Friday, 29 April 2011


Well, Easter has come and gone, although we still have eggs left, what a surprise! We’ve already had one Easter here, Ostara, earlier in the month, but as everyone seems to celebrate Easter when it’s dictated to us when to have it, eggs appear in the house again! So, what have we been up to?

It was quite a busy weekend to be honest! Good Friday was an empty day saying that and we generally chilled out from our busy week and prepared mentally for the weekend.

Saturday was gloriously sunny and we, myself and Callum, headed off to the English Festival at Riverside (yes, there again). We’d read that there was going to be a park and ride system set up from Dockside to Riverside which saved us relying on Phil to take us and he could get on with the bathroom; so off we set to get the bus to Dockside and then catch the vintage bus to Riverside.

On getting to Dockside however, we were greeted by a massive queue waiting for the vintage bus. Callum immediately wanted to go home, but I persuaded him that it would be fine and asked an event coordinator (who was handing out free flags) how often the buses ran. He stated that they were about every 20mins. Fine. The bus turned up and we knew that we wouldn’t get on the first one, but at least the queue moved forward enough that we were in the shade. The second bus turned up and it was a bit touch and go whether we’d get on that one, but the family in front had 6 people and there were only 3 places left, so we managed to get on.

The Festival itself was quite good. It was split into different sections: the Swinging Sixties, Medieval, Seaside, High Street and Pirates. The Swinging Sixties was a bit dull, only had a few scooters and cars and a tent set up with some games in. The Medieval section had a huge arena where different events would be taking place and an archery section where you could ‘have a go’, but the wait for the events in the arena was a bit long for both me and Callum, so we didn’t see any of them.

We had a good wander around, bought ice cream and Callum had chips at the Seaside bit and he had a go on the ‘Ring the Bell’ even though he was a little old to do it (thank you Mr Stall Man).

Journey home was even more horrendous as it seemed they’d ‘lost’ a bus!! We had to wait 40 mins to get home and had 2 little girls behind us screaming ‘hello’ at every person and every car we passed (10min journey)!!! Callum ended up with a headache and I just wanted to get home, so we called Phil to pick us up from Dockside rather than have to wait for another bus! So much for independent travel.

Easter Day Terri came over with Merlin the dog and that cheered Callum up no end plus, of course, there were the chocolate eggs!

Easter Monday we went back to Riverside (am thinking of getting a tent set up and camping out, haha), this time having to get a lift as no buses to rely on. Easter Bunny hunting was today’s game. We had a list of answers with a map of where to look for yellow bunnies that had the questions on and circle/tick the correct answer off the sheet! It was really hard!!!! Apparently it had been too easy last year, so they upped the game! It appeared easier if you had a family with a couple of kids as they could search a wider area quicker, but as it was just Callum and me, it took ages and we still got completely stuck on five and had to go and ask for hints (pathetic really, but hey ho). We eventually found all the questions and ticked off our answers – it had only taken 1.5hrs!!!!! Callum got his present and we went off for an ice cream while we waited for our lift. Have eaten rather a lot of ice cream recently, am glad I didn’t get any eggs!!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011


Hello all, can't believe how fast this week has gone! But it's been a very enjoyable week.

Firstly we had a private trampolining lesson on the Monday (18th April) and Callum worked really hard. The Centre was practically empty due to it being school hols and the 'camp' they had running was at lunch. Even though Callum's knee was hurting and he was a bit worried about doing front drops, he still did them and he was attempting somersaults by himself - go Callum.

After trampolining, we went off to Gore Farm with Linda and her daughter Danielle. As it was just the two kids, we could relax a little more as we knew that they wouldn't do anything stupid. We took the Woodland Walk as we hadn't done it before and Callum and Danielle are convinced they saw a red squirrel. Their description did sound like it was, but I'm not really sure that we have red squirrels round here. As I didn't see it, I can't say it was or wasn't. Let's hope it was!

Gore Farm has loads of animals there now and Callum's favourites have to be the pigs and the donkeys (see piccys). He's always loved donkeys. He's tried to talk me into having one several times after we have been told that originally our house used to be owned by a fireman who used to keep his horses out the back. However, I know our garden isn't really big enough to house and exercise a donkey.

Tuesday Callum had his best mate round and I practically didn't see them all afternoon as usual.

Thursday we went off to Capstone Park for our very first fishing lesson. Callum was a bit unsure to start with, but the group was really small. He got a bit bored with the initial talk though about how to thread the line onto the rod and how to put on the hook. He was a bit freaked by being shown how to hook maggots, but he couldn't wait to start fishing when one of the rangers demonstrated a cast and caught a fish within a couple of seconds. So we were given a rod, shown to our designated pitch and set about fishing. I ended up by having to do the maggots as Callum just couldn't bring himself to do it and it was a bit fiddly, however, after doing a couple I got quite the dab hand at it - haha.

Callum cast well and was instantly catching fish! He must have caught about 12 altogether. I had a go when he decided he needed to sit down and have a drink and I caught the grand sum of 2!!! 1 perch and 1 roach! However, I was very good at carrying the fish to the keep net. Everyone else's fish were flapping about and having to be held in both hands; mine just laid quietly in one hand and then flapped off when I put them in the net - very weird!! )

The day was really enjoyable and now he wants to do it again. The only trouble we had was when the fish swallowed the hook. We just couldn't get the knack of using the degorger (like a largish crochet hook) and we kept having to get the rangers to do it for us! In the end the ranger pulled out the keep net and we could see how many fish we'd caught altogether (4 families). He then let all the fish back into the lake

Well, that gets us up to the Easter weekend and I'll try and write that up tomorrow,

So cya!

Sunday, 17 April 2011


We spent a lovely morning on a Spring Food walk at Capstone Park today - walked miles!!! Callum not amused by length of walk, but he did enjoy it and we learnt quite a bit too.

I ached like hell, but it was soooooo worth it!

Weather was beautiful, we saw lots of squirells and ranger took us up to Shawsted Farm ruin which was really interesting. Callum collected some of the things that we were told we could eat and tasted most of them! Were walking for about 2.5 hrs!

Back to base and we decided we'd have an ice-cream before calling Phil to pick us up. Sat down by the lake and watched the ducks and the fish eating the bread people were throwing in!

Callum wanted to go round to the other end of the steps and as he ran(!!!) across he went flying! 5 mins before we were due to be picked up - not good. He slipped on the steps by the lake, nearly ended up head first in said lake and now has a lovely graze on left knee, both hands and chin and a very large hole in trousers! I was concerned for him and he was more concerned about losing the stuff he'd collected!!!!!!! Brave little man!!

Got home, stripped him down and washed everything out, antiseptic cream and a couple of plasters on the knee. He insisted on having one on his chin even though it was the smallest cut and he looked a bit daft. He said it was the one that hurt most!

Sat in the garden for rest of the afternoon. Then it was feed neighbours cat, eat dinner and he was then on computer for the evening.

All in all, apart from the accident, it was a good day. Fishing next week!


Friday, 15 April 2011


Have just had a fab day out with Callum going to London's O2. We decided to try the High Speed link instead of going the normal London Bridge/Jubilee line to North Greenwich. It was a little more expensive, but it was sooooooo worth it!

Callum loved the train and it was nice to have some different scenery to look at. The train was almost empty and got to Stratford Int in less than 1/2hr. In fact, we caught the train at 10.50am and arrived at the O2 at 12.15pm! 1hr and 20mins for train, bus replacement and tube! Not bad going! The station was empty, staff and builders were very helpful with directions and we got the rail replacement bus through the building site that will be the Olympic Village easily. The tube was almost empty too and, of course, once out of North Greenwich you are on top of the O2itself. The only downside was the huge, open air escalator at Stratford Int. Callum really doesn't like long escalators or heights, so this combination was his worst nightmare. He did fantastic though. Closed his eyes and listened for my instructions. Typically, we found a lift on the way home!!!

Even the O2 was pretty empty! Was expecting it to be heaving due to school hols, but obviously not.

Callum really enjoyed the exhibition as did I. It was very well presented and didn't glamorise anything or dramatise either. It was well laid out and presented and had lots of human stories. The date, which I had completely unrealised, was a poignant one as it was 99years yesterday that it happened. A lot of things brought tears to my eyes and even Callum was affected on occasion.

A particular exhibit was the 'iceberg'. They had an iceberg that you could touch and feel how cold it would have been to land in the waters with a notice saying that most died of hypothermia rather than drowning. Callum was quite taken by this one and I think feeling the cold made it 'real'. He was very solemn afterwards.

Another thing that some may find offensive, but I found very interesting and seemed to make people think was the boarding pass that you were given at the beginning. Each is a real member of the crew/passenger and it gives the class they were travelling in a little background story. At the end of the exhibit is a list of all those that survived and those that were lost and it was interesting to see how many teens and children were interested to see whether 'they' had survived or died. Some of their reactions were quite emotional. They had got a connection with their delegated person and were overjoyed to discover a survival and very sad to discover a death. Some may feel that this lessens the meaning by making it dramatic, but I liked the fact that they had felt something for their person, however small.

The gift shop, however, was awful. There was so much tat in there it was rather offensive. Who wants a snow globe with a Titanic in it for God's sake or a recipe book of the food that would have been served. Then there were throws and T-shirts. It all seemed a bit disrespectful to me! We did buy the guide book (see above) and a fridge magnet (Callum collects one from every place we go) and we bought a poster of the deck layout for educational reasons. Prices were extortionate and I'm glad that I'd taken my debit card.

Afterwards we had a cocoa cappuccino (very yummy) in Starbucks and Callum managed to spill about half of his all over his hand, the table, the chair and the floor. I was more worried about his hand, he was more worried about the chair. None of the staff were worried at all and quickly came to the rescue, even taking Callum off to run his hand under cold water. Needless to say I ended up given him the rest of my drink as it still had lots of froth (which is basically all Callum wants it for - haha).

Journey back was just as good as journey there. Train was fuller, but there were still seats and no-one standing. Caught the 3.25pm train at Stratford and arrived home by 4.20pm. Less than an hour. It will definitely be an option we will take in the future.