Thursday, 24 April 2014

How they are now

Nathaniel at 5 years and 7 months

Dorothea at 2 years and 6 months

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Easter holidays

It has been a long spring term, and we were definitely due some holiday. Two weeks was simply not enough, particularly as the children had a long list of things that they wanted to do. So we did lots of playing with play dough and lego, and not getting dressed all day, and other important things:

Cycling to lidl to buy afternoon tea:

Romping boisterously in the garden with friends and many, many props:

Driving tractors through a viking village (of course):

A trip to Leeds to buy fish from the market, eat ice cream, and do lots of running (a favourite shared game at the minute):

(More on those sunglasses another day)

And lots, lots more. Roll on summer holidays - we await you eagerly!

Tuesday, 22 April 2014


It seemed slightly mad, going to Grinshill a couple of days before the funeral, but it was such a good idea. Jollyness, fires and two excited children running around increased the level of cheer.

We camped in the paddock and made ourselves at home!

A giant fire was made, and enjoyed, and both children now use the phrase "raging inferno" with considerable glee!

It was still going the next day which led to a warm and cosy half hour with a book for me!

Nathaniel was very pleased to find an old friend, and he and Thea devised some new games. Its only been 8 months since the wedding, but Thea is now much more able to play these sort of games which is a good thing for everyone!

James was keen to revisit Acton Scott, a working Victorian farm, so we braved the arctic winds and attended their first day of the season. Dorothea was pleased to get her third chicken fix in two weeks and spend some time happily trying to feed them twigs. We were in the right place at the right time and so were able to follow Alan around and grind grain into flour:

And make rope from straw:

And help make a cart wheel:

And hold 3-day-old chicks with tickly feet:

(I wish I had a photo that captured the look of shear joy that was on Nathaniel's face for most of this experience. He positively glowed!)

And watch Dusty the donkey (not pictured!) work the pump to raise water from the well to the irrigation tank. And then try ourselves:

And feed the lambs:

And the calves:

Not bad eh?

On Easter Day, most of us slept too late for church (despite the hourly encouragement from the church bells!), and two children wouldn't be parted with their breakfast which a thoughtful Easter Bunny had suplemented with treats (Thank you Christine!), but after lunch we donned waterproofs (of course!), for Nimmy's elaborate egg hunt which included several re-hiding sessions, lurid fluffy chicks (beloved of Thea), and collecting of complex clues!

There was much rejoicing!

It was a lovely weekend, albeit rather over-exciting!

Monday, 14 April 2014

First camping

We were a bit depleted in numbers for our first camp of the season. We'd never been able to get us altogether in the first place and then the cold weather and busy schedules further reduced us, but those of us who got there were very pleased we did.

We headed up to the east Moors, at the top of a hill by some woods, and we pretty much had the site to ourselves. A couple of hardy caravans appeared, but as one of them spent more time on adjusting their satellite dish than leveling their caravan, and there was never another soul playing in the field, we embraced the role as sole occupants.

And very nice it was too!

The kids had fun making complicated structures in the long grass areas using all available camping furniture (Nathaniel most often made an M6 péage), flying kites and tearing around on bikes. We ambled into the woods with saws and axes and the children carried a surprisingly large amount of wood back for the fire!

I spent a rather chilly first night debating whether 13 years was quite a long time to expect a Eurohike sleeping bag to last, but everyone else was warm enough. (NB The answer is yes - I need a new sleeping bag!) So the next morning we had our customary extended breakfast (several courses over a good many hours), and then headed down to the north beach to play. The weather wasn't entirely encouraging, but we are not easily put off, we just found a sheltered place for lunch before we started the digging.

And yes, we did get me and Ian in as well! Unfortunately, the tides were not in our favour, so we were disappointed not to be able to use our customary stream for building excavations. Instead I drew mazes;

And we started the complicated of backwards excavations - where you start at the water's edge and dig away from the incoming tide. The engineering is slightly less elegant, but it's still good fun!

The sun obligingly came out and we removed hats and scarves and gloves and basked a bit.

And then, before we knew it, there was no sand left to play on.

So we headed home, made fire, cremated meat, chatted to hens and horses and had a warmer night. And all in all, it was a most satisfactory start to the season!

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Subtle hints

Thea knows where her priorities are!

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Evolution of an obstacle course

It was necessary that one child was thoroughly worn out in order to insist on an early nap so that I could take well-rested toddlers to the end of term service at the church. So we built obstacle courses.

We started inside

And then moved outside.

And got more and more complicated!