Wednesday, 28 August 2013

World War Two and Athelhampton House

We had a family day out yesterday, starting off at Scaplen's court for their final Summer Holiday Living History Session; World War Two. Luke and Grace began the day by making toast on the range, and topping it with "mock marmalade", made from carrots. Apparently it was "edible, but a bit soggy".

Grace had a go at making "soap bags", which were used to finish up bits of soap that were too small to wash with.

We contributed some rag plaits to the rag rug, and Grace tried her hand at being a school teacher, 1940s style.

In the afternoon we headed to Athelhampton House (courtesy of Nannie and Abbie, who gave us free tickets!) and followed their children's trail.

The House was lovely but the gardens were the biggest hit.

The Pyramid Garden

Stopping to smell the flowers

Identifying the many Green Men
in the Gardens

Having a bit of a chat with a
random stranger

After a busy few days, today has been a quiet day, although Grace and I went to Upton Country Park briefly this afternoon and met up with some old friends.

Multi-Cultural Day

On Bank Holiday Monday, we met Nannie and Abbie at the Multi-Cultural Day at Walford Mill; this year they were focussing on Italy. In honesty, it wasn't as good as last year, but the children still enjoyed it! They both had a go at making Venetian masks and getting very sticky!

Grace proudly showing her
messy hands!

Grace was transfixed by the storyteller who was telling the story of Pinocchio, Jude took Nannie on a (half-naked!) guided tour of the masks and Grace followed a chef on stilts in the "Grand Parade". Oh, and I managed to get a gorgeous picture of Jude smiling, which is here because I love it!

When we got home, we found some caterpillars enjoying the radishes that bolted in the garden, and had an early evening stroll to the nearest park with Grace's friend, Matilda.


Brighton was wet, and involved a lot of walking. It was lovely to catch up with old friends though, and the children were very excited to take the train into Brighton on Saturday, as Luke was photographing a wedding, and needed the car. Unfortunately, I forgot to unpack the waterproofs from the car before Luke took it, so we did have a bit of a wet, miserable day on Saturday, although it was not without it's highlights. We fashioned a waterproof for Grace from the plastic Luke's dry-cleaned jacket came wrapped in!

Grace used the sugar at the cafe we had lunch in to make a "piano". 

Jude finally overcame her fear of water jets, showers and all kinds of spurting water, to play in the water park at the fabulous new park in Brighton.

We finally found shelter from the rain in the beautiful library, before heading back to our friends' house for a spot of "Abney and Teal" watching on the iPad.

On Sunday we went back into town to have a potter around The Laines together, but came across some larger-than-life "Brighton Rocks" kids activities in the shopping centre, so stopped for a play.

We finished up at an oasis of calm for a lovely Sunday lunch before heading home.

Friday, 23 August 2013


Just a quick note to say that we are on our way to Brighton today. This morning and yesterday have been mostly spent packing, but Grace has enjoyed ticking off items on the packing list and working out how many of each item we need to take! 

More news, and hopefully photos, when we come home on Sunday!

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Sting In The Tale

After a relatively relaxed start (following a very late night), we headed off to the Ancient Technology Centre who were hosting one of the Sting In The Tale events; a whole day of crafts and storytelling in a Viking Longhouse, an earth Roundhouse and outside in the beautiful surroundings.

Robin Hood stories inside the Earthhouse
I was a bit surprised that having paid a reasonable sum to get in, more of the craft activities weren't free (in fact they were very expensive!) but we all enjoyed the stories, and Grace loved seeing the dragons and giants who were wandering around the venue.

Petting the dragon
We bumped into Salma and Louise, and the kids were transfixed by Hand to Mouth puppet theatre. Grace and Salma were particularly interested in what happened when the puppet "booth" turned around to change scene, and by the end of the performance around 20 children were running behind to see the mechanics working!

Grace helped make some giant's feet, while Jude took a look at the replica Roman "Water Machine", which is currently broken and awaiting a large tree-trunk, but since it was built a couple of years ago, has pumped over a million litres of water.

Creating giant's feet
The completed feet
Replica Roman Water Machine

On the way back to the car, we stopped at the clay pit so that Grace could make a bowl, and a large mouse! By the time we got home, they were looking a little worse for wear, so Luke showed her how to make them smooth and less likely to break.

The completed project (drying)


When Emma visited she bought us a huge punnet of fabulous fresh blueberries, which the children have been eating by the handful, and which Grace asked to make into cakes yesterday. I had found a banana-sweetened muffin recipe here which didn't look too complicated, so she had a go, with a little help from Jude.

Later, we all met up with Uncle Iain, Uncle Paul and Lou for coffee. Both children can't get enough of cash machines, which doesn't bode well for the future!

In the evening, Sarah, Ed, Jo and Charlie came over for dinner, and we all had such a wonderful, relaxed time that nobody - not even the kids, noticed that it was approaching midnight!

Happy babies
Happy children
Luke, covered in kids!