Tuesday, 28 April 2015


Nathaniel has decided that he would like to be an architect when he grows up and spends a great deal of time reading his various buildings books and designing his own constructions. He is very interested in columns at the minute and we have to stop to examine every one we pass and establish whether it is true to its order or not.

Today we took a leisurely scoot after school to the Yorkshire Museum. It was very pleasant.

Then we examined the Roman section of the museum in detail and spent half an hour making mosaics.

Then, before music, we killed some time eating cake at the library and browsing in the architecture section. Somehow, Nathaniel has got to the ripe old age of 6 without realising that we can just find the section of the adult library which deals with his interest and then sit on the floor and look at all the pictures! We had a very good 20 minutes in the architecture section looking at pictures of Roman and Greek ruins and Arts and Crafts houses.

His next plan is to design a cathedral in modern/classic style. Here is one of his prototypes. It has a selection of columns (he admits that he got the widths wrong) and domes (like Hagia Sophia), with sky lights in the top to let in light. There is a modern stained glass window in an inverted V-shape, and a music room from which is appearing the Tallis Canon.

Monday, 20 April 2015

First camping

Don't worry, we are still here. We're just busy. Not with anything exciting - just everyday life. But I will get around to back-updating soon. Promise.

In the meantime.....

This weekend was the first of our camping collective adventures. We were one family down due to ear infections, but the rest of us were keen and raring to go. Actually, all of us almost called it off in the week before as its been mighty chilly oop here in the north, but we braved ourselves, and it was well worth it. There was ice on the car the first night, but we had a fire, and the sun shone during the day, and so we were warm. We actually removed thermals for great parts of the day! (cf last year when most of us just spent the entire weekend in the same five layers.)

For various reasons, we needed to be close to Harrogate, and so we payed an extortionate amount of money for a field to ourselves, a long walk from some distinctly average facilities. Fortunately, our main criteria for a campsite is good scenery, good location, and to be left alone to burn stuff, so we were happy. We camped on the banks of the Nidd, in a valley below a caravan park and were disturbed only by the distant sound of snoring DofE-ers.

A steep climb down from the toilets

The kids ran around and flew kites and kicked footballs (except Nathaniel who is not into that at the minute), and collected wild garlic and drew complicated pictures and ate long and many-coursed breakfasts.

Thea and J made boats and peopled them with baby flower people who were rudely capsized into the torrent seconds after being launched!

The adults managed to sit and chat, teach Katherine the main musical themes to Jurassic Park (ill-educated woman!) and play with fires.

We climbed across stepping stones and only two of our party got a leg in.

We wandered out to Brimham Rocks which were amazing! I can't believe we've never been before!

However, future visits are likely to happen in the dead of winter because the number of people there was astronomic! Far too busy - and that's on a chilly April Saturday. I simply can't imagine what it is like in the height of summer. We picniced halfway up a rock, and played a very long game of wolf and pigs (I was a wolf who could eat any pigs not on the safety of a rock). Lots of screaming ensued!

We did lots of climbing and the narrower of us squeezed through what we are affectionately calling the sandwich gap. It was very narrow with a massive step halfway up!

Nathaniel was very pleased with himself for mastering it!

All in all it was a very good start to the camping season.

Thursday, 16 April 2015


Soon there'll be none left!

NB To date, Nathaniel has not been impressed by the tooth fairy and has declined to engage with her reward scheme. I think this is some sort of complicated savings plan.

Saturday, 11 April 2015


Annually, at this time of year, I get increasingly grumpy until I snap and demand that I am taken on a long walk in some proper countryside. Clearly a long walk was out of the question (still can't persuade him to walk......), so I excercised my giant intellect and dredged up a location with a pub and almost cyclable paths. That was acceptable to all!

So off onto the Moors we went, to Levisham where there is a fine pub in which we all ate more than we intended to and enjoyed every mouthful. And then off along the track to the moor:

It's a longer track than I remember, but that's probably because in the past we have been galloping the other way, bicycle-less, after a long walk, eager to get to the pub. But in the end we made it to the bestest bit of slope which both children declined to decent en velo, so we did instead. It seems that we can both fit onto the kids' bikes if absolutely necessary!

Then we did a good bit of clomping around Dundale Pool.

Thea climbed to the top of a giant hill, and Nathaniel and I explored a gully.

It was really blustery and cold (I felt that hats were a necessity), but very wonderful.

And then all we needed to do was to get back up the hill to the car.......

A quick trip around the Hole of Horcum and we were all ready for home.

Monday, 6 April 2015


The holidays went by in a bit of a blur. We did nothing and everything including......

.....a trip on a very cold day to the Sculpture Park.

To be honest, the kids just wanted to play in the giant trees and make houses, but it was rather chilly for staying in one place for that long.

So we wandered around and saw some sculpture,

and climbed on things,

and generally explored.

And then defrosted with hot chocolate

...... the Castle Museum, which was a hit. We had fun with columns

and managed to do the "preamble" of the toy and house exhibitions justice before we reached the eagerly awaited main attraction,

Kirkgate, the Victoria street.

We looked around it in sensible museum-going ways to start off with and then the kids devised a complicated game where we all went to a boarding school and sometimes had to go out to the police cells and the laundry.

But mostly Thea wanted to hang out in the school room and tried to gather multiple other kids to play her game.

......eventually the sun came up and it started to get warm. So the kids built a den in the garden.

Such was the construction of the den that it was baking inside, and soon there were two very naked children running around the garden!