Bank Holiday Weekend

Matt spent half of Saturday and Sunday at the new Church building wiring up the sound system. Can’t remember what the rest of us did on Saturday, but on Sunday afternoon we all went for a lovely walk down by the river. We stopped and watched the steam trains and picked lots of blackberrys. Joel enjoyed eating them a lot and even picked some for himself, some of which were black! The boys found a good place for ‘dens’ in a hedge, which was lovely until they came out and we found they had both trodden in some very squidgy dog poo!

Today we went to Houghton mill, near Huntingdon, which is a National Trust property. Lots inside for the children to do – working models of the mill, levers, pulleys, grinding stones… They had a lovely time. Being bank holiday, the mill was grinding today, so we bought a bag of flour to make something with later in the week.


The mill is next to a lock, which was very busy today. So, we spent lots of time there. Bee was fascinated by the whole process. The mill is also next to an NT coffee shop, so we spent some time there…

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Then we walked the footpath across the field to the next village – Hemingford Grey – very picturesque. And eventually back home again. Apart from me getting cross with MIP when we got home, because he didn’t want to get out of the car, it was a really lovely day.

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We’re doing the photos slightly differently, so you can click on them to get bigger versions and after that click a second time to get through to our page on flickr (if you want to). However all the photos we take should now be appearing on the blog.

The Garden


Originally uploaded by ancientpaths.

This year Matt built 2 planters for us to experiment with. We planted spring onions, courgettes, peas, tomatoes. So far, despite a huge profusion of leaves we have only had 1 courgette – pictured – from our courgette plants. The tomatoes are still green, the spring onions are small but lots of them, and the peas were so delicious they never made it to the saucepan – the boys ate them all raw. We have some blueberries but we lost quite a few to the birds while we were in Kent, but, most exciting of all ,we have our first crop of apples. 14 altogether. We’ve eaten 2 so far, and they are so scrummy – incredibly crisp and sweet. So we’re hoping for a bigger crop next year. Friends are trying to encourage us to take on an allotment next year, but much as we have enjoyed this year’s growing I don’t know whether organising an allotment, 3 children and a baby will work…..


is nearly 18 months now, and I always love this stage. He is almost always happy – the only grizzles come when he is hungry. He does get very hungry and eats lots but still isn’t managing to put on much weight. Too busy I suppose. He can climb almost anything at a playground. He has lots of words although mostly he will just copy whatever is being said, rather than initiating the word. Current favourites are playdough,train, cat, swing, climb, lunch, lego, drink, slide, empty, up, down, oh dear, thank you, and then lots of baby rambling. A possible attempt at “Daddy” the other day, but no sign of “Mummy” yet. He has slept more or less through once, otherwise he still wakes up maybe 3 times a night. He likes playing with Duplo and Lego and trains ( there’s a suprise!) and with 2 older brothers around I almost never need to entertain him. He is quite resistant to “no” and learning not to play with the oven or switch the computr off when I’m using it (grrrr) are still lessons in progress. I love watching him wake up. A long stretch, a slightly groggy look, and then suddenly he’s up and crawling around the bed with a big grin. Something he very definitely doesn’t get from me! He still has a midday sleep. Favourite foods are baked beans (with chopped tomatoes, garlic and cheese stirred in), spaghetti bolognese, porridge, bananas , yoghurt,raisins,chewy bars, and, probably top of the list, corn on the cob. His eyes are green now, with just a dark blue edge left. I think he’s the one most likely to inherit Matt’s colouring, but time will tell…. Bee loves to play with him, and also to pick him up ,which I try and discourage as it looks so precarious. He hasn’t dropped him yet so I should probably leave them to it. He seems to get lots of bumps as he’s always climbing. He’s our only baby though not to have fallen out of his high chair! His favourite game with me is to flap his arms while I say ” flap, flap, flap” and then to wave both hands together while I say ” wave, wave, wave”, then back to flapping etc etc etc. He also loves it when we all hold hands to say grace at mealtimes. He looks around the table at eveyone and his smile grows and grows.

Holiday – briefly


Originally uploaded by ancientpaths.

Saturday. Very fraught beginning as we packed and tried to seal up the bedrooms ready for the plasterers to work while we were away. Poured with rain. Greeted by very enthusiastic and bouncy dog but children fine with her. Spent the weekend learning how to look after 22 chickens, a dog, a cat, guinea pigs and fish. Inbetween showers we took the dog out for walks along the lanes.

Monday. Visited by Matt’s family. More walks, blackberry picking and lots of playing outside on trampoline.

Tuesday. Visit to Bodiam Castle. Just right for the boys, although only Mip was brave enough to climb all those steep, spiralling stairs to the top with Daddy. But they all loved it and we could have spent much longer there.

Wednesday. St. Mary’s Bay. Beautiful weather. Sandacasles, paddling, shell collecting….a perfect day for the boys again. Then drove to Hythe(?) for coffee and cake and pottered happily around. The most relaxed day we had that week I think.

Thursday. Canterbury Cathedral. Expensive to get into. The boys enjoyed it, although JJ just wanted to run everywhere and climb everything at top speed, which isn’t the usual approach to cathedral exploration.

Friday. Home. M25 barely moving, so having stopped off at Ikea to do some returns and have lunch we decided to stay there, have tea, and drive home in the evening when the children were tired enough to sleep and the roads quiet. Worked beautifully. Lots to play with at Ikea and they had their faces panted. Arrived home very late. Sealing bedrooms hadn’t worked very well – they were thick with dust ( really thick!) so we all camped downsatairs for the night.

Weekend. A bit of a low point. Matt hooverd up dust for hours and hours and we eventually restored some semblance of order. Missed the Kent farmhouse surrounded by fields…..



Originally uploaded by ancientpaths.

Apart from the usual preparations for going on holiday we have to prepare for the plasterers to come in and take all the old plaster off the walls in the hall-stairs-landing and re-plaster. So everything has to come off the walls – radiator, coat pegs, bookcase, stairgates, pictures – and various sections of old hardboard before we go, and all the other rooms will have to be dustsheeted and sealed up . We also have the chippies in atm building a new staircase down in the cellar.

Anyway, the point of today’s blog is to record that Joel slept a nearly 10 hour stint last night!!!! (He usually wakes every 4 hours at best). I’m not necessarily expecting this to become a regular thing yet, but it was a nice experience, if only for a night.

Monks Wood


Originally uploaded by ancientpaths.

We had a “doing stuff” morning – the chippie starts on Monday so the shop had to be re-arranged….. Then Matt decided we should go out for the afternoon. After lots of indecision we decided to try Monks Wood, down towards Huntingdon .( and in the area we are currently thinking might be a good place to move out to eventually) It is an English Nature reserve and the woods go on for miles. We had such a lovely afternoon. The weather was beautiful and the woods full of butterflies and grasshoppers. (chasing grasshoppers can become quite addictive). Matt and I saw a muntjac deer jumping across our path ahead of us too. Can’t believe we’ve never discovered this place! There’s something about boys and woods – I love the way they carry sticks around and climb piles of logs and climb over a gate instead of going through it……

When the boys were all nicely tired we came home again and I made a sort of stew thing with some pork mince and butternut squash. We had never had it before and Benjamin is extremely cautious with any new food, unlike Isaac who will happily try anything. So it was greeted with ” I wasn’t having this” which is the standard response to any new food. Being Saturday, and therefore pudding day, he was fairly easily encouraged to try it, and then of course he decided he liked it and ate it all. Such a funny boy. Where does he get it from?

Then baths and an energetic pillow fight and bed. I thought we had worn them out but Joel has only just gone to sleep and Isaac is still awake up there……..



Originally uploaded by ancientpaths.

(You can tell it’s been an uneventful day from the blog title!)

Photo taken some weeks ago – Bee, Mip and JJ emptying cupboards and cooker drawer – lots of mess but keeps them busy for a very long time.

Today was chilly and windy, so once JJ was asleep we cheered ourselves up by making some gingerbread men.JJ has another tooth coming through and so has been a bit more tearful than is usual over the last few days. And what else? We’ve read some Dr. Seuss and Richard Scarry and some Old Bear stories. (Our reading of “on the Banks of Plum Creek” has temporarily paused. My 2nd hand copy had a few loose pages and Mip decided 1 day to see what happens if all the pages are loosened….. We’re waiting for a copy from the library request system to arrive now!)

Apart from that I’ve done endless washing and have dyed an ancient wrap around skirt black in the hope of pressing it back into service. I’m not really fitting into maternity clothes yet but have outgrown my regular clothes, so I have a bit of a clothes crisis every morning. 16 weeks now, so should start to feel some movement over the next week or so….

Matt took them over to the local park after tea when I realised they had been inside all day. Weather forecast good for tomorrow, so I shall go and pack a picnic and get us all off to the farm tomorrow….

Disturbed Nights


Originally uploaded by ancientpaths.

It was a bit of a weekend. Saturday night we had just settled down to sleep when we heard lots of barking, shouting and screaming outside so Matt quickly got up and went off to investigate. He came back an hour or so later – our friend M across the road had been bitten by their neighbour’s dog ( a pitbull?). His wife E was hysterical, the police were called but very dismissive, and eventually a paramedic took M off to hospital to be attended to.
Then on Sunday night we had a group of hysterical teenagers outside, which ended up with 3 police cars coming out and an arrest.
Today the police have been around most of the day again. M and E complained about the way things were handled Saturday night, so they’ve been back interviewing all day. Which is good – I couldn’t quite see how it could have been M’s fault that he was bitten by a dog on his own property with the owner present and obviously not in control of the dog!

Generally it’s a pretty quiet area, but every now and then it has its moments………..

Matt picked up some magnetic letters and boards over the weekend so the boys have been making up lots of words and then bringing them to us to attempt to pronounce them.

Can’t think what specifically the boys have been reading. Matt and I are reading a chapter of ” The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” each night, having just watched the Narnia film (which we enjoyed but it was a bit Disneyfied in places).

The “evening tidy up” is becoming a little easier. Perhaps they’re getting the hang of it? (ok, maybe I’m being overly hopeful!!!)

We’ve had friends over one morning this week and made two trips into town and one trip to Tesco’s, but aside from that the boys have played and I have read a bit. Listening to the news over tea tonight there was a piece by some education man ( didn’t hear who) saying we need to start debating the question of whether it would be better to do as so many other countries do and extend “nursery” education and not start formal education until they are 7. Pointed out that this is more successful than our current system. Matt heard something similar a month or so ago, so pehaps some questions will start to be asked on what the current system is doing .