Sunday, 11 December 2016

Sleepy Shepherd

Marisca had her first starring role this week, as *the* sleepy shepherd in "the Sleepy Shepherd".  And she did brilliantly well.  Her own microphone, half a dozen lines, two performances, all delivered well.  I was amazed at her confidence: not really with the lines, but at times she was dancing and doing the actions to the songs on her own on the stage in front of a couple of hundred people.  This from the girl who doesn't want to go to the front of church to join in with action songs...  She's quite shy about it now but she really was fantastic.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Turning 4

Turning 4 has been a big thing for Tom.  He suddenly realises himself capable of things like getting dressed and undressed entirely by himself.  He also realises that he simply can't wear clothes that are aged 2-3 and the like.  I'm sure you can see from the photos below how grown up he looks with his big boy haircut, but also how silly he can look too.

Happy birthday Thomas x

Catching up on a day at the YSP

My camera's not seen much use recently.  Here are some nice ones I found from a trip to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park recently.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

A week in the peaks

We quickly followed our long weekend in the Lakes with a week in the Peaks.  I've never really understood why it's called the peak district as it's pretty lacking in peaks really but we had a nice time in generally rolling hillscapes.

It was truly lovely weather (until the last day).  We employed our tarp every day as a sunshade rather than a rain cover, and played about with different configurations for the 'little house'.  We spent time lazing on the campsite.  We did some outdoors stuff and some underground stuff.  We barely checked our phones or email or any of that nonsense.  We sat around in the evenings listening to Olympics coverage.  We only had one day of Marisca poorliness and pretty good sleep all round.

We went on Marisca's first proper bike ride!  After lots of riding round this campsite and the previous one, we took ourselves to the Monsal Trail, hired bikes for the grownups and a trailer for Tom, and set off.  We had a great time cycling along the old railway line, toot tooting under the bridges, riding through long lit tunnels, and generally having fun.  And we're super proud of Marisca - probably a 7 mile ride is a very good job and she absolutely loved it, as you can see.

We had a really great walk on the Roaches.  Perfect - quite a short climb up to a nice ridge with enough scrambly rocks to keep everyone interested and enough breeze on a hot day.  We had a picnic at the trig point, and a fair number of bilberries on the way, as Tom's purple mouth testifies.

And we had a nice walk, with orienteering, up through the woods on Grin Low.  The orienteering was just following the main path and looking out for the posts but it really kept both children interested.  The tower at the top was really fun and we had a lovely picnic and played dragons at the top of the hill.  Afterwards was a trip into Poole's Cavern which Marisca was really captivated by.  Another brilliant day!

Just to wrap up the post in the way we wrap up the days in the tent.  Risky and Thomas reading away until it's too dark to see.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Outdoors fun in Keswick

A couple of weeks ago we had our first camping trip of the year. I'm happy to report that we all like camping exactly as much as we did last year! We went back to the campsite just outside Keswick where Marisca was a bit poorly last year, and had a much better time.

Probably the best bit was climbing up Catbells.  It's been a little ambition of mine as a family friendly fell, and the children loved the climb up; mostly the scrambly bits and the sweets-for-fuel bits.  The way down and back to the parking spot was less fun and less well documented.  But the hill climb itself was great.  Look at these little people go!

The next day we walked in the same place, more or less.  Taking the boat around Derwentwater and then a short kid-guided walk along the shore to the next landing place.  Marisca loved being in charge, and Thomas loved playing Boo! (as usual).  We also got the chance for a bit of swinging and tree climbing.  Lovely.

And happily, at the campsite both of them really got into riding their bikes again.  Every time we went anywhere Risky would tell us that when she got home she'd go for a little ride.  And indeed, still being in pyjamas didn't stop them.

A nice weekend away, lots of fresh air and fun.

Friday, 17 June 2016

American adventure part 6: Not America (Toronto)

Canada in a glass.

Well here we are at the last stage of our epic holiday!  We decided we wanted to see Niagara and happily Toronto is close by, *and* it's in a slightly more hospitable time zone, so we had a few days here as the first stage of the way home.

Mostly we did some city touristy stuff which was basically museums and museums and walking round streets.  Kinda like Chicago way back at the beginning, but with less tired people.
Episode 1 of 'pose like the thing you're standing next to'

On our walk to the city centre (aka downtown, but downcity doesn't really work) we passed through a nice little sculpture garden with *incredibly* pretentious descriptions of a sculpture which was just large concrete blocks.  Not very photogenic except with the addition of a cheeky 3 year old.

We walked through to the St Lawrence market which is a nice covered food market and good for wandering around and sourcing treats.  Just down the road is the Flatiron (our second flatiron experience of the holiday, rather different to the ones in Boulder).  Kinda cool in a way that buildings don't tend to get built in our cities.

Episode 2.

We were meandering towards the CN Tower.  Having passed up a tall building opportunity in Chicago we decided to go to the top of this one.  Not the very top, but pretty high up.

It was brilliant watching a city from this vantage point, with its transport tycoon-like trains and planes.

But yes, I learned again that heights are really not much for me.  Here's the famous glass floor, which was fun at least in standing back and watching the various different sets of interactions people had.  On the whole the look on faces was of nervousness, even if the panes of glass could each hold half a dozen moose (heavier than polar bears, I did not know).  Our children either like heights or haven't learned to fear them yet.  I hope the former for their sake.  I did do one rapid transit of the corner of the area though, and feel that this was plenty.

Windy.  What a funny lot.

Playing choo choo in the train yard outside.

Dinner one night was at the snappily titles Yonge Dundas square (I think they need a better name if they want to be more Times Squarey than they're managing).  More fountains, but really the 10 or so fewer centigrade degrees in Toronto than Chicago or Boulder should have stopped Marisca more than it did.  I supported Tom's more cautious approach.

These kids *love* escalators. I reckon we must have done approaching 100 on our trip, so I had to get a photo of one.  This one, in the science museum, wasn't great as they didn't have their suitcases to make farty noises on the entry and exit rumble strips.

Highlight of any science museum - playing with the Bernoulli effect.

There were loads of cool things - we spent a while here.  Never photographed was the thingbob that chucked tissue into the air.  Not sure what the science was now I think about it but it was effective fun.

I will genuinely give a prize to whoever can work out why Elspeth is looking pleased with herself in front of this thing.

We also went to the aquarium which had some great sharks and jellyfish, and to the Royal museum which had some great stuffing.

Then our last day - Niagara.  It really was very cool.  The constant haze of water vapour over the falls, the all-encompassing nature of the horseshoe when you're down on the boat, the sheer perpetuality of it when behind the falls.  We went, we were touristy, we enjoyed ourselves immensely.

And we wrapped up the day with some Timbits. [Note: insert second bird/bakery theft issue here].

So that was it.  No mention of how many loops Tom watched of the aeroplane's CBeebies video in what was the middle of the night by anyone's timezone while the girls snoozed peacefully in the row behind. That certainly doesn't qualify as holiday.

Thank you for the brief visit Canada, we'll see you again.