We've had this weekend in the diary for camping, and of course the weather was spectacular, but in the end, were all a bit under the weather and tired and a lot of people had to be at work until 5pm on Friday (which is rather close to sunset up here in the north), so we made a new plan.
Camping in the garden!
Rather than our Baden-Powell inspired ubercamp, we made a nylon city at the end of our garden, decorated it with fairy lights and lit the chimnea.
The first two tents go up....
We cooked Friday supper on the oven in our kitchen and then toasted marshmallows for a "midnight" feast on the fire.
Two skeletons enjoy marshmallows.
On Saturday we got up slowly and then went for a walk along the river at Benningborough which was just enough exercise for us all! There was wood collecting, and log clambering on and a little muddy beach to play on.
And then lots of other people turned up for a barbecue and roasted corn on the cob and Benningborough burgers and home grown courgettes and tasty sardines were eaten with glee.
Today the kids played endless complicated games inside and out. Walkie talkies were used liberally and every single toy in the house was used for something.
And then we all decamped to a friend's 40th birthday celebrations and ate cake all afternoon.
We didn't get our dose of wilderness, but we had lots of fun.
Thank you for all the wonderful birthday presents sent to Nathaniel! He has much to read and play with and is very appreciative.
He even managed not to get up at the crack of dawn, instead lying in bed and reading until 7:30. I had to write that so that I'd remember it in years to come!
And then we opened presents!
And then we played with presents!
And then after some lunch it was time to go to his party. I had declined to have loads of kids in our rather messy house, so we had an explorers party in the woods. It was all very exciting!
Basically 6 friends joined Nathaniel and a bunch of younger siblings to rampage round the woods for a couple of hours. They ran, we made a den, made some fire, created candle holders with special gems and generally had fun.
The star of the afternoon was definitely Ian who was the bear! We ran numerous bear hunts - the bear ran through the woods leaving a trail of white pine cones. The kids chased after him picking up his pine cones and stuffing them in their foraging bags. They were then rewarded with sweets for all the cones they returned to the bear (we got through a whole tin of Roses!). They wanted to do it again and again. And again. And again.
When our sailing club turns up at open meetings, there is always much made of the number of competitive vintage GP14s (and the fact that they are all yellow!). So we decided to capitalise on this and invite the other old boats to race with us on the river. Of course, vintage is a specific label (mark 1 etc), so we had to make it "vintage and classic" which basically included anyone brave enough to sail on the river.
This turned out to be 8 GPs, which is about as many as any sane person would want at a start line with a northerly wind.
Nathaniel and Ian took our boat and had lots of fun despite nearly not getting off the jetty due to jammed main halyard and then having to paddle to the start!
Having lost the coin toss for who was to sail (or at least, that's what we told her), Dorothea and I stayed in the club and played. Both safety boats were out being official, so we were definitely confined to land. So we took silly photos of ourselves:
We went for a walk in the drizzle up to the race area and tried to take photos with my phone (never terrible successful when it comes to sailing):
It looked fun. There was some very tight racing with the second to fifth places always unsure until the final lap. But Ian and Nathaniel did very well. Ian managed to sail with Nathaniel's help, and Nathaniel managed to stay interested and relatively alert for three whole races! They came fourth overall.
The prize giving included the awarding of the Round Holes trophy, specially constructed by Hugh, and Nathaniel and Ian were awarded a prize for coming fourth and a prize for the youngest crew. Never let it be said that Steve Parry hasn't done everything in his power to ensure our kids enjoy sailing!
The Chair of the GP association collects his prize.
Nathaniel declined to stand up in front of everyone and collect his prize, so here he is clutching his chocolate at home!
Of course, Steve's efforts are producing sterling results. The kids love being at the club and had great fun getting involved in EVERYTHING! It is a testament to the patience of the club members that neither of them have been thrown off a jetty yet!
Thea was able to stop whining about not sailing by the end of the race, and was awarded with a good sail with some additional breeze at the end of the day.
Term has started and things are getting back to normal. Nathaniel has started Class 1 and is enjoying such privileges such as being able to go to the tuck shop and being allowed water bottles in class.
Two children were very pleased to be in each others' company again.
We've visited the train-watching spot pretty much every day and enjoyed trains.
We've enjoyed after school crafts:
We've scooted to school together:
We've enjoyed the garden:
Thea and F have played endlessly on the climbing frame with rope and a handful of cars. I've cleared a whole square foot of flowerbed (no mean feat when you consider that it was overgrown over a thick layer of pebbles and no membrane. Did they not watch Ground Force?!):
We've played with wheeled items:
Thea has started to demonstrate a love of complicated jigsaws. (Easy one pictured!)