Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Up the Patch

 Sometimes, when it all become a bit of a challenge, I love to get back to basics - chooks, ducks, reading stories and baking cakes.  Here are some pictures I took at the weekend, before our area was hit by flooding.

This is Ping, one of the June hatchlings.  He's one of my favorites, not least because he's so strange looking.   Please, if anyone feels able to identify a dominant breed in him, I'd love to know. I think his coluring and particularly his white collar (which you can't see very clearly on the pictures) is very Saxony.

The fluffy bootie of David Peckham.

As suspected a very poor elderberry crop this year.  The blossoms were dashed by wind and rain.

Masses of ash keys though!

Arrrghhhh RED MITE!  I feel quite ashamed to be flashing my mites in this way, but in order to help friends who are new to hen keeping to identify them - here they are.  Now you see 'em.... you don't.  A blow torch is certainly the way to go, but don't rush in all gung ho as I did on this occasion.   Remove every last scrap of saw dust before blow torching a wooden hutch.  It's okay, there was water at hand and it was soon under control.

He loves nothing better than to snuggle in, trying to get his beak in your clothes or hair.

The Muscovies, watching over the babies.

I think this is a rowan tree.  I should know - I planted it!  Reminds me of a story about a rowan bush in one of my steinery books.  Off to look.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Oh Deary Me! Structured Play Efforts Thwarted

Following a very productive 'Family Goal Planning Day' yesterday, I have been brimming with ideas today.

One thing I've decided to change around here is to alter my expectations of the children being able to do either the same work, or both do their own work, at the same time.  I now accept that one mama, cannot give two children, her undivided attention at one time.  I probably should have figured that one a few years back.  So, the plan now is that sometimes there will be an in betweeny scenario when Hermione will work independently while I have Structured Play Time with Miles.

You're possibly wondering why it's taken me so long to come up with such an idea;  I'm wondering that myself now.  I've spent too long with unrealistic ideals I think.  I now accept that independent work and structured play will benefit both and possibly leave me less frazzled and torn.

Anyway, having sorted a new timetabled system of 'work' earlier today, (that's a new thing for us too - more on that another day), I decided to top the day off with a bit of Structured Play Time planning.  I had an idea that I would find a suitable Youtube demonstration of how to make a spaceship, which Miles and I would watch then follow.   Below is the clip I found.  Took me a while to figure out what was so odd, but I got there in the end.

I may give in and just go to bed now, tucked up with Total Mom Makeover - a self help book written by a home educating mother of seven.  It's different to many books I've read in than vein, it seems a bit more applicable to my life - although I am slightly alarmed by the pony tail challenge and the section on pubic hair styles.  I found the 'bushy' bit to be a curve ball in a midst the meal planning etc.

Saturday, 22 September 2012


Yellow the bracken, golden the sheaves.

Rosy the apples, crimson the leaves.
Mist on the hillside, clouds gray and white.
Autumn good morning and summer good night!

Yay, it's autumn!  I love autumn, but then I love every season and tend to believe that each season is my favourite as the wheel of the year gently turns.

Time to dust off our copy of Celebrating The Harvest before heading off to bed with Rhythm of the Home, a wonderful free online magazine.

Oh, also, note to self be prepared for the changing leaves question this year.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Leaving the village

 I guess the fact that a mosque and what I presume to be Burger King's headquarters, posed as photo opportunities, is a very strong indication that I need to leave my village more often!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Legoland - Part 2 (The Hotel)

Here are some pictures, in no particular order, of the Legoland Hotel in Windsor.

We stayed in a Premier Pirate Themed Room.

All in all we loved the hotel.  It was a very special place for children - from the decoration, to the wandering characters, table covers to colour with pictures of Lego things, Lego chips and much more.  The food in the main hotel restaurant is buffet style and offered a good selection.  We're quite partial to Premier Inn buffet breakfasts and consider them to be a treat, but Legoland breakfasts knocked spots off those!  To be honest I think I'm still suffering the after effects of one too many warm Belgian waffles with thick chocolate sauce!

The hotel has a small swimming pool and a splash pool attached.  The pool area is very small but that didn't pose much of a problem when we were there - it was adequate for the number of guests who chose to use it.      There are lots of squirting things in the splash pool, a small slide and even a squirting see saw.  My only gripe, was that there were only eight changing rooms.  Yes, only eight!  We only had to wait a moment but I suspect that there will be times when this creates absolute mayhem.

This was the indoor play area.  It wasn't hugely interactive; I think they could have created something with more play value, however, it did look magical to the children.

When we arrived at our room there was a treasure trail for the children.  They answered the questions with clues from the room and that gave them the code for a safe.  They opened the safe and found two small Lego kits.  Cool.

This was the adult bed.

The walls and even carpets were themed throughout.  Miles spent what felt like forever interpreting stories from the carpets and wall coverings.

Acceptable room drinks tray.

Magnificent bathroom.

View from our room.

Even the dressing table had a nautical twist.

The children's bunks.

Yikes - a (Lego) spider on the bathroom ceiling!

Television stand in children's room.

Huge Lego ice cream sundae in the restaurant.

One of the many guests who called by at dinner.  Miles loved the characters and hugged each one of them.

Spaghetti chef.

 Door leading from hotel to park.

When the children jumped on this area of carpet there were loud farty noises followed by 'you stinky plink!' in a very strange accent.

Main entrance to the hotel.

The dragon breathed smoke.

Last but not least Lego chips!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Legoland Trip - Part One (the park)

As someone who generally speaking would rather stick pins in her eyes that go anywhere crowded, loud and  generally 'full on' I have to say Legoland was a a pleasant surprise.  We've done other theme parks in the past, but I tend to do them under sufferance as the children like them.    This time I enjoyed it too.

When we have gone to other parks some of the rides have been too big or too scary for our children but all of the rides were suitable here.  It's a real family place as opposed to a hang out for thrill seekers.

There were quite a few water rides and the general consensus here is that the water rides are wetter than at other places.  Unlike Alton Towers for example, the driers just don't do it here - you get a real good drenching on many of the rides.

There were even chooks and ducks!

I loved this fire engine ride.  Families each had an engine and had to pump it with a lever to make it move towards the burning buildings.

They then had to jump out and put the fire out before racing back.  Great fun!

Dino safari had lots of fabulous models.

The Atlantis Submarine was good.  I hadn't really known what to expect and was delighted when I realised we were actually going to be going in a 'real' submarine.  It was cleverly done - the children were quite sure we were below water.

Looking out at a spectacular aquarium of fish, sting rays, sharks and Lego models.

Having been on the submarine the children could crawl into bubbles to look inside some large tanks.

Driving school - they both passed their test!

Boating school - not sure Hermione passed this one although she blamed Craig's steering.

Many of our favorite rides were in the castle area.  This was the home to Miles' favorite roller coaster which at one point we rode four times straight off.

I didn't expect much from the show.  The ones we had seen at other places were dire.  This was a great surprise; we all thoroughly enjoyed it.  The stunts were fab - they dove off the top of the big tower into the pool, somersaulting on the way down and doing all kinds of fancy moves.

We spent two days in the park and realise now we still didn't see everything or do all that we wanted to do.   I would certainly do it again.

Back soon to tell you all about the hotel - which was equally amazing in my view.