Mutterings of a Fool

Man, Dad, Runner, Chief dog walker

Tag: photos (page 1 of 3)

Me and Mine October

This is it, the me and mine post that we’ve been building to for almost the whole year, the one where we become a party of five! It’s also the reason why I’m sat here at 10pm the day before the post goes live trying to write it after finally sorting out the chaos in the house. Rupert is now 9 days old and so far is a perfect little baby, sure he doesn’t sleep all night but no one would ever expect a little baby to do that, but he doesn’t cry much, he feeds well and he is generally a chilled out little boy.

Rupert just born

The first 9 days together has been exciting, manic, chaotic, tiring, beautiful, exasperating and testing but most of all awesome. But after a number of days at home trying to rest and adjust the lady of the manor and I were starting to get fidgety and cabin fever was definitely setting in. So yesterday we headed out for our first proper trip as a family for a walk around a lake at the Cotswold water park that conveniently ends at a great cafe that serves an amazing cooked breakfast. The first challenge was getting in the car though, you see we’re waiting for our new car to be delivered in a week or 2 (the dreaded people mover) and our current car while large doesn’t fit 3 car sits across it. Which means one child has to sit on the pop up seats in the boot, a situation I assumed Henry or Matilda would love but alas no. Instead we had lengthy negotiations before persuading Matilda that it was indeed the only place she could sit, the key issue it turned out is that she wanted to be able to see Rupert *pulls remaining hair out*. We did manage to take a good photo though even if we did look a bit crazy setting up a tripod next to the lake.

Cotswold water park sculpture

This month I’ve been mainly running a marathon and jumping every time my phone rang in case it was ‘the call’. The marathon was in York and just a few days before due date so I half expected my phone to ring at mile 16 to tell me that the lady of the manor had gone into labour. At which point of course the quickest way back would be to finish the race; that would at least give me a good excuse for being tired in the delivery suite right? I have a full race report up on my running blog if you happen to be interested, the short summary is that it was a beautiful race and a PB for me.

The lady of the manor has of course spent most of the month wishing that her baby boy would arrive, she was of course magnificent during labour and now that he’s here such a amazing mum. That’s 3 babies delivered now with only gas and air used and a small amount of swearing. She’s also very content having a breastfeeding little boy again and I think enjoying having time with me at home also. This week she demonstrated her prowess in pumpkin carving, putting my funny face to shame with her carefully crafted owl (there was a stencil involved).

Henry spent the first half of the month mainly growing despite the fact that it seems to be mainly bread and pasta that go into his mouth. However the second half since Rupert arrived has been spent being a most affectionate big brother, a little too affectionate at times when Rupert is happily asleep but it’s so lovely to see how much he loves him. The first time he met Rupert was when he got out of bed the next day and he immediately rushed over and gave him a hug and a kiss. We were a little worried he would get jealous of the breastfeeding as he was fed up to 18 months but he hasn’t seemed bothered at all.

Baby wearing toddlers

Matilda has been making friends and has her first birthday party to go in a few weeks for a preschool friend which feels all a bit grown up to me. She’s also started to trust me to do her hair which I take as a great privilege but is definitely testing my dad skills to the max. Without wanting to repeat last months comment on her she appears to have grown up another 2 years this month, part of this I think is learning new things at preschool. My favourite thing she’s learnt is counting using her fingers, she’ll hold up 2 fingers and say ‘we need to read 2 books’. Too cute. Like Henry she also loves her new little brother and is so good sitting on the sofa with him on her lap.

Rupert has mainly been coming out from his cosy home in his mummies tummy. Oh and sleeping. And pooing. And drinking milk.

Wildlife at the window

I cleaned my windows on Saturday. This may not seem like a fact you need to know but trust me it’s important. You see I’ve always been a bit fascinated with the wildlife we can find in our gardens and in an effort to share this fascination with my children I’ve installed feeders in the garden in strategic locations.

Matilda, Henry and I eat breakfast together every morning while the lady of the manor has a shower. We get lots of birds and a couple of cheeky squirrels in our garden but never that close to the window. Until that is I made (yes made with my own bare hands) a bird table and hung a feeder off the end of our extension. Now we can see the birds feeding close up and have enticed the squirrels to come and try to steal food off the bird table.

Combine that with my now gleaming windows (told you it was important) and you can now see these fabulous creatures in  their full glory. It’s like getting a high definition TV for the first time and watching a blue ray movie on it. Once you’ve seen it you can never go back to dull, dirty normal definition.

Plus the children are now sufficiently entertained to actually sit in their seats for more than a minute which increases my chance of actually getting them to eat something and not begin arguing over whose turn it is to go on the trucker (and of course me time to take a photo or 2).

Sparrow on feeder

Sparrows on feeder

Grey squirrel eating on bird table

The Gallery – rewind

There was a time that seems a lifetime ago now where there were no children or mortgage. Where we lived in a flat in Bristol and enjoyed the lifestyle of a newly married couple in their twenties. Where we went on weekend breaks to Devon and stayed up to the early hours drinking on the beach.

This photo was taken in 2006 when we had just begun our married life and while we knew we wanted children had no clue about the adventures that lay ahead of us. We were happy and excited, enjoying the next stage in our life together. We’re not more or less happy now but it’s a different kind of happy. It somehow feels more complete and more contented. More us.

I’m linking up to the Gallery this week for the first time in a long time. All the other entries can be found here.

Alex and Ben Croyde 2006

If you go down to the woods tonight

If you go down to the woods tonight you may find them full of lights:

Tree lit up at Westonbirt

 We’re really lucky that my work give us tickets each year to go to the Enchanted Christmas at Westonbirt. We go on the opening day which is always right at the end of November and it feels like the moment that Christmas begins.There is something quite magical about walking through a dark forest with some of the trees lit up with different colour lights.

We get all wrapped up in wellies, coats and wooly hats and set off for our adventure before rewarding ourselves with a pig roast roll (with apple sauce and crackling of course) and a big cup of hot chocolate. It’s a simple thing and the kids are definitely ready for bed towards the end but it’s the perfect way to kick off the festive season.

My very favourite bit this year was a long avenue of trees which had been lit up with orange lights and then they’d put red lights in the grass at the base of the trees. As you walked along the lights gradually lit up brighter and brighter before almost turning off completely. Just beautiful and a completely different perspective to visiting in the day time.

At the end of the trail you also get a chance to meet and feed some reindeer which is lovely and there is a small fair with stalls, food and carol singers. What more can you want?

I took an awful lot of photos but it turns out that trying to take photos in the dark with a  wriggling toddler in the Ergo on your back is not easy. My DSLR may have some anti vibration technology but no way near enough to combat that! I did manage a couple of passable shots but would love to go back with a tripod to take some more when I don’t have kids with me.

If you leave even remotely close to Westonbirt I’d recommend making a trip down, they have the display on every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night until Christmas I believe.

P.S. We also saw the Countryfile presenters there doing interviews, so look out on Sunday and you may see us!

Scotland – the ever changing view

We’ve been in Scotland for the past 2 weeks on holiday, Fort William to be precise and it may come as no surprise to you that I took just a few photos while there.

The place we stayed looked down the valley towards Ben Nevis and it seemed every time you looked out the window the view had changed. Weather systems blow through that valley very quickly so one second you may see nothing but white cloud and the next the sun shining on the mountain tops.

Of all the photos I took while away I think this first one may be my favourite, I love the way there is low cloud and high cloud giving you a glimpse of the mountain through the middle like a portal to another world. The second photo is a glorious sunset with the sun hitting the top of the mountains giving those gorgeous orange colours.

A portal to another land

Fort William sunset


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


The Gallery – Sun

Californian sun.

Warm, strong, constant.

Beating down on still pale skin.

Fuelling long evenings of food and beer.

Illuminating the hills, browning the grass.

But no respite or break, shade commanding a premium.

Doesn’t stop the running of course.

Crazy fool.

Los Gatos Blvd


This is my entry for this weeks Gallery, where the theme is Sun. You can find all the other entries by clicking here.

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