Monday, 21 July 2014

Time for a break

July already and high time I feel for a little wyld adventure. It's been a while since we last took a family holiday, just the four of us 'Team Sale'. So I thought we'd take a few days away.
I had visions of us racking up with the minimum amount of 'stuff' to a field of sorts in the middle of nowhere. My visions were of the children running free, climbing trees, catching fish in a stream - hours of endless free time for me to just sit and ponder, read, wonder, write and perhaps crochet something beautiful........arrrrrr sheer bliss!

After much debating as to where to go, we narrowed our choices down to two. Studland, Dorset and The New Forest. I'm still trying to move away from the familiar and as Studland on the Isle of Purbeck was yet to be discovered, it won the toss.
Books packed, crochet yarns, two note books (just in case), even contemplate taking the stripy deckchair but decide otherwise.
Packing was to be essential items only (the Little Lady still managed to smuggle in that duvet that I banned from our last overnight trip a month ago)! We packed the most basic old tent that my dad lent us. I do have a beautiful canvas bell tent but for short adventures we tend to 'rough it' and as the canvas number takes up the entire boot of the car it is not for adventures of the very short kind!
I did have a perfectly good and roomy weekend tent for such occasions but as it has seen rather a lot of use and due to being left up in the garden some years back for weeks on end, it became rather rotten and whilst shaking off excess water on it's last use, I managed to rip the whole front side out!! Big sigh.......

So the old ridge tent it was. It had to be the oldest tent on the site by far and was riddled with tiny holes. I stupidly didn't test the thing for size before going and it was debatable as to whether we would all in fact fit it. Hmmm could be interesting!
Well it looked perfect for our 'Famous five style' adventure and isn't a bit of accommodation all part of the fun?

Corfe Castle

The children aren't always spontaneous in their willingness to help and I frequently find myself doing all the grafting. Mostly it doesn't bother me but just occasionally - as in, when the poles separate for the umteenth time and you realise that you forgot the sticky tape (which would have made the job a whole lot easier) and when the blackest of storm clouds blow ever closer, it doesn't always seem that I get a fair deal.
So just as the tent is pitched the heavens open and the biggest down pour ever is experienced. Good for testing the water tightness of the tent.......girls in tent, dog and I in the car and The Boy completely oblivious to the pouring rain, swinging in the trees on a rope swing getting totally drenched!
Tent luckily seems to be water resistant despite the holes, but new roof bag containing bedding and sleep mats has failed on maiden voyage and all of my bedding is soaking......Great! Sleeping bag with large wet patch right in the centre has to be hung out for all to see giving the appearance  of a 'wet bed'!
All is dry for bedtime and the challenge of squeezing four into what looks like a 3 man tent. Luckily The Boy manages to fold his sleeping mat and squash himself into the luggage area, perfect!

When camping in style one takes all the luxury items necessary to assist in the 'feel' of the well equipped kitchen area, but when roughing it, once again only the bare essentials make it into the car.

The kitchen!

The one of the main reasons for our little adventure was as a treat to celebrate The Boy turning 7. Time passes oh so quickly, seems like only yesterday that Tim and I were shocked to see that our new born bundle was in fact not a third girl!
So the adventures for the day were for his choosing. He really is very simple to please and requested only for a trip to the beach for chips and ice-cream. As we were driving back to base the day prior to his big day, I observed a beautiful stretch of sandy beach. Cars were parked all along the road particularly in one area so I figured that must indicate the most popular place, hopefully the nicest and most spectacular too. We pulled up early on the day and sure enough once again although relatively early in the day, there were all the cars once again. We/I loaded up with picnic, rug, dog, buckets...all the usual stuff that such excursions demand, and we trundled off through the bracken and gorse in search of our haven. 20 minutes later and shattered from the sandy walk we encounter a sign warning us of 'naturists' in 200m.....Hmmmm could be interesting??!! Ordinarily I might have turned round and gone somewhere else, but having made the tiresome journey in the blazing heat, I found myself reassuring the smalls that we are all naturists under our clothes, so onwards we went.
It wasn't long of course before the children were sniggering and prodding each other and yes...counting the naked bodies. It was quite amusing to see folk hiding in the dunes and popping up every so often and then bobbing back down again.

Someone else played hide and seek in the dunes too!

We played in the sand for a while before heading off up the coast (chuckling at my mistake) for those chips and ice-cream
Taking the dog on a beach holiday wasn't one of our best ideas. It's lovely for her to be away with us but most beaches don't allow dogs at this time of the year, so we frequently had to observe from a distance. The Boy was of course totally in his element searching out shells and dead crabs and chatting to all the fishermen and women.
So all in all a successful couple of days :-)

Crabbing in Lymington

Did I get those hoped for moments of freedom?? Just a few :-)

Monday, 7 July 2014

Boy stuff!

It can't be easy for Small Boy growing up in a house full of girls, even the pets are all female!
It isn't surprising that he frequently 'kicks off' in some way in an attempt to define himself and stake his position and manliness.
As a widow it's not easy being the mother and father too. Although I try to think of 'boyish' activities, I ultimately function in 'girl land'. It would be easy (and tempting) you would imagine for the boy to just hang up his hat and join in with our 'girly' capers, but no....and all praise to him. He continues to function as as he intends which is frequently often much to our disgust!
Although all three of us girlie's often feel rather grossed out by the actions of the boy, we realise and accept that he is wired slightly differently to us and generally that's okay
I thought I'd share a few of his recent antics with to those of you who parent or who have previously parented boys, these antics may not come at all as a surprise, if prepared to be shocked, disgusted and grossed out ...sorry!

So, the boy is showing creative engineering potential. This has taken the form of numerous trips to the skip to obtain much needed resources for his creative trailer projects which are continuously constructed, tested, dismantled, reconstructed, re-tested and so it goes on.....I''ve tried in vain to return to the skip the old mixer taps, lengths of chicken wire, washing machine hoses and unidentified metal objects, but at the end of the day they are all back in the garden gracing the lawn once more in some new form of contraption.

A couple of weeks ago I left the boy with a good friend who like me parents in a very relaxed way. The boy greeted me on my return with a very excited smile as he had been down to the local stream and had collected a dead crayfish. This was the beginning of his recent fascination with dead things!
The crayfish was one of our native ones which are becoming increasingly rare in our British waters since the American Signals were introduced. We've spent much time in the past observing them and even catching them. You can eat them if you so desire....not my cup of tea but still, the boy likes the idea.
The crayfish in question looked pretty safe to me being dead and in a glass jar filled with water. I was sure there was no harm to his possessing it for a short while. How wrong! It wasn't long before the water was cloudy from all the shaking it was exposed to and the opening and closing of the jar wafted the gentle 'fishy' aroma around. The girls were not in the slightest bit amused when they were chased with it and I certainly wasn't impressed when the cloudy, crayfish ridden water was spilled in the car!

The weekend before last saw the arrival of two dead bunnies (one headless). Yes we thought it rather sad too. One doesn't like to think of the family pooch having pursued the poor things but it's certainly a possibility. Two dead bunnies held up in the doorway....hmmmm we all went from 'arrrr poor things' mode to rapidly ushering the boy off to areas new. It would have been nice to have thought that he might have taken the bunnies off to give them some kind of decent burial and he did make a grave of sorts. An open grave in an old tyre covered with the barbecue grill and a small flower pot. Of course I questioned his motives and he said he wanted to watch the darlings decompose. Not opposed to the learning experience I didn't disagree, but the next day when I ventured out for a spot of garden loveliness I almost vomited at the sight of the dog munching happily on the head of the previously intact creature - not a pleasant sight to see she had avoided the eyeballs!
With my face held to one side and plastic bags on each hand, I snaffled the (now fragrant) carcasses and disposed of them in the wheelie bin!
Within hours one very angry Small Boy had exhumed the bunnies remains from the bin and relocated them to the tyre......hmmmmm!
The next day, having failed to recall the previous days events due to frequency of such moments, I invite a friend to dine in the beautiful outdoors with me. Of course the garden is filled with the aroma of rotting flesh (not good for the appetite) - maggot ridden remains flew to undisclosed location - garden now free of essence of death - for the moment!

Friday, Small Boy returned home from a gentle stroll around the lake with a friend with a new surprise - a pike. It was a momentous sight to see him standing by the gate with the foot long specimen dangling from the stick on which it was impaled. Mmmmm the scent of fish is not one of my favourite smells. Holding my breath and with my hand covering my nose and mouth, I managed to admire the catch whilst holding back the gag reflex. The Boy had removed his socks and shoes and become quite muddy in his venture to rescue the already dead exhibit. Clothes are for playing in and if a little dirt is involved - all the better!

Anyway, as you can imagine, after discussing the reasons why he couldn't eat the pike for tea, he wanted a bucket for it. The neighbours were called from their homes to admire the splendid creature and it wasn't long before kitchen knives were requested and the gutting commenced. I was informed the last supper had been something green!
Of course the fish hung around for two days before disappearing to the base of the wheelie bin (hidden in a tied bag).

This weekend events have been rather tame in comparison to the dead antics of last week. Last night I busied myself with work of the stitching nature quite oblivious to what was occurring in my surrounding domain. It wasn't until I made the journey to bed that I discovered the ingenious web woven throughout the house. One Small Boy had rather cleverly rigged up a whole system of string to several of the doors to enable him to close them from a distance. rather clever I thought, so you see not all antics are of a disgusting nature, this one had me smiling as I drifted off to the land of nod.