Thursday, 20 March 2014

Backwards and forwards

We do a lot of walking up and down Hamilton Drive at the minute. In fact, I do it 20 times week. Wow - that's a bit scary. Here are some of the things that happen:

We find cats to play with:

Nathaniel has to rescue Thea from a position face down on the floor!

We walk on walls:

We enjoy the early morning sun:

We make the most of puddles:

And we are inspired to have sunny feasts when we get home!

Sunday, 16 March 2014


Now that spring is here, the urge to get onto the moors is overcoming us!

One of our camping family friends went up this weekend to try out their new tipi with stove (we only didn't go too due to Ian's total unpreparedness for leaving for Siracusa on Monday!), so we met them today in Goathland to bimble around the Esk and Mallyan Spout.

Again, we had sun, sun, sun, and a good amount of wind. But not enough to stop us basking on rocks for snacks.

Down in the Esk Valley it was warm and sheltered and beautiful. I can spend hours watching little rivers cavort over rocks!

There was enough wind to get us properly sprayed at Mallyan Spout, and Thea wasn't too impressed.

But all was made better by plenty of time to play near the stream (far too full/cold for paddling this time).

Nathaniel and I started a cairn and then Nathaniel improved it with a copse of trees sprouting on its slopes, a garden and a little path ("A path, a path!") on two levels. If I had passed him a herring, you know what he'd have done.....

At the top of the climb out of the valley, someone has thoughtfully placed a pub, so you can guess where the day continued.

But not quite ended. The kids both slept on the way in, so unusually were alert and chatting all the way home. This prevented us from our customary dash into Helmsley where Ian sits in the car park with the engine running to fool the sleeping offspring while I dash to a fine ice cream emporium for us both. Instead we improved it - scampi and chips from what used to be the country's second best fish and chip shop (now under new ownership with inferior chips), eaten picnic style in the car!

Thursday, 13 March 2014


Families are encouraged to use the school library after school, and as I am totally unable to resist the lure of a library (a trait which I have also managed to pass on to the children), we go there frequently. I look at the books (they have a great selection of 1970s-90s puffins - much better than the town library!), Nathaniel chooses and issues his books, and then he and Thea play with the ladybirds.

They aren't very exciting ladybirds - just basic circular cushions, but there is a big pile of them, and the kids love them. Nathaniel wanted to adopt one, so we took it one step further - we made one. Sorry - he made one:

Its called Cicely. He's (don't ask.....) had lots of adventures. But none of them documented photographically yet.

Watch this space.

Sunday, 9 March 2014


Its spring! Or at least it is trying very valiently. So we took off up to the Moors to do an actual walk that Nathaniel would have to actually...... walk!

We didn't aim too high - just a bimble around the Bridestones with Jim and Vicki and Mikey who share our values on the ratio of walk to eating!

But it was lovely! The Bridestones are brilliant anyway - suitably dramatic and unexpected (we approached from a drive through the forest), and excellent for climbing on. We didn't need kids to have this walk take us all day, allowing for time to explore all scrambling routes on each stone.

The first one made the most impression on the kids. Having walked up the steep hill through woodland, and then across a bit of moorland, we were ready for clambering and so took our time making sure that everyone got up every bit, and that every aspect of the view was savoured.

And then onwards to each stone in turn, each one having its own particular character and hence, activity. One of my favourites was the one with the hollowed out flat seat which provided a fine snack area. The final one was the piece de resistance with a tunnel and a tunnel-let. We weren't sure that Mikey was going to be able to get out of the chimney pipe entrance to the tunnel-let.

And Nathaniel had to have several tries with lots of encouragement to banish the stamping feet and yelping of "It's too difficult!" But he did it.

Thea had the advantage of being little and bendy and having tiny feet that could easily wedge into crevices to help herself up.

So she went round and round and round.

Thea exhibited her legendry enthusiasm for everthing climbable. She wanted to get up everything, and the fact that Ian almost got stuck once (he had Jim and Mikey on each leg guiding him down!), didn't put her off.

Once at the top of her stone, she'd explore every inch of the plateau and typically find some indentation on the leeward edge where she wanted to sit.

The sun was warm and the wind, though definitely there, was a south-westerly, and we were happy with no coats for the first time this year. On the walk back to the car, a meadow near a stream called, so we sat basking in the sun and ate our lunch and stuffed ourselves on Ian's birthday cake.

It was a wonderful start to spring.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Everything as it should be

Sometimes, everything just works. Like this weekend. Everyone was cheerful, no-one whined (much), and there was lots of fun!

It helped that Saturday morning dawned frosty and sunny. So Ian and I took turns in going for runs across the crunchy moor while the children ate breakfast, and then I dug the front garden some more while Nathaniel taught Thea how to climb up the rockery and over the wall and generally ran around having fun in the sun.

Then we took a pleasant stroll into town via a convoluted route which took in some areas that we'd not walked for ages and met Mikey and Jim and Vicki for brunch in Meltons Too. The children behaved like angels and joined in our conversations or sat contendedly which enabled us all to tuck into full english breakfasts followed by pudding, including a vat of jelly beans which Nathaniel charmed out of the waitress.

Thea and Ian went guitar browsing with Jim and Mikey while I took Nathaniel to music (via a lovely 15 minutes chatting to the banks of crocuses covering the Dean's gardens), followed by a screening of Cars which Nathaniel much enjoyed.

Today we headed out to Skipwith Common with a crowd to make the most of a mild, albeit overcast, Sunday. Here you can't see parents strolling and three five year old boys careering around on bikes.

But here you can see Thea, all kitted up for a chilly wind and plenty of mud:

We found puddles to fly over, gorse to fall into and trees to climb up.

We pretended we had been for a proper walk and headed to the pub to entirely blow our eating out budget for the month (yes, it's only the 2nd!), but the feast was greatly enjoyed.

Particularly the ice cream sundaes:

We met some guys who had been catching rabbits with ferrets, and having convinced them that the kids didn't need the evidence hiding from them, they let us stroke the ferrets and showed us their tracking devices to help them find them and their prey underground. The kids were predictably fascinated and unbothered by the dead rabbits, and had to come back to chat to their new friends to report that they'd found a rabbit burrow (I suspect that they dug it themselves), and ask advice on what to do next. (They were advised to bait the entrance with lettuce and then sit very quietly near by all afternoon while their parents had a pint!)

We took a different route back through some more convincing rain, and failed to see deer (can't think why not!!!), but felt that we had been outside and suitably exercised. And then home to chat and drink tea and make marble runs and play complicated games with baricades over doors (?).

And then bath and bed and great satisfaction over a weekend well spent.