Mutterings of a Fool

Man, Dad, Runner, Chief dog walker

Tag: bracken (page 1 of 5)

Three’s a crowd

I love having a big family, seeing the different personalities of them develop and watching them play and bond as siblings is wonderful. Clearly it’s also noisy, chaotic and exhausting at times (I challenge anyone to spend a day alone with a 2 year old who is constantly moving and shouting and not feel knackered), you are also generally outnumbered. However when it comes to going out (ever seen a family ticket that includes 3 children?) or buying a car having 3 children is quite frustrating. Throw in the need to also have room for a dog when buying a car and the choice starts to become very small when you need to fit 3 car seats across the back row. We went away for 2 nights with the children and the dog recently and could have done with a roof box for luggage, Bracken’s crate takes up half the boot and a pushchair takes up half the remaining space!


I’m starting a new job in January and will be handing back my company car in a couple of weeks so we’re once again searching for cars even though we pretty much know what the choices are. They really haven’t changed much since we last looked 2 years ago and can be summarised as follows:

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Me and Mine April 2015

April has been some month, a real rollercoaster of extreme highs and lows. After the sadness of March we began the process of adjusting to life without Nanna, it’s a painful process and each ‘first’ without her another reminder of the gap we now have in our lives. We had Matilda’s birthday in the middle of the month, a small celebration as none of us were in the mood for a full blown party but I hope Matilda enjoyed it and didn’t mind not having all her friends there. We also had what is likely to be our only proper holiday this year with a glorious week near Padstow after the schools had all gone back. Almost a whole week of perfect sunny weather to play on the beach, explore the coast and visit the Eden project (twice!). I think we must have made our followers on Instagram pretty sick of seeing another photo of a sunny beach or a big ice cream. The holiday was also the source of this months photo which was taken by a very friendly Spanish tourist who happened to be stood near us as we posed. What you can’t tell from the picture is that just before it Matilda had a proper sulk on for some silly reason that was so silly I can’t even remember what it was.

At the Eden project

In April I’ve been mainly surviving and getting older, the month has been a bit of a blur of sleepless nights, busy days at work and a little bit of running. I also turned the grand old age of 33 this month, although I feel like I’m permanently 28 until I look in the mirror and see a face that has aged a lot over since Matilda was born. I’ve also been enjoying falling in love with running again, a combination of some amazing runs along the Cornish coastal path and going out with our new double running buggy with my boys. I love taking them out and chatting with Henry as we plod along the canal or cycle path, I wrote a post on my running blog here about this new found love of family running if you’re interested.

A run with a view

A run with a view

The lady of the manor has spent April being simply amazing; looking after this crazy little family of ours while clearly grieving hard for the loss of her mum. We haven’t been getting much sleep and Henry has hit the terrible two’s, yet despite this she’s been an awesome mum. She’s also become something of a runner, I even utter the words ‘I NEED to go for a run’ this week because she missed it so much rather than the guilt of not going for a few days. We’ve managed to get a nice routine going each week where she’s getting out either at 5pm when I get back from work or during the day with one or both boys in the pushchair. There is even talk of some races!

Orange flower at Eden project

Matilda has basically become a grown up little girl this month, all of sudden she is able to do all these things herself like put her seat belt on without any direction or assistance. It’s both scary and amazing at the same time. This has been compounded by finding out which school she’ll be going to in September; we thankfully got our first (and only choice) which is a weight off. We are out of the catchment area for the school but it’s under subscribed so we were always hopeful we would and it’s the perfect little village school just like the ones we attended and I think perfect for Matilda.

Henry’s April has been mainly about tantrums, tantrums about everything and anything. Even tantrums when you tell him that he has his slippers on the wrong feet which quite honestly is exhausting at times. The only saving grace is that he normally gets over them very quickly and is back to being a happy chatty boy within a few minutes. He turns 3 in May and clearly has decided that we’ve got off too lightly with the terrible two’s. He also decided on holiday that he most definitely does not like waves on the beach, I tried so hard to get him to come and paddle with Matilda and I but he just ran away screaming.

Rupert on the beach

Which brings me to Rupert, our happy, smiley, cheeky boy who loves his food yet is driving us crazy with his inability to sleep for more than 3 hours at a time. He turned 6 months old last week and on holiday perfected the art of sitting which is awesome, so much fun being able to sit and play with him. He’s also getting very good at moving around on the floor and showed signs of pushing himself up onto all fours. So developing well, just doesn’t feel the need to sleep. We’ve just moved him into his own room and I’m trying to do the resettling so that he doesn’t look for milk but a good evening is one where his first wake up is 9pm. It becomes such a long day when you don’t even get a break in the evening plus trying to resettle a baby who weighs 10kg gets tiring very quickly!  If he wasn’t such a happy baby in the day I think we would have gone crazy by now.

I realised that I haven’t mentioned Bracken in these posts before, for the record he has spent April stealing washing from the utility room and then sitting in the garden chewing it. Not entirely sure why that’s started. He also had a holiday of his own at my parents house while we were away which he seems to have enjoyed a little too much.

How was your April?

Happy 5th birthday Bracken

Today is Bracken’s 5th birthday, which I guess means that he’s entering into his 30’s in human years and so should be settling down and starting to think about having a family now that he can’t hack the pace of the Friday night partying. Except of course that he’s a Springer so he mainly behaves as if he’s a puppy still and will happily go for a long afternoon walk even if I’ve run 7 miles with him in the morning.

He is such a fab dog though and despite the fact his tail wagging to greet you could knock an elephant over even though you only popped up stairs to grab a jumper he really is ever so gentle with the children. They’ve both grown up with him so think nothing of clambering over him or when they were little pulling his ears and trying to sit on him. He never bats an eyelid and has never once even growled at them. In fact more often that not you’ll find him curled up right next to Matilda when she’s sat watching TV.

He is of course also my running buddy, the one who gets me out of bed at 6am every day no matter what the weather. I wouldn’t have done half as much running if I didn’t have him as a reason to get out the house. I love being out on the trails with him exploring, even if it is pitch black and all I can see of him is the light on his collar.

He’s not perfect though, he does have a tendency to roll in things when we’re out running. Something he does more often if he hasn’t had enough walks for a few days, punishment for me perhaps? I’m not entirely sure what is worst; rolling in fox/deer poo or the rotting carcass of a dead animal he’s found. Both are pretty bloody disgusting but I guess that’s his inner wild dog coming out.

But we wouldn’t be without him and it does feel very odd on the few occasions when we’ve been home and he’s not here. So Happy Birthday Bracken and I hope you enjoy your mackerel for you birthday dinner.

Blowing the cobwebs away

Sometimes you need to just get out and feel the almost gale force wind blowing through your hair, jump in some puddles and have running races with your children. We’re outdoors people, you know that already, so a few days of wet weather soon results in cabin fever. Throw in the seemingly never ending wait for a certain little baby to appear, some disrupted sleep and a cold bug and the urge to get outside becomes too much.

Tonight after dinner we put our wellies and waterproofs on and headed out for a tramp down the farm track with Bracken for some much needed fresh air. The children did their biggest jumps into the puddles, we raced with Bracken down the path, we threw crab apples for Bracken to chase and we almost got blown off our feet by the wind.

It was awesome.

Autumn sunset

Jumping in puddles

Playing in puddles

Walking with Bracken

Not quite the ducks I expected to feed

Look at my stick daddy.... carry it for me

Look at my stick daddy…. carry it for me

This weekend I’m solo parenting while the lady of the manor enjoys herself on a hen weekend in Italy for 3 days, but I’ve been determined not to take the easy route and stay home for the whole time. One of the biggest challenges of being here on my own is walking Bracken given that I normally run with him before the kids are up and if I want to walk I can hardly carry them both can I?

So I decided to be brave and take them all to the local lake where Matilda would happily trot around while I carried Henry. Plus it had the added bonus of earning some top dad points by taking some bread to feed the ducks which is one of Henry’s favourite things. Of all the animals in the world it is the humble duck that he loves and he will spot even the tiniest drawing of one in any book we read and then spend the next 5 minutes saying quack quack over and over again.

I see you duck, come a little bit closer and you're mine

I see you duck, come a little bit closer and you’re mine

Things didn’t get off to the greatest start when Matilda realised I hadn’t brought her pushchair to push like last time and then we started our walk just as 50 members of the local running club hit the trail around the lake. Interesting trying to keep both a toddler and a dog out of their way, thankfully having a smiling boy in the rucksack on my back helped wipe out any potential for grumbles.

Once the path was empty again we happily trotted down one side throwing sticks for Bracken and playing hide and seek, we managed to get at least 400m before Matilda said she was hungry and started acting like she hadn’t eaten anything for a week. I coaxed her a little further with the promise of an apple and then spotted one of those wooden platforms that stick out into the water from the bank for fishermen.

A perfect spot for a snack and to feed the ducks, plus of course Bracken could have a paddle which he’s never going to refuse. A popped Henry’s carrier down on its stand so he could see and then prepared myself to be the worlds greatest dad by attracting the lakes waterfowl to our little spot with a nice bit of french stick. Henry was going to love seeing all those ducks just a few metres away, maybe even near enough for Matilda to throw bread for them too (if she doesn’t eat it all first of course).

Oh bread, tasty bread, get in my belly bread, far too good for these bloody ducks

Oh bread, tasty bread, get in my belly bread, far too good for these bloody ducks

I stood up to get a bit more freedom for my throwing arm and started launching pieces of bread out into the lake. As that first piece flew through the air it was joined by a Spaniel shaped object in hot pursuit. He performed a perfect running leap and dive off the platform into the water landing with a giant splash and then happily swam around mopping up all the bread I’d thrown in.

When he finally returned to the bank he leapt up onto the platform and gave us the opportunity to experience exactly how cold the water was by shaking it all over us. I then had to spend the next 10 minutes holding his collar to stop him jumping in again while throwing bits of bread into the water and handing apples to my darling children.

The Gallery – Pets

I haven’t joined in the Gallery for a while but with a prompt like Pets there was really no way I could pass this one up was there?

You already know how much Bracken is a part of our family, he was our first baby born a year before Matilda. Neither of us ever had a dog as a pet growing up but we always wanted one and within 2 months of buying our first house we had Bracken! Now I can’t imagine life without him, always there waggling his tail and welcoming you home/down the stairs/back in the room.

He’s also my running companion, I’ve run over 600 miles this year and he must have done at least 90% of those miles with me. Providing he has the opportunity to jump in some water and chase some pheasants he’s more than happy. The only time I have a chance of out running him is when it’s really hot though, the rest of the time he’s at least 5 metres in front of me trotting along.

I think I’ve used both theses photos on the blog before but I reckon they sum him up perfectly. The first is at 6am on our daily run along the Ridgeway near home with beautiful views over Wiltshire and the second is what he puts up with during the day. Always being ‘stroked’ but never even growling let alone barking at the kids.

P.S. If you want more photos of the gorgeous boy you can check out here and here.

Bracken on Barbury castle 13Mar13

Henry patting Bracken on head

A little oasis

This is my favourite spot in the garden at the moment, a little oasis in amongst the sun burnt grass and vegetable patch gasping for water. When the sun goes down behind the trees and the intense heat and light of the day are gone this corner comes alive. The vibrant purple flowers of the lavender look and smell incredible, full of bees buzzing and gently moving in the breeze. It’s hear you can find peace and calm with a cup of tea once the children are in bed.

My little oasis.

Lavender 1

Bracken laying by Lavender

Lavender 2


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