Monday 18 July 2011

Summer Holiday Excursions

Well we're into week 2 of the holiday season and so far the sproglets haven't had time to say 'I'm bored, there's nothing to do.'

Last week, thanks in part to Tesco Club Card Deals, and the procurement of Merlin Cards, the hubby, sproglets and I toured the country seeking out amusement parks. Our school broke up earlier than most, so the parks were really quiet with queueless rides plus the weather was fine, which is more than I can say for this week.

On Tuesday we went to Legoland, Wednesday was Chessington and Thursday Alton Towers (the 6yo calls it Autumn Towers and we never correct him.) On Friday we got our historical fix (in actual fact I was more hysterical, being that I was over tired and we had to have an unscheduled stop in a opticians before we could continue our quest to Warwick Castle.

In my opinion Legoland was the best of the parks for a 6yo and an 8yo. There are rides for every degree of scaredycatness. The 8yo is getting rather daring and pointed to several mechanical trials that I had no intention of getting on. Unfortunately it seems I have been designated the wild-rides-parent as the hubby just looks at me with those eyes and rubs his back where his scar resides....

'I'd love to go on with her,' he says. 'But my back may not make it.' [Yeah sure! I've seen how he drives Dizzy 'round our fields; that's a whole theme park in itself!]

We attempted one ride as a family, Chessington's Runaway Train looked harmless enough. A baby roller coaster with just enough speed to satisfy all. Wrong!

The hubby and I sat in front of the sproglets as they were determined to sit together. The 6yo diligently listened to the instructions given by the Legoland crew, he's very rule orientated that one. Health and safety, health and safety!

Within seconds of setting off the 6yo was sure this wasn't the ride for him, the whites of his knuckles visible as he held the safety bar. I must confess that the hubby and I started giggling, naughty parents....  payback time! I did try to extend my arm back to the boy but he was furious shouting.

'No Mummy, you hold on, you hold on!'

The 8yo, whose personality has a strong dose of carer, looked worried and put her arm around him, this sent him into an even wilder panic.

'No!' He shrieked as the train carriage hurtled towards a dark tunnel, 'Hold ON! YOU MUST SAVE YOURSELF!!'

Sorry but it was so funny.

What was less funny, when the ride was finally over and we were just pulling into the station, was the teenage ride operator on the microphone calling out.

'Did you enjoy that?.... Cool, let's do it again...' And blow me down if he didn't give us all an extra ride - sending us around twice more! Yikes.

Late on the Thursday afternoon and at our third park, we reached the ride we'd saved till last. The Pirate Battle Gallions at Mutiny Bay is a very gentle ride where a swimming costume would come in handy! I kindly stood on the side to mind the bags while hubby took the sprogs for a shower! The little gallions have water cannons aboard but on the quayside sit other water cannon and naturally battles are fought and won/lost here every day.

As the Archer gallion came towards me I was sorely tempted to leave my post, [the bags,] to utilise the closest water guns until I noticed a gang of twenty-somethings passing by. On such a lovely warm day it was relatively easy to press gang them into service and they happily set about drowning my family.

Ooops! Hubby's glasses were never recovered from that ride. They slipped off his nose and into the murky depths rendering him blind for the rest of the day. I was not popular. 'Nuff said! 


Warwick Castle was another great day out [even if it was a little shorter than we'd hoped thanks to a trip to the opticians.] A great adventure for all the boys seem to especially love the trebuchet action.  If you go with a girly-girl, make sure you pick up a free ticket to the Princess Tower. If you are accompanied to the Princess Tower by a boy or a hubby expect scowling!

Thursday 7 July 2011

Come walk with me...

Let's take a walk around the garden.

In the walled garden the onions and garlic are safely harvested, ponging out the entire house!

Cabbages and kale are becoming Amazonian. We must eat faster!!

Rose Campion and plantain grass have grown taller than the children.

The chooks dust bathe, flattening the feverfew!

In Home Field the hay has been cut, the allotment bursting with potatoes.

The new tent is up, ready for the summer holidays which start on Friday. Lucky me - sleeping out all summer. [It's my cunning plan to keep the house clean!!!]

The fire pit has already been well-used this year.

The pond is filled with wildlife..... including snakes!

The day lillies are emerging.

Let's stroll back to the house....

For a nice cup of tea....

Monday 4 July 2011


Today I heard a noise in the walled garden and thought it might be a strange bird. Wandering outside I was greeted by Benny. I assumed he'd caught a bunny or maybe a toad and that the poor thing was screaming in pain. What I wasn't expecting was an enormous snake. It was more than a metre long. I'm pretty sure it's a grass snake.... or anaconda or a python.
Yikes! Can't believe I didn't swear on camera. Can I have a sticker for bravery? I'm still shaking. Could've eaten the cat!!

[If you can't see the video in the email you MUST click on the post title and view online... you've got to see this]

Regardless of the heat, I may garden in very long wellies from now on.... come to think of it, where are Hubbies waders?

Do you know what? All through that experience all I could think of was 'Can I pick it up? If I do try to pick it up which end will I go for?'

Do you think there's something wrong with me? .... It was a hot day and I'd been in the sun.

I wonder if some of my summer visitors might cancel now...... mind you most of our pals are made of sterner stuff..... excepting my Dad, who has an Indiana Jones relationship with snakes..

CyberMummy in Wellies.....with Lou The Techno-Twit

Whoaaaa! What a massivo adrenalin rush; Shropshire to London was a bit of a culture shock, [so many people.] I called my pal from the car on Friday night as I hurtled along the M4, pleased to see that the traffic jam was heading in the opposite direction, presumably towards the coast following an awesome weather forecast.

'I've got just 17 miles to go, through Hammersmith then Fulham,' I said innocently. 'Should be there in about 20 mins.'

80 minutes later I arrived. Good God I could have cried. Sort the traffic out someone! Boris! Boris!!! Are you listening?

I used to be a Londoner, I was born in St John's Wood and spent most of my working life based in the Capital but clearly I've become countrified.

I was up in London for Cybermummy11, a 12 hour blogging/networking conference. Jolly good idea to host it in the City as all the pin-striped City folk had vacated town for the weekend, leaving us blogtastic parentals in peace, (no doubt they were the ones stuck in the Friday queues on the M4......)

Saturday 8:30am - I had never seen such a powerful collective of mums (and a fair few dads too) gathered in one place, though I was gobsmacked that Apple weren't one of the sponsors of the event, being that most of the 400+.... (mumbles in case of Health and Safety regulations....) delegates had at least one Apple product strapped to them; an iPhone, iPad, iMac... I was utterly envious.

I had decided against lugging my laptop, (which weighs the same as a 1980s PC) but that put me at a disadvantage as, being a Tweet Deck gal, I'm more used to Twittering via computer. I couldn't remember how to twitter from my phone. When Sian stood to talk from the podium and asked everyone to Tweet about CyberMummy11 I was too embarrassed to ask for help so I faked it. Forgive ME! To be honest I rarely even answer my phone, as the Hubby and plenty of friends can testify to..... I'd rather be digging or writing..... or cooking. Texting, well that's fine, I can do texting (but not with my thumb, I'm not that good).... yes, I can text, when I can find my phone and it's charged....

I know I'm late on the CyberMummy post but I've been mulling about life the universe and everything. The event slightly shook me. For starters I wandered into the huge dark auditorium in order to find a seat at a table close to the front. Not wanting to be a complete Norman-no-mates I plonked down at a table and introduced myself. Yikes, seems as if I'd sat on the blogging royalty table ExpatMum, The Potty Diaries and notanottinghillmum to name just three. They were very kind and I'm pretty sure they didn't notice that I was wearing my clean-out-the-chickens wellies (soooo comfy.)

If I was to sum up what the conference did for me it would be this;
  1. It knocked me down and
  2. It picked me up, brushed me down and set me on my way.
Let me explain: I really didn't appreciate how many of us bloggers there were and bearing in mind that CyberMummy was just the tip of the iceberg, I felt like the tiniest weeniest fish in a bloody big ocean. However little by little by chatting to others and listening to the delegates I realised that we bloggers were a shoal and The Archers at The Larches was just one of the gang - quite a nice feeling really. That constituted the 'knock down and pick up' bit.

Next came the 'brushed down and set on my way' bit: The overwhelming message I kept hearing was 'be yourself - blog about that which you are passionate and you will be successful.'

The most inspirational speaker for me was Rachel Moore from talesfromthevillage. She seemed to be where I am headed and she spoke passionately and honestly about her writing and her life.

So, never mind the onslaught of free advice from friends and family suggesting blog posts, intervals between blog posts, marketing ideas and styles of writing.  I'm ignoring it all and going back to the reason I wrote the blog in the first place; to witter at will about my family, the house, the chickens, writing, reading and gardening....

....Welcome back to The Archers at The Larches....

The Archers at The Larches

Lou - Chicken whisperer....

Lou - Chicken whisperer....

Snowy and Moon

Snowy and Moon