Tuesday, 17 January 2017


Cold linguists
On Thursday night we got snow!!!!!  It had been forecasted so all week, so no surprise and very exciting.  We didn't have time to enjoy it after school on Friday as we were busy preparing for yet more guests - this time Andrew and Fabian - a translator friend of Matt's who headed over with his 10 year old son for a translator's walk Matt had organised for Saturday around Ribblehead.

I hadn't met either of them before, but Andrew was so laid back and easy to get on with that it really was no effort at all to converse with him.  Fabian and Tom hit it off instantly too!  As we were all getting to know each other Janine came over for a drink and before I knew it we had got through 2 bottles of mulled wine and it was getting quite late.  

Tom and Fabian slept in Tom's room, once again with little fuss - both of them being tired.  They chatted for about half an hour and then fell asleep.

Snow Angel
Saturday morning, football was cancelled, so Fabian and Tom headed over to the Community field and went sledging on the banks.  There was just about enough snow on it for it to work and they got up some good speeds.

12pm saw us at Ribblehead meeting up with 12 other translators for a walk around Ribblehead. The Dales was looking at its absolute best: deep blue sky and snow on the ground.  It wasn't windy at all which is really unusual.  The walk went well, although the snow meant that the boys were distracted 100% of the time, wanting to play in the snow rather than walk.  They did make it round, but there was a lot of extra steps taken, jumping in the snow etc etc.

Chapel-le-Dale church
In the end the front group had to speed up to make the afternoon train on time.  Fabian and Andrew were in the front group and Tom was at the back - having had a huff about cold feet (complaining about cold feet, but refusing to wear more warm socks - the usual young child not listening to sense thing that can be so frustrating!)  He then realised that he might not be able to say goodbye to Fabian and Andrew as they were so far ahead and the train imminent.  This meant that he had a toddler type tantrum for a good half hour.  He kept stopping to cry that he wouldn't be able to say goodbye to them.  No amount of explaining that the longer he stopped to cry, the less likely he would be to be able to say goodbye worked.  I ended up pretty much dragging him crying to the station and got there with about 30 seconds to spare before the train came!  Fabian said goodbye, but Tom was too far past it to be placated.  

Oh hum, we went to the pub to see everyone else and have a drink, then home, tea and early to bed.

Visit from Scotland

With Wallace and Gromit
So on Tuesday, before the children had even gone back to school, we got a message from Neil and Sharon up in Dollar all depressed about going back to work (they are both teachers) asking if they could come for a visit.  We weren't doing anything so we agreed, we always like having people to stay and didn't do much entertaining last year for obvious reasons.

Tom went to football training in the morning (very muddy it was too!) whilst they drove down - they got here for 12.30 so we got out all the left over Christmas food (mainly cheese) and had a deli lunch.    We then headed out to Oxenber Woods near Austwick for the short walk.  It wasn't a particularly nice day (low cloud, mist, fog etc) but the worse of the weather held off for the duration of the walk so we couldn't complain.  Meant the kids had a good run about and we all got plenty of fresh air.

The evening was spent having a beer or two.  The kids were actually quite tired (always the case at the start of school) meaning that bed time (all three sleep in Tom's room) got to sleep without any of the usual nonsense.

Gayle Beck
Sunday, the weather was still pretty bad, it was thick, thick fog in Ingleton.  After looking on some webcams, we decided that Hawes would the be best place to go (strange because it is higher up). We were right though, the clouds lifted as we went higher and higher.  Neil was very pleased because he really enjoyed his last visit to the cheese factory and was hoping to visit again.  We did the museum and were hoping to see some cheese making - but for the third time in a row we were unlucky!  Oh hum, the kids enjoyed the extra interactive displays though and everyone enjoyed the tasting room (again!)

We headed into Hawes for lunch and after a circuit of the village to try to stimulate an appetite we headed to Penny Garth cafe for a greasy spoon lunch.  Sharon went for the chip butty (my last lunch pre-op) and was completely flawed by it.  I was hoping to have another as a mental note of the end of my recovery, but to be honest, I know I can't eat it all and don't want to.

We said goodbye to the Blezards from Hawes as it made sense that they headed further North from Hawes.  We headed back home ourselves.

Last day of the holidays

At the start
Tuesday was the last day of the holidays - booooooo!  Matt was back at work, so Tom and I caught up with the Augers, the Atkinsons and the Durkins and went for a walk near Milnthorpe which incorporated the Fairy Steps.

Tom and his new best friend
It wasn't a particularly nice day, but all the children were on good form and we had a very lovely day.  It was a walk we didn't even know existed but had a bit of everything in it: hills, scenery, deer, rock features, forest etc etc.  The children all got on, don't think I heard any whinging at all including from Hugo who is only 3 - I think the walk was about 7 miles in the end as well - what a chap he is, a proper bundle of energy - I think he could have kept going for quite a while afterwards too!

The children and some deer
Tom decided that he would be in charge of Indy for the day and took the responsibility very seriously, leading him for pretty much the whole walk and then getting upset when Fred wanted to do the same for 5 mins (Indy is Fred's dog after all!)  What a change from a year or so ago!

At the Fairy Steps
As I said, it wasn't a particularly nice day so we had a quick lunch break and then headed onwards.  We got great views of Morecambe Bay and generally had a lovely day catching up.  Thanks Ruth for organising, hopefully we will do more of these walks in the future, such good fun and very social.

Boating on Windermere

Waiting for t'boat
On Monday we had planned to go on the boats on Windermere with Pat and Bob.  They couldn't make it but as we had planned to do it, we decided to go ahead anyway.  We are so glad we did, it was an absolutely glorious day - deep blue sky and not even a breeze.  The lake didn't even have a ripple on it.  We sat outside for the journey from Lakeside to Bowness and back and didn't really get cold at all.

We got the late morning sailing to Bowness with a Spanish captain (?) and then searched for somewhere nice for lunch.  Now lunch in Bowness is never going to be cheap, so we decided to go for something nice and suffer the cost.  We ended up in a tapas restaurant, it was run by Spanish (a good sign) and we all chose one dish and got a big portion of patatas bravas to complement it all.  It was all very good and didn't completely break the bank.

Handsome boys

Tom Lennon

We then had a quick look around the shops, I finally spent my Fat Face vouchers from last Christmas in the sale and then headed to a spur of land which juts out into the lake where Tom could throw stones and we could all admire the view.

Then, tea and a bun in a cafe before heading back on the boat.  It was a lovely lovely day.

New Year's Eve

Silly balloon game
Sall on rollerskates
We had a quiet day on New Year's Eve.  Mum and Dad took Tom out for the day, Matt did some work and I attempt to reclaim some of the house back - the mess had been getting out of control for a while.

We also had to get ready for a podding night!  Liz had invited us to the campsite for a boozy night in the family room and a sleep over in the pods.  We are getting better and better at packing for overnight camping trips now and did so with minimal fuss, although the car was still very very full!

Another silly balloon game
Pouting with Sal
Originally we were going to have tea and then head over but Liz decided to provide food, so we provided Mum and Dad with some posh sausages and then headed over to the campsite for pasta bake (kids) and curry (adults).  We then spent the evening drinking, playing lots of silly games, drinking, eating nibbles, gossiping, dancing, drinking, eating, being silly, skipping etc etc.  You get the idea.  We all put quite a bit away, and all got on really well, children included.  It was a fab night and a good way to say goodbye to horrible 2016 and hello to a new year.  Thanks Liz and Dave.

Tom suddenly decided around 1.30 it was time to go to bed so we all headed to the pod and we all slept pretty well considering and we weren't too hung over the next day (must have been all the nibbles).
Matt the unicorn?!

Ready for bed
We got home around 9am and said a sad goodbye to Mum and Dad, they decided they had had enough and wanted to go home to their own space.  The house felt quiet without them!  Don't think we did much on New Year's Day - as is traditional probably watched a film and ate bad food!

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Arnside, Panto and the Zoo

On the shore at Arnside

In the water
Wednesday was a lovely day again - blue sky and not much wind.  We decided to take Mum and Dad to Arnside as they like the sea and you can go for a longish walk on the sand there.  The weather stayed good and as we got there early we managed to squeeze into a cafe for coffee before heading out for a walk.

Mum did amazingly well with the walk, which included some clambering on rocks and jumping over riverlets in the sand.  We managed to get all the way to the Knott walk, which was fab.  The light was strong, the tide on its way out and the scenery looked lovely in the haze, almost ethereal.  It certainly was looking its best.
Morecambe Bay in the sun

We walked back and then went in search of lunch, it wasn't looking great to start with, the pub was full and two cafes full, but then we found another shop with a small cafe in it which was empty so we settled in.  The service was very slow and the food OK, but at least it was warm and there was no other choice.

Afterwards we went up to the Knott car park.  Matt, Tom and Dad climbed to the top of the Knott and got some fabulous views over the Bay, whilst Mum and I did a quick circuit by the car park.  Lovely day out.

Thursday was a day we have been looking forward to for ages - Panto time - Peter Pan.  I had booked us all tickets for the pantomime in Bradford.  We decided to go to one of the big pantos this time as the one in Lancaster is quite amateur and I wanted to be entertained as well as Tom!  The choice was either Bradford or Blackpool, Bradford was slightly cheaper, and more importantly had more seats available when I booked in September.

Can't say I had heard of the 'stars'.  The main man was someone called Billy Pearce - I didn't know of him but he was brilliant.  The panto was his, he has starred in it for many years, he carried the whole show and was very very good at it!  All the usual panto things happened, the shouting, flying, singing, dancing, jokes etc.  In addition to all that there was a 3d under the sea cinema bit which was amazing - I jumped more than once as sea monsters tried to eat me.  Tom wouldn't put his glasses on as he was too scared!  I heard Mum and Dad laughing all the way through it.  It was certainly worth the money - we must remember to book early again next year.

We went to the matinee which of course meant that we entered Bradford's streets in the early evening.  We needed feeding, what else can you eat in Bradford but curry?  We headed to the Kashmir and had a feast for next to nothing as usual.  The Cocony still is the best dish they do.  We then headed back to the train station and Skipton.  A good day out - Mum and Dad especially enjoyed the panto - it has been quite a few years since they last went to one.

Oh, I got a phone call from my Consultant today with the results from the CT Scan I had earlier in the month.  They have found the cysts left behind on my liver (when I saw him, he knew nothing about them!).  They look unchanged which is good.  However, they have found something else on my liver: a haemangioma which is an area of dilated blood vessels.  He said that it was nothing to get excited about - not cancer or anything like that and plenty of people have it.  They also found a 9mm cyst in my pelvis. He has spoken to Preston and they suggested I should have an MRI scan of both areas just to check everything is what they think it is.  If it is, they said I would not require any further investigation.

Snow leopard scowl
Friday Mum and Dad wanted a day off, to recuperate as we had been working them hard, so we decided to take Tom to the zoo - not sure Mum would be able to manage it with all the hills, especially after a week of being on the go.  The zoo is actually free to enter at this time of year, so there were a lot of people around (and some interesting displays of parenting on show!), the zoo had changed again, lots of things were closed or barricaded off as they sort things out for the summer, but all the big cats were out and about so we were happy.  The star attraction was the snow leopards, they had had 3 cubs earlier in the year and they were all out and about and playing - think we spent a good half hour just watching them - Matt used up half a camera battery snapping away.

We went for lunch and bumped into some friends from school which was a bonus, and then went to see the rest of the animals - I saw my favourite the giraffes.

Boxing Day and Great Great Uncle Bob

Boxing Day we headed over Settle to Pat and Bob's for lunch.  We were treated mulled wine and then  a spread of all of Tom's favourites: lasagna, macaroni cheese and fish pie with Christmas cabbage and carrots, followed by mince pies.  We had a mini Christmas and once again were very happy with the gifts that came our way.

It was another cold and dreary day, but having just had another big meal, we decided to head out for a walk around the town.  It was bitterly cold, but certainly needed to refresh.  We then headed home and had a quiet evening in with what is now my traditional Christmas soup with Tom made dumplings for dinner.

Happy Family
Tuesday I drove Mum, Dad and Tom down to Southport to meet up with Great Great Uncle Bob.  We had a really good day.  First of all I managed to drive there without going through Preston, which is a huge result - Preston gives me the heebie geebies and is a right pain to get through.

Tall Tom
Silly Tom
Bob was in good spirits, he is 87 and in really really good form - he's a bit deaf which means he misses quite a bit of the conversation, but when he does hear, he is as quick as anything with his sharp wit - most of which is directed at Mum, which means it is a fun day out for the rest of us!  We met at the usual pub, the food this time was better than it has been in the past, so no complaints, and the conversation didn't dry up at all.

Bob took us for a walk around the lakes, it was a beautiful day: blue skies and not much wind.  Last time Mum saw him was a year ago at Shelm's funeral, so now she has happier last memories of him which is good.  He was chuffed with Tom's thank you card - he did a drawing of Southport Pier with a train on it, was perfect to him.

We drove back avoiding Preston once again.  Everyone was in good spirits, a good day out.

Christmas Eve & Day

Chilly Ribblehead
It dawned pretty cold and grey this morning, but it wasn't raining, so we took advantage and decided to head out to Ribblehead for a bracing walk.  It certainly was very very bracing, but the rain held off for just about long enough for us to complete our walk.   Dad and Matt did the whole circuit whilst Mum, me and Tom did the paved bit and returned back the same way - didn't think she would be able to jump across streams etc on the rough bit.

As we got back into the car the rain started and it didn't stop for the rest of the day.  We warmed ourselves up with a thick bowl of soup at Inglesport and then headed home.

Tom and Grandma working well together
The afternoon was spent completing a Great British Bake-off type challenge.  I had made 2 extra gingerbread house kits and had hidden them under tea towels at opposite ends of the dinning table.  Mum, Dad, Tom and Matt had to divide themselves into two teams, follow my instructions and construct a house each.  I did this partly to check that my instructions do work and also because it is fun.
Dad concentrating hard

I must say they did very well.  The two teams were Mum and Tom vs Matt and Dad.  Now I know that neither Matt or Dad have ever made royal icing before, or piped before.  That didn't hold them back - they both read the instructions properly and were on their way - they made perfect icing and were very diligent.  The concentration was outstanding - I enjoyed a quiet hour and a half as they made them - just dipping in where needed (Mum's wrist didn't hold out well with the piping!).  The result were two very good gingerbread houses - one rustic (Mum and Tom), one very professional (Matt and Dad).  We sent photos through to the Branches in Aylesbury for judging.  Amber chose the rustic one - Mum and Tom were overjoyed and Matt demanded a recount.

Anyway they were all good sports, not a cross word spoken, it was a good way to spend a miserable afternoon and it kept the oldies awake!
Matt piping!

Spot the engineer, working hard on a marshmallow roof
The evening was spent at The Old Post Office (by special request) - where we had platters for tea.  Bill was there and was very merry in his Christmas jumper.  We did track Santa on the phone and played Connect 4 as usual. We ordered a selection of platters and dug in - nothing was left.  Think my parents liked the place, as usual for first time visitors, they didn't expect it to be so small.

When we got home, Tom was keen to get to bed as soon as possible, so he could be asleep for when Santa arrived, so he set out a plate with a mince pie, a carrot (the biggest he could find) and a dram of whisky.  Now, normally Tom would go upstairs by himself to get ready for bed, but tonight he was too scared, just in case Santa was already here, so we had to go up with him!

Two nice smiles!
He was asleep straight away.  He woke up at 2.00 and came straight into our room to tell us that Santa had been and had left his stocking and a present.  He then came in again at 2.30 (making us both jump) to say he couldn't get back to sleep because he was so excited!  What a chump!!!!!!!  He did finally get back to sleep.

He was up again though at 7.30 and came into our bedroom with his present and stocking.  He seemed happy with what he got: An Eddie Stobart Car Transporter, and in his stocking: 2 more Zoe's Zoo stories, an activity book, a £2, a candle powered boat from Deer Shed, some stickers and an eraser set from Japan and a bag of special Lego pieces.  He went to show Granma and Pop Pop his wares.

The three of us (a rare photo!)
Breakfast was smoked salmon and scrambled egg, Tom didn't want smoked salmon?????!!!!!!  I bought extra specially for him!  It took a while but I finally got to encourage him to eat some.  He seemed a bit spaced out - all that waking up in the night I think!

Whilst everyone got ready I got dinner on the go.  Having beef, it really isn't that much of a faff as it is so quick to cook, even with the mammoth piece we had this year.  Oh - for next year, the deal is:


I was done by 11, so then we headed into the lounge to open presents.

We were all very spoilt.

Tom did very well, and at last we managed to buy him a present he automatically loved: Mullen the Highland Cow - he opened his mouth wide when he saw him and gave him a huge hug.  Mullen has been by his side ever since and sleeps on him at night.  Phew.

Matt made me cry - his main present to me was a book of the first year of my blog about Tom.  I had no idea that was what he had done, and it is really really lovely.  How thoughtful, it took me completely by surprise but I loved it.  I also got a Steph made apron for Lily Pad Bakery which I love.

Matt seemed quite pleased with his Fitbit watch from me - phew!

I had planned dinner for 3pm, so we had enough time after present opening for a walk around the village to try to stimulate our appetites.  We sat down dead on 3pm, to a huge spread of food, and we put a pretty good dent into it, although the lump of beef still looked pretty big at the end of it all.

We then collapsed on the sofa for the rest of the day.  Everyone remained in good cheer for the day.

Mum and Dad Arrive

Thursday we got back home, had lunch and then Matt headed back to Settle to see the dentist yet again - he was still in pain.  Turns out he needed root canal work done.  Not a fun thing to undergo, but he came home happy but numb.  It seemed to be what was needed and he hasn't been in too much pain since.  He has to go back again in Feb for a 45 min appointment for it to be finished off.

Tom and I sorted the house out and then Mum and Dad arrived with a loaded car full of stuff.  Everyone was happy to see each other and we spent the rest of the day catching up.

Friday morning, Matt and I headed to Kirkby Lonsdale to pick up the joint of beef (it was massive), pork pie and sausages and then some beer from Booths.  We then went out to Cowan Bridge for a bowl of soup.  We were going to go for a walk there but the heavens opened and it was pouring with rain - so that got canned.

At 4pm, the Ellershaws arrived, we had invited Sal, Rich, Caitlin, Lottie, Janet and Phil round for mulled wine and lasagna.  We figured it would be a good social event, with everyone having someone to talk to.  It seemed to go well, everyone got on, we hardly saw the kids and the house was full of laughter and noise which was good.  Once they had gone home we all collapsed.

Night away to Leeds

On Wednesday Tom went to spend the day and night with Pat and Bob.  Matt and I took this as an opportunity to go away for the night and decided to head to Leeds for the MY Translations Christmas do.  We got the train and dropped off our bags at the hotel (Quebec - very nice too, we got upgraded to a suite with an outdoor balcony which was fab, except it was too cold to enjoy!) and headed to Fazenda for lunch.  We had been recommended it by a friend.  We were hoping to go there for dinner, but it was fully booked, so thought we would try to see if we could get in for lunch.  We were in luck.

Wow, what a place!  It was amazing!!!!!!  It's a Brazilian BBQ - servers go round with kebabs of meat (mainly beef, but also chicken, sausages, turkey, belly pork) and slice bits off for you.  The standard is medium to rare.  Well, it was all delicious and cooked to perfection.  They have a traffic light system so you can let the servers know when you want more or a rest.

Also they have the most amazing salad bar including every type of salad you can think of, lots of roasted veggies, artisan bread, smoked salmon, sushi, cold cured meats, prawns,  4 hot dishes:  a bean stew, mushrooms in a garlic sauce, and two others, lots of dips:  guacamole, humus etc etc.  You could just fill up on salad if you wish and be very happy with what you got.  The servers also brought chips round but we refused them, we were on a meat and veggie diet only.  Think we spent about 2 hours there in the end, slowly working our way through the menu.  We over ate (of course) but it was worth it - it was sooooo yummy.  We will definitely go back again and we think Tom would love it too - mainly for the salad bar.

Quebecs Hotel
We went for a quick look around the shops - the centre was remarkably quiet - we thought it would be hammered, but I guess the Leeds schools aren't out yet as there were only a few children around.  However, we had all finished our Christmas shopping so there was no need to get anything so we quickly gave up and then went for a quick coffee break (Matt needed one - was a mistake as it set his teeth off again).  We then went to the hotel for a quick clean up and then headed to the cinema.  We had booked tickets to see Fantastic Beasts and where to find them at the Everyman cinema in the Trinity Centre.  We were expecting it to be your usual commercial cinema full of plastic food, sticky floors and ok chairs.  We were wrong!!!!!!!!  First of all you entered in via a Turkish / Middle Eastern shop / deli where you had pick and mix baclava as well as Turkish Delight etc etc to buy for snacks and then went upstairs to a bar where we got our tickets and you could order drinks to take into the cinema with you.  You could also order food for your cinema visit - proper food, not the usual plastic rubbish and the the food is delivered to you in your seat.  Lastly the seats in the cinema were ace - they weren't seats, they were sofas!  Very comfy and so far apart you couldn't touch the seat infront of you.  It was very like the cinema in Wanaka in New Zealand which I loved so much.  The screen even had an anteroom adjacent to with with tables and chairs.   It was the most comfortable cinema experience I have had in years.  Our screen only had about 40 spaces, but apparently the bigger one (200 seats) is the same too - sofas and nice food delivered to you.  I didn't really go for the film, but it didn't matter, I was enjoying the experience so much.

We got out of the cinema around 7 and although we were still full, we knew we would have to eat more, so we headed to Bundobust - a veggie Indian restaurant that serves craft beer.  We had two small portions of chickpea curry and some okra fries with beer, all very yummy - a perfect end to a lovely day.

Thursday morning we had breakfast at Wetherspoons (a fraction of the cost of a hotel breakfast - we still weren't that hungry) and headed back home.

Rail Day Out

Mary Queen of Scots
On Tuesday Matt and Tom decided to have a rail day out so that I could prepare for Christmas.  They headed over to Carnforth so they could get the train to Ravenglass and back - that way they can ride on Tom's favourite train the Class 37.

I stayed at home, took delivery of the Christmas Asda order and then cooked:
+ A ham
+ Christmas red cabbage
+ Cranberry sauce
+ 2 x large lasagnas
As well as tea for the evening - phew.

At Barrow
The boys' plan didn't got exactly to plan.  The second Class 37 broke down, so we only got as far as Barrow and then went back to Carnforth for lunch, after which we headed to the shore at Hest Bank for a bit of kite flying while we watched some trains. All good fun, but our hands were frozen after about 15 minutes, so we headed home via the new link road (once I'd eventually found it).

Jude and Craig come to Visit

First weekend of the holidays was spent with Jude and Craig.  They came on Saturday afternoon loaded with masses of Christmas presents for us all.  We spent the evening in The Old Post Office by their request for drinks and platters - I introduced Jude to Rhubarb and Ginger gin.  A good time was had by all, especially Tom who had 2 more players for Connect 4.

In the OPO
All day Saturday, Matt had been in pain with his teeth, he was getting waves of pain which would stop him in his tracks.  He found that bathing his teeth in whisky helped greatly, but he couldn't go on doing that.

Sunday morning, he rang the out of hours dentist at Kendal Hospital and got booked in for an appointment.  He had an x-ray but the dr couldn't find anything.  The reason Jude and Craig were up was because it was Pat and Bob's wedding anniversary (51 years).  They had arranged a dinner at Ireby Farm, so we all headed out at 12 to see them all.  We all had a 3 course dinner - even Tom who was on adult portions as there was no option for children.  It was all very nice and pleasant service too.  Everyone was on good form, so plenty of chatter and good spirits.

Jude, Craig and Tom then went to Settle to see Pat and Bob's house (it had been a while for Jude) so Matt and I took advantage of the time free and wrapped Tom's presents.  Tom then spent the afternoon at the pump track as he wanted to show Craig how good he was at it.

Monday, Jude and I went for my usual run.  Jude was full of cold but was still way way faster than me (she walked up the hills and still finished ahead of me)  Not a surprise though - I knew she would be faster and also I'm at my best around 11am, I've never been a bright bunny first thing in the morning.

Matt was still suffering with his tooth and got an appointment to see the emergency dentist in Settle.  She had a look around and thought he had an infection so was given a whole load of antibiotics to sort it out.  We decided to spend the afternoon in Stacksteads - another chance to do some underwater photography and a chance for Matt to steam in the sauna to see if that helped his tooth.

The evening was spent at the Bickerstaffs - they were holding a Christmas party.  Both Matt and I were off the alcohol - Matt due to antibiotics and me due to excessive alcohol-induced menopausal sweats which have been keeping me awake at night.  It was a good party, the kids had fun, guess what Tom told Anne he was getting for Christmas - only a guitar - argggggghhhhhhhhh!

Busy last week at school

So, Tom had many parties this week.

Monday he had a special Christmas themed Beavers session, Tuesday we was at the official Beavers party with the Settle Beavers in Settle, Wednesday was after school sports club, Thursday was...school sleep over and Friday party day at school.

So Ingleton school hold a sleepover for all of KS2 children every two years.  This is to help them get ready for residentials which they go on in years 5 and 6 - the teachers discovered that some children had never slept away from home before and were quite immature in their behaviour as a result.  The idea of a full school sleep over is to give every child the opportunity to sleep away from home but with their friends in an attempt to get them ready for staying away from home. 

With the Holmans
They came home at the usual time and then at 7 we returned them with all their kit.  There were 80 children between 4 teachers - I wouldn't want to do it, but apparently it went well.  They watched a film, had hot chocolate, played some games, then read books and went to sleep.  Tom said he was the first asleep and the last awake.  He said that Lucas woke him up by patting him as they were told they couldn't get up until everyone was awake. They had breakfast (croissants - how posh) and then Tom chose to go back to bed again!

We thought that Tom would be absolutely shattered after the sleepover and all day party, but no, he was fine, so I guess he was one of the first asleep and last to wake.

Matt and I took advantage of a night free and went out with some friends, Liz and Dave who were also childless to La Cascada for tapas (one of everything and then loads more) and then the Old Post Office for more.  A great night out and then no alarms and a lie in in the morning.  How decadent - a good start to the holidays.

Visit to Santa

With the Ellershaws
So, the weekend of 11th December, we thought it was high time to go and visit Santa - especially as Tom hadn't written a letter to him, so he needed to tell him what he wanted.  We thought we had it all sorted, he wants an Eddie Stobart Car Transporter.  He understands that Santa only brings him small gifts because he is lucky that Mummy and Daddy can afford to buy him the bigger presents.  In other houses, Santa brings all the gifts because their Mummy and Daddy can't afford it.  He's bought that - phew!  Also, this year, to my annoyance he has started calling Father Christmas Santa.  I don't like Santa as it is American and much prefer Father Christmas, but I think peer pressure has resulted in his name being Santa.

Anyway, on the Sunday morning we met up with the Ellershaws and headed to Clapham and Ingleborough Cave.  (They went to White Scar last year and said that Ingleborough is much better).  We had a lovely walk with Caitlin and Lottie up to the cave.  During this time, Caitlin announced that she wanted a guitar, Tom was still wanting his Eddie Stobart.

With the man in red

We were the second group into the cave, it was as brilliant as always, beautifully lighted and the elves explaining the story of why Father Christmas was present were amazing - full of energy and enthusiasm - all of which makes the experience.  One of them thought that maybe Tom was a goblin and we were told to check his nose and finger nails regularly just in case!!!!  When we got to Father Christmas (proper costume, good beard), he spoke to them all as a group and then individually.  When he asked Tom what he wanted for Christmas, he said a guitar, A GUITAR??????!!!!!!!!  where did that come from - oh yes - he was copying Caitlin.  Great!  So we now had a boy who was getting an Eddie Stobart Car Transporter from Santa, even though he had asked him for a guitar!  After a quick chat with Sally, we decided that we needed to get Tom to write to Santa with a list of presents so Santa could choose what to bring him.  In the meantime, Tom chose a glow in the dark magic set as his present.
Relaxing in the pub

We walked back to the cars and then headed to the Masons Arms for a snack.  Oops - they only do roast on a Sunday, but they did have mince pies and mulled wine on offer, so we decided to have that and then go home for lunch.

The afternoon was spent at the Bottom Club for the Craven Wanderers Football Party - always a chaotic and loud affair, but good fun.  Luckily this time we had plenty of people to chat to as so many more of our friends are involved.  Tom happily got involved with his friends (after a little nudge)  and we even won a hamper of food.  We got back home around 6 - straight to bed for Tom after a shower as he had a big week ahead of him.

Catch Up

Really sorry folks, but with a manic end of school, a busy Christmas and New Year, I sort of forgot about the blog and am therefore almost a month behind - ouch!  I will catch up but it will be a brief record of events rather than a long epistle of what actually happened.  New Year's resolution is to keep up-to-date with this better!

Friday, 9 December 2016

Busy Weekend

Crunching tackle
We had a very busy weekend this week.

First stop was a football match in Grassington - we had to be there at 9am so it was a very early start (earlier than a school day!).  The weather was OK - no wind or rain but we still froze and didn't warm up for the rest of the day.  The team did OK for the match.  The first team won the first match.  Tom played in the second team, they lost 1-0, but didn't disgrace themselves.  I just wish Tom showed some fighting spirit!

We headed to Keelham after the match for tea and a bun, did some quick shopping (replaced the pork joint!) and then went to the bowling place for Harrison's birthday party.  It wasn't an official party (Tom was the only boy invited from school) just an 'afternoon out' we were all sworn to secrecy (it is difficult - Harrison is the eldest of 4, they don't have a huge amount of money to splash around on birthday parties, and its hard to invite some of the boys from school but not all.  Harrison and Tom are, I think quite close - even though most of their out of school interests are completely different, they have the same temperament)
Bowling party

It wasn't warm in the bowling alley!  The kids had a good time though - I think Tom won, but can't really remember.

Well-dressed elf
We headed home, had baths and showers.  Matt and Tom then went out.  Tom had a sleepover at the Bickerstaffs, whilst Matt and Janine headed to watch The Wedding Present (an indie band from his formative years) in Kendal and I headed to Lynne's for a chilli tea with the girls.  A good time was had by all, in fact I got home after Matt!!!!!

Dave Gedge - looking delighted to see me
Sunday morning, we picked up Tom and then headed to Wigan where we met up with Jude and Craig at Miller and Carter for a steak lunch (and so I could hand over some Lily Pad Bakery goodies).  We pushed the boat out and had a very very lovely dinner.  Scallops for starter and half a Chateaubriand steak for mains.  The others (including Tom) all had dessert too!!!!!!  We headed back via Barton Grange.  Was a good day out.