Sunday, 28 February 2016

Boggle Hole

A plan had been made to go to the beach, and we were prepared, whatever the weather. But we were very impressed when after driving across the Moors, the clouds parted and we were greated by this:

There was excavating and climbing on rocks.

There was collecting of shells and very important sea-tossed pebbles. I found lots of stones with mysterious holes drilled through them (made by piddocks, I now know). I took pictures through them.

And, of course, we made Andy Goldsworth-inspired art that would change over time.

Then we were joined by the others and we set up camp with a beach shelter which was crazily warm inside. Sand castles were dug and decorated, more excavations were excavated and we cremated some sausages and beans.

The tide came in quickly and we moved camp. Thea got cold and had to be warmed by the fire and hot ribena and we played with kites as the sun set behind the cliffs.

I will never get used to the sun setting in the wrong direction here. How are you supposed to deal with the sun setting inland and not over the sea?!!!!

And for no reason at all, here is Nathaniel and Thea demonstrating how snuggly their almost matching jumpers are.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Why we live here

It wasn't a very promising day. Thea and F were tired and so was I. But it's hard to be uncheered when a little cycle ride into the library looks like this:

Makes me very glad that I live in picturesque York!

Then while we were looking at books, Ian texted to tell us that the Flying Scotsman was steaming from London to York and was due to arrive at lunchtime. So we hot footed it down to the station and joined  one million other people (mainly retired gentlemen) to await its arrival. We managed to talk ourselves to the front of the crowd (the children smiled and chatted nicely to the aforementioned gentlemen) and then waitied patiently while the Flying Scotsman was held up by trespassers on the line desperate to get the best photo of it in full steam. Ian, connected to the twitter and perched at the train watching space a little further down the line kept us (and our new-found grandfathers) updated as to its progress.

Eventually, an hour and a half late, it glided almost silently into the station in a total anticlimax.

But Thea was suitably impressed and was keen to rush to the Railway Museum immediately to see it more closely. Alas, we would have beaten it by several hours, and it was really time for lunch, but I was pretty pleased with our unpromising morning!

Monday, 22 February 2016

Half term

Last year, the spring half term was full of activity, partly because Ian was away in exciting places and we needed to be busy. And I enjoyed looking at all the photos of what we had got up to. So this half term, I intended to take a photo a day. But I failed. Not because we didn't do anything, I just forgot. And that's probably a good thing because one can get very stuck behind a lens these days.

So what did we do?

We did some chilled out cycling to Lidl in the sun to impulse buy tasty treats.

We considered car design. Nathaniel looked at lots of pictures of cars that he liked and drew pictures of aspects of them that he thought were interesting. Then he designed his own car putting together all of those aspects.

We enjoyed swinging:

We took a trip to Abingdon where Grandpa Beard was ill, and we went to the Ashmolean. This was not wonderfully received by the kids. They loved the Pitt Rivers, but somehow, they couldn't find a way into the carefully captioned, educationally thought out displays at the Ashmolean. We had some interest in the money section, but Ancient Egypt left them entirely non-plussed. Everyone enjoys shove ha'panny though:

Then we continued the tradition of a little something to keep us going during the bus ride home. It made more sense in the heat of July, but was still very much enjoyed.

We spent a happy afternoon with friends in Hagg Wood customising an existing tree house. Ian and I chased Martha the dog while the children prepared their materials, hammered in random screws (yes, that's what they did) with herrings (well, something entirely unsuited to the task), and made endless pulley systems.

And at last we made the Christmas gingerbread house. It started badly by me insisting on using melted sugar glue, spilling it on my finger and having to hold it under the tap for 5 minutes, and then burning the sugar. But this was all rectified with a short lesson in what happens when you twizzle molten sugar into tubs of cold water, and then chemical reactions 101 by adding bicarb. The house itself stood for about 5 minutes (it was already without chimney when these photos were taken), and then collapsed. Lesson learnt - don't use ready-made icing (ever), to glue together gingerbread.

And there was lots of un-photogenic playing. Lots of building random bird houses (?), you know, for bird and birdy. Lots of lego. And a surprising amount of both kids lying on the floor, picking fluff from between their toes, listening to music (they are on their annual Four Seasons kick) and chatting. Yep, they are 4 and 7 and they were just chatting. Wierd. But nice.

And I'm pretty sure Nathaniel spent less than 10% of the time out of his pyjamas. Very good.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Just stuff

January has continued, and now it's February and we are mainly bored of it being dark the whole time. The Dutsons came to stay and we had a lovely time seeing them, but failed to take any photos at all! F and Thea have been busy - making slime:

and making their own wipe-clean silly faces

Thea is very in to making paper snowflakes. If you leave her alone for five minutes, she will have taken herself into a corner with paper and scissors and surrounded herself with a light floor covering of tiny pieces of cut paper. And of course, made a beautiful snowflake. But it's the many tiny, tiny pieces of paper that seem to make the most impact on our household!

Nathaniel has discovered coding. Last night he made a race for two arrows entirely unaided by me. You can play it here:

Here are the instructions:
Pres flag, pres space and riet-aroa and keep presing riet-R.
And for those of you who don't speak government-mandated phonics, the translation is:
Press the flag, press the space bar and the right arrow. Keep pressing the right arrow.

Think that just about covers us for now!