Sunday, 31 October 2010

Forestry Commission - family values?

I am so upset. Actually that feels like an understatement. I'm horrified.

I've not been feeling on top form of late and Nana is waiting to have surgery, anyway, to cut a long story short I decided not to allow the children to have a Halloween party in the garden this year, but to go to a Forestry Commission event instead.

Again, I'll be brief as I'm finding it difficult to sit still right now. The event consisted of a tour in the dark forest, lead by a ranger. We stopped at various points where a theatre company staged various scenes of a connecting story. The event was advertised as a family event and for 'all ages'.

The scenes were varied but included a young woman wrapped in something like a sheet crying and telling of how a man had taken her to the moors and done awful things to her. There was a further scene where an actor tried to push supposedly severed body parts onto children even when they were crying and recoiling in fear. At one point a mad looking twitchy scratchy sort of guy started waving a real big chopping axe around and chased a young boy with it.

It was so bad that we decided to leave the guided party and took our chance on being lost in the huge pitch black forest. Thankfully we made it back to the visitor' centre where the Chief Recreation Ranger sniggered at me when I told him it was not family entertainment!

I am so disappointed with the Forestry Commission. In addition to it being advertised as a family event for all ages I also called and spoke to a ranger before booking tickets and told him how old my children are and asked if it would be suitable.

What is then world coming to when this is classed as family entertainment? We will certainly revert back to our usual plans next year where I have control over what happens - red fairy lights in the trees, toasting marshmallows over the fire and tales of The Hairy Toe!

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Quading and quilting

While Hermione and Nana created beautiful dolls at quilting group,
Miles had his first try at motor sports!

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Thursday, 28 October 2010

Space Flight

We went on a cool inter planetary mission today courtesy of a quirky inflatable planetarium which came to town as part of the University Science Week.

I thought the show lasted for five to ten minutes and happily trooped in with Hermione and Miles. Towards the end Miles was starting to wriggle a little, (the children were lying on the floor for full effect), but when we came out I realised the show had lasted over thirty minutes! I think he did ever so well considering and we all learned lots, particularly about Saturn which was the main focus of the exploration.

We couldn't go so close to Durham Cathedral without calling in. It was nice to show Nana the new Transfiguration Window. I agree with the sentiments expressed in this clip that it is truly a wonderful piece of art.

We rounded our trip off with lunch at an Italian overlooking the river and it was perfect.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010


After a bit of online rummaging I think we'll go for this one. You can buy it along with a whole load of other beautiful designs by Alan Dart here.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Chocolate Heaven - bring it on!

I'm delighted to have discovered Conscious Chocolate. I can vouch for Healthy Heart and Lucuma Gold. Next on my hit list is Love Potion No. 9.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Five people you meet in heaven

It's been a wearing week. A frantic call to emergency services in the small hours, ambulance on it's way, ambulance not on it's way, mad dash to hospital with my baby -who thankfully now appears well to all except myself. Mamas see deeper than others when it comes to their babies.

I fear my fight to save a beautiful tree in our village could be all but over. It's not over yet. The decision hasn't been announced but I can feel the vibe. I feel I've failed - the tree, myself, my children and all who benefit from both green spaces and an open and ethical system of decision making within local government.

Our beloved Polly, the quirkiest hen that we have known slipped away in her sleep this week. Merlin is flat. We don't know if she is ill or mourning.

I've been reading some of Mitch Albom's work. It's probably not what I would have chosen in a book store but my sister bought them for nana and I felt intrigued. I've read Tuesdays with Morrie and am now onto Five People You Meet In Heaven. Thought provoking.

On a brighter note Miles has been helping to plant bulbs at his Steiner group and Hermione is having guests for a 'Come Dine With Me' evening later. We are making a main course and friends are bringing the other courses. I only hope they don't expect a large cash prize!

Monday, 11 October 2010

Friday, 8 October 2010

Autumn mobile

Sticks, berries, rose hips and raffia

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Wednesday, 6 October 2010


Wow, I'm all blissed out. I've been blessed with an hour of reiki and reflexology today, a cosy session making felt acorns with the children and currently I'm sitting with a glass of wine while Craig sorts dinner. Could it get better? I'm not sure that it could.

I've not photographed our acorns as yet but you can see someone else's on a lovely blog here. A lovely project for small hands. Only wish we had more acorn caps. We collected lots on holiday in the Lakes as we don't have that many oak trees around here. Lots of pine, sycamore, silver birch and ash, but sadly not so many oak.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Celebrations and tsunamis

Sitting at Steiner group last week, I sipped my chamomile tea, watched Miles help sand and oil wooden blocks, while chatting to a friend. 'How did you enjoy your two weeks in France?' I asked. She sighed, 'The two weeks in France were great, but since coming back I feel like I've been struck by a tsunami of responsibility, chores and demands - so much so that I feel I never want to go on holiday again for fear of life kicking in again on the return!'

Ordinarily this wouldn't have struck a chord with me. Generally speaking life is the same year round save for the obvious seasonal variations here. We tend to keep a regular rhythm. However, this summer 'rhythm' seems to have gone to the dogs and I'm struggling to get back on track. I must stop listening to the carefree roving voices in my head and settle back to normality. I'm not knocking carefree roving - I just figure we've done our fair share for now and with autumn well and truly here I think we need to be revolving around a domestic hub again. Hearth and home, wool and willow, hot chocolate and oat cakes..... you know.

There has been much excitement over the past few days as we have celebrated Miles' fifth birthday. My little man is growing big! His celebrations were varied, to include a woodland forage to collect masses of wind gifts to turn into a huge spiral in the garden (just so soon as it stops raining), a Gruffalo themed party with friends to include a 'deep, dark wood' in nana's place, a special dinner with family and a friend and a trip to a local harbour to see one of his favourite boats. Add to that the various comings and goings of well wishers and the likes and it's made for a busy time.

In addition to family life I'm also very caught up in bureaucratic process. Put simply I appear to be at war with the local planning department, primarily about the proposed removal of a mature tree in our village. I am so incensed by the whole situation (details of which I shan't bore you with) that I even set up my own petition and went door knocking for signatures. I have been in touch with environmentalists and if needs be I shall climb up the tree and refuse to move. If you're old enough to remember Emily Bishop's tree climbing shenanigans, (which I'm not but folks keep mentioning it) then that may be where this is heading.

Well, got to dash, still chasing that elusive rhythm. Should anyone spot it please send it home.