Saturday, 14 July 2018

Football isn't coming home

So last night it was the Semi-finals of the World Cup Football.  England vs Croatia and Tom was allowed to stay up for the whole match.  We were all in a state of nervous tension for the match - but we didn't win.  Oh well, at least the team tried and actually played like a team for the first time in years.  Tom was a little upset but went to bed happy that he saw the whole match and that they tried.

He laid the George Cross outside his bedroom, he still believes...

He should remember this as his first world cup and who knows in 4 years time they might go a step further (as long as they don't get egos...)

It has been fun watching Tom watch the world cup.  He is very biased!  If England gets fouled, it is immediately a penalty, free kick etc etc.  If an England player fouls someone else it is "he hardly touched him...come on!!!!!" so funny!  I guess he makes a good supporter!

Hot Pots and Cricket

So this weekend was a nice busy weekend.  After All Stars on Friday, followed by a good nosh up at Elaine's we headed to Blackpool for Saturday.  We had tickets for The Lancashire Hot Pots and were meeting up with Debbie, Adam and Luke to do the proper Blackpool Experience - i.e. stay in a B&B near the front.
Ready for the England Match

It didn't all go quite according to plan, mainly because Adam had an op 10 days prior and it was a big op with a big scar and it isn't healing quite as well as it should and Debbie had a perforated ear.  They were late arriving in Blackpool, we arrived, checked into our B&B - not top of the range accommodation by any means but the hosts were very very friendly which made up for it.  We went for a stroll down by the prom and after purchasing a sun hat for me and an England T-shirt for Tom we headed to the amusements and spent a remarkably long time loosing a £1 each on the 2p pushers.

When we came out we got a call from Debbie, they had arrived and they were thinking of visiting their friends for the England football match (we couldn't go to a Blackpool pub with Tom and Luke - way too rowdy and Adam was feeling too tender).  They have friends with a bar shed in the garden and we were invited.  Debbie taxied us over, we arrived just in time and were made very very welcome (Adam and Jo went to school together)  We settled in and had a very very pleasant time watching England win against Sweden in the bar shed whilst enjoying banter and eating crisps and drinking beer - what could be better?
The Hot Pots

We got back to the B&B in good spirits, had a quick shower and change and then headed out to the Hot Pots gig, grabbing fish and chips on the way.  The Hot Pots were as good as ever, we were all bopping up and down to them - especially during our favourite tunes - Chippy Tea and Egg, Sausage, Chips and Beans.  Tom was tired, but he enjoyed himself.  Luke was the same - these schools wear our children out during the summer term!

We headed home - Adam was in obvious pain when walking back - which was quite worrying.  We all went straight to bed - I ended up in the double with Tom just to give us all more room, he was a bit like an octopus though - limbs going everywhere!!!!

Ready for Cricket
In the morning, Debbie came down to tell us that Adam was worse, his wound was weeping and they needed to get him sorted.  After giving him a talking too - to go to A&E not GP, Matt took them back to Debbie's car which was parked by their friends' house whilst Tom and I watched trams.  We then had a MacDonalds breakfast (upper class by Blackpool standards) and then drove to the Old Trafford Cricket Stadium in Manchester to watch 20:20 Lancashire vs Northamptonshire.  This was mine and Tom's first ever cricket match as spectators, it was hot hot hot, and according to Matt it was quite boring, but Tom and I enjoyed it.  We got loads of freebies: '4' and '6' cards, blow up batons, red hair, a lanyard etc etc.  We settled ourselves in where we started off in the shade and watched the players warm up - think Tom was very impressed by the catching practise (mainly by the way the trainer was able to consistently hit the ball in the same direction, and with the same amount of speed etc)

The match itself started and we got into the swing of it with our '4' and  '6'  cards and by joining in with the singing, chanting etc etc.  It was a good afternoon - and considering Tom was shattered (he fell asleep in the car on the way over which is almost unheard of these days) he really perked up and concentrated - a hot dog and chips helped too.  It was mega hot though, I was very happy with my £2 straw hat purchase in Blackpool or I would have got frazzled.

The match finished at 5pm and we headed home - Tom fell asleep almost immediately - he is mega short on sleep.

A good weekend, hope Adam is feeling better soon!

Another year with Mrs Clements

So Tom came home with his letter from school about classes next year.  Once again the county won't pay for the extra classroom they desperately need, so it is split classes again.  However, Tom's class is being kept together and get this...they have Mrs Clements again next year.  We are all delighted as we feel she is the best teacher in the school.  Also this year instead of mixing in the 'bottom' of the class above them for the afternoons (which includes quite a few characters) they are getting the cream of the class below them.  However, class numbers are a bit rubbish: 23 in the morning (fine) but 35 in the afternoon.

Think another year with Mrs Clements will be fab - she doesn't let them get away with anything and pushes them - just what they need.

Hot, hot, hot

This week was hot, hot, hot and busy, busy, busy - not least because I had 4 cakes on the go and because it is so hot, the fondant icing doesn't play nicely meaning that each cake took double the amount of time to make than usual.

Matt was away all week, but because of the heat, Tom wasn't going to bed until about 10pm most nights as it was oven like in the house - not a breeze to be found to cool down the air inside the house.  I therefore had no time to be lonely, in fact I felt like I was on the constant go.

We had all the usual activities and on Wednesday instead of the usual swimming lesson it was badges and this year was the biggie: 1,500m which is 90 lengths of the Casterton pool, not great if you are down on sleep and slightly grumpy to start with!
Jill and Tom

He did well, but he did lose it about a third of the way through when he started to cry because a girl kept bumping into him (I told him countless times to overtake her but he refused - she was in front of him but he was naturally faster than her meaning he was held up and he got the odd kick and punch from her)  Jill gave him a talking too and he recovered, but I think we probably had 4 lengths of him crying / whimpering.  As a result I lost count of the number of lengths he did - so he may actually have done 92 lengths instead of the 90 he needed to do!  After a while he got into a rhythm and he cruised it.  It was mega hot in the pool though - although Tom enjoyed splashing me each time he got to my end of the pool!

We have decided to put an end to swimming lessons now.  He obviously can swim quite well, but his will to do well isn't there.  He only swims properly if Jill shouts at him, as soon as she looks somewhere else he goes back to being lazy.  He could be good, but quite often he doesn't believe her / us when we tell him what he needs to do (e.g. breathe on his side when doing front crawl) and will continue to do his own thing regardless without even trying to do anything different.  So thanks to Jill for teaching him, he certainly won't drown.

On Thursday Tom was invited to the Co-op to receive a donation at the opening of their new store as he is a member of the Kids'
Official duties

On the Saturday Tom went off with Katie and Rebecca to the Worth Valley Railway for a gala day whilst I caught up on my cakes.  I believe he had a fantastic day - he and Rebecca can talk trains for England - it is nice they have each other to be nerdy with.

Sunday Tom had a cricket match at home against Kendal.  We got to the field to find only 3 Ingleton children had turned up and the coach was on his way to Derbyshire for his son's cricket match?!.  The Kendal club had sent a full contingent of 10 so we had to get on the phone quick smart.  I called every family I knew in Ingleton to beg and plead they came down to take part and within 40 minutes we managed to conjure up a full team.  How embarrassing though.  Somehow we managed to stay in the black and we and the kids had a good time, but it could have been very different.

As it was so hot, we decided to have a nice easy afternoon to catch up on ourselves.

Busy busy week

This week was mega busy.  Tom had sports day on Monday afternoon.  As the kids get older, they get more races, this year he got to do a relay race.  Normally when he races he is up against Finn and Lucas.  He knows he doesn't have a chance against them, so he doesn't really try.  This time he found himself running against Caitlin - he knew he could beat her.  Suddenly there was a glint in his eye, he had quite a bit of space to make up and he was determined.  Wow, suddenly he became a proper runner (so much so that a mum came up to me afterwards to tell me that Tom has a natural running posture)  So he can do it - he just needs not to be up against Lucas and Finn!!!

On Wednesday he had a cricket match at Burneside - once again they did better.  Charlie got loads of boundaries, Luca got quite a few wickets and Tom managed his first boundary.  He came off the pitch upset though because he got out a couple of times and didn't get any wickets - he takes his cricket very seriously bless him.  Took us ages to convince him he had done well - better even than he had done before.  
Working hard

Thursday was the Summer Fair at school, so that was another afternoon gone.  We did well though, over £1,000 and it was manic.  The PTA haven't been very good at getting volunteers recently meaning that we were stretched to maximum and had to shut some stalls down in order to help those who were hammered.

How do we get more helpers?  It's a conundrum - people turn up expecting it to just happen, but very few are willing to help and with each year the numbers of helpers goes down.    I had to rope Matt in this year.  He got stuck with hot drinks and the urn that refused to work off any extension and a huge queue of people wanting hot drinks.  I was at the other end of the scale doing ice creams - trying to keep them as cold as possible in the heat - got to the stage where I was just pouring them into cones!  It was a very busy and exhausting afternoon (not forgotting the tongue lashing I got from the school cook for putting ice-cream in a freezer!).

Friday I actually got to work for the whole day - it was a busy cake week as well (of course)
Flying doggie

Whale Shark and diver

We were supposed to go to Manchester for the weekend, to visit the Komorowskis but Karen's mother got admitted to hospital on the Friday and sadly passed away on Saturday.  We stayed at home and went to the kite festival in Morecambe instead.  Then Matt headed over to Manchester (he was off to Japan) whilst Tom and I headed home. 

Tom and I had a quiet Sunday - we went swimming in the morning, but apart from that didn't do too much - we both needed a rest.

Tom almost made Jill cry!

Tom and Jill
So on Wednesday Tom had a swimming lesson as usual, but strangely, this week, he actually listened to what Jill told him and he zoomed up and down pool doing really well.  Now Jill is quite a strict and shouty teacher, certainly doesn't show a soft side to the kids.  However, when Tom got out of the pool, she pulled him aside and said what a star he had been, the best swimming ever etc etc.  We thought she was going to cry, her voice certainly cracked.

Who'd have thought it?

Mid June weekend.

Hum, this is the problem of always writing the blog in arrears, I can't find anything that we did on the weekend of 16th and 17th June.

I'm sort of assuming that as it has been so hot and we have been full of hay fever, we didn't really do too much.  Sunday Tom had a cricket match at home against Netherfield.  They improved quite a bit compared to their last performance and ended up in the black.

Matt was home against Windermere in the afternoon - so I'm guessing we watched most of that?  I probably did some cake work as I have been full on busy recently, but other than that it is a bit of a blur.  I really must write this more often...

Barbon Hill Climb and Hayfever.

Old Car smoking
Not a great day for me.  I was full of hay fever and feeling very sorry for myself, so I stayed at home whilst Tom and Matt played.  They headed over to Barbon for the annual Barbon Hill Climb, we tried to go last year but it was cancelled due to heavy rain - that wasn't going to happen this week - it has been sunny for a while now.

The boys enjoyed themselves, saw lots of interesting cars, one accident and managed to get themselves a great spot under a tree but near enough to the track to enjoy the atmosphere.

The only time it rained in a month!
In the evening we were invited to the Bickerstaffs for a BBQ.  They had meat (Janine, Jack and Seth are veggie).  Think it was a thank you for helping after Janine's op.  Now it had been sunny all day but literally as we tucked into our burgers the heavens opened and it poured down.  We were typically stoical about it and remained outside in the downpour under a parasol until we finished our meal.  Typical, just as we finished, the sun came out again, and get this, some parts of Ingleton didn't get rained on at all!!!!!

A quiet. day.  Matt played cricket in Kirkby and we stayed at home.  We were going to try to get into the pool for the afternoon session, but the alarm kept going off every time we locked the front door, so much so that I had to call the alarm company to sort it out.  It took a good 15 mins which then meant that we didn't have a chance of getting into the pool, so we had a play in the river and then came home for mushroom pasta.

Hawes and Cricket

So we were all quite tired today - it's been a busy week.  We had a lie in, and a quiet morning before heading towards Hawes at Tom's request.  We thought instead of doing the Ribblehead walk we would go and visit the red squirrels in Snaizeholme.  We parked at the bottom and headed up with monkey nuts in our pockets.  We didn't have as much luck as previous visits, we saw about 5 all together, but none at close quarters, we didn't manage to feed them our monkey nuts but we left some behind for them to find.

We then headed to Wensleydale Creamery for lunch - this was Tom's request.  We sat outside in the heat.  I had a new 'Buddha Bowl' - with curried chick peas, kale, beetroot, carrot and pearls of tasty cheese whilst the boys had toasted sandwiches: steak and blue cheese for Matt and macaroni cheese for Tom - yep macaroni cheese in a toasty.  Think Tom enjoyed it, but when we asked him to eat his salad he slowed down and took an age to finish it up.  I LOVED my Buddha bowl and will be back to have it again.

We then went for a quick wander in Hawes, and then to Semerwater - a lake over the hill from Hawes.  A nice location, but very muddy and slimy and very stony making it hard to access with the footwear we had with us.  Would be a good place for a dingy/ canoe.

Then back to Ingleton for late afternoon, wash the car, have a rest, a cupboard tea, I had to finish a cake and then we headed back to the field for All Stars and to get bitten to death by the midges.  Still hot and humid.

We then all went to bed early, the heat and humidity and activity has made us all tired!

Quiet weekend

As we were all a little tired from the week, we decided to have a quiet day.  In the morning Tom and I headed to the swimming pool for the morning session with the Bickerstaffs, not so nice today, so guess what, we didn't have to queue - yay!   In fact the pool was full of locals: George and Lucas and Sam and Ben our old next door neighbours were there.   Matt stayed at home as he was sorting out his digital glossary which he had corrupted.

The rest of the day is a bit of a blur, neither me nor Matt can remember what we did (what was Matt doing whilst we were at the swimming pool?!), so we are guessing we pottered around at home.  We had lunch in the village and bought some flowers for the hanging baskets and put them together.  Nice to have them again - wonder how long before they die this year?

In the evening we headed to the Marton Arms for tea.  We would have walked over, but some rain arrived, so we went all antipodean and took the car instead.  We met up with Pat and Bob at the pub and had a good tea - nice food there now.
Atop Smearsett Scar

We figured we should get out of the house.  We headed to Feizor to climb Smearsett Scar which is what we have been wanting to do for a while.  It was a really lovely walk and less hard than we thought it would be.  It was a bit rough and ready though as we couldn't find a proper track up so had to leg it over some dry stone walls which is always a risk as obviously they fall down beneath you if you get it wrong.  We got to the top, admired the view and then walked along the ridge, following trods along the way.  We did ok, but went a bit wrong at the end and found ourselves a sheer drop not to fall down.  We got there in the end.

We then headed to Elaine's for lunch, we sat outside, put in our order and were enjoying the sunshine when two familiar figures walked in - Pat and Bob!  We shuffled up and had lunch together.

Matt then had cricket match in Ingleton so we had a lazy afternoon watching him.  I started some baking for a big cake next week and gave Tom a walkie talkie so he could contact me if he wanted to come home and I could see him across the road.  Then mushroom pasta for tea of course!

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Waterfalls Walk, Swimming & Cricket

The driest Thorton Force we've ever seen!
We ended up having a really busy day today.  Not sure how - but it happened.  So it dawned another lovely and sunny day (what's new - we have got to the stage where we don't bother drawing the curtains in the morning anymore to see what sort of weather it is going to be.  We know it is going to be hot and sunny - it's like living in a foreign country!!!!!!)

All Sudz were here at 9am,  Matt had tooth ache and booked himself an emergency appointment in Settle so we were without the car.  Neither me nor Tom have done the waterfalls walk for a while (me because of my bad leg and Tom because he's always busy doing other stuff!) so we headed out.  We were out early enough for it not to be too busy and we marched our way round - there wasn't really that much to see - it hasn't rained for ages now and of course it has been hot too.

Picking up a tree?
The river bed was wider than usual and when we got to Thornton Force, it was the driest we have ever seen it - just a dribble going over rather than the usual pounding water.

We continued on round the trail - it was very hot and muggy so we were both quite sweaty as we headed round, and with no little waterfalls on the banks as we headed round, we didn't really get the chance to cool down.

We did the course in record time (Tom is so fit now).  On our way out we met a lady with a blind spaniel and we stopped for a chat.  Get this they relocated here from 'near Reading' in December - wanting to live somewhere nice with hills.  They have a girl in Reception and another toddler.  Once she said 'near Reading' my heart sank.  Where near Reading I ask...'Burfield' is the answer.  Phew!  I say I used to live in Wokingham, to which she says, "Oh, I used to teach in Wokingham in a school called St. Crispins",  so I immediately get the heebie jeebies as 'that school' still gives me the shivers!  She tells me that it is a really good school now, however, she said she was aware of it being bad, in fact she says 'I hear it used to be called Dustbins it was so bad'  Yes!  That is what we called it!!!!!!!!!!  I can't get my head around the fact 'that' school could possibly be good now?!!!!  Anyway we laughed, it is impossible to get away from your past isn't it - no matter how far you move away!!!!!!  However, she's enlightened and has escaped too, so figure she has to be OK and she was one of the first to book on the 2018 camp out, so must be OK.  She said she would like to get involved in the PTA as well which is good as we are desperate for new blood and new energy.

Tom and I headed home, I had a shower, we got Tom's swimming stuff ready and then we headed to the swimming pool.  We were determined to get in today, so we grabbed some sarnies from the Co-op and went to queue.  The queue was full of people who hadn't got in earlier in the week, lots of people from school, so there was plenty of people to chat to and Tom had lots of friends to play with.  I therefore spent a very pleasant afternoon in the pool chatting to people and sunning myself.

We got home, made a quick tea and then headed off to cricket - a match for Matt and All Stars for Tom.  I stayed with Tom and helped where needed and chatted with Alice for the rest of the time.  We then headed down to watch Matt in his match.  Didn't get Tom to bed until quite late.


Atop Arthur's Seat
As generally happens during school holidays, Tom and I had a day out on the trains. I noticed the previous evening that advance tickets are available at very short notice on Virgin trains, so we managed to get return tickets to Edinburgh for £24, pretty good for a fairly long journey.

Nik dropped us off at Oxenholme station at about 10 o'clock, and our Pendolino (City of Edinburgh, ironically) turned up a few minutes late, but deposited us at Waverley station a few minutes early. The journey past pleasantly enough, with Tom writing up his cub camp diary and me doing a bit of work. Just as well we had things to do, as we managed to get seats with no view at all.

After a quick Trip Advisor search, we had lunch at a restaurant near the station called Tempting Tattie, where Tom had a baked potato filled with a mountain of prawn mayo and I had one with a similarly enormous quantity of delicious peppery haggis.

On the way down
This fortified us enough for our main activity of the day, a brisk stroll up Arthur's Seat, seemingly with every tourist in Scotland - I've never seen so many people up there. After the obligatory photos at the summit, we headed back down via a path I'd never been on before, but which gave great views over the city. We then walked back around the base of Salisbury Crags to the Royal Mile, where we had drinks and cakes, unfortunately sat next to the family from hell. I just don't understand how some parents can allow their children to behave so badly. It took me a great deal of willpower to prevent myself from saying something to them.

We still had a little bit of time before our train home, so we went window shopping along the Royal Mile, where most of the gift shops feature a dazzling array of Highland cows. The temptation was all too much for Tom, so we now have yet another Highland cow (McTavish) to add to the collection. There was one enormous example (Doris according to Tom) in the window of one shop, so I had to ask "how much is that cow in the window?". I decided £550 was probably a bit over budget.
Doris and Tom
After a brief period watching trains at Waverley station (a busy place!), we bought our tea at Marks and Spencer and boarded our train home. This time our seats faced backwards and still had very little view, but we pass the time eating, drinking, playing Top Trumps and, in Tom's case, writing a bit more of his diary.

Nik was there to meet us on the platform when we got back, and once we got home, Tom needed pudding (of course), and was then sent to bed to get some well-earned rest.

Another nice boys' day out. I wonder where we'll go next time.

Friday, 1 June 2018

Quiet Day

Playing in the river
So today was a quiet day.  The morning was spent doing laundry and putting away clothes.  Then we watched the Railway Children together.

After a quick lunch we headed out to the swimming pool for a dip.  Oh my word, the queue for it was unbelievable.  None of the locals had ever seen it like that before!  We queued, but we didn't get in.  We cut our losses and didn't hang around.  Tom played football with Harry for a while and then we went for a play in the river for an hour or so before heading back home.  They were queueing already for the 4.30 session as we left, the place has gone berserk!

We had a fish supper and then Matt headed out for senior cricket practice.  Tom went with him and found himself a useful job retrieving balls from the out field.  He stayed for the whole session.  Then straight to bed.  Not an exciting day, but useful and needed.

Brimham Rocks & Tired Cub

So Monday dawned another lovely day.  We packed up, paid our £1.50 for electricity and headed on our way back west.

First stop was Brimham Rocks.  Now I had heard of this place, and had assumed it was one or two rock formations to admire.  Oh no, I was wrong!  It was tens of rock formations, all of which were accessible for clambering on - no fences, no health and safety - all at your own risk.  Fantastic.  Our inner children came out and we clambered all over.

It reminded us of Dartmoor - but Dartmoor on steroids - think all the Dartmoor tors in one area and some gigantic.  It was fun and we will have to bring Tom back here with a friend to play with (he's always braver with a friend).  We had lunch sat on top of one of the formations, admired lots of different views and then went in search of an ice-cream.  They only had 3 flavours: vanilla, raspberry ripple or toffee, none of which either of us like, so we decided to head to Pateley Bridge to see if they had better there.

View from a rock
We got ourselves parked in the car park which was extremely cheap and wondered up the high street where we found some ice-cream: cherry for me and chocolate for Matt.  We then headed down to the river for a stroll.  Did I mention it was hot, really hot?  It was good to be in the shade for a while. We decided to head down stream, which just happened to be where the Cub camp was and we spied across the river to see if we could find our little man. We found him and watched him for a while, not up to much, larking around, was good to see him having fun.  We carried on and did a small circuit before heading to a park for a sit on a bench until it was time to go and pick him up.

Balancing act

Tom spotted us straight away in our car and we got a happy wave.  We walked over to him and he launched himself at me.  I got an almighty hug.  He put so much energy into it, he forgot his other parent who got a little upset at being ignored (I would have been upset too!)  He had missed us and he was glad to be going home, but he had had a great time.

All the children were quite subdued.  They all looked completely knackered.  We thought they would be excited, but no.  Tom could only say 'yes' or 'no' to each question.  He then said he was really thirsty so we stopped to get him a drink.  Immediately afterwards he fell into a deep sleep.  He slept all the way home.

When he woke up he was very floppy.  I headed to the Co-op and bought some ready meals and we slobbed out on the sofa and watched the sumo.  Bad news, our favourite didn't win but he has got promoted.  Tom asked to go to bed early and so he did.  Maybe we will get some news about what he did tomorrow...

Nice to get him back x

Long Weekend in York

The view from our lodge
So, what do we do when Tom is away for 3 nights.  Well, no point being at home, it will be too quiet so we got ourselves a little log cabin set by a pond in the outskirts of York for a more reasonable price than any Air bnb or hotel we could find.

After 'sort of' saying goodbye to Tom we headed over and got there in really good time.  In fact somehow we managed to miss all the traffic, not bad for a bank holiday Friday night.

We checked in to a little semi detached lodge with one bedroom and a lounge / kitchen.  Not luxurious but very adequate and with a lovely outlook over the pond / lake.  Just round the corner is a huge Tesco so we headed over and collected some drinks and breakfasts and then got ourselves settled in knowing we could sleep in as long as we wished and could drink and make noise without getting told off!  We drank lots and almost forgot we had a boy!!!!!

Ice cream boat
Saturday we kept ourselves busy exploring York.  We did some shopping, Matt got himself a jacket he didn't know he wanted and I spent my White Stuff vouchers on a dress and a top.  It all seemed too easy.  We then went for a wonder in the Shambles and looked around York Minster.  We didn't go in as it was £16 to enter which was more than we wanted to pay - I never 'get' churches.

We did some more wandering around and then found ourselves at a Japanese restaurant for lunch - we both had a bento: veggie tempura for me and ebi katsu for Matt - very lovely it was too.  We then went for a walk along the Ouse.  The sun was out by then, glorious blue sky and hot.  It turned out to be a lovely walk, made better by the fact we came across a ice-cream boat on the river selling Yorvale ice-cream.  We couldn't say no, so Matt had lemon curd ice-cream which was wonderful and I had rhubarb ice-cream which was good but not as good as the lemon curd.  We then continued along our walk, a whole fleet of pleasure boats came past us, with lots of loud music, and people in fancy dress - it was an organised regatta and made our walk more interesting.  The best one was Thunderbirds, where all the people were dressed up and they had fake smoke etc.  
Scarborough harbour

On our return back into the city we decided to go for a walk on the walls (York is very like Chester - with walls, racecourse and wealth!). We were just getting thirsty when I spotted a Brew Dog pub below.  Matt's face lite up and we headed in.  Seemed to stop for a pint (all research of course) before heading back up the walls and to the Rail Station where we got a bus back to our lodge.

We spent the afternoon at the lodge, very pleasant it was too, enjoying the sunshine and doing, well nothing really.  It is very rare that happens for us and it was very enjoyable.  

A bracing dip in the North Sea
We tidied ourselves up and went out again.  First stop was the York Tap a bar in the Rail Station with lots of craft beer for a a couple of drinks and then we went for a walk in to the City Centre to find somewhere for dinner.  We ended up in a Turkish place, Kapadokya, which was brilliant.  I had a starter of yoghurt dip with bread and would have quite happily just eaten a vat of that with unlimited bread - it was ultra delicious.  Matt had calamari which just dissolved in your mouth - also ultra delicious.  After gorging ourselves with starters, we then had a huge lamb stew (me) and mixed grill (Matt) for mains, I couldn't finish mine, but we did manage to finish a rather lovely bottle of Turkish red wine.  WE then had to wait an hour for the next bus home, so went back to the York Tap for another couple of drinks.  A very boozy but lovely day out in the sun.

Sunday we headed to Scarborough for the day.  I have been before but it was a long time ago (29 years I think) and to be honest only had very very scarce memories of the place.  Anyway after not the easiest of journeys there (for a number of boring reasons) we arrived to deep blue sky and sunshine.  We walked along the main street down to the seaside.  First stop was the Life Boat cafe for lunch.  We had already decided on fish and chips, it has to be fish and chips when you are at the seaside!  I had cod, Matt had scampi - which is just about fish and chips isn't it.  We then went for a walk along the prom.  It was heaving, but even so, it was pleasant.  I hadn't realised how nice the place is.  The buildings are nice to look at, the situation of the town in the bay with a castle overlooking it is very handsome.  Overall we had a very enjoyable day.  We lost £1 each on the 2p machines very very quickly, went for a walk along the prom, saw and smelt the fish (it is still a working port) watched the pleasure boats (including a proper pirate boat) go in and out, walked along the jetty, then up to the castle (English Heritage wanted £8 for each of us to visit so we didn't!) and then along to The Grand Hotel, up the cliff on the funicular railway, along a rather lovely Victorian bridge and down to The Spa where we had ice-creams (banana split ice cream for me which was very lovely) before walking along the prom back towards the town.
Scarborough Castle

The tide was in, so much so that most of the southern beach completely disappeared.  The town beach was, as a result, very very crowded as there was only a narrow strip of beach available.  I had to dip my toes - well you have to when you are at the seaside don't you?!  I walked down to the sea and let it ripple over my feet - wowsers, it wasn't cold, it was numbingly freezing, how anyone could be in it was beyond me.  I am more than happy to be called a Southern softie if it means I don't have to swim in it!  Just as well I didn't jump in, think I would have had a heart attack!!!!!

We browsed a couple of tacky shops (always fun) before heading back up the hill to the train station.  We had a much better trip home.  

Anyway, it was a good day, would love to come back with Tom for a fun day on the beach.  We believe there is a little train to ride and a water park to explore as well.  

Cub Camp

Excited ahead of the event
So after much excitement and apprehension, the day finally came: cub camp day!  750+ cubs from all over North Yorkshire meet at Pateley Bridge for 3 nights of camping and fun.  Tom's been excited about it since he found out about it, and rightly so, who wouldn't be excited to spend 3 nights camping with your friends and having fun?  I'm jealous - would love to go myself.  It was just seconders and leaders that got to go, it is all done on age and Tom is the youngest of all the children - he just made it - phew!

We had spent every available window this week packing and repacking for the camp.  We had a kit list which was huge, and weren't sure how the kids got to camp: did they have to carry it all themselves, could we help?  It was all a little vague.  Anyway, we got him to the point that he could fit everything in his bag himself which was good.


On Friday, we picked him up from school, brought him home, he had a good shower (no showers on the camp site) got dressed into his cub uniform and then packed the car and headed over to the campsite.  He was excited and nervous all at the same time, I don't blame him.

Home for 3 nights

Sumo with Lucy
We stopped off at a rather good pub, The Clarendon Hotel in Hebden for tea where Tom talked about his butterflies.  He ate well though, he chose tomato pasta, which he scoffed in no-time and then we supplemented it with gammon steak and chips from me and fish and chips from Matt until he complained that he was full.  We then continued on to the camp.  To be fair it was well organised.  We were shown where to park and then after studying a map we found out where Ingleboro' cubs were located and headed over.  There we found the camp already up.  Some had already arrived.  Tom found Charlie and headed straight into his tent (Ingleton cub attendees are 3 boys and 5 girls), he had his roll mat and sleeping bag set up instantly.  He was so so so excited that he was barely able to say goodbye to him.

Unfortunately it was raining, but not too hard, but it meant waterproofs and wellies were out.  Anyway, we left a very excited Tom and Charlie behind, they zipped the door down on us, we figured it was time for us to leave!  They are going to have a fab time!

Photos from the Scout FB page - think they had fun!!!!!

Bradford School Trip

So on Tuesday I got to go on my first school trip.  This is a school trip which all Year 4s do, and ticks the 'diversity' box for the school.  Ingleton has a 'twin' school in Bradford and every year they visit each other, so the city kids get to see life in a rural area and the Ingleton kids get to meet kids from an inner city and therefore a diverse background.

This isn't a popular trip so I finally got asked to go.  On Monday the joint Head, Mrs Barry came up to me to give me a warning on what to wear!  A little insulting, but that's Mrs Barry - didn't occur to her to ask if I had ever visited a Mosque before and if I knew what to wear.  I did tell her that I have lived in the Middle East before but still she went on!

So on Tuesday morning, I made two packed lunches which I packed with my headscarf and got on a mini bus to Bradford with 24 excited children.  Mrs Barry was also with us, along with Mrs Bromley and Anne.  I find Mrs Barry hard work - she's very fluffy, talks to you as if you are 5, doesn't really listen to what you are saying and never voices her opinion directly.  At least with Mrs Colledge you know exactly where you stand as she tells you exactly what she thinks.

Anyway we arrived at the school and were more or less immediately whisked away to the Mosque.  Now you would think that if you are going to visit a mosque with a class full of kids who have probably never been in one before AND this is a trip that the school do each year, you would at least prepare the kids and do some sessions on Islam and what to expect etc.  It didn't seem to be the case.  All the girls had headscarves and put them on - we were accompanied by some class champions from the school - 2 of whom were girls, neither of which put on a headscarf, as I had suspected it isn't required of a 9 year old, but I guess it is a lesson in respectability and anyway it was novel and fun for the girls.

He asked where we were from and one of the kids from St Stephens said St Stephens.  No-one told him that the majority were from Ingleton.  The headteacher was with us so I didn't think it was my place to speak up - but really?!!!  He of course had no idea we were from a rural location - he would have changed his talk I'm sure if he had known!

We then listened to a guy from the Mosque - he asked lots of questions - do you know what special time it is for Muslims at the moment - no-one knew, it is Ramadan!  How many months are there in the Muslim year?  No-one knew.  What number month is Ramadan - no-one knew.  It was obvious there had not been any lessons about Islam.  Luckily Tom knew that a Mosque is somewhere you go to pray (I was very proud) and Rosie knew you had to wash before you pray but that was it.  Then when the guy asked for questions, none were forthcoming.  In the end Mrs Barry, Mrs Bromley, Anne and I asked a question each but the guy said that normally when a school visits they have questions prepared.  It was embarrassing.

One interesting fact: the call to prayer.  It can't be broadcasted in public in this country, instead the Mosque broadcast it into people's houses via a radio transmitter.  They press a button and the call to prayer is broadcasted directly into people's houses.  I never knew that!

However, the kids were well behaved.  Afterwards, once the kids were allowed up we got to chat to the guy and Anne explained who we were, he didn't know.  He was interested.  He was also very very approachable.  He should have known!!!!  Once he found out, he wanted to show us more, so we could get an understanding of what they do in the community.  They have more than the Mosque, they have other buildings, they have safe accommodation for women, they have education programmes for adults, one of the essential parts of Islam is looking after your community and charity which he wanted to show us.  He quickly showed us around but we didn't have time for it all.

The same tattoo!
The ladies were working very hard!
We returned to school for our lunch.  Now Tom has written letters to boys in Year 4 of St Stephens and they have written letters back.  You would think that the schools would match them up so everyone knew who their penpals were.  No!  It was manic, it was busy and there was no attempt on the teaching side to get the kids together.  The idea was for them to eat lunch together.  In my section, the Ingleton girls ate their lunch on one table and then Tom was on his own with Bradford kids on his table and Charlie on his own with Bradford kids.  Well done Tom and Charlie.  I sat with Tom and chatted with the kids, all of whom were lovely.  Then the kids went out to play.  They have a small paved over playground.  But it didn't matter, they played happily and our kids and the Bradford kids intermingled no problem.  Which is how it should be: kids playing with kids.  Anne and I stood in the playground.  Anne tried to match up the penpals so at least everyone knew each other.  We got involved in some playground politics: Miss, so and so said this to my sister etc - of course I have no idea of what to do so told them to see a St Stephens teacher.  I didn't see Mrs Barry or Mrs Bromley - but I guess they were doing their thing.  I was a bit like a rabbit in headlights, I have never been on a school trip as a parent before and didn't really know what I was supposed to do - how involved I should be, what sort of things I could say to the kids etc.  It is really difficult, I'm not a natural teacher.
Twin tattoos

The afternoon was then manic:  20 minutes to try some homemade food (delicious, but most of our kids were not up for it - scared of what it might be). 20 minutes to learn a dance and 20 minutes to have a henna tattoo and dress up.

Get this - Tom and I were in different groups.  There were a good 100 henna designs and we chose the same one!

We then got on the coach to get back to school for 3.30.  Not the most exciting school trip, but the kids seemed to enjoy it.  I don't know if I'm being super critical, but I thought if it was to be educational, then at least educate the kids before hand and be in dialogue with the mosque so they have learning opportunities?!

Royal Wedding and Cricket

So this week was the first week of All Stars Cricket.  Tom has been attending cricket sessions since the beginning of term on the Community Field on a Friday with a couple of others and we have managed to get some newbies involved, but this week was the first official week of the training programme.  Ingleton this year are doing it on two nights a week: Thursdays and Fridays.  You sign up for one but can turn up to either or both!  As soon as Tom found out he could do both days we of course wanted to and because he enjoys it so much and (I'm told) is quite good - especially at bowling, we thought it would be good to get in as much practice as possible because it is such a short season.  So between Matt and Tom cricket is taking over my summer weekends.  Oh hum, no point fighting it!  However, this now means that Tom is doing something every night of the week which means term time life is getting a little manic:

+ Monday he does Box Fit with Tomi Tatham after school
+ Tuesday he either goes to Xanders and then cubs or Xander comes here and they go to cubs together
+ Wednesday - he has a friend home and then swimming lesson at 7.45
+ Thursday - cricket
+ Friday - cricket

Saturday / Sunday - Matt and or Tom have cricket match!

I have been quite busy at work with orders and developing new ideas, so it's all got a bit crazy and out of control.  Looking forward to half term when we can relax a bit, although cricket still happens!

Ingleton Under 11s
So, on Saturday there was no football - hurray.  We decided to have a slow day as with all the weekday activity on top of hay fever, he needed it.  It was another beautiful weekend as well, so no need to go too far.  Plus I have done something to my leg meaning I can't walk far at the moment and was on enforced rest from the doctor.

It was also the Royal Wedding.  Now, I hadn't got caught up in the pre-wedding stuff, but thought that as Tom was 9 (about the same age I was when Charles and Di got married) I should let him see it, experience the pomp and ceremony etc, it is something us British do well.  Quite glad I did.  Matt was against it, but once it started he came in and he got drawn in as well.  It certainly was a lovely event: handsome people, gorgeous sunny day, lots of love - obviously a good match.  As Meghan is American and mixed race, the wedding was much more diverse than previous ones: gospel choir and the best thing was Michael Curry the preacher who was from Chicago and was brilliant.  British CofE ministers are ALWAYS very very dull, too caught up in their own importance to realise that they deliver deadly boring and monotonous sermons.  This preacher had style, energy and a whole new way to talk about God.  There were some great glances between the royals, he stole the show and showed us how to make God interesting - although I still don't believe (I would be more likely to want to with preachers like him around!)

Anyway we managed to watch it until they went to sign the register and then we headed to Inglesport because Matt was starving.  They were watching it at Inglesport too so we didn't miss much.  When we got back Tom wanted to play cricket, so we headed over to the Astro pitch for a bash around and then we headed home for a quite afternoon, another BBQ and early to bed.

Tom batting
Sunday was an exciting day for Tom - it was his debut for the Ingleton Under 11s Cricket Team.  He was so proud to be asked (although it isn't about how good you are, just if you are available and willing)  There was quite a spread of ages and ability in the end.  They play completely different rules: each team starts with 200 runs, then batsmen pair up and face 4 overs each.  They loose 5 runs each time a wicket falls, but remain in until the 4 overs is completed.  This means that you can't get out straight away which is a good thing.  Ingleton batted first and ended up with 150 runs which tells you all you need to know.  Tom did OK - he scored a couple of singles and he didn't get out  (apart from once when he got run out by his partner - not his fault!)  Most lost quite a few times but a couple were brilliant and made loads of runs which was lucky.

Bowling: Tom was on first and didn't do too badly, although he didn't get a wicket.  In fact some people we didn't know behind us remarked on 'the good little bowler' and Bob who was watching was able to shout out that it was his grandchild which was nice.  Anyway it was a really good atmosphere and Tom enjoyed himself, that's what matters.  Took about 2 hours all in all!

We went home for lunch and then Matt headed out for cricket as he was playing for the first team.  We stayed in waiting for Sainsbury's - they never turned up, long story and then we had a visit from the Bickerstaffs which included doing their laundry for them as their washing machine had gone bang, by the time the washing was done and we had returned it to them we had missed Matt bowl.  Typically he bowled really really well.  I then had to make tea so we didn't see him bat either!  Oh well.

So a nice lovely sunny crickety sort of a day!  The first of many to come I think...

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Craven Wanderers Awards Night

Craven Wanderers U9 Team 
Another lovely weekend.  It was supposed to rain all day on Sunday but it didn't, how good is this weather we are enjoying?!

Eye on the ball...
So Saturday was the last day of football.  It finished with a tournament at Ingleton.  As it was good weather, everyone was in a good mood and the children played well although, as has become  usual in these events, they started off loosing games and once warmed up started to win.  It was too late though as they didn't get through to the semi finals.  The mums got chatting about the night, it was the Craven Wanderers Awards night and who would get what trophy.  The general consensus was that Tom would get 'Most Improved Player'.  It hadn't crossed my mind, I thought he might get the 'wooden spoon' trophy - think they call it 'Sportsmanship' but it always goes to the weakest player in the team.  Tom has improved but he still isn't at the level of the others, but as the mums said, he has noticeably improved and the others haven't...  It is a pretty boring night as they have to go through 7 teams, acknowledge every player on them and then hand out 4 or so awards.  It takes hours!!!!  The kids run riot because it is too long for them and the parents speak over the coaches handing out the awards and the whole thing is a bit of an effort to get through.  We have discovered the best way to go about it is to get a table near the bar and sit with friends and steadily drink ourselves into a stupor where we don't care anymore.

Most improved player
Now Matt was supposed to be playing cricket in the afternoon in Coniston, however, it had rained in the night over there and the pitch was waterlogged so we had him for the rest of the day which was good because I had visions of having to sit through it on my own.  We headed to the Community Centre got ourselves a table near to the bar and sat with the Mannings and as planned drank ourselves into enjoying it.

Between us we did well, Jack Manning got the Coach's special award and Tom did get most improved player.  Was lovely to see him on stage, think this is the first time he's won anything - he was buzzing!!!!!!  Once they had finished the presentations and drawn the raffle it was after 10pm so we headed home and put the telly on to see the remainder of the Eurovision Song Contest (normally a night of cheese and wine whilst chatting to Chananja).  We got some cheese out and caught up on it.  Needless to say the UK did as badly as usual but it was fun to chat with Chananja.
Our favourite place in Leeds

Sunday both Matt and I were slightly hung over and it was supposed to rain so we decided to head to Leeds on the train - means that the boy is entertained without us trying too hard.  As I said earlier, it didn't rain, but never mind.  We headed to Bundobust for lunch (of course) and then did some shopping, spent quite a while in Waterstones reading before heading home via Wasabi for some sushi.    Then home to watch the sumo - yep the next sumo tournament has started so it is 2 weeks of teas infront of the telly watching our favourites fight each other.  We all want Tochinoshin to win this time...

Feizor, Steak and a Night Walk

Me and my boy
A beautiful weekend - this sunshine is a good thing.

Tom had football practise in the morning and instead of shivering on the touchline it was lovely to stand and watch them play and enjoy the feeling of sunshine on the skin.  Was nice not to have to wear wellies and jump up and down to stay warm!

After football we decided to go for a walk as it was so nice and headed up to Feizor. First stop was lunch and we had it outside which was a joy.  Everyone is so much happier and smilier in the sunshine.  Instead of doing the usual Oxenber Woods walk, we went in the opposite direction and did a full circuit around some hills, almost taking in Knights Stainforth.  It was a good walk with lovely views and nice to go and do something different for a change.  On arriving back in Feizor we went back to the tearooms for a cold drink (me and Matt) and an ice-cream - Tom.

The 3 amigos
Just as we were leaving we bumped into Rebecca and Xander who were doing the usual Oxenber Woods walk.  So lots of excited jumping up and down for a while and we left them to get on with it.  We headed home and had a BBQ for tea.  It was too nice not to!

Sunday and another wonderful sunny day.  Today we headed up to Pabold and Miller and Carter where we met up with Jude and Craig as they didn't want to send me my birthday present in the post. It was a glorious day, the roads were empty so we even managed to enjoy the trip over.  We all ended up having 3 courses for lunch including steak - they do do a good steak so we were feeling pretty heavy for the rest of the day.

After the handing over of presents and a bag of rhubarb (lovely) we headed on the back roads to Settle where we dropped Tom off with his Grannie and Grandpa: they wanted him on Sunday night so that he could stay up late and watch the snooker final (they have got him into snooker - it naturally appeals to him as it has a lot to do with numbers etc)  We left him there and headed home.

As we were home alone, we thought we would do a night time walk, so we had a small tea (still stuffed from lunch) and then headed up to Ribblehead and did a new walk over towards Katie's bunk house through the nature reserve, back to the Station Inn (stopped for a quick drink), down to Katie's farm, then back up the long way to the road where we had left the car.  It was a little longer than we expected so it got quite dark, however, the stars didn't come out as much as we were hoping for but we did see lots of sheep and got a good long stretch.  Don't think we got home until after 10pm - what dirty stop outs we are!

Monday was a quiet day.  Matt went for a bike ride in the morning to Leyburn.  Tom got delivered back to us just after lunch.  We didn't really do that much in the afternoon, Tom was tired and hayfevery and the sun was out so we just pottered around and enjoyed having the day off together.