Mutterings of a Fool

Man, Dad, Runner, Chief dog walker

Tag: lacock

Me and Mine – May 2015

This months edition of the family photo project should be subtitled ‘crash, bang, wallop’ for as you will see it has been a month of accidents and visits to various medical professionals. But all’s well that ends well and all that. Writing these posts can sometimes feel like Groundhog day but mainly that’s because when I think about what we’ve done in the last month it’s all a haze of sleepless nights and feeling tired. The lady of the manor and I often wake up in the morning and struggle to piece together exactly when and for how long Rupert and therefore us, slept. Because of that it’s also hard doing much more than just getting through each day, let alone find the energy to tackle the long to do list of household chores.

But May has been a good month I think and one that’s ending with a positive outlook if you ignore the weather forecast. It’s also been one where we’ve been making use of our National Trust membership and this months photo was taken at Lacock Abbey, one of their properties.

On the lawns at Lacock Abbey

This month I’ve been mainly getting into the triathlon groove; April’s coastal runs were the spark I needed to get back into proper training as was the realisation that it’s now 12 weeks until race day! But quite honestly I’ve been loving it, especially the cold but beautiful 6.30am Saturday morning swims in the lake. Once you get over your breath being taken away by the cold it’s quite exhilarating swimming in open water watching the fish swim through the weed beds below (if you don’t believe me you can read the post on my Running blog about it here) . I’m enjoying the feeling of training and pushing my body again but it’s hard work getting out in the mornings after 5 hours broken sleep sometimes. I’ve also been enjoying firing up my pizza oven again, nothing like cooking on fire to make you get in touch with your inner cave man.

Ready for my first OW swim

The lady of the manor has also stepped up her training in May and is now up to 7km in her runs, she’s also taken the plunge and entered a half marathon in September. No stopping here what’s she’s determined to do something! She’s also been making an awesome birthday cake for Henry who turned the grand old age of 3 in the middle of the month.

Aside from turning 3 (and at the same time seemingly growing up overnight) Henry has spent May getting himself a nice bump on the head when he decided to use his forehead to break his fall out the front of the pushchair. He’s such a happy little dude though and after a trip to the hospital to have it glued he was back to his usual self, climbing on chairs and generally being a boy.

Bob the Builder cake

Matilda has also been in the wars, always rushing and competing to be first meant that this week she managed to roll her balance bike into the road and fall off. Nothing more serious than a banged elbow but frightening nonetheless. She’s become fascinated by numbers and letters this month, asking me to read the summary on the back of books as well as the book and making me point to the words I’m saying. It’s fascinating watching them develop isn’t it? I’m a big believer in letting them take it at their own pace though, support them but don’t push them, enjoy the process.

As for Rupert, well he is still the happiest smiliest baby you will ever meet, but he also holds the world record for the baby who sleeps the fewest hours. It’s rare that he sleeps for more than 2 hours at a time and most nights we’re up 5 or 6 times at least. Pretty exhausting but we now have some hope having gone to the GP and pleaded for help. We’ve been referred to the hospital to get treatment for reflux and have some Ranitadine which after a few days seems to be having an effect (I’ve only been disturbed once this evening while writing this). The GP in her referral letter to the hospital said ‘please treat as urgent, the parents are clearly exhausted’ sounds about right. On a cheerier note he is threatening to crawl any day now, always up on all fours and occasionally move his hands forward a little.

3 in a bed

Finally Bracken, who decided in May that escaping from the garden was good fun. The first time he did it we came down from putting the children to bed to a phone call from the vet to say he was there. We didn’t even know he was gone! But he’d made it 1.5 miles away and was found in the middle of the road in the town. Scary to think what could have happened to him. He got out again 3 more times that week some how evading my temporary barriers on the one section of low fence but thankfully we found him much quicker those times. He hurt himself one of the times and had pain killers for 3 days to treat a pulled back muscle. Just what we needed!

We’ve a lot to look forward to next month; a wedding, camping, a weeks holiday and maybe some warm weather? What did you get up to in May?

A walk on the wild side

When you’re under 5 what could be more exciting than a walk along winding forest paths following a map? Throw in some activities along the way and the occasional swing to swing on, fallen tree to climb and a picnic and I think it may be close to a perfect day out. Which is why I love our National Trust membership and the way they have embraced families visiting their properties. I remember well visits to National Trust properties as a child where it seemed like every bit of grass had a ‘do not walk on’ sign and the houses were places you were told to stop making so much noise.

Botanic garden lacock

But not any more and a trip to Lacock at the weekend proved it. We’re trying to get to all the National Trust places within about an hour of where we live this year. So far we’ve been to Avebury (which is just down the road) and The Vyne so are a bit behind, but Lacock was one more ticked off with Dyrham Park lined up this week also.

We’ve visited Lacock village quite a few times as we used to live just down the road in Trowbridge but had never been in the Abbey. Most of our previous visits have involved doing the scarecrow trail around the village which happened to be on this weekend also. But I’ll be honest I find the trail a little weird as most of the scarecrows aren’t really scarecrows, the one outside the ice cream stall for example was a pink bird cut out of a cardboard box. What exactly is that?!

Rope swing Lacock forest

But I can’t believe what we were missing in the Abbey! Such beautiful gardens and they had a mad inventors trail on for the children to follow and collect stamps (what child doesn’t like collecting stamps?). All inspired by the fact that Lacock was the place where the first photographic negative was developed (who knew?!). I really don’t think anyone does family friendly quite like the National Trust, always feel so welcome and you can see lots of thought has gone into designing the gardens etc to keep them interested.

We had great fun following the paths around the gardens, trying to spot the tools that were hidden in the trees. The wild garlic carpeting the floor smelled amazing all the way around and the kids had so much fun playing on the rope swing. We then ended up in front of the Abbey around lunch time and had a fab picnic on the grass there in glorious sun. What more could you ask for?

Using a telescope at Lacock

The grounds are also just the right size for our 2, plenty of space to run around in but not too big so it’s a long trek back to the car when they’re tired out and need carrying. Although do take food with you as I don’t think there is anywhere in the grounds to buy food or drink from, but there are plenty of lovely spots for a picnic.

We’ll definitely be back to Lacock again, but maybe not until we’ve been to a few more new places. If you have any recommendations of places within an hour or so of Swindon then send them my way. I’d also love to know what you favourite National Trust property is.

England – the home of the weird tradition

Scarecrow on lamppostWe have some weird traditions in this country don’t we? Where else can you go to a historic village like Lacock that is part owned by the National Trust to look at weird scarecrows?

Weird scarecrows hanging from posts, attached to walls and in gardens. Weird scarecrows that didn’t alway look like anything in particular and the ones that did were, well, a bit creepy. ┬áIf anyone knows what the historic significance of these displays is I’d love to know but it sure seems like a weird ‘family friendly’ day out.

Come on kids, lets go walk around a village and find some good material to give you nightmares.

But there was strong coffee. And almond croissants. Oh and beautifully sunny skies. We took a picnic and sat on the grass with some NCT friends to eat it. The kids of course mainly ate each others picnic, they’ve certainly learnt the concept of sharing quickly, even if it’s sharing someone else’s things rather than their own.

All topped off with a large ice cream. Awesome.

If anyone can top this for a weird traditional family day out I’d love to hear it. I’m sure even in England there must be some bonkers activities.

Matilda and her best friend, note the matching hats!

Matilda and her best friend, note the matching hats!