Day Three #30DaysWild: A walk across the city

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_03Third day, third waterway.

It was not intentional to focus on river scenes so much early in the month but it turns out Lincoln has lots of beautiful ones on offer.

Today was an appointment day, the logistics of which left little opportunity for anything else planned but lots of opportunity for serendipitous discoveries as we hiked from one side of the city to another.

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And the natural spaces we were able to walk through on the way certainly made the miles covered a lot more palatable then they would otherwise have been.

From riverside path to park to riverside path and, later on, to another park, they offered a chance for some peace from busy city streets, a lovely backdrop to a bit of alfresco dining and the opportunity for little legs to run off some steam in the fresh air.

We spotted a robin early in the morning, a bushy-tailed resident caused excitement in the park, we were quacking hello to a feathered preener later in the afternoon and discovered fungus fairy houses in the early evening.

As well as keeping my eyes open as we travel, #30DaysWild is also leading me to make new discoveries online through fellow participants’ blogs and social media posts.

Have you ever heard of champing?  A combination of the words church and camping and billed as “the ultimate slow tourism escape”, I came across the concept via What Naomi Did Next’s blog and it’s most definitely on my future to do list.

And, if I start to run low on ideas for activities for this month, I shall take inspiration from this lovely artwork by Play Make Create’s Louise Thompson that captures the essence of the challenge through both its beauty and the simplicity of its fun-filled actions.  Go explore indeed!

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Artwork: Louise Thompson – Play Make Create

 

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Day Two #30DaysWild: On the subject of lions…

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_02LionLuke may have had his turn as the king of the jungle yesterday – Day One #30DaysWild – but today it was Willow’s turn to be the head of the pride by trying on a lion costume in the playroom at The Collection in Lincoln.

It wasn’t a weak attempt at fulfilling a “wild” remit though as today’s planned activity actually happened!  Although Luke and Willow also had antipodean and prehistoric wild creatures covered in their dressing up play just in case.

Before heading to the museum for the afternoon we had taken to the water for a morning’s leisurely cruise departing from the Brayford Pool in the centre of the city.

The belles of the Brayford Belle were very welcoming and incredibly helpful with getting the pushchair on and off the boat which meant a hassle-free start to a very relaxing trip.

We have always had this on our Lincoln to-do list but, whilst we have been on boat trips in other towns and cities, we don’t always get the chance to be tourists at home so I’m grateful to #30DaysWild to giving me the push to do it.

Life definitely seems to take on a different pace when you’re afloat and the calm travelling tempo gave us plenty of time to view the flora and fauna around the riverbank.

GlovesAccording to the commentary, previous passengers have spotted wildlife including kingfishers, dragonflies and foxes at the water’s edge although today’s highlights were swans, ducks, reeds and lily pads, that I learnt that pyewipe is another name for a lapwing and, for Willow, getting to try her Grandmum’s gloves on.

It must have been a good trip because within minutes of it starting another young passenger was asking if they could come again and Willow’s Grandmum commented on the way back how nice it would be to do it again at a different stage in the season to see the changing landscape.

I’m also grateful to #30DaysWild for making me look a little closer at my surroundings as I walk about to spot the small as well as big wild views, such as the pretty flowers making this bridge their home elsewhere in the city.

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Day One of the #30DaysWild challenge

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_01Day one of the challenge and things are already not going to plan.

I was going to head back to the field of our previous misadventure (Planning ahead for #30DaysWild), this time with just one child and no pushchair, but rain stopped play before it even started.

With Luke sporting a Gruffalo top and me putting on a flowery tunic just in case that was as good as it was going to get today, we headed towards the Diddy Disco at the Lincoln Drill Hall instead for some indoor energy-sapping fun.

He immediately made a beeline for the face painting queue and requested a lion.  Lions are wild aren’t they?  This counts, doesn’t it?

It certainly counts in the happy-making stakes because he spent the rest of the day exchanging roars with any other fellow big cat fan.

IMG_20160601_145702000We might have been in the centre of town but Lincoln is a pretty, not gritty, city and we are very lucky to not have to look far at any point to enjoy natural views – and the swans certainly seem to like it here too.

BookDisplayAnd it also meant I had the chance to pop in to Waterstones in the High Street to see what resources they had to offer and I was certainly not disappointed when greeted with this fabulous display of nature themed books and items such as binoculars and bug hunting kits.

IMG_20160601_170244825Both scenes are definitely preferable to the one that was trying to pass for “countryside” in my husband’s office today.  If you have to label it…

 

IMG_20160601_185520491But he was also greeted by the colourful display currently outside our house when we returned home and it was nice to see some bees enjoying it too.

Whilst not to plan already, perhaps we didn’t do too badly for Day One of #30DaysWild after all.

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Is it June yet? My kids are already wild!

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LEGO men like to explore nature too

The #30DaysWild challenge run by The Wildlife Trusts starts tomorrow and I’ve been Planning ahead for it by trying to come up with lots of ideas of what we can do, especially if we get stuck around town or indoors for a day (or 30) for whatever reason.

But what I should probably do is simply watch my children decide for themselves.

From LEGO men exploring the wilds of our back garden to camping in it overnight to the sticks you can find to play with in a Tesco car park, Luke has this urban nature explorer thing under control already.

He was even wearing his “Walk on the wild side” slogan T-shirt for the supermarket trip!  Ideal if I’d only taken the photo two days later…

And Willow was not to be out done taking a keen interest in the feathered residents throughout the beautiful grounds of Rufford Country Park during our Bank Holiday Monday day out – a very good suggestion by some close friends whose daughter joined Luke in revelling in running through the open spaces, woodland and paths around the lake.

And there were even a few sand angels thrown in for fun too.

It was, of course, a May Bank Holiday, not a June one.  I’m hoping we haven’t peaked too early and won’t run out of steam before the challenge has even started but I’m glad it appears my children will be willing participants.

I’m just going to pretend that I haven’t looked at the weather forecast for the next few days…

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One very happy camper

IMG_20160529_171013993_HDRHow do you get a 3.5 year old to want to get ready for bed early?

Put up a tent in your back garden!

We discovered at the end of our last camping trip that our tent leaks quite significantly so we needed to put it up to take a look and decide what to do ahead of this year’s camping season.

Cue one very excited son requesting his pyjamas on at 5pm, asking frequently to sleep in the tent to make sure we understood what he wanted and being most concerned that everyone else put their pyjamas on as soon as possible too.

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Roll mats make good play dens too

Several trips to and from the house to top up the tent’s toy selection, a mammoth storytime, the need to incorporate the garden slide into the sleeping arrangements and five hours later, he finally calmed down enough to actually sleep.

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Top tip: You should probably make sure your tent will fit in your garden before attempting to pitch it

Waking up to birdsong is lovely, shame that it was 4am and that my roll mat had been upside down all night.

At some point we will need to reclaim our garden as the tent does take up the whole lawn.  And whilst the weather’s nice it’s easy enough to fulfil his desire to sleep outside but this is England and it’s not going to last.  I’m not sure he’s going to take the news well.

When our car broke down last year we did consider not replacing it at all at first and I’m fairly sure Luke is now contemplating if there’s a real need for bricks and mortar when you can have canvas but I’m also sure that mummy and daddy would come to a much quicker and more definite decision about that.

But at least we know he’ll be looking forward to a few weekends away in the tent again this year, if we can ever convince him to get dressed again that is.

 

 

Lovely day out, even if a week too soon…

BransbyHorsesSummerFayreThere are many ways I display the effects of sleep deprivation but today’s symptom du jour was turning up for an event a week early.

Between scheduling tweets for various works and doing a bit of late Facebook surfing last night, I came across an advert for a Summer Fayre at Bransby Horses.

You might notice that right in the centre of the poster is the date – Sunday, June 5th.

You might.  Sadly, I obviously did not.

Somewhere in my cross-wired brain I’d assumed it was today and only when we were pulling in to the rescue centre and reading their promotional banner did the penny drop.

But, seeing as it had been more than three years since we’d visited Bransby and as we were blessed with such lovely weather, we took the opportunity to enjoy sandwiches in the cafe, play in the little park, ride a hobby horse, do a bit of colouring and even say hello to a few donkeys and horses while we were there.

If you want to go on the actual day of the Fayre you’ll also be treated to kids crafts, face painting, charity stands, falconry and more and there’s even a free Stagecoach bus service to help you get there.

Let me know if you have fun!

Ear today, gone tomorrow…

Who’d like to see what an ear grommet looks like?

This one came out of my son’s right ear today (don’t worry I cleaned it first):

Grommets are a treatment for glue ear which he was tested for due to his speech delay.

His last ear appointment at the hospital was postponed for a month so now we’re really hoping it’s not postponed again – we really don’t need him to have another excuse not to listen to us!

Planning ahead for #30DaysWild

Yesterday I signed up to the 30 Days Wild challenge.

Organised by The Wildlife Trusts, the charity is challenging people to do something wild every day during the month of June.

Today I’m thinking I might have been a bit too enthusiastic.

The photo I’m currently using on Twitter and Facebook was taken in a field by the side of a local play park that we have enjoyed visiting a few times.  All four of us together, sans pushchair:

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Today, buoyed by my impulsive internet information field filling, I decided it would be a good idea for Luke, Willow and me to take a stroll there in the afternoon whilst my husband was still at work.  Which meant the double pushchair came too.

When I reached the fenced entrance and discovered it was too narrow to get the pushchair through I should probably have given up then.

But, proving the ultralight credentials of my Joovy Caboose Ultralight, I hoisted the buggy over the barrier determined not to be thwarted by the first obstacle I came up against before the challenge has even started properly.

Light it might be, but an all-terrain vehicle, it turns out, it is not.

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Willow was in for a bumpy ride when she decided she was too tired from climbing up and down the park’s slide to continue walking and I was glad that, despite threatening otherwise, it had remained a fairly dry day otherwise I’m not completely convinced I would have been able to experience the relief of emerging out from the other end of the path back on to pavement.

Our walk definitely fulfilled the remit of getting closer to nature though as Luke delighted in making his way through flower gates, over plant hurdles and in generally being an intrepid explorer for the afternoon.

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We were even treated to an aerobatic display by the Red Arrows as we headed home – a regular but always stunning sight in the vast Lincolnshire skies – and I figured there are some skills that are probably a lot more involved than just pushing a buggy across a field.

So, however ill-advised, I remain undeterred and am looking forward to welcoming June and its challenge to “make room for nature in your life”.

“No matter where you live – from an urban jungle to a windswept mountain – wildlife and wild places are all around, waiting to be discovered by you,” say The Wildlife Trusts.

Added to the promise we’ll “feel happier, healthier and more connected to nature” by taking part, I await the inspirational pack that’s on its way to us in the post with great anticipation.

If nothing else, its wallchart planner might help me plan ahead a little bit better.

Sun shines on country show

IMG_20160522_132056336_HDR (2)Now we’re nearing the end of May show season is well and truly underway and, if you live in such an agricultural county as Lincolnshire, it’s pretty hard to miss all the different events that are staged in celebration of the countryside.

In April we visited the Lincolnshire Showground for Countryside Lincs and last weekend it was the turn of the Woodhall Spa Country Show.

Back before my husband’s cultural references included mentions of Rapids Johnson whenever we’re near animals, such outings probably included a lot less bouncy castles but Luke and Willow both enjoyed a bounce at the beginning and end of our visit and we’re certainly not often going to deny them the opportunity to use up a bit of energy.

IMG_20160522_134910433_HDR (2)A visit to see the big tractors was always mandatory though and both big and little boy were happy viewing the machinery on display.

The sun shone throughout the day fortunately proving the weather forecast wrong, causing a long line at the ice cream van and beaming upon equestrian acrobats, livestock entrants, a flypast, steam engines, vintage vehicles, heritage displays, shopping opportunities and much more.

And Luke even got to meet “Batman”, otherwise known as the bat the Lincolnshire Bat Group brought along with them.

Shows still to come include:
Burghley Game and Country Show – May 29th & 30th, 2016
Messingham Show – June 5th, 2016
Brocklesby Country Fair – June 19th
Lincolnshire Show – June 22nd & 23rd, 2016

Heckington Show – July 30th & 31st, 2016
Revesby Country Fair – August 7th, 2016

Today we saw inside the car

Every situation is a learning opportunity isn’t it?

That’s what I tried to tell myself when, after I great deal of faff and effort, we finally had everyone in the car ready to go to swimming classes when it turned out the car itself wasn’t ready to go.

car photo 2Piling back into the house with one child greatly upset and the other finding it extremely funny and exciting, my husband then had to start the search for our insurance details.

Fortunately, whilst it turned out we’re only covered for roadside assistance and not if we breakdown on our own driveway, his call was dealt with efficiently and we soon had a lovely man from the RAC underneath our bonnet.

Attempting to redeem the situation, I thought I’d take the mini ones out to see the workings of the car, considering Luke especially is really interested in vehicles.

photo 2Turned out they were actually far more excited by being able to sit in mummy and daddy’s seats and rearranging everything that was in the front of the car instead but at least they were entertained and, one new battery later, the car was soon making far more promising noises again.

Cars are an endless source of issues aren’t they?  We spent ages deciding whether to buy a new one until the decision was very quickly made for us when the old one stopped.

We asked for the advice of friends and settled on a Vauxhall Zafira after several very helpful people confirmed its flexibility for us – On the road again – but of course no-one could foresee that some Zafiras were soon to be subject to a recall.  And now those same Zafiras are getting a second recall…  (Click here for more details).

Whilst we wait for our second letter from Vauxhall I hope that our car bursting into flames will not be our next learning opportunity.