Mutterings of a Fool

Man, Dad, Runner, Chief dog walker

Tag: walking

Mini adventures – Geocaching

geocaching 1We have a new favourite activity in this house and it’s Geocaching, or as Matilda likes to call it ‘treasure hunting’. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do with the children for a long time, after all we already do the walks in the countryside so why not have a little fun along the way? It seemed like the natural extension and a great way to get us outdoors which we love doing and we autumn not that far off I’m already dreaming of tramping through the woods in our wellies and then returning home to snuggle up in front of our new log burner.

For those of you who haven’t come across Geocaching before it truly is like a treasure hunt where you look for cache’s that have been hidden around the world. In the past this would have meant following map coordinates or buying a hand held GPS but with the popularity of smartphones there is of course now an app for it.

Which is great as all you need now is your phone to instantly search for cache’s nearby and it’ll then guide you towards it. There are free apps but they limit the caches you can see so personally I think it’s worth paying for the premium version. There are a few out there but I stuck with the one from the ‘official’ geocaching site which is imaginatively called geocaching. It costs £6.99 for the app but that’s really not much to pay and is your only cost before starting your adventures so great value for money. They also make apps for both Android and iOS.

geocaching 2The site also has a great introduction page to tell you all about the world of geocaching, so if you’d like to read a bit more you can check that out here. But I don’t think it’s rocket science and once you’ll soon be ticking all your local caches off your list. The one tip I’d give is make use of the hint feature in the app which can help you navigate the last few metres to find a cache, some of them are VERY well hidden!

We decided to keep things simple and find the one nearest our house, I found it quite amusing that it’s on the same track that I’ve been walking Bracken up and down for the last 18 months. Hidden treasure right under my nose that whole time! We set out for the walk and then when we were a couple of hundred metres away I asked the kids if they wanted to help me find the hidden treasure. Children of that age have a short attention span so I didn’t think telling them a mile away was a good idea, no doubt they’d soon have got bored of finding the treasure and starting picking up sticks or something instead.

So I gave Matilda my phone with the map to the cache up and she directed us towards it, I love that this activity helps get them involved in using technology in a practical way rather than just looking at photos like they usually do. It also engages her in the activity and I guess longer term we can help teach her about direction and the compass.

Once we got closer I helped her and Henry climb into the undergrowth and find the cache hidden in the tree. They loved opening the box to see what was inside, although were a little disappointed I wouldn’t let them take a lolly out. We did fail to take anything with us to put in the cache to replace what we took though so need to remember that next time. Matilda was also worrying every time we saw someone else that they were going to find the treasure and take it all. Took a little explaining to convince her that it was safe.geocaching 3

Now we’ve found the first one we definitely have caught the bug and will start searching further afield. Not that we need to go too far mind, there are plenty within a few miles of home. I think I may take the kids out on the bike one day and we can search for them, I can ride reasonably close and then get them to guide us the last bit and find it.

I know a lot of you are doing Geocaching already so would love to hear about your experiences, I’m also interested to know whether older children enjoy it as much? It seems like such a simple and cheap activity that a lot of different ages would enjoy so I hope we can make it a regular part of our walks now.

These legs are made for walking

You keep saying you can you can do it for yourself.

all those things, you don’t need any help

But you’ve been falling, when you shouldn’t have been falling

and now daddy has to kiss it all better again.

These legs are made for walking

And that’s just what they’ll do

One of these days these legs are going to bump right into you

matilda's legs

I’m sure Matilda isn’t the only toddler with legs that look battered and bruised like this right?

Frustrated

Frustrated is the best way to describe how Henry feels at the moment. That awkward age when he can’t quite walk or talk yet clearly has a good deal to tell us.

Frustrated that we won’t walk round and round the house holding his hands so he can walk.

Frustrated that he can’t yet keep up with Matilda as she flies around the house.

Frustrated that simply by pointing and saying ‘der’ we don’t immediately know what he wants.

Frustrated, frustrated, frustrated.

And how do I know that he’s frustrated? Temper tantrums of course, you know the ones, I’m sure there must be some secret classes babies go to to learn these things. It probably teaches a very simple 3 step strategy;

  1. Throw body face down on floor
  2. Lift arms and legs so you look like you are sky diving and scream.
  3. Lift head to check parents have noticed.

But what can you do other than try to stay calm, ignore the tantrum and find something to distract him? I find a book or one of Matilda’s little bags are most effective. He seems to quite enjoy getting her things when she’s not looking and then taunting her with it. Can’t blame him really it’s not without provocation from her, no doubt just the start of the sibling rivalry.

The sooner he figures out walking the better, Matilda was 14 months when she started so we’re hopefully only a month or so away from it now. Then they can both run around the house like crazy things leaving me to enjoy my cup of coffee. I’m sure there won’t be any arguments, or tears, or fighting, or falling over.

Still he’s a handsome chap isn’t he? Who could stay cross with that face?

Henry on trucker

Walking the walk

The weekend was a good one, we visited friends in West Sussex for a first birthday party. There was sun, a BBQ, cake and best of all a very child friendly set up. So there we were sat under a gazebo chatting with parents and enjoying the surroundings, when Matilda let go of the chair she was standing up against and ever so casually toddled over to another one.

Just like that.

Walking.

As if she’d been doing it all her life.

We may have squealed a little. The other parents looked at us like we were mental not realising it was the first time she had done it. I don’t think it’s possible to describe the feeling of excitement and pride of seeing your child walk.

That ever so cute drunken stagger in anything but a straight line. With a look of such excitement in their eyes as they realise what they are doing.

We of course then spent Sunday at home trying to get her to do it again and more importantly get a photo or video of it. Definitely easier said than done! But we managed it just about and as I’m such a proud daddy I’m going to subject you all to it also.

I give you the now walking Matilda

P.S Don’t you just love her style when walking?

My perfect… weekend

Here I am sat on a plane cruising at 34 thousand feet en route to San Francisco for work, strangely enough my very first blog post was written in a similar position last year. Going on these trips gives you a lot of time to mull things over and inevitably you start to reflect on life. This got me to thinking, being on this plane on a Sunday isn’t my first choice of weekend activity, so what is? What would make the perfect Sunday?

So here it is the fools perfect Sunday, does it match with yours?

First or all it would be an autumnal day, the sort where its wet underfoot but blue skies overhead, chilly but not cold, where warm coats, wellies and wooly hats are the order of the day. 

The day would begin with the lady of the manor and I being woken by the pitter patter of a couple of little elephants entering the room (don’t worry we haven’t had another baby and not told you, but a perfect weekend for me doesn’t involve just Matilda, I want a big family to share it with). No doubt the little elephants would then join us in bed and daddy will be dispatched to make tea and feed the hound.

We’d then all head for kitchen where I’d make one of my legendary breakfasts; we’re talking American pancakes, bacon, sausage, lashings of golden syrup, orange juice, strong coffee, perhaps even a boiled egg or 2 and some chunky pieces of bread to mop it all up. 

Clearly with a belly full of food there is only one thing to do now and that’s a big walk with the dog through a forest. The children can search for the ultimate stick and climb trees while Bracken chases anything that moves. We can walk in streams and play hide and seek amongst the trees, we can compete to find the biggest pine cone and I’ll take my camera to try and get a few more shots for the photo album

Once suitably tired out it’s back home to change into pajamas and have hot chocolate while snuggling on the sofa with the lady of the manor, Bracken will be on there also of course, having a good cuddle after his walk. There will be a fire going and a movie on the TV. I’m thinking The Polar Express or Nanny McPhee or maybe even Dumber and Dumber, I’ll get a roast dinner going with all the trimmings, probably a chicken or if we’ve been prepared a slow roast shoulder of lamb.

The day will finish with hot baths and then a story in bed read by daddy. Then the lady of the manor and I can relax with a glass of wine. 

Does it sound too idyllic? Too much like a photo from a Boden catalogue? I hope not, I know the lady of the manor shares my dream and it feels like this ‘perfect’ weekend is within touching distance. Another child or 2, a house move and we’re there. We already have the hunter wellies, barbour jacket and springer spaniel…..

So do you agree? Or is this the perfect description of your nightmare weekend?