If the day gives you near constant rain then take the chance to splash in the puddles in between the downpours.
A quick one today to repair a patch of the garden as some of our logs pieces have started to give way – Willow helped to sow some grass seed.
It’s a special day for city bookshop Lindum Books today as it reopens its doors for the first time since Coronavirus lockdown.
It’s been continuing to make sure Lincoln’s readers haven’t been left with dwindling to read piles throughout its physical shop closure by taking orders for delivery by phone and email – we’ve added titles including Ducktective Quack and the Cake Crimewave by Claire Freedman and Joseph Elliott’s The Good Hawk to our library and also been able to have a couple of presents sent straight to their recipients.
But there’s no doubt, even with extra special measures in place, that owner Sasha Drennan is more than pleased to be sharing the shop’s shelves with her keen customers again (on Wednesdays to Saturdays, 10am to 4pm to begin with).
Running from Saturday, June 20th to Saturday, June 27th, the Bailgate store will have early releases and signed editions on sale to mark the occasion.
Not available elsewhere until July 9th, the shop will have early release copies of the paperback Oi Puppies picture book by Kes Gray and Jim Field (£6.99) alongside signed copies of the children’s author’s new book The Diddle That Dummed (£6.99).
“The Oi! books make us laugh out loud and, as book people, we love the way they play with words. We’re looking forward to having the cute Oi Puppies! here in paperback,” says Sasha.
A video reading of the children’s picture book Not Now Bernard by David McKee by actor, rapper and author Ben Bailey Smith celebrating the book’s 40th anniversary is also being organised – look out for it during the week on the shop’s Facebook page.
If you’d like to add to your own selection as well as your children’s reading list whilst you’re there then Lindum Books will also have signed copies of the Lady in Waiting paperback by Anne Glenconner (£8.99) as well as early release copies of the Faber Poetry Diary 2021 (£12.99) and the Liberty Print Poetry Diary 2021 (£14.99) available. These two won’t be available elsewhere until September but we’re all ready to move on to next year already aren’t we?
For those of us that aren’t yet able to venture out too much the shop will still be offering additional services including home delivery direct from their supplier, pay and collect/deliver and private appointments.
Call the store on 01522 262374 or visit www.facebook.com/lindumbooks for further information.
They particularly like to run around the small hedge maze and the bandstand and there are also signs to look out for by particular trees explaining what they are and where they’re from.
It was their third trip to the city park during lockdown but it’s important to pick your time as its central location can mean it can get quite busy.
After attending an appointment, I got to enjoy a walk home on my own taking in the greener side of the city roadside.
And, as we’re all about spirals at the moment, I couldn’t resist taking some photos of some I spotted to share with my five year old when we all returned home.
This evening my husband decided to have a look at whether we have any residets in our insect hotel and at least spotted this one spider. Maybe Coronavirus has insects on lockdown in their own homes too.
But the best deliveries have to be the new book days, don’t they? (Well at least for mummy anyway, Willow might opt for when her new LOL watch arrived but let’s not test the theory…)
And when such a beautiful gem as Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature by Joyce Sidman and Beth Krommes is left stood up on your doorstep, it’s a particularly special day.
The Newbery Honor (the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children) and Caldecott Medal (most distinguished American picture book for children) winning team combine to provide a deceptively simple but beautifully rich tale, just like the shape itself.
It starts of small and cosy – “A spiral is a snuggling shape. It fits neatly in small places. Coiled tight, warm and safe, it waits…” – and uncoils and expands with examples growing in size, both flora and fauna, above ground and under the sea.
From the harvest mouse to merino sheep to the spiny sea horse, the sweet pea to the rose to the sunflower and through to whirlpools, tornadoes and galaxies – “spinning and sparkling, forever expanding” – spirals are shown to be safe and strong, defensive and explorative.
But it’s final pages bring you back to wanting to curl “up neat and small, warm and safe” alongside the eastern gray squirrel and harvest mouse “warm and safe”.
Two additional pages add definition and further details beyond the poem – “Spiral: a shape that curls around a center point” – also briefly mentioning the DNA helix and Fibonacci spiral.
Fortunately bird seed is something you can put on an online shopping order (I’m hoping scrapbooks will soon be added to the list too), we already had peanut butter in and, as this is the time of the Coronavirus, we of course had a toilet roll cardboard tube available.
Spreading the peanut butter over the tube and rolling it through the bird seed to allow it to stick to it and cover it, we then just added string and headed out into the garden to find somewhere appropriate to hang it up.
Hopefully we’ll be welcoming a few more feathered friends to our garden in the next few days, as long as my 5-year-old’s keeness to meet them doesn’t result in them exercising their right to social distance that is.
We may not have baked banana bread but one lockdown bingo box we can tick is finding a new beauty spot on our doorstep.
Despite living only about seven miles away from Ashing Lane Nature Reserve for about as long as it has existed we only discovered it by doing a Google search for a new woods to explore at the beginning of lockdown.
One of our favourite places to go, Chambers Farm Woods, had proved lots of other people’s favourite place to go too and we wanted to find somewhere a bit easier to maintain social distance.
The mix of woodland and meadows which also features a pond and a lake has afforded us several varied visits both before travelling restrictions were put in place and after they were relaxed again.
Today the information boxes had been refilled by Nettleham Woodland Trust volunteers and we followed the 20-point family nature trail (also available to download from their website) that led us to more areas that we hadn’t walked through before including past a willow tunnel and nearby a roe buck deer sculpture.
The reserve has quickly become one of my favourite natural places to visit around Lincoln and today was excellent for seeing shapes in the clouds, spotting bees and butterflies, picnicking and finding lots of different bright summer colours in between the plentiful foliage.
The access road isn’t great, narrow and exceedingly bumpy the closer you get to the small car park, but it’s also accessible via footpaths and bridleways too.
Today’s trip ended in a slightly distressing way however as my husband suddenly had a severe hayfever attack which rendered him virtually unable to see but don’t worry, we didn’t “do a Cummings” as I drove home instead.
Whilst probably not the best place for a pushchair which was very quickly taken back to the car, and due to its openness not great for hide and seek, it did turn out to have good bear hunt opportunities however.
With Willow spotting a patch of mud on the way in she was quickly squelch squerching through it reciting Michael Rosen’s words.
And not long afterwards we found a good spot of swishy swashy grass too with the cycle path providing an imagined river to splish splosh in. Sadly we didn’t come across any caves with bears in though.
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt has long been a household favourite – click here to see Willow reciting and reading the well-loved story and it’s so lovely to hear that Michael Rosen is starting to recover from the virus.
Usually a trip to our local ice cream farm Daisy Made would include an opportunity to interact with a small collection of animals including pygmy goats, rabbits and guinea pigs and seeing the cows from afar as well as enjoying the play areas alongside guzzling down one (or two) of their vast range of dairy ice cream flavours.
Today, of course, it’s just the drive through that’s currently operating with a reduced selection but it was still just as yummy and we were at least able to wave to one of Daisy’s friends on the way in.
And we did also watch a CBeebies Maddie’s Do You Know episode on iPlayer all about snails (and tractors) because, of course, you can never know too much about our spirally friends.
In between drizzly drops we made a dash to get out of the house and discover a new natural space.
Not far out of Lincoln city centre, Starmers Pit is a five acre fishing lake that’s right next door to Sainsbury’s. My husband remembers walking around it as a child but I have only previously looked over it from the supermarket cafe.
Good for seeing exposed tree roots, skimming stones and tickling family members with a feather, the minis enjoyed climbing, balancing and scaling the heights of “hills” (known to those with less imagination as small mounds) and it was definitely a much needed escape to some fresh air, open space and lush natural surroundings. It may be surrounded by housing estates and the retail park but, cocooned in the green, we were transported away to a much wilder feel for a short time at least.
In the evening we made a folded paper butterfly following instructions found on Twinkl. Another activity meant to be completed on Day Six and only just realised today but it’s also far from the only butterfly we’ve made during lockdown. Since making one was part of her home learning a few weeks ago, Willow has been very keen to keep making images of the colourful insect in many different ways.
Wearable wings cut from cardboard and decorated with pointillism techniques (to tick two home learning boxes at once), cutting out the shapes from fabric offcuts to decorate a flag, folding an origami butterfly, painting half an outline to fold and create a symmetrical picture, sticking tissue paper on a cut-out outline to create a stained glass effect window hanging, colouring and sticking together the insect’s life cycle and sewing and stuffing a felt Kitty Kay kit have been some of our craftier lockdown activities.
If you can think of any other butterfly crafts we can try then please let us know in the comments below!