Sunday, April 20, 2008

Trip to Grandma's house

Well, we are home from our little visit to Grandma, and seem to have survived without computer, etc (I can manage just about a long weekend - longer than that begins to get a bit hairy!) It was very cold and windy up there, so we didn't get out a lot, though we did have a trip over to Snibston Discovery Park, which was great, because the schools in Leicestershire were already back in session, so there were very few kids there on Friday, when we went. Some photos from that excursion are here - and above, Alex is reading a Magic Key Adventure to Grandma Lucy...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Richmond Park Pirates

A trip to Richmond Park this afternoon, with Olivia and Alex (Sarah off spending the day with a friend) - a little chilly, but nice to be out. Spring is just beginning to hit - lots of little brackens pushing their way up through the leaf mould. And inside the Isabella Plantation, quite a few things in bloom - heather, rhododendrons, and even some azaleas, though nothing like what you'll see in a few more weeks' time.

Here are Olivia and Alex being intrepid explorers (or actually, at this point, I think they were playing pirates) - when Olivia is with Alex, she is much more willing to play silly make-believe games and forget that she's pretending to be grown-up - in fact, this is true of Sarah, too - having a 5YO brother is freeing for them - lets them act like little kids without feeling like someone is going to laugh at them for doing it!

More pictures - of course - in the flickr album. Off up to see Grandma Lucy (Geoff's mum) tomorrow, for a long weekend. No doubt photos will be taken, but not blogged until we return, as she has no internet...

Monday, April 14, 2008

Museum Day

We had a nice trip today up to town to take in a museum or two and meet up with a blogging friend, who was in town for a short time (she lives in Finland). It was a nice, sunny (mostly) day, and although not hot, it was warm enough to go without heavy coats (finally) which is always nice when spending a lot of time in museums, etc. And it meant I got to wear my fabulous jacket which my grandma bought for me when I was in San Diego in the autumn and which I've had barely a chance to wear as it's been too cold. I'll be wearing it a lot this spring, though - you can see it in the photo at the a bit below - see why I like it?

Here's Alex being cute in the queue outside the Natural History Museum - we started there, with a quick trip through the dinosaurs as a pre-reward for being dragged through the V&A in the afternoon; we then moved on to a less crowded area of the NHM - the mammals - it wasn't empty by any means, but not quite so heaving as the dinosaurs. Here's Alex with a panda.

And Olivia with some dolphins, which are her favourite. On the right, you can see the model of the blue whale, along with some other cetaceans and elephants, etc. It's a nice exhibit, I think - slightly old-fashioned, but in a good way.

After the NHM, we had some lunch on a bench outside, until it started to sprinkle rain, then we went inside the V&A, where we were meeting Jen, and finished up in the lunchroom there. At the V&A we decided to hit a few specific bits, and then sort of wander - we started in the fashion room, which is always fun, and then headed off to find the glass exhibit, passing through the architecture bit (which I really like) on our way. Then we wandered off through the ironwork gallery, hit the interesting displays of tin boxes and keys and locks, and the musical instruments gallery before deciding to experience the cup of tea gallery - and then Jen went off to see the China exhibit and we went home - Alex was very tired by then, but bearing up well, bless him. This photo was taken by him, actually - not bad for a 5 year old!

I really like the V&A - always something interesting to look at, and such good variety. It's a little grown up for Alex, but even he seemed to have a fairly good time. I think he particularly liked the juice in the cafe, but hey, he's 5... Here's a fun sculpture thingy in the entrance, and a sculpture in the glass gallery - also a glass work, which looks like cherry blossoms or something like that - I really like it. And one final sculpture, also from another entrance hall - this is a piece by Dale Chihuly (not sure of the spelling) - isn't it fun? Lots of photos today - I was going to put them on flickr, but it was acting up, so they are all here - hopefully not too photo heavy for you all...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A day at the beach...

Yes, I know it snowed only a few days ago, but it's much nicer now. Not really beach weather, of course, but as we were only about 15 miles away, we couldn't resist. We started out with a visit to Yesterday's World in Battle, which we had some free tickets for (won at the Christmas fair at school). It was fun - not the kind of place we could really spend the whole day, though, so after lunch, we headed on down to the coast to Hastings and mucked around for a while. We had a nice long walk along the beach and the kids collected a bajillion seashells. And we ate some chips - a proper seaside experience. More photos over here on flickr.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Bizarre weather

This is what we woke up to this morning - and it's still going, though who knows for how long. You'd never believe it was 17 on Friday and we were all running around in sleeveless shirts.

These views are out of the back bedroom window upstairs.

The kids are outside (Olivia and Alex, anyway - Sarah is off at a friend's house for a sleepover) building an actual snowman - he's not very tall, but he's cute - I'm sure a photo will follow!

The front is a little less covered, as there is a lot of pavement, rather than grass...

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Lizards & Tarantulas & Snakes, Oh My

Here's a few photos that came home from school recently - Geoff reminded me I hadn't blogged them, yet - how remiss of me! Last week, some folks came in from a place called Beaver Water World, which is basically a rescue centre for reptiles (like when people get a snake as a pet and then decide they don't want it), though they have other things as well. One of the things they do is take animals to schools for kids to experience - my little guy was really brave, and held or touched everything on offer, even the tarantula... There's another photo of him with 3 snakes around his neck at once, but I haven't shown than one. I love the one of him and his friend Abiram holding the big snake. Bless them, they look so cute.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

A day at the farm

Here's a lovely peacock showing us how incredibly important and desireable he is - unfortunately, his only audience was a 40 (nearly) year old woman, a very cute 5YO boy, two giggly teenage girls (no affiliation) and a couple of chickens, so frankly, he was wasting his talents. Still, it IS rather impressive. It was loud, too, but there's no sound with this photo, luckily for you. [Which reminds me of when I was in university, my dorm was near the President's house, and several peacocks lived on campus and mainly on the lawn of the President's House - lemme tell you, the last thing in the world you want when you have been having a drink or two the night before is to be awakened by a dawn chorus of peacocks - the first time it happened I thought someone was torturing babies - hideous noise those creatures make!]

Anyway. Alex and I took a trip to Deen City Farm today - the weather was quite nice for a change and he is off school with impetigo, which is contagious but doesn't make him feel particularly unwell, so we really needed to get out and run some energy off.

We started out at the garden centre at Morden Hall Park, had a long walk up to the farm (well, long by 5YO standards), which is ideal as it involves not only a river, some bridges and assorted wildlife (if you are lucky) but also a tram line crossing and had a little picnic lunch in their lovely picnic area.

We then browsed around the farm - after having been greeted by the peacock - and saw various other (not highly exciting) wildlife, such as chickens, sheep, pigs, cows, horses, various caged birds, rabbits, some baby chicks (I think - not sure, could maybe have been ducklings, but I think they had pointy beaks, which presumably baby ducks don't have) and some alpacas. Here's Alex looking through the fence at some cows - and a close(r) up of the cows.

They also have a really cool garden area at the farm, where they put a lot of emphasis on recycling and so on - including a lot of plants in interesting containers and reused materials. Alex and I particularly liked this "flower bed" and I really liked the display of plants in old wellies, etc.

It's not the sort of place that will hold the attention of my older kids, but it's a good place for small ones, and if you park at the garden centre rather than next to the farm, you get a nice walk out of it as well - he had an ice-cream for the way back, and we finished at the garden centre (where there's a nice NT tea shop, which we didn't indulge in this time) with a few needed things - a box of pansies and a new doormat, plus I bought a pair of gardening gloves which I think will work nicely for quilting - and if not, well, we can use them for gardening! Oh, and the other thing I like about it is that it's free (though it usually costs me at least one ice-cream, which I reckon is a price worth paying for a few hours' entertainment).