When Anna Williams and Tom Roden greeted their Lincoln Drill Hall audience with the first question this afternoon at the start of The Doodle Dance Show and invited everyone to wave their toes at each other you could tell you were in for a playful time.
Leading us through an imaginative narrative intertwined with dance and drawing, we all had our own chance to add to the pictures and move in line with the story as the tale of accidental exploration and homecoming unfolded.
The excitement of the whirling pirate dancing quickly prompted an “again, again” from Luke, they both really enjoyed being drawn around and Willow’s magical smile of wonderment and Luke’s delighted laugh at the snow falling at the close of the show proved how engaged by the performance they were.
Interactive dance theatre definitely seems to be where my love of children’s theatre and Luke’s need to do and move rather than just watch combines and The Doodle Dance Show provided us with a lovely afternoon of imaginative adventure, joy of movement and family fun.
Lincoln is lucky to have the beautiful Lindum Books in the Bailgate and when I read that its bookseller Gill Hart‘s favourite book of the week, “that generates a whole range of emotions and a little lump in the throat”, was a children’s picture book I had to ask her to write a review of it for us!
I will love you anyway by Mick and Chloe Inkpen is published by Hodder Children’s Books, priced £6.99.
“A lovely story for littlies and grown-ups alike about a naughty puppy told from the pup’s perspective, human words just make no sense to this irrepressible character,” writes Gill.
“The story is told in rhyme, which makes it a pleasure to read and listen to aloud through lots of repetitions and takes us through the whole range of emotions including some of the darker ones.
“There is peril and the threat of loss here, but it’s not a big spoiler to say all ends well for this endearing little chap.”
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.
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!
Luke 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.
According 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.
Day 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.
We 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.
And 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.
Both 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…
But 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.
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…
How 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.
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.
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.