet (or dwarf planet - this solar system is a bit out of date). He concentrated carefully as we all had long conversations about the interesting aspects of Pluto and Charon. Not many people can be as interested as we are about massive bodies orbitting their common centre of mass!

We returned via a pint in a pub garden, and Nathaniel convinced Mikey ("You my friend!") to push him for ages on the swing!

I'm a bit tired now after a cycle of 9.1 x 10^9 miles!

Thursday, 2 June 2011


Fortunately, we didn't end up mortgaged up to the hilt to buy our little (growing!) house and garden.

But if we had, this morning it would have been worth it.

7:30am, sun shining, birds singing, temperature is warm. Time for breakfast in the garden!