Friday, 26 April 2013


We didn't have 34 degree heat, penguins or the furthest end of the world to explore today, so we had to be content with simple pleasures!

We started off by taking cars for a walk in a wheel barrow:

And did some climbing on the newly named "picnic log".

We only had an imaginary picnic, but it was very tasty.

Then we played with friends and took a walk by the river in Bishopthorpe to the airstream coffee caravan for a drink, a snack of sausages and ketchup and playing with hula hoops and slides.

While we were there, we were overjoyed to watch two different types of boats being removed from the water on giant trailers pulled by 4x4s. So back at home, we needed to construct an appropriate accessory for our matchbox jeep with trailer and rib.

Now it is decorated with pens as well!

We finished the day with a relaxing bath. Assuming you class swimming races, "wine" and "beer" making and hug-chases relaxing activities.

Sunday, 21 April 2013


It's one of the most pressing of middle-class dilemas. Second in importance only to deciding on black olive or stilton grissini at Waitrose, people everywhere are asking, National Trust or English Heritage?

It doesn't matter where you live, there is always an equal split of places that you'd like to visit on a regular basis between the two, and no-one can afford both!

We've solved this problem by joining neither and then complaining about it.

So when Benningbrough Hall (National Trust) advertised a free weekend, we thought that we should go and find out what we were missing. Its only 15 minutes out of York, but we've never visited.

We had lots of fun! And not just in the adventure playground. But of course that is where we went first. Nathaniel was a bit intimidated by the number of children running around, and had his first lesson on how to be assertive when waiting for a swing (he ended up in tears, but got his swing!), but Thea identified the slide that she wanted, and was off!

Unfortunately, the slide was a bit wide and busy for her to slide by herself, but Esther stepped in to be a seat while I was supervising Nathaniel doing something perilous.

The we made the most of a display of vintage cars and Nathaniel carefully identified the distinguishing features of a line of MG Midgets.

Then we took off through the gardens:

Into the woods and found a spider:

And a house:

And Nathaniel jumped a giant ditch and made a brilliant bridge with a mammoth log on which he scaled a wall. Lots of fun. I am almost convinced that the decision needs to be National Trust (but no Rievaulx/Whitby Abbey/Helmsley Castle........).

Ian missed out, but he spent time in somewhere almost as exciting:

Monday, 1 April 2013

Sutton Bank

The weather was forecast to be sunny (albeit freezing), so we headed up to the White Horse for a walk along Sutton Bank. Mikey and we were pretty keen to go, as we had never been up when the visibility was greater than 5m. Last time we were in a blizzard!

The forecast wasn't as accurate as I had hoped, but it was still good to be out in the real outside. We climbed up the steps next to the White Horse (and Nathaniel did the lot of them without fussing once!), and enjoyed the view out across the Vale of York to the distant Dales where there was a thick layer of snow across the tops. It felt as if we were in the Highlands!

There was still a good amount of snow along the top of the bank (these photos are of where there was less), and Nathaniel enjoyed tormenting us by insisting that he was pushed through the snow. Which was a bit reasonable because it was frozen hard and must have been extremely difficult to cycle over the peaks and troughs of frozen footprints.

We bimbled to the visitor centre at the other end of the Bank for an extended coffee and cake which turned rapidly into lunch as well and playing with the exhibits. Thea was much more impressed with this part of the outing. I don't think that she had been enjoying the icy wind to the back of her neck, and us leaving her gloves in the house (she sported Nathaniel's spare socks on her hands), and the sort-of-windproof carrier cover in the car, didn't really help. Padding round a heated visitor centre was much better!

On the way back, the sun did manage to appear for a bit, and the wind had eased a little, making the ice melt enough for Nathaniel do get more proper cycling and warming everything up enough for Thea to fall asleep and snore in my ear.

By the time we got back to the cars, we were warmed by the sun and not ready to leave at all, so we went off for an adventure in the open-access woods. Vicki led the way in the hope of forever seeing over the next hill, and she and Nathaniel just about managed not to fall down any fox sets or into any streams. Why did we continue to bring the bike with us?!