This week…

…..hasn’t been very eventful really. We spent today at the farm with friends and had a lovely, relaxed day. Yesterday we went to Colourstrings and the bank, but I think we’ve probably been home the rest of the time. The desk has been cleared, which always makes life look more hopeful, and I have put our coffee table in the middle of the sitting room. The boys don’t actually play in there much, so I thought it could try looking “grown-up” for a while. I carefully explained to the boys that coffee tables are for putting books on, and are not to be climbed on, but they still found their own unique way of interpreting that – photo to follow….
Also Bee has been requesting that the bunk beds be put back together so Matt obligingly fixed them tonight. It took a long time for them to settle, but all seems quiet now. Matt put a spare mattress on the floor “just in case” while Bee gets used to a top bunk and they very quickly discovered that the quick way down is just to jump…….

This weeks exciting news is an opportunity to house-sit for a home-schooling family in Kent for a week in August and take care of their dog, guinea pigs, fish, cat, 23 chickens and beautiful old farmhouse.I can see us being reluctant to return to Peterborough!

Cambridge in the rain

Matt decided he needed a computer book urgently – today, which could only be got from Cambridge. So after a stint in the garden we packed up a quick lunch and headed off to Lammas land. It started raining as soon as we arrived so we picnicked in the car. Then we had a nice walk through Cambridge to Heffers, found a book and walked back via the Fitzwilliam museum. This wasn’t as exciting as we thought it might be although the revolving doors were very popular and caused an elderly museum lady to come rushing over in great consternation and ‘rescue’ Iz (Mip).

The armoury was very popular, but Egypt was closed in preparation for a special exhibition that opens next week. The rest of the museum is paintings, pottery and general artifacts. So after we had gone through several galleries we walked back to the car park in the rain. It was nice to have been in Cambridge though. Nice to watch the punts, walk past grazing cows in the middle of a city, walk through streets and not see a single replacement uPVC window marring a beautiful old building… Felt quite nostalgic.

Bee announced today at teatime ‘I know about everything now’. That should make Home Education much easier. It’s amazing what a trip to a few museums can do!

The Story of Holly and Ivy

by Rumer Godden

I picked up my old copy of this over the weekend and tried B on it. It’s quite a long read – probably an hour and a half ( with interuptions) and I’m not quite sure he’s really understood the story line yet, but he enjoyed it enough to ask for it again the next day. And every day since , but I’ve hidden it now – I have never managed to get through this book without tears and it’s a bit embarrasing sitting there with your children watching you !

Matt and I also finally managed to watch our Merchant of Venice this weekend. We’ve started it twice before, not had time to finish it for a few months, and then had to start again because we’ve forgotten the plot! Anyway, it was very good. Al Pacino and Jeremy Irons.

Hamerton Zoo


Originally uploaded by ancientpaths.

There are quite a few photos on Flickr of our trip to the zoo. Please click on this one to go to the flickr site. On flickr you should see a box next to this photo that says it is also a part of the ‘May 06’ set. In that box there is a link you can click on to get a slideshow of all the photos in the set (i.e. all the ones from this month) – great huh!

Anyway… A few more highlights from the day:

M and B racing skate buggy things and B winning quite a lot (was M just being generous?).

Iz wandering around the maze, which he seemed to like a lot. Iz enjoyed watching the animals and did so very intently.

Little J totally fearless, reaching out to touch the claws of an owl.

Iz so intent on looking at some animals in a glass tank, that he didn’t notice he was standing a few inches away from a very large owl.

Iz sitting on a long rocking thing in the playground (it worked like the long rocking horses that used to be in playgrounds) facing the other way to everyone else.

Hamerton Zoo

Today we decided to visit Hamerton Zoo. It is only 20 Min’s down the A1 but we had never visited. It specialises in bringing very rare ( close to extinction) animals into captivity to breed them. It is smallish, but kept us going all day, and has a good play area too. Having started the week looking at lots of stuffed animals, we thought it would be good to finish with some live specimens!
Anyway, we saw tigers, wolves, cheetahs, wallabies, pygmy goats (Matt has a bruise from a particularly insistent one!), owls, gibbons, snakes, iguanas, scarlet ibis (the most amazing colour – almost fluorescent red), parrots, tortoises, and lots of things I have never heard of and can’t remember now. Photos to follow when Matt is available. (Our phones aren’t working properly and he is down in the cellar trying to fix them)

Not more cake……?!!!

Well, I had some clotted cream in the fridge that had to be eaten today so I really had to make some scones………

This morning Matt decided to take the sand out of the sand pit and dry it on the patio, take out the dead leaves etc. On inspecting the sand pit he decided the wood needed treating, and a plastic liner putting in. This meant taking up some patio slabs to take the sand pit apart. The sand and the pit structure are now all lying about the garden drying out, so my garden which was all organised yesterday is now looking like a building site. All too familiar…….

So the boys have spent most of the day playing in the sand on the patio and have been as happy as………where does that phrase come from?

We also hoovered and washed the Prairie this afternoon. White really does show the dirt! I also weeded it as it has a tendency to sprout little plants along the bottoms of the doors.

More cake?

This morning M took the boys to their Colourstrings class and then took them over to Central Park. And then ‘because we are on holiday’ he felt justified in buying more cakes from the cafe!! (They were very nice – M). I was busy at home doing the cleaning so I missed out on this (I was going to bring one back, but the weather was so hot they would have melted – M). However it was nice to be in the house on my own. Made me think about what it would be like to have the boys go off to school every morning, while I spent the day cleaning, baking, shopping organising… Quite tempting really. Matt then spent the rest of the day going backwards and forwards to the planning department with plans for the shop front. A visiting friend from Nigeria brought her children over to play this afternoon. They all had a nice time in the re-vamped garden.

This evening M went off to do a painting stint at the new church building (we had a tour around the whole place, even up to the second floor and out onto the roof/balcony. We stood where the back of the auditorium will be and looked down across the huge room. Even went up to where the walkways are that go across the auditorium – I pointed these out to B on Sunday and he quite liked the idea of being up there one day to ‘sort out’ lighting and technical stuff!) and I had a nice evening talking babies to a friend who is 18 weeks pregnant. Feeling quite broody…

I think Iz is really enjoying having some extra time with M. He seems to be doing a lot more singing and chatting this week. B’s focus at the moment is time. He keeps wanting to know when it will be 6 o’clock or what will we do at 3 o’clock etc.

This afternoon the visiting 4 year-old girl chalked the numbers 1 through to 9 on our patio. Things like that are always a bit confidence shaking. We do believe in not pushing our children at this age, but it is hard sometimes when you see what other children are achieving. Although I think the hardest thing is learning not to get stressed by what other people are thinking of you and homeschooling.

When we had the conversation with B on Sunday about being able to do the lighting when he is older he added ‘yes and I’ll be able to read and do the hoovering’!

More Coffee and Cake

It took us a long time to get going this morning, but eventually we made it to Barnwell Park near Oundle, with a picnic, just in time for lunch. The weather was lovely and the boys had a good time playing on the swings etc. Then we cycled around the lakes. They went into a bird hide. We failed to spot any birds, but Iz spotted an aeroplane. Just as we got back to the car we also noticed a pair of coots building a nest.

Then we went back into Oundle to visit their new Fair Trade coffee shop (called Beans). We had had coffee and cake at the Museum yesterday, but decided to be reckless (we are on holiday) and have hot chocolates and carrot cake. Seriously delicious and “doesn’t leave a bitter taste in the mouth” (as one Fair Trade advert put it recently). M is thinking of getting a T-Shirt with the Fair Trade logo on or possibly one that is a bit more blunt. We are trying hard at the moment to persuade our Church to use fair trade coffee. Peterborough itself is looking at becoming a fair trade city.

We came home and worked in the garden. M took down our leaf composter over the weekend. It didn’t look as if it had worked although on dismantling it proved to have 8 inches of compost at the bottom. It also had a small bees nest in too. So M spent the next few days gradually moving it out of our garden (we showed the boys at a distance, but there wasn’t very much to see). Anyway now that the composter has gone we have been able to move the swing frame to the back of the garden and put the climbing frame up. It all fits in nicely. The boys were very happy to be playing on it again. I still think our new grass is a bit fragile though – we will have to see if it survives the summer.

Also in Oundle, we went to Oxfam and as always came back with a big pile of books (Romans, Pyramids, Dinosaurs, Inventions, World Geography), puzzles, etc. Also two recorders today. The Oundle Oxfam always has very good stuff.

Natural History Museum

More bones

Originally uploaded by ancientpaths.

We spent the first day of our holiday going to London to visit the NHM. Travelling was easier this time. We took the tandem buggy and a different sling, which made the walks to and from the station much easier.

We ‘did’ the mammals section, creepy crawlies, earth sciences, the human body and birds.

Lots we didn’t have time for; we didn’t get anywhere near plants. Will add more later…


String is everywhere atm. B keeps finding pieces of it and tying his toys to himself, or tying chairs together, or doors, and if he can’t find enough he starts taking shoelaces out of shoes. It’s cute and frustrating together!

My favourite B question from teatime today was ” Is the air still outside?” followed by “and will it still be outside at night-time?”

Colourstrings this morning,followed by the sandpit at Central Park, and then this afternoon we read, made scones and played outside. Had meant to be more pro-active and get them out on the bike to see a swan’s nest by the river, but felt hopelessly lethargic all day. Tried several cups of coffee and ended up feeling lethargic and tense!!