Posts filed under ‘Gloucestershire’
We visited Llanelli Wildfowl and Wetland Centre while holidaying in Wales this summer. E loved feeding the birds and reading the information about them so much we decided to become members. Afterall we’re lucky enough to live 25 minutes drive from Slimbridge which was the first centre for conservation set up by Peter Scott, son of the Antarctic explorer Captain Scott, in 1946 (you can read more about that here)
Euan’s first visit to Slimbridge was on a warm autumn weekend. We spent the whole day immersed in feeding birds, searching for giant Lego animals, talking to Otters and playing in Welly Boot Land in the late afternoon sun.
For the rest of the week at school pick up E asked “can we go to the bird park again“. When we visited after school that Friday it was virtually deserted which made the job of finding the lego animals we’d missed first time round a lot easier.
Slimbridge is already a great day out but if they can fundraise £1.6 million they can release a Heritage Lottery Fund award of £4.4 million to further develop the site. We shall watch with excitement to see what that means for our little explorers…
Whether you’re a rugby fan or not it would be hard not to notice that the Rugby World Cup 2015 has come to England and starts today (England v Fiji at Twickenham). It’s all very exciting here in Gloucester because our rugby ground in Kingsholm is hosting 4 matches, starting with Tonga v Georgia tomorrow.
It’s a real boost for our small city and it’s not just sports enthusiasts who will benefit when the World Cup kicks off. An official economic study into the impact of the tournament says it’s going to bring £48 million of economic activity into the city.
As for us we’re just enjoying all the Rugby related hype and activities that have been taking place around the City over the last few weeks, most notably following the Scrumpty trail. Inspired by the legend of Humpty Dumpty artists from around the country created twenty 5 feet tall Scrumpty mascots.
The trail can easily be completed in a couple of hours but it’s worth allowing a whole day to take in the historic sights you’ll discover along the way such as the Cathedral and the Docks. For little 3 year old legs I recommend plenty of pitstops with favourite snacks, a Daddy on hand for shoulder carries and a small toy for playing hide and seek in the cloisters garden at the Cathedral! (one of E’s favourite pastimes on any given day)
We became National Trust members for the first time last year and renewed our membership this year by default when I didn’t notice the annual subscription was taken 3 weeks before it expired. I’m too used to doing things at the eleventh hour it seems. Don’t get me wrong, membership is well worth the cost, I waivered only because of the timing of the payment and probably would have let it lapse for a few months before rejoining presuming April showers might prevent us from getting out and about. As it happens we’ve used our membership 5 times* already so I’m glad of the National Trusts’ presumptuous efficiency with membership renewals.
The first of this year’s visits was to Westbury Court Garden, the only restored Dutch style water garden in the country and the nearest NT property to home. I’ve driven past it hundreds of times over the years yet only been there once, a decade or more ago, with my Mum and Nan. I recall my lovely, straight talking Nan being somewhat underwhelmed by the experience – a reflection of her simple view on life [‘It’s just a garden‘] rather than a lack of appreciation for the hard work by staff and volunteers that goes into maintaining this beautiful, historic site. E on the other hand was very effusive [”I love it here’‘] and especially liked feeding the fish in the canals, watching the water fountain and pointing to the plants growing in the 17th Century vegetable beds and asking what they were called.
The array of tulips reminded me of my allotment neighbours Pat and Robin who always have smatterings of tulip flair dotted among their edible plants. I felt a little wistful for my lost allotment love and found myself thinking of my Nan momentarily. Just as quickly I was pulled back into the present by E calling ”Mum, come and find me, I’m going to hide in that little house’‘. Life moves on but a little bit of time stands still in beautiful tranquil places like Westbury Court Garden. Hooray for The National Trust and the wonderful work they do to look after the sites we’ve grown to love visiting. Places like these that offer grown ups an opportunity for quiet reflection while the kids run off to explore.
* return visits made to Woodchester Park, Croome Park, Newark Park and Woodchester Park and a first time visit to Snowshill Manor for the Easter Egg hunt.
City dwelling has its bright side and one of them is definitely Gloucester City Museum. Who’d have thought 2 small boys could while away 3 hours in one place.
So much history, so much fun!
At bedtime we talk about E’s favourite part of the day and he names 3 good things that happened. On this day his number one good thing? ”Pressing the blue buttons to hear the Lady talk about the stones – it was a bit loud though!”
A walk in Cranham woods turned into a happy stumble* across patches of wild garlic when we went to explore this strange looking tree.
What fun we had collecting sticks (no surprises there), nibbling on wild garlic leaves and eating our snacks to free up our Tupperware box for foraging.
Turns out a small snack box doesn’t hold much and it’s pretty slow going when you’re a forager clutching a stick collection!
To make our pesto style sauce I whizzed up our garlic leaves (17g), with 10g walnuts, 10g hard cheese, seasoning and 25ml rapeseed oil (different choice of ingredients but quantities based on those in Hedgerow (River Cottage Handbook, No.7)
It tastes so fresh and vibrant and it’s surprising how such a small amount goes a long way. The equivalent of 5 teaspoons of pesto has stretched to jazzing up pasta, potato salad and adding some zing to soup.
No prizes for guessing where we’ll be returning to soon!
”Off the top of my head we could watch the DVD of the hungry caterpillar, do some art and craft, be the Hungry Caterpillar at lunch and munch through some fruit together and afterwards “wiggle” off on a nature walk”.
That’s how they roll at St Catharine’s Under Fives … planning fun and creative activities for the kids as a matter of course and always welcoming opportunities for ‘‘off the top of my head’‘ ideas. Kate, the playleader, hadn’t heard of the Giant Wiggle before I mentioned it a couple of weeks ago but her response was an immediate ”sounds wonderful, what is it?”. At St Catharine’s today it looked like this…
The children had a wonderful time crafting and playing and re-telling the story of the Hungry Caterpillar. At lunch time they munched through piles of caterpillar nibbled fruit (and not a single person asked where the chocolate cake was!).
The Giant Wiggle is a sponsored walk organised by Action for Children, a national charity that supports the most vulnerable children and young people in the heart of communities throughout the UK. Last year more than 32,000 children in 800 schools and nurseries took part in the Giant Wiggle raising £80,000 for Action for Children.
At St Catharine’s the children wiggled their way around the grounds of the church next door (after a bit of indoor practice wriggling about on their tummies).
All the children received certificates and parents kindly made donations. Every penny counts when put into the right hands.
– £5 provides emergency overnight support for a young person living on the street
– £10 will pay for swimming and hydrotherapy sessions for a disabled child
– £20 pays for 15 children to have breakfast at an Action for Children’s breakfast club
Wiggling is thirsty work and the kids re-energised with some delicious juice boxes from our friends at Cawston Press (you may recall how much E loves Cawston Press Kids Blends). To celebrate their partnership with Action for Children and The Giant Wiggle they’re giving away The Very Hungry Caterpillar™ gift hampers every week until 3rd May. Weren’t we lucky – free drinks and the chance to enter the unique codes from our promotional triple packs (you can enter as many times as the juice boxes you drink!).
how wiggling helps children in Gloucestershire
Action for Children provide services in the community that support children and young people to fulfil their potential and address the problems they face at the earliest opportunity. In Gloucestershire, through a partnership with the 2gether Trust, an innovative mental health service is available to children and young people facing extreme emotional difficulties. By receiving home based support they’re developing the self-esteem, resilience and social skills to participate in normal day to day activities that most of us take for granted. In Stroud a supported housing project enables young adults with learning disabilities to develop a broad range life skills and experience to enable them to live independently in their own homes with minimal support.
Bliss on a rainy day for a would-be-crafter and a curious boy.
Gloucester Scrapstore, a treasure trove of scrappy delights which we raided for a craft table at E’s birthday party. Families can pay £7 for an annual membership and fill up a Tesco bag with materials for £5 each time they visit (community groups can fill a trolley for £12). It’s a much more creative (not to mention cheaper) way of crafting with kids. E was easily occupied with buckets full of bottle tops while I had a rummage through fabrics and rolls of paper.
If you’re short on ideas there’s a whole page of downloadable craft leaflets on their website. The Scraptstore is open Tuesdays 10 – 7pm, Wednesdays and Thursdays 10 – 5pm and occasional Saturdays.