Stepping into the page of a book in time for tea

The sad news of the passing of author and illustrator Judith Kerr this week will have many readers, young and old, mourning her loss.

Well loved for titles such as the Mog series and When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, it’s The Tiger Who Came to Tea that’s a particular favourite in our house.

A celebration of the hungry orange and black visitor took us to National Trust property Gunby Hall, near Spilsby, at the end of last month just in time to enjoy the Seven Stories touring exhibition.

Firstly we toured the country house searching for striped residents bearing letters – clues to the answer to a question that would win the completed trail holder a sticker.

Then we headed into the room of the exhibition itself and straight into Sophie and her mummy’s kitchen.  The huge tiger was already sat at the table and the minis soon set about fixing him an appropriately large afternoon tea as well as trying on some stripes themselves.

A slightly smaller tiger was purchased from the shop on the way back to the car.  Fortunately daddy bought some biscuits too as obviously our tiger got a bit hungry on the way home and Willow needed to keep him sated with an extra portion of the chocolatey treats.

TT10

Is the exhibition coming to a National Trust house near you?  Find out at www.sevenstories.org.uk

A stage adaptation of the book is being performed at the:
New Theatre Royal in Lincoln on June 22nd and 23rd
Skegness Embassy Theatre on June 30th and July 1st
Grimsby Auditorium on October 2nd and 3rd
For other tour dates click here.

The Tiger’s 50th birthday may have been last year but there are lots of other children’s classics that are celebrating big anniversaries this year too – The Gruffalo is 20 years old, The Very Hungry Caterpillar is turning 50 years old and Elmer and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt were published 30 years ago.

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#30DaysWild Day 24 – Texture

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_24We enjoyed a lovely hot day out at National Trust property Nostell today.

We were very grateful to whoever decided to put their play area in the woodland’s shade but it was in the sun-soaked garden and meadow of the “18th-century architectural masterpiece” that so many different textures caught my eye.

If your minis like spotting different textures in nature then pop over to Pinkoddy and print out Joy’s Nature Trail Checklist for You and Your Little Ones.  With seasonal as well as all-year-round suggestions, her list includes a smooth pebble, a soft feather and a prickly pine needle.

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Celebrating 40 years of adventurous fun

Belton House adventure playground

When you become a parent one of the things you look forward to is sharing the highlights of your own childhood with your children.

For Daddy Malpi many of those special memories were the trips he made to the adventure playground at Belton House near Grantham.  Fast forward two or three decades and he has already taken the minis on numerous trips to the National Trust’s playground which was extensively renovated three years ago.

The adventure playground's birthday (2)
Photo: National Trust

And now that playground is about to celebrate 40 years of making memories for all its visitors.

Opened by Peter Purves on Easter Sunday in 1978, the Blue Peter presenter will be returning to the outdoor site four decades later to help mark its anniversary.

His appearance will be part of a full day of play on Thursday, March 29th, including puppet shows, children’s outdoor theatre, bush-craft activities and face painting and more to kick-start this year’s Easter holiday.

The playground, originally called Jungleland because of its woodland setting, was created by the Brownlow family who owned the estate until 1984.  Today it is the National Trust’s largest outdoor adventure playground, offering challenging play in the woodland setting that’s made it such a well-loved destination for generations of families.  

The playground is open from 9.30am every day, closing only on Christmas Day. This event is free, but normal admission charges apply.  For more information, please  visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/belton-house 

Looking for an adventure playground further north?  Check out Family Travel With Ellie’s William’s Den Review, a family attraction in North Cave, near Hull.  

National charities join forces to link up two popular visitor attractions

A major project of up to £1.2 million aims to link up two treasured visitor attractions to create a wide expanse for people to explore and enjoy.

The Woodland Trust and National Trust plan to open up borders on the land connecting the eastern part of Belton House and the more recently created Londonthorpe Woods

Londonthorpe
The area once formed part of the 17th Century Brownlow Estate but over time this historic landscape has become fragmented.

The project will create unprecedented access between the sites, allowing people to seamlessly explore a combined area of 225 hectares of woods and parkland so that people can discover both its secret history and environmental treasures.

Thanks to players of the National Lottery, the project has already received a funding boost of £64,700 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). This development funding has been awarded to help the Woodland Trust progress their plans to apply for a full grant of £428,800 at a later date.

Ian Froggatt, Londonthorpe Site Manager, said: “We’re thrilled to get this initial piece of financial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and National Lottery players which we hope will lead to a much larger grant to deliver the project.

“The project will allow visitors to not only enjoy the attraction of Belton House but also explore much of the wider Brownlow estate, including what is now  Londonthorpe Woods.

“With a winning combination of history and nature, it has the potential to be the green lungs of Lincolnshire enabling visitors to enjoy and experience a wealth of health and social benefits”.

The National Lottery grant will allow the project to work towards creating a warm welcome with engaging information which will enable everyone to learn more about these two special places.

A programme of events and activities will be organised to actively involve the local community and visitors from further afield.

Conservation will also be at the heart of the project, it will work to restore and enhance key wildlife habitats, helping to ensure their protection long into the future.

It will also seek to protect and enhance built heritage and parkland features, ensuring the continuation of the Brownlow legacy who had first acquired land in the area in the late 16th century and created Belton house as their family seat.

An extensive consultation programme will kick off in summer 2018, and the charities are looking for as many people as possible to get involved with this.  Work on the ground is due to commence from summer 2020.

However, this project will not go ahead without match funding for the potential National Lottery grant, and the two organisations still need to secure another half a million to make it a reality.

Bushcraft, browsing and a Wobbly Bodger

Belton House Autumn Fayre 2017

Autumn is my favourite season so it’s lovely to hear of other people celebrating it too.

National Trust property Belton House holds an annual Autumn Fayre and this weekend (Saturday, October 14th and Sunday 15th) is 2017’s time to host it.

“The two day Autumn Fayre offers families the chance to immerse themselves in all things autumnal, from learning forest skills with Silverback Bushcraft, and having-a-go at den building in Lincolnshire’s largest outdoor adventure playground, to exploring autumn with the RSPB’s Nature’s Colour trail” says marketing and events officer Anastasia Stratigou.

“Browse a selection of handmade arts, crafts and foods that celebrate the best of regional produce. With local traders selling a variety of foods, vintage linens, handmade jewellery, leather bags, garden items, home décor and more, the fayre promises there will be a treat to be found by all”.

Click here to find details of the stall holders attending: Belton Autumn Fayre Stall Holder List 2017.

The North Front at Belton House, a restoration country house built 1685-88
The North Front at Belton House.  National Trust Images: Andrew Butler.

New for 2017, chainsaw artist Andrew Frost will be creating live action wood carvings in preparation for Belton’s Christmas display, at the fayre on Sunday.  And, on the same day, the Lincolnshire Greyhound Trust’s annual greyhound walk around the parkland will start at 11am.

The Wobbly Bodger will also be demonstrating traditional heritage crafts all weekend.

The fayre will take place from 9.30am to 5.30pm on both days, with different activities throughout the weekend.  Grounds admission applies.

Visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/belton-house for more information.

Have a howling Halloween!

Spooktacular events for 2017

LukePumpkinI might not be appreciating the start of the autumn season as much as I normally do due to the start of school but it does signify that Halloween is just around the corner and that still remains my favourite time of year.

In 2016 we marked the occasion with a themed family photoshoot with A. Rowan Photography which was great fun but, seeing as she’s taken her talent back to America, we’re going to have to keep an eyeball out for something else to do this year.

WillowWitchFortunately there’s lots to choose from in and around Lincolnshire – you can take a walk around around a pumpkin patch or some haunted city streets or, if your toes tremble too much at the thought, then take the ghost train or bus.  Whatever your deadly destination be sure to dress up to join in the frightening fun!

Some events need advance booking, there are only so many pumpkins in a pumpkin patch and, of course, all live (and undead) events are subject to change so be sure to click on the links to check the details and phone before travelling.  And don’t forget to keep checking back in case we’ve added some more eerie entertainment to the list!

September 30 – October 28:

Halloween Maize Maze, Uncle Henry’s, Grayingham

October 7-31:

Pick up a Pumpkin Festival, Maxeys Farm Shop Pumpkins, Kirklington

October 13:

11am-8pm: Spalding Pumpkin Festival, Spalding Town Centre

October 14:

11.30am-2.30pm: Halloween Preview Event, Pescod Square Shopping Centre, Boston

From October 14 (selected dates):

Bell’s PYO Pumpkin Patch, Benington, Boston

October 20:

4pm-5pm: Tiny Terrors in the Maize Maze, Uncle Henry’s, Grayingham

From October 21:

Halloween Festival, White Post Farm, Farnsfield

October 21-29:

Halloween Half Term, Rand Farm Park, near Market Rasen
Monster Mash-up, National Civil War Centre, Newark

October 21-30:

9am-5pm: Pumpkin Festival, Pink Pig Farm, Holme Hall
10am-3pm: Trick or Treat Treasure Trail, RSPB Frampton Marsh
10am-3.30pm: PYO Pumpkins, Doddington Hall

October 21 – November 1:

School Scarecrow Competition, Doddington Hall

October 21 – November 5:

Black Cat Trail, Wollaton Hall and Deer Park
Spooky Halloween Terror Trail, Rufford Abbey Country Park

October 22-29:

Halloween Activities, Bransby Horses Rescue and Welfare

October 23:

10am-5pm: Halloween Holiday Spooky Animal Encounter, Tattershall Farm Park
10.30am-4pm: Normanby Hall’s Wonderful World of Witchcraft & Wizardry, Normanby Hall

October 23-27:

Spooky Children’s Tours, Wollaton Hall and Deer Park

October 23-28:

11am-4pm: Hallowe’en Half Term, Tattershall Castle

October 23-29:

11am-4pm: Gruesome and Spooky Prison, Lincoln Castle
Halloween, Hall Farm Park, South Kelsey

October 24:

1pm: Spooky Storytime with Rhubarb Theatre, Tattershall Farm Park

October 24-31:

Halloween at Hartsholme, Hartsholme Country Park

October 25:

11.30am: Spooky Storytime with Rhubarb Theatre, Tattershall Farm Park
Noon-4pm: Spooky Critters Crafts, Southwell Workhouse
6.30pm-8.30pm: Halloween Disco, Fun Farm, North Hykeham

October 25-28:

6.30pm, 7.30pm and 8.30pm: Doddington Hall ‘o’ Ween, Doddington Hall

October 26:

9.45am-12.30pm: Pumpkin Party Music with Mummy, St Andrew’s Community Centre, Saxilby
10am-11.30am: Pumpkin Carving, Lincoln Arboretum
10am-4pm: Haunted House: A Halloween Spectacular, The Back Garden Drama Company, Waddington Village Hall
1pm and 2.30pm: Halloween Story Walks, Easton Walled Gardens

October 26-28:

10am-3.30pm: Ghost-Hunter Kit Bags, Museum of Lincolnshire Life, Lincoln

October 27:

10am-11.30am: Pumpkin Painting Party, hosted by The Creation Station Grantham and South East Lincolnshire, Huntingtower Community Primary Academy
11.30am: Spooky Storytelling with Rhubarb Theatre, Tattershall Farm Park
2pm-4pm: Duckling Halloween Disco, Whisby Natural World Centre
2.30pm: Meet the Ghosts of Wollaton Park, Wollaton Hall and Deer Park
4.30pm-6.30pm: Children’s Halloween Party, Nettleham Library
5pm: CANCELLED, Halloween Hullabaloo and Eerie Explorers, Newark Castle
5pm-7pm: SOLD OUT, Toddler Halloween Party, Pink Pig Farm, Holme Hall
5pm-8pm: Creepy Critters, North Lincolnshire Museum, Scunthorpe
6pm-8.30pm: Halloween Roller Disco, Fun Farm, North Hykeham
Museums at Night: Ghosts, The Collection, Lincoln

October 27 and 28:

5pm: Haunted Halloween Spooky Walk, Tattershall Farm Park

October 27, 28 and 31:

6pm and 8pm: Ghost Tours, Tattershall Castle

October 28:

10am-11am: Halloween Spectacular, Splat Messy Play, Saxilby Village Hall
10am-4pm: Shrek’s Haunted Halloween Swamp Grotto, Hildred’s Shopping Centre, Skegness
10am-4pm: Halloween at The Village of the Damned, The Village, Church Farm, Skegness
11am-5pm: Ghostly Hallowe’en Hall, Gunby Estate, Hall and Gardens
11.30am: Halloween Family Outdoor Cinema – Hocus Pocus, Rufford Abbey Country Park
noon-4.30pm: Spookymon Go! Boultham Park, Lincoln
2pm-6pm: Halloween Party, Marshall’s Yard, Gainsborough
2.30pm: The Addams Family (PG), The Venue, Bishop Grosseteste University College, Lincoln
3pm: Halloween Party, Hemswell
3.30pm-8pm: Cleethorpes Spooktacular Halloween Fireworks and Fair, Meridian Park Showground, Cleethorpes
4.30pm: Firework Spooktacular, Lincoln Castle
6.30pm: Mayhem Halloween Party, Ignite Elim Church, Moorland Community Centre, Lincoln

October 28-29:

10am-5pm: Halloween Weekend, Hardy’s Animal Farm, Ingoldmells 
5pm: Halloween Ghost Bus Tour of Lincoln

October 29:

10am-4pm: Halloween Pumpkin Carving and Crafts, The Ritz, JD Wetherspoon, Lincoln
11am-3.30pm: Halloween Open Day, Bluebell Wood Farm Shop and Goats, Skelton House Farm, Nettleham
11am-4pm: Hallowe’en Spooktacular, Tattershall Castle
2pm-4.30pm: BFLF Spooky Spectacular with Mark Archer (ALTERN8), The Engine Shed, Lincoln
2pm-5.30pm: Halloween Spooktacular, Wyndham Park, Grantham
2.45pm-5.45pm: Halloween Specials, Lincolnshire Wolds Railway
4pm-6pm: Light Party Jungle, Bardney Village Hall

October 31:

5.30pm: Great Lives Halloween Special with Chris Packham, LPAC, Lincoln
6pm: Halloween at Cogglesford, Cogglesford Watermill, Sleaford
6.30pm, 6.45pm, 7pm and 7.30pm: Lincoln Ghost Walks
Victorian Night of Fear
, Lincoln Castle

November 3:

6pm-8pm: Leo Lion Cubs Club Halloween Party, Leo’s Play Centre, Newark

Have I missed your event?  Email me at hello@theminimalpi.co.uk

 

Sunday Sevens #5

#SundaySevens is a blog series started by Natalie from Threads and Bobbins.  Here’s my fifth entry into the series looking at a few of the little things that have happened in the mini ones’ lives this week…

HowTimeFlies1. How Time Flies

Christopher Nibble wasn’t our only theatrical experience this week as I braved taking all the minis on my own to see How Time Flies at the Lincoln Drill Hall on Monday.  Billed as interactive, it was testament to how engaging the show was that both Luke and Willow were fully focused on the archaeologists’ investigations into ancient skeleton Skelebob’s possible origins and endings whilst I had to walk an unsettled Faith around at the back of the auditorium several times.  Eccentric characters, melodramatic speculation, interesting facts – did you know the largest fossilised poo ever found is seven inches of Viking excrement? – repetitive sing-along musical interludes, a camel that added to the toilet humour and the chance to move, touch, discover, build and be involved in the narrative meant that the minis weren’t the only ones fascinated by the unfolding mystery.  To find out where Handmade Theatre are taking Skelebob next click here.

ChickenHat22. Seasonal storytelling

Less ardent tractor fans who made it past the line of vintage agricultural vehicles quicker than we did at Countryside Lincs last week may have made it to one of Rhubarb Theatre’s interactive storytelling sessions.  Willow obviously knew she’d have a second chance to enjoy one of the company’s theatrical tales as we were booked in to Lindum Books’s monthly storytime on Tuesday.  In honour of the Easter holidays the session was based on The Little Red Hen and saw us decorating and donning flapping chicken hats which Willow was eager to share with daddy later that evening too.  We missed March’s interpretation of Jack and the Flumflum Tree as it was fully booked before we thought to enquire so don’t forget to give them a call to reserve your place if you’d like to take a mini one along in May.  To find out more about the uphill store’s calendar of events click here.

IMG_43933. Celebrity posing

Christopher Nibble wasn’t the only star that Willow was able to pose for the camera with this week.  Despite thinking we’d somehow managed to avoid the Frozen phenomenon we discovered a few weeks back that, whilst we haven’t seen the film all the way through, the minis have with their grandparents.  And Willow seemed to definitely know who Elsa and Anna were when they put in an appearance at Holly Tree soft play centre this weekend and was eager to skip to the front of the queue to get her photo taken with them.

4. Hard graft

Whilst most parents were planning egg hunts and Easter crafts for the bank holiday weekend, the minis’ parents took them to a workhouse instead!  Fortunately for them The Workhouse in Southwell is now a National Trust property and provides exploration and dressing-up opportunities for its visitors instead of hard labour.  And we can confirm that the tasty treats in the cafe are a lot more delicious than the original menu of gruel sounds too.

IMG_44115. Hill Holt Wood

We did have plans to go egg hunting as well though and braved today’s weather forecast to head to Hill Holt Wood to join in their organised search.  We’re going to put our lack of success down to following another group of searchers too closely rather than simply being completely inept at finding any.  Having accumulated a tally of zero, we took a “not ‘appy” Luke and his sisters into the craft room where Easter crowns were decorated and cake devoured in the adjoining cafe.  Luke and Willow were also very privileged to have the hard won chocolatey prizes of friends’ children shared with them (when Luke allowed it as he didn’t think he should take it at first as he hadn’t found an egg).  Refuelled we then took another quick turn around the woods and were well rewarded in racing the raindrops as this time Luke found an egg, now “‘appy” we were allowed to return to the car.  Apparently 100 eggs were originally placed around the woodland, I wonder how many they’re still looking for now!

6. Eggscellent explorers

IMG_4416

Our home, very DIY, egg hunt was much more successful in volume though.  Whilst we had to relocate to indoors, Luke wasn’t satisfied with finding all the shiny-wrapped treats once.  Following their first quest, daddy and mummy were banished to the hall whilst he and Willow re-hid them all so we had to find them instead and then we all took turns to hide and find them over and over again for the next hour or so, albeit with a slightly decreasing supply each time.  It was very heart-warming that Luke, unprompted, was always keen to make sure Willow had as many in her basket as he did.  Although Willow had to be convinced that the prolonged search was a sensible plan of action at first.  She seemed to consider the find the chocolate, eat the chocolate way of playing the game more preferable but soon joined in enthusiastically too, remaining as excited at finding an egg in the same place for the tenth time as she was the first time.

7. Not just chocolate

Luke was given a mini bat signal as part of an Easter gift from grandmum.  Daddy and mummy may let him have his turn soon…

SundaySevens