Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Upside down girl

Today I thought I'd write a cheeky little post about a cheeky little girl.
Bug is now 15 months old and is going through one of those stages where she is just incredibly cute and gorgeous beyond belief.
She has the cheekiest big grin.
She giggles - a LOT
She thinks it's hilarious to run away from you.
She only has a few words, but she's trying very hard now to make herself understood - and she has very expressive eyes and nods.
She loves to climb and swing and slide and look at things the wrong way up.
She likes to bring you a book and attempt to climb on to your lap.
When you ask her to put something in the bin/basket/cupboard etc she will usually do it.
C was poorly this morning and lying on the sofa under a blanket... so she climbs up beside him to give him a cuddle.
Kisses are big open-mouthed sloppy ones, not necessarily aimed at the lips.

She's beginning to get the hang of the "Point to your nose" game.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Family afternoon - Chip Hike!

Waggy-tailed-one enjoys a swim
Not far from where I live you can find the ingredients for a very agreeable family afternoon - a train, a riverside walk, and fish and chips at the end.  
If you're in Central Scotland... let me introduce you to The Chip Hike!  Most Scouts in Stirling and Trossachs District have undertaken the Chip Hike at some point, but with Explorer Scouts (aged 14-18) we prefer to do it in the winter when it's dark and possibly stormy or snowy, adding extra elements of challenge.  For a not-quite-three-year-old the four mile walk is far enough, and the chips at the end are definitely well deserved.
  1. Park your car in Bridge of Allan at the train station.
  2. Catch the next available train to Dunblane - next stop along.  A return is £2.50 but you only need a single.  Dogs are allowed on the train for free, as are children.  Trains are at least two an hour.
  3. From the train station walk up to the main road running through Dunblane, cross over and walk to the North.  Just after a bus stop there's a footpath disappearing up into the hedgerow.  
  4. Follow the footpath, it runs alongside the golf course for a while, before heading down between stone walls (a bit muddy, or in winter take a rope as this becomes an ice-slide!) towards the river.  The footpath follows the Allan Water all the way to Bridge of Allan.
  5. At Bridge of Allan turn left along the main road and the first business you get to is the Allan Water Chip Shop.  Buy your fish supper and head back to the river bank to enjoy it.  
  6. the view while enjoying your chips
  7. From here it's a short walk along the main road to the train station and your car.
A small hint though - if doing this walk in the evening, particularly outside the summer season, check the opening times of the chip shop in Bridge of Allan - we've got there to find them closed in the past, which can be very disappointing!  You can always do the walk the other way around, as there's a chip shop just next to the train station in Dunblane too which has later opening hours.

the target at the end of the walk
it's hungry work being carried in the back-pack

Friday, 8 June 2012

Our topic in and transport

Our loose topic for the month of May was... cars and transport.  A clear winner where C is concerned.  Here are some of the things that we got up to:

  •  We painted road signs and put them around the house
  • we read some poems with a train theme and rhythm

  •  We went to the garage (a lot - the new car had some glitches!)
  • we watched the aeroplanes taking off from the airport
  • we watched trains go by

  •  we played with the toy cars and trains (and inherited a whole load more toy cars that Daddy used to play with from Nana's loft)
  • we went on the bus

  •  We made felt cars and buses.
  • We sang "the wheels on the bus" and various other transport songs

  •  we played with the car outside
  • we imagined that the sofa was a bus and went on imaginary journeys
  • we turned chairs in the sitting room into trains and went to collect Daddy
  • we played in the caravan

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

10 ways to feel good...

  • Go for a run with the dog.
  • Have a snuggle with your children.
  • Sit on the sofa and look at a beautiful view.
  • A really physical bit of gardening where you can see the results.
  • Hear a compliment about your work that you know you deserve.
  • Get a good night's sleep (or a long luxurious nap!).
  • Nookie (say no more).
  • Complete all the items on a to-do list.
  • Listen to your children giggle.
  • Make something beautiful.

Monday, 4 June 2012


I’ve mentioned Tom Hodgkinson on here before.  He’s the editor of The Idler, and has written books “How to Be Idle”, “How to be Free” and “The Idle Parent”.  I love the principles expressed in “How to be Free” (though not all the ideas in the book), and while I don’t agree with the term Idle I think The Idle Parent is a must-read and describes well how I was brought up and how I wish to bring up my own children.

I’m writing a series of blog posts exploring these two books, and the ideas contained in them further, in the hope that this will help me to explore further the principles behind my own way of living and parenting.

Chapter 11 - Smash the fetters of fear - RIDE THE CHARIOT OF FIRE

In this chapter Tom talks about how fearful we all seem at the moment.  We seem to cling to security, unwilling to trust people, unwilling to chat freely with people, or to walk in the countryside (sticking to 'safe' paths).  He reflects how much more fun things must have been when we freely allowed our children to be looked after by neighbours, chatted over fences and rode around on horses (how safe we all feel in our motorised metal boxes!).  

Fear keeps us as observers of life rather than participants.  The TV, the car, they all allow us to keep the world at arm's length, instead of really feeling it.  Fear controls us, it's fear of punishment that keeps the class quiet, it's fear of the sack that keeps unhappy workers from grumbling too loudly.  We're all frightened.  Many of us are unhappy with the world as it is, but change is scary, and it's much easier to go along with things that we don't like than to rock the boat.  Because we can do so little for ourselves (such as fix our own pipes, grow our own food), we rely on others, and dependence is scary.

He suggests that we acknowledge our fear, and then laugh at it, ignore it, and go and live life.

How does this match up to the "ink spots and grass stains life"?

I think it's true.  We are all fearful.  I know somebody very fearful indeed of change, and of rocking the boat.  I'm a little stronger in that I'm much more prepared to make a fool of myself.  I don't mind saying I don't know something, I don't mind going up to a stranger and asking them something or asking the way, or asking somebody I've met several times what their name is. I'm much less cautious than some with the children, and encourage them to play on their own and to climb and run and slide.  I'm happy to walk anywhere and to engage anybody in conversation.  I think I'm a pretty good participant in life rather than an observer. 

But I am still nervous.  I'm nervous of how I'm perceived (a little), I'm nervous of getting things dreadfully wrong.  I'm definitely nervous of upsetting people.  And I'm scared of having no money.  Hmmm... plenty of room for improvement then, and for finding that chariot of fire and clambering (no... leaping!) aboard!

Sunday, 3 June 2012

In May we have been mostly... (best pics from the month)

...Really busy!  Sorry I've been blogging so little, it's just been a bit crazy here, but without anything particular to show for it.   Very few photos taken either...  Still, here are some of the best...
...enjoying Spring weather...

...having fun...

...wearing Daddy's hat...