Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Lily Pad Bakery Christmas

Cake Truffles and Gingerbread House
Fudge and Chocolates
This week I held my Open House for Christmas orders.  I did a bit more marketing, and as I have got to know a lot more people in the last year, was hopeful that more would attend.

Cake Area
I added two more lines this year: Christmas chocolates (I have finally worked out how to temper chocolate - buy decent chocolate from a proper Chocolate Warehouse - costs more but it tempers perfectly every time!) and fudge - in 6 flavours: Boozy Christmas, Rum & Raisin, Vanilla, Ginger, Muscovado and Chocolate.  I did tasters for everything, tried to make it look nice and Christmassy, put on Christmas music and then made two big cakes: a giant Jaffa cake and a spiced apple and currant cake which were on offer with hot berry punch in return for a donation to Cancer Research.

It is always a nervous time.  It takes A LOT of work to get everything ready on time (baking, marketing, labels, presentation, packaging etc etc - it takes forever to do it all)

Knitted and Crocheted Goods
At 9am I got inundated from the school run - think about 10 people turned up with children as well - so it was a bit mad and I didn't get to speak to everyone, but pretty much everyone ordered something.  The rest of the day was calmer.  I had two down periods of an hour each when no-one was here, which was fine - gave me a chance to recharge.  One person even turned up that I didn't know - she had seen my poster in the Community Centre, so that was good - hopefully she will spread the word amongst her friends.

Oh and my crochet Rudolph proved very popular, so much so that I took orders for 15 of them in the first hour and then had to hide him so I didn't get anymore.  I'm going to be busy in the evenings now.  A good way to get my crocheting speed up.

I took £583.50 from 22 orders which was loads more than last year (just under £300). AND I made £77 for Cancer Research.

On Saturday, Tom went to spend the weekend with his grandparents, Matt went to Edinburgh and I had a craft fair at Smile Nursery - thought it a good idea to get exposure to the new parents of Kirkby.    Also as it was the day after my open house - it was two birds with one stone!  No-one was allowed to take anything away on Friday, but everything was for sale on Saturday.  Well to say the fair was disappointing is an under statement.  There were plenty of vendors: Phoenix, Body Shop, Vintage Stalls, Beauty Stalls, Fell Tarn Friends etc etc.  Everyone had put a lot of effort in, except the Nursery.  I was surprised to find NO signs on the A65 advertising the fair.  The fair was empty for the full 3 hours.  Those that turned up, turned up so their children could meet a character from Paw Patrol - they didn't  bring any money for shopping?  It was as if they didn't know it was a Christmas Shopping Fair?!

I did have a feeling that it would be a little amateur but I didn't expect it to be so under attended.  Luckily I had lots of small ticket items - gingerbread biscuits for 10p / 50p / 80p to entice people over and I managed to sell quite a bit of fudge (boozy fudge very popular amongst Dads), but really it was disappointing and some vendors didn't sell anything - some were really quite upset at how bad attendance was!  Not sure they will get any to return.  For me, it was a way to sell all the samples I had to make for the Open House, so it was no skin off my nose - I made £50, not great, but £50 that would have got thrown away otherwise.

So advice to me for next year:

+ Yes you have to get up at 6am to get it all ready in time for 9am start
+ 9 till 6 is good - people came up to 5.30
+ Have prices ready for the big cakes as people wanted to know
+ Definitely go for 'experimental' cakes - the Giant Jaffa Cake was very popular
+ Marketing - do some flyers next year and post round houses nearby, also let the teachers at school know.  Poster for the newsagents.
+ Crochet Rudolphs very popular

+ Find out projected attendance
+ Are they marketing the event?  How are they marketing it?
+ Will they put road signs out?
+ Think about maximising on fudge.  Find out Food Hygiene rules re selling fudge in a public place (spit shield etc).  Do boozy fudge flavours for Dads - very popular.


So at last - after the best part of 2 years, the cousins met up this weekend.  It always surprises me when children play so well with each other when they don't know each other that well.  As adults we find interaction with those we don't know difficult, is is something that comes with age and experience?

Gooning about
Anyway, they played well together.  I wouldn't say they were angels, they all played up at some point (some more than others) but on the whole they got on well and enjoyed each others company.  Obviously Jake and Amber are used to being with cousins as they have some from Clare's family, but poor Tom of course doesn't have any others - he's doomed to be from a small family, the same as his parents!  At least he has some cousins the same age as him - which is more than me, but just a shame he doesn't see them that often.

Anyhow, they got stuck in traffic coming up on Friday night - we told Tom he could stay up until 9pm and if it looked like they were near, he could wait until they arrived, but if they were stuck, go to bed.  Unfortunately they got stuck on the M6, due to a vehicle fire and advice on the Internet said that they might not be free again until 11pm.  Tom was yawning and actually said himself that he wanted to go to bed, which he did and he fell straight asleep.

The Branches arrived around 9.30 (Jake's opening words: "You are coming to us next time") - having managed to get off the motorway and dodge the worse of the traffic.  I couldn't wake Tom up, so they released a little energy downstairs and then went to bed.  Eventually Tom woke up and then of course there was no chance of them going to sleep.  There was a lot of chattering, in the end Simon went up and gave them a massive bollocking and they finally went to sleep - phew!  We weren't long behind them!

On the Ribblehead walk
Saturday dawned clear, cold, windy but not raining so we decided to go out.  We did the walk around Ribblehead which was freezing cold, punctuated with various moans, sheep chasing (Jake) and Amber flying down a hill so fast that she face planted on the grass in some sheep poo!  Oops.  There were a lot of tears, but they soon calmed down once I found some chocolate!

Next stop was Hawes and the creamery.  We headed to the cafe to have a warming drink.  Well the others did anyway - both Simon and I were on coke - I guess we are alike in some respects!  Next stop was the tasting room.  Now Amber had been going on and on about this all morning as she likes cheese, but as we got there, she decided she didn't like cheese, and didn't want to go in.  Jake, on the other hand had said that he didn't like cheese and wasn't interested in going in the tasting room.  Jake was so excited he went round it 3 times, and would have done some more circuits if we hadn't stopped him!  Amber did try some, but the Ginger & Wensleydale was a shock to her system and she refused to try any more after that!
At the fireworks

We then did the museum - which has got a lot bigger in the last year.  However, they weren't making cheese!  Really, on the run up to Christmas, we were surprised and disappointed.  There was a video on how cheese is made - I think Amber watched it about 5 times, so she would have enjoyed the factory.  Oh, well, maybe next time.  We then headed into Hawes for lunch and a little walk around - Clare and Simon were surprised by the range of goods on offer in the shops (typical Southerners - think we are food heathens up here!)

We then headed home for a rest before going to the fireworks at Kirkby.  Now we haven't been to fireworks for 2 years as someone tends to get himself in a state about them.  Last time we saw some fireworks, I think his howling was louder than the bangs.  For sure, EVERYONE around us was looking at him and not the fireworks and I had to literally drag him home screaming! We had a long talk about it this year and he agreed to give it another go if he got to wear ear defenders.  Hurray - a break through.  He also didn't look at me with dread in his eyes as we talked about it.  We continued to talk positively about it and on the night he was even looking forward to it.

People had told us to get there early as the roads would be in chaos, so we did.  No need, we zipped in with no hold up at all.  We bumped into loads of people we knew - think half of the school was there.  It was a nice atmosphere.  We got ourselves some burgers and hot Pimms and warmed ourselves by the bonfire. At 8pm on the dot the fireworks started.  WOW, they were brilliant and they went on and on.  In fact it was 20 minutes long, a brilliant show.  Even Simon said it was good - he doesn't give out praise readily so they must have been good - and they even said that although they thought it was an expensive entrance fee, it was worth it!  And Tom, well he had a smile on his face for pretty much all of it.  Matt kept his hand on his shoulders the whole time to reassure him, but I think we can say he is officially past his firework panic.  He did say he wouldn't want to watch them without the ear defenders - so that's the next hurdle.

We got out of the car park easily, returned home, the children went straight to bed with no arguments whilst we collapsed downstairs.

Sunday morning, Clare and I went for a run.  I've never run before with anyone else, and was a little worried, especially as Clare has run 10kms and half marathons, so would be faster than me.  However, I took a deep breath and went for it.  Yes, Clare is faster on the flat and downhill than me, but I was faster on the hilly bits so over all we were on par.  Clare wasn't impressed by the hills, but she did them stoically.  When we got back, the time was pretty much what I normally do it in.

When we got back the children were getting ready to go to the pump track.  I had borrowed 2 other bikes so Jake and Amber could have a go.  Tom got in a mood because we wouldn't let him on the BMX and asked him to ride Seth's bike as that was the most precious bike and he was less likely to fall off than the others.  It was so bad that Matt actually initially banned him from going - we had temper!

After 10 mins, Clare took him down - he had to go as he had to show them how to do it.  So, Amber had a go, fell off, cried, tried again, did it - had fun, did it again, again and again.  She was a natural.  Matt was very impressed.  Jake on the other hand refused to even try one bump - so much so that Simon and Clare almost lost it with him and each other.  He came home in a huff and played on Tom's computer until Amber and Tom came home.

Kitchen helper
Matt's Go-Pro got a good video of Amber doing a circuit - she really enjoyed it:

When they got back, Simon, Clare, Jake and Tom went for a walk around the village - with Tom acting as Tour Guide - he took them to the scout hall, the village, the park and Storrs Common, did a good job.  Amber stayed behind and made an apple crumble and laid the table for dinner.

I did a lot of bonding with Amber this weekend and really really enjoyed her company, I would happily spend more time with her.  I still haven't managed much of a conversation with Jake though - he has pretty much always ignored me and continues to do so.

We sat down for a roast at 12 - all ate up well - phew.  They then headed down south as Simon was going out for the evening.  We had an easy afternoon.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Underwater photos

Jumping in!
Today we had a quiet day around the village.  We decided to head to Stacksteads to go swimming so I could take my new camera which is waterproof with me to try to take some photos.  We got there to find that the Electricity Board are doing works nearby and the pool didn't have any electricity!  Poo!!!  However, they had only just turned it off, so we decided to go for a dip and see how long it would take to cool down.  I've had this camera since Christmas, but as public swimming pools don't let you take photos, I haven't had a chance to use it under water until today.
Smiling face

Wow it is difficult to take a good photo under water!  My main problem is trying to stay down under the water.  I would dip down, then Tom jump in, but in the time it took Tom to jump, I would be floating up again!  Also there is a time delay of a couple of seconds between pushing the shutter button and it taking the photo, so you have to think ahead, plus I was never that sure what Tom would do.  All this together made it a bit difficult, but here are the best photos from the day.

There were two other boys there - a 10 year old and a 7 year old.  They made friends with Tom and they played together for ages.  If it hadn't been that the water was getting colder and colder and I was covered in goose bumps I think he would have stayed for hours.  I convinced him to leave but he wasn't happy with me about it.  He had been in the pool for an hour and a half so I think that was fair.  Oh hum, he forgave me in the end.

We went for lunch at Ireby (Tom of course had a smoked salmon sandwich and a cake) and then did some shopping at Kirkby before returning home.  For once we had tea at home this Friday - I figured that it was a bit extreme to go out again, considering we've been out for the last 3 nights in a row!
Diving for sinkers


Sunday morning we got up, had breakfast, packed the car and were off on our way to Devon by 9am. We had a good journey in that we didn't get held up at all anywhere.  We stopped at Gloucester services for lunch & swapped drivers and carried on.  We got to Crapstone at 3.20, so we did make very good time.  We were treated to roast duck, roast potatoes and loads of veggies, followed by crumble - very lovely.

'We have these plants at school!'
Monday, we all headed to the Eden Project, mainly as Tom has been doing rainforests at school and we thought that he would enjoy seeing a real one.  It was absolutely crowded with half term crowds which meant that it was a bit of a bum fight everywhere we went.  It was also a cold and rainy day, so I'm guessing more people went there to get out of the weather.

Family photo
Anyhow, we explored the rainforest, I certainly enjoyed it.  We went on a trail around the biome which took us from South America, to Africa and Far East Asia - with species from each area.  We were hoping it would be lovely and warm in the biome, but it wasn't really, it was mild but not cold.  We found lots of interesting things: bananas, pineapples, sugarcane & native houses for each area.  We climbed up to a viewing area to see the canopy.  Unfortunately the top viewing area was closed as was the waterfall area - all because they are building a new walkway with rope bridges etc, will be great when finished, but in the meantime it meant we had to double back on ourselves.  We stopped for a baobab smoothie (I didn't like it but the others did) before heading out to the link building and the crowds for lunch.

I was sent to join the huge queue for the pasty stall to get Tom a cheese pasty (sort of authentic as we were in Cornwall?) whilst the others were more sensible and went for food where the queues were shorter.  We then headed into the Mediterranean Biome which was positively chilly.  We found some great citrus trees, lots of tomatoes (urghhhhhh), aubergines as well as cacti.

Then to The Core to look at some experiments, turn a handle on a Heath Robinson type invention and have tea and bun.  By now it was 4pm, so we headed back to the car and Devon.  Unfortunately nearly everyone else was too and it took an extra-ordinary amount of time to get home.  We were all pretty tired, so we quickly got tea on the go and then collapsed on the sofa.

It really was warm!
Tuesday we left Mum and Dad at home to recover from the Eden Project and headed into Plymouth.  We dropped the car off at the park and ride and got the bus to the train station and had a train day out to Dawlish.  I wasn't expecting much from the day - just a day out with the boys, but I actually had a lovely day - helped by the fact it was a lovely, warm, sunny day (well it was after lunch anyway!)  We got to Dawlish, had a little walk along the front, found a lovely cove where we hunted for fossils for a while (Dawlish marks the end of the Jurassic Coast), we then explored the town.  We spent a while in the amusement arcades playing 2p games (the boys did a bit better than me - Matt even managed to win a Meerkat statue thing!).  We then found ourselves a nice cafe for lunch, Jack Sprats, where we had imaginative, home cooked food - way way better than anything we were expecting.

Then a play in the park, more train spotting and then Tom requested ice cream???!  Tom never requests ice-cream.  We found a parlour which had about 40 different flavours: Tom went for mango madness, Matt rum and raisin and I went for rhubarb and custard.  Tom's was the best - full of fruit, and for the first time ever he ate it all on his own without giving it to us to finish off!!!!!! We then went for another walk along the sea wall.  Get this - it was soooooo hot that we all ended up in short sleeves.  The train track here is right on the sea wall, so we were able to wave at the drivers as they went past.  On the whole, they were all friendly and we got a wave and a toot back.

At 3pm we through we should start heading back home, so got the train back to Plymouth and then back up to Crapstone, where we dropped Tom off, had showers, got changed and then headed back dow to Plymouth and Royal William Yard where we went to Serco for a date night dinner - very nice it was too.
Misty Dartmoor
The River Meavy near Shaugh Bridge
Wednesday, Mum and Dad decided to have Tom to themselves, so Matt and I decided to do a walk nearby around Shaugh Bridge.  Was a nice walk - a bit like Ingleton waterfalls walk, but fewer waterfalls and no mountains.  There was a view point at the top, however the Dartmoor mist had descended and we couldn't see a thing!  Oh hum.  We headed back to the car and had a very quick lunch at the Dartmoor Diner.  We were back in Crapstone for 1.30 - Mum had said that they wouldn't be having a long day out as they were still tired from Monday.  They didn't get back until 4.30!!!!!!  This meant that I could at last sort out my music on my computer - one of those niggling things I never seem to get round to, but has been annoying me more and more, especially as I listen to music whilst running.

Boys working together
As soon as Mum and Dad got back Tom demanded that Pop Pop got out his trains in the garden (he had been promised yesterday - something he would never forget!) Poor Pop Pop didn't even get to take his shoes off, and headed straight out into the garden with some trains.  Tom was delighted and loved being able to control and watch the trains go up and down.

Jack Rabbit
We went to the Jack Rabbit for tea and then back home for bed.

Thursday we said our goodbyes to Granma and Pop Pop - it went very very fast (as usual) we were very well looked after and Tom was genuinely sorry to be leaving.  Oh well, its only 6 or so weeks before we see them again.  We headed out at 9.30 but didn't get home until 5.15pm - the West Midlands was at fault - there had been an accident and a closed lane which meant a huge queue - of course there was no accident and no closed lane as we went past but all boards were saying to the contrary meaning that lanes were merging and traffic building up - oh joy.  Think I didn't get out of 1st gear for over an hour!

The Milky Way over Crapstone
We got home, unpacked and then went to the Masons Arms for tea - had a very lovely coconut and lime curry.

Then home and bed.  Thanks Mum and Dad for a lovely stay.

School's out for half term

Curious cow
So Tom finished school for half term holiday on Friday - but first he had a party at Lucas' house, he was being picked up straight from school which meant that Matt and I were free until 6.30pm when he was being returned.  What else to do but go to the Old Post Office to celebrate - so we did!

He came home around 7pm very happy, and went straight to bed.

Saturday morning was Craven football where his team were playing against a team from Kendal.  It was a friendly and was mainly for the practise than anything else.  The team did well, winning 5-0, Tom was in the second team who put up a good fight (can't remember the final score - but it was pretty equal)

Walk leader Tom
Tom, unfortunately didn't  play his best, once again he danced around and waited for others to do the work for him, he scored 3 goals, which was great, but he didn't create any chances, just waited for the chances to come to him, whilst the other members were trying really hard - especially Lexi and Caitlin who worked their socks off.  It was disappointing, he still hasn't 'got' the concept of teamwork and team spirit.  We are wondering how to explain it to him...

Anyway, we got home, Tom had a shower and opened up a parcel addressed to him, it was a pack of walks for children around the Yorkshire Dales from Jude - written so that children can easily follow, understand and lead them.  Tom suggested we go to Malham, so we did and he was the leader for the whole walk - didn't get us lost at all.  It was a good walk, so to celebrate, we went to the pub for a pint.

Then back home for dinner, then we packed, before heading to bed.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Football Tournament

Medal winner Tom!
On Thursday we took Tom to an after school football tournament at Settle.  There were 8 teams made up of year 3 and 4 players.  They were split into 2 groups so played 3 matches each and then there were play offs for each position.

Tom's team did really well - they won each match easily in the group stages, and then had to play the winners of the other group to see who won over all.  Unfortunately the winners of the other group were Settle, and we knew they were good (they thrashed us last week during a friendly).  However, after a good talking to by one of the Craven coaches, they played really really well.  It was an equal match, so much so that it went into golden goal time.

Unfortunately Settle scored - it was a cracking goal, one that couldn't be saved, so Ingleton came second overall, but they all played so hard that we were proud of them all.  They got given silver medals and were pretty excited about the whole thing.

The Ingleton teams
We went to Pat and Bob's afterwards for tea and to warm up - we were freezing.  In fact, when we got home we were still cold, so cracked open a mulled wine - it worked, although it meant we were good for nothing for the rest of the day!

Podding & Walking

Night sky over Meadow Falls
We have been looking forward to Friday night for a while as we were due to go podding - sleepover night in the Pods at Meadow Falls campsite - the campsite run by the Holman's (their daughter, Annabel is in Tom's class).  It didn't start well as Tom was sick in bed on Wednesday, meaning he had to take Thursday and Friday off.   Luckily he wasn't ill with it - I think he drank too much water in the swimming pool!  Anyway, he wasn't quite himself on Thursday - mainly because he was missing school and feeling sorry for himself, but he was fine on Friday and went on a trainspotting adventure with Matt for the day.

I stayed behind, finished off some cake stuff and then packed for our night of podding.  You would think we were going away for a week, the amount of stuff we had, but I guess when you have to include bedding etc, it is always bulky.

The girlies
We arrived at the campsite first, (well we didn't need to pick Tom up from school) and got settled in the pod - they provide a futon, fridge, kettle, curtains and heater and there are electric points, meaning that really it is very comfortable.  Once sorted, Tom hooked up with Annabel and Owen (her older brother) and they were gone playing.  About an hour later everyone else turned up (The Ellershaws, Cronshaws and Dawsons), that was it - all the children were playing, so the adults went to the Holman's very comfortable cabin and cracked open the fizz, wine, beer etc.   It was a very very sociable night.

Lovely clear evening
Children eating on the deck
The kids played and played and played until their tea was ready (hot dogs followed by smores) and then went off playing again whilst we had our tea (curry, chilli, rice, jacket potatoes followed by banoffee pie) All the food was amazing and I ate for England - more than I have ate since before the op.  Once we had finished up, the smaller children were getting tired, so we headed down to the pods, lit a fire pit  and drank and continued eating whilst the smaller children went to bed and the older ones continued playing (they were mining and finding fossils by torchlight!).

Autumn colours in Barbon
Unfortunately at this point my tummy went into overdrive!  I felt more and more unwell, until in the end I went to the toilet block to try to do something about it.  Nothing happened, but I knew I was going to be ill, so I went back to the fire pit and told Matt about my predicament.  We decided it would be better for me to go home than to stay, so I headed back.  I didn't make it in time and ended up leaving a little present just outside Rob's yard!  Oh well, better out than in.  I think it was a case of too much rich food: the curry was full of cream, the banoffee pie full of caramel and it overloaded my system which is used to lots of veggies and small amounts of protein!  Oh well, I got home and had a very restless night tossing and turning in bed.

Matt and Tom, however, had a great night in the pod, the kids slept until 8am, had breakfast and then packed up and came home.  Tom then, of course, had Craven Wanderers.  Considering he was down on sleep he did really really well.  We didn't have much planned for the rest of the day, assuming we would all be down on sleep, so stayed in and watched a video.  Tom, of course, didn't show any signs of tiredness, however, both Matt and I were glad of a quiet afternoon.

Anyway, excepting my tummy we had a ball, we have all agreed to do it again when it is warmer - but pay next time - Liz provided everything free of charge.

With the Bickerstaffs
Sunday, we didn't have much planned.  The morning was foul: grey and rainy so Tom and I sat down to do a Cauliflower Card design.  Believe it or not we managed it without too much stress and it looked ok - a result as doing craft with Tom normally ends with me loosing patience with him!  After lunch in Country Harvest (yes we are middle aged!) we headed out to Barbon Beck with the Bickerstaffs for the walk past the magic chocolate tree back to Barbon village - a pint in the pub and back again.  It was a lovely afternoon, the kids were all good, it was nice to spend some time with them all.  Seth immediately concluded that it was Matt that loaded the magic chocolate tree with chocolate (he's the youngest of the three!), Tom and Jack didn't think about it, they were just happy to get some chocolate.    Anyway, it was a lovely autumn walk in the woods with lovely people.

Last Class

Tom did really well at swimming this week.  Although he is not at the top of his class by any stretch of the imagination, Jill decided to put him up a class!  This now means his swimming lesson is 7.45 to 8.15 and it is the last class she teaches, so he is in with 11 year olds!

On asking why she put him up, she said that he is a good listener???!!!!!!!  First time ANY teacher has said that to us!!!!!!!

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Match Day & Sculptures

Craven Wanderers Under 8s
Tom under a chrome-plated camel's pelvis
So Tom had his first football match for Craven on Saturday.  The under 8s have some storming players which means that Tom wasn't playing for the first team to start with - which was a good thing as it meant he was with his buddies in the second team playing against Embsay.  We didn't keep score for some reason, but they all played really well and we think they won.  Tom got to play in the first team against Skipton Reds for the second half and did really well.  All in all a good team performance.  Caitlin got man of the match - well deserved, she's only just started and she had a steel look of determination in her eyes and got stuck in.

Once Tom was back and showered, we went to Silverdale for the afternoon.  We had a rather nice lunch in The Royal Pub and then headed to the RSPB place for a walk and to spot some birds.  They did a children's trail about the Bearded Tit, which Tom happily completed.  We went to some hides and watched birds.  Neither of us know much about birds, but we did see some white Egrets, ducks, swans, herons, some Bearded Tits and many more.  It was a lovely afternoon.

A giant sad-looking clown
Sunday we headed to Wakefield to go to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park for the Yorkshire Translators meet up.  It was a big old place and quite interesting, although I don't understand art on the whole.  Even with reading the plaques explaining the art, I still didn't 'get' most of them!  Not a problem, nearly everyone else was the same and by the end we were talking in good 'art speak' trying to explain what we were seeing.  It was a scenic park, the weather was good and company good too.   Our favourite sculpture was that of Kaws - a giant who was hunched up and looking very sad.  I think he had been naughty and was feeling remorseful.  We all wanted to give him a big hug and make him happy again.

We finished quite early, so decided to head into Bradford for curry at The Kashmir - as good and cheap as always.  Then home and bed.

Beavers Camp

Beavers and guardians
Saturday was a very exciting day.  BEAVERS SLEEP OVER!

First though was football training!  Tom did very very very well with his training today.  He was put in the second team and really really shone - we were so proud: he tackled, he attacked, he passed, fantastic team work.

Interesting head gear at the Folk Weekend
We brought him home, showered him and then delivered him to the park to meet up with the Beavers for their sleep over.  This was a 23 hour camp, lots of games in the morning which Tom missed, then navigation walk in the afternoon, camp fire & dinner in the evening, followed by a film and then sleeping in tents in the scout hut for the night.

Matt and I were on walking duty.  I can't say I was looking forward to it as I'm not great with other people's children, so I was very surprised to really enjoy myself.  The sleepover was with the Settle Beavers Colony as well.  The Ingleton and Settle Beavers got on really well, as if they were already best friends and the children were fun and interesting to be with.  The afternoon flew by.  We didn't actually walk far, the children had to navigate their way around the village which they did fine.  We ended up in the village square where there were a number of Morris Dancing Troops doing their stuff (it was Folk Weekend in the village) so we stopped and watched them for a while.
Returning Beaver

We were relieved of our duties when we got back to the scout hut and I was quite sorry to say goodbye, as I was enjoying myself.  Tom wasn't bothered to see us go though.  He was right in his element.

The deal was that we could leave them in the scout hut, but had to remain nearby just in case we were needed, so although Matt and I had an evening to ourselves, we had to stay in the village.  We ended up doing a pub crawl as it was Folk Weekend.  We started off with burgers and a couple of pints in the Marton Arms and then walked back to the village, had a round in the Wheatsheaf with the Bickerstaffs and then a night cap in The Old Post Office.

Sunday morning, we headed down to the scout hut for 9am pickup.  Everyone was buzzing, they had had a great time (apparently all asleep by 11pm).  Tom chose to sleep in a tent with a Beaver from Settle and a boy from Bentham - very proud that he didn't cling to people he knew.  He was a very happy bunny.

Beautiful morning at Ribblehead
Now, we didn't plan much for Sunday as we figured Tom would be tired.  It was a lovely day so in the morning we headed up to Ribblehead and did the Ribblehead walk.  We then had lunch in Inglesport. Matt then headed out on his bike, whilst Tom and I stayed at home and watched a film.  We didn't need to have a quiet day, Tom was fine, didn't show any signs of tiredness at all!  In fact he came home much cheerier than he's been for a while.  It was nice to have the old happy Tom back, we had been missing him.

Train Weekend

An immaculate Class 40 at Bury
We were supposed to be meeting up with friends from Telford on Saturday, but it got cancelled at the last minute.  This meant that Tom could go to Craven Wanderers practice which he was happy about. It is much better this year because Finn, Matthew, Fred and Caitlin are doing it this year.  I guess someone has to be the path layer with theses things.  After a soak to get the mud off we had lunch at Bernies and then a quiet afternoon. The Ellershaws had lent us a copy of Zootropolis, which we watched while slumped on the sofas. It was a good film, with a lot of nice touches - especially the sloths.

Tom and a Class 37 (his favourite) at Bury Bolton Street.

On Sunday, Tom, Grandpa and I headed down to the East Lancashire Railway for their annual diesel gala. They were running a very frequent service, with all the trains being pulled by vintage diesel locomotives, including some that had been polished to within an inch of their lives - they looked magnificent. We parked at Rawtenstall and caught the first train of the day down to Bury Bolton Street, the main station on the line, where there was plenty going on and plenty of stalls where one could spend one's hard earned pocket money. Tom spent a whole £20 on an OO gauge Stobart Rail low loader, to add to his ever increasing collection of Stobart vehicles. None of us realised, however, that it was a display model rather than an ordinary toy, and it was screwed to a base plate with 4 weird screws with triangular heads that required me to buy a set of specialist screwdriver heads from an online store in China, which arrived 2 weeks later - all's well that ends well though.
Tom, Grandpa and a Class 50 at Heywood

We had a basic lunch on the platform at Bury station, washed down with nice beer and many lungfuls of white smoke from a Class 50 that was clearly in need of a service.
Still, we managed two full trips up and down the line, behind a variety of locomotives, many of which did look and sound magnificent, especially the two old green Class 40s they had running. They are clearly well loved and pampered engines.
I must say, it seems a very well-run heritage railway - quite a long line, nice stations, friendly staff (volunteers) and lots of things to enjoy. I have a feeling we'll be back for another visit before too long.

You can see a video of the day here: https://youtu.be/xu58pVgWE8c

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Cross Country

Cross Country Tom
Now that Tom is in KS2, after-school activities get a bit more interesting.  This week he got a chance to compete in the Cross Country.  It was an inter-school event held at Ingleton (we have the largest fields of any local school).  Pupils had to be in the top 6 of their gender and year group to make the next round.  Plenty did get through, but Tom wasn't one of them.  Not because he wasn't fast enough, but because he isn't bullish enough to make his way to the front of a crowd.

The Ingleton gang
He did really well, sprinted the whole course, but there were too many other boys in front of him - never mind, maybe next year - we will have to drill him on how to start in front!  However, he did contribute to his year group coming 1st - so well done him.  Finn, Lucas and Lexi got through to the next round - not bad considering there were 9 schools taking part.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Social weekend

Saturday morning saw us down at the school with Craven Wanderers again.  Tom lost himself during the first half of the match, but after a talking to by Matt he did really well in the second half.  Why oh why can't he try hard without the talking to?  Oh hum!!!!!

We had lunch at Inglesport and then headed over to Barbondale to do the magic chocolate tree walk down to the pub for a drink and back again.  However, there were 4 lively young bulls in one of the fields we had to cross and we decided against it.  Luckily we were able to get to the chocolate tree though, where Tom found some smarties.

Dressed for blackberrying
We decided to hang out at the beck at Barbon instead, throwing stones, damming, splashing in the water etc etc.  We got back around 3 and then prepared for what was probably the last BBQ of the year with the Bickerstaffs.  We didn't take any photos as we were all having fun, but the boys got on well, as did the adults, and we managed to sit outside until about 7.30pm.

Sunday we headed to Austwick in the morning to do some blackberrying.  At first we were worried that we had missed the boat as all the bushes had spent berries on them, but then we found some healthy bushes and we were away, we managed 3lbs in the end and did the longer walk to Elaine's in Feizor for lunch and were very happily surprised to come across a herd of Galloway Belties - including some rather cute looking calves.  We then dropped Matt off and headed to Clapham Park, where we met up with Alice and Charlie.  The boys played football all afternoon whilst Alice and I nattered.

Galloway beltie
A good social weekend.

Charlie Bucket

What a charlie!
On Tuesday all the children had to dress up as a character from a Roald Dahl book to celebrate his 100th birthday.  Luckily Tom chose Charlie Bucket and I knew Janine had a spare vintage jumper so with that, gel in the hair so it would go sideways and a Mummy made golden ticket he went to school.  I was quite pleased with the result.  Oh, how I hate fancy dress!

Red Squirrels and a Bike Ride

Posing for the camera
So we were back to the old routine this weekend, which meant Saturday morning football.  Now, we were all a bit worried about what would happen to the team this year as there were only about 4 in Tom's age group and the younger ones wouldn't be able to play with them this year.  Not a problem, Finn had decided that he wanted to join, and as he joined, Fred of course joined and then Matthew decided to give it a go too.  On top of that the coach had managed to find a couple of Kirkby Lonsdale families with children who wanted to give it a go.  Now there are about 15 players in his age group.  Some of the new children are brilliant too, Lucas doesn't look so amazing anymore as others are as good.  Tom didn't get swamped by the new people either and looked good enough, trying at least to tackle and get the ball.  It was nice to have the other parents to talk too as well.

We weren't sure what to do in the afternoon, Matt had a light bulb moment and suggested we go looking for red squirrels at Snaizeholme, near to Hawes.  Wow!  I was expecting to maybe glimpse one after looking very hard for a very long time.  Not so.  We saw loads of them, and not only that - they were as tame as anything and came up to sniff around us.  We couldn't believe our eyes, as a result red squirrels are now Tom's favourite animal!  They were very beautiful creatures darting in and out around the trees in the forest.  It was a very pleasant hour we spent watching them.
Close up

Sunday was another nice day.  We decided to go on a bike ride from Halton to Glasson Dock and back.  It wasn't a good start - we forgot that Tom's bike's seat was at its lowest height from the pump track and Matt's seat was loose and we didn't have an allen key!  Not to worry though, we were on a bike route, we found better prepared people on the route and were soon sorted - note to selves, make sure we have allen keys with us in the future!  We have done the ride before, my memory was that it was quite a long trek, but obviously both Tom and I have got a bit fitter since as it didn't seem that long at all (and that was with my brake pads rubbing on my front wheel, slowing me down!).  It was a 16 mile ride all together, a perfect tonic for Matt who was suffering from a hangover after a big night out with the cricket crowd.  We had lunch at a good greasy spoon in Glasson Dock, which was full of cyclists.  It took us no time at all to cycle back to the car.  My legs were hurting and felt as if they were made from rubber, but it was good to be out on the bikes again, it has been a while.