Sunday, 21 October 2012


We have had a truly amazing day today at Gibside.  We'd not been for a couple of years or more and were very pleasantly surprised at how they have really transformed the place since our last visit.  It's changed from somewhere to go for an hour or two, to a full family day out!

We liked the new play area but I didn't get round to taking any pictures there.  I had a horrid grumbly lower back ache and spent much of the time there bent at the waist with my torso on a picnic table, much to Craig's embarrassment.  By the time you've had a couple of kids and they've done all kind of things in all kinds of places, standing with your upper body on a picnic table seemed entirely acceptable to me.

Eased by a soothing stretch we headed on to the rope challenge.  This was good fun, save for the part where I decided to copy a grandma who was making rope walking look ever so easy and I almost fell off.  Well, I didn't fall off but Craig did have to leave the children to their own devices and come to my rescue!

I really like it when Craig takes charge and shows the children the way in physical situation like this.  That probably sounds very stereotypical and self depreciating, but that's not how I intend it.  We all have our strengths.

Miles wasn't entirely sure about the 'squirming along on your belly technique' and I can't say I blame him.  Some of the challenges were rather tricky and could test the agility of large as well as small peeps.

Moving on we walked round the woodland.  The colours were so bright and full of sunlight; not yet the deep reds and russets of autumn, much more the stored up summer warmth.  I think Miles may well have been making some sort of salute to the sun here.  I'm not sure that was his intention, but it's how it's looking from here.

I paused to pick a few seed pods as I have plans to do a story session on seeds with Miles and children from another home schooling family later this week.  I photographed them instead as they looked way too 'at home' to pick.

I love this picture below.  I want to step in, sit down and pause for a long while.

The nature scape play area was rather wet and slippery but that didn't stop our little explorers.

A rustic fireplace in a woodcutters lodge.

Chinks of pottery finds on the mantle.

Ferns in gorgeous green bottles on the window ledge.

Back to the main walkway Miles ran and ran.  He was like a puppy running off ahead at top speed then running back just to do the same again in a different direction!  I'm quite sure that he must have covered at least twice the distance we did today.  Not surprising that he paused for rests here and there, chilled and cheery in the fallen leaves.

By this point we had been there going on five hours and Hermione and I were ready for a cold drink and a browse in the gift shop.  To Craig's mild frustration Miles wanted to go back to the first play area we visited for an extra turn on the big net swing.  We regrouped having both done our thing and headed back to the car with Miles saying how sad it was to have to leave.  So, it's been a while since we've been there but I doubt it will be long till we're back again!


Sarah said...

Aw, John and Clover were at Gibside yesterday too! Maybe we could meet there sometime to explore?

Bridget said...

Hiya Claire, I agree with you about the photo. It would make a beautiful painting.

Claire said...

Sounds like a plan Sarah xx

Claire said...

Lovely to 'see' you Bridget. xx