Sunday, April 25, 2010

St George's Day Parade

Alex's scout district was due for a parade along Wimbledon Common and a short service today; this morning about 8, it looked like the parade was doomed - raining steadily. Luckily, it cleared up (then started, then cleared up again!) and the sun even came out for a while.

They assembled on the common, then went off to line up.

I didn't follow the whole parade, just watched them head off...

...then caught up with them a bit later to see them all come along. It was quite sweet actually -

despite Mr "I must make faces at the camera".

Once they passed, another mum and I went along to the village for a cup of coffee... Apparently, if the shop is posh enough, you don't get handles on your cups!

And here they are, waiting to be collected.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Jack Petchey Awards

Sarah and I attended the Jack Petchey Achievement Awards Ceremony (for Guides) tonight - she received the award for her dedication to Guiding - I think because she nearly always attends, including extra-curricular things, is enthusiastic, responsible, sensible (I know what you are thinking!) and happy to take on responsibility. Here she is receiving her award - it's a medallion, plus she gets £200 to spend on her unit (they bought some new tents - badly needed).

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A birdy day

Today was the last day (boo hoo) of the Easter Holidays. And, astonishingly, it was just as gloriously gorgeous as it was yesterday, so we decided to have a trip out* - the Wetland Centre is a nice destination on a day like this and as we are members, it's, while not precisely free, at least pre-paid. It was great, actually - not at all crowded, despite expectations. We decided to take the official guided tour - despite having been members for a number of years we have never done this before - largely because we usually have small children in tow. It was great - nice to go around with someone who is an expert.

We saw a variety of birds - both exotic and common - the kids were, of course, the most delighted with the baby ducks. Although they did also like the cranes.

Here were are watching the sand martins fly back into their nests in the sand martin bank - it astonishes me the speeds at which they manage to fly straight at the bank and into their nest holes without crashing.

We saw a few other animals as well - still haven't managed to see the elusive water vole, but there was a rather nice marsh frog. And we saw a baby slo-worm, which is technically a type of lizard, though it looks like a little snake.

It was a lovely day out - gorgeous weather, and despite some initial reluctance on the part of the eldest child, the kids had a good time...

*when I saw "we decided", what I technically mean is that I decided we should be outside on a day like this, so I put my foot down and told the children that we were going out.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


This is Olivia's new gadget - it's a kind of skateboard called a Ripstick, Waveboard or Street Surfer - the thing is, it only has two wheels, which makes balancing on it a bit challenging. The neat thing is, you don't push off the ground to make it move, like a traditional skateboard - it's all in the hip movement, which is a kind of twisty movement, like the dance. She's getting very good at it, as demonstrated by her ability to turn a circle!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sign of spring...

It's not that we don't make ice-cream in the winter, but when the warmer weather comes, it's somehow that much more enticing. Today's is just vanilla (I say "just", but really, vanilla is the King of ice-cream, let's face it) but it's a harbinger of summer treats...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Nest in the shed

We had our (usually) annual Spring Clean of the shed today - we take everything out, give it a good clean (it's a brick building, fairly good sized, very popular with spiders, etc), decide what can go to the tip and what stays, and then put everything back. In one corner, near the roof, we found this lovely little nest - I should have put something in for scale, as it's very small - the eggs (which sadly, were unhatched, were very old - probably even last year's (we didn't clean the shed last spring, as it happens)) were about the size of Cadbury's mini eggs - the candy coated ones. About an inch long, for those who don't speak Cadbury's. We think it's probably a blue tit nest, as it's one of our smallest birds - wrens are smaller, but they have a different nest type.

Friday, April 09, 2010


I took the kids to Chessington World of Adventures today (amusement park right down the road from us), as it was a lovely day and they were doing a special promotion for Nectar points (a loyalty card scheme for one of our supermarkets plus other various shops), so we got a very good deal. It was fairly crowded, though not as bad as Legoland usually is. Still, we did do a bit of waiting to go on the more popular rides, but it all worked out in the end. Alex is finally big enough to go on most of the rides, including some roller coasters - he enjoyed both the Vampyre (what we are queuing for above) and the Dragon's Fury, as well as other rides. As it happened, Sarah went with a friend today as well, but they were both too cool to want to spend to much time with us (or with Katharine's dad, who took them, I suspect).

Here's Olivia waiting for our turn on the swings in the new Wild Asia section (those of you who know Chessington may recognise the swings from when they were part of Beanoland - though they did completely move the dodgems and the bus!).

Anyway, the weather was gorgeous - sunny and warm - which no doubt contributed to the crowds - and we had a lovely day out.

Picnic in a park

Today the weather was so lovely that while we were out running our various errands in Wimbledon (orthodontist, passport photos, birthday present for the weekend, trousers for a boy who keeps growing, rechargeable batteries, parsnips, etc) we decided (or rather, I did, unilaterally - the advantage of being the person in charge of transport!) to grab some lunchy things and head to the park for a picnic lunch. Traffic in Wimbledon being awkward, we abandoned the first plan of going up to Wimbledon Common, and instead ended up at Morden Hall Park, where we had a nice stroll as well as our picnic.

We spotted this lady in the river with a fishing net - turns out it was a kids activity where they were racing plastic ducks - she was the person in charge of making sure no ducks made it into the wild...

I am sure that in my photo collection somewhere, I have a similar picture of the kids picnicking on this particular tree stump, but I think it might require some digging. However, I did find another photo, which was from that occasion (or a similar one), which shows them on the bridge above, playing pooh sticks...

Friday, April 02, 2010


Finally, the Easter Holiday is here. After sleeping in a bit to celebrate not having to get up at 7am, we basically spent the day lazing around. This was largely helped by the still disgusting weather - which hopefully will get a bit better over the next two weeks. Otherwise we are all going to go stir crazy!

Anyway, yesterday we decided to play around with some marbling inks I had knocking about - I had thought they might work nicely on eggshells, but that wasn't very successful - the ink didn't stick as well. However, paper and card did work well, and Olivia and Alex (Sarah being out with a friend) made lots of bits of lovely marbled paper to use in later craft activities...