Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Not very structured at the mo, but still lots happening.

It's been a while hasn't it? Sorry.

We don't seem to be very good at the structured work at the mo., lots of other things have cropped up to keep us from our desks and we've been learning lots along the way.

There's been plenty of socialising, with friends coming over, etc. on Monday, plus Katie went to Guides in the evening. They seem a nice bunch of kids and she's settling in well and making some new friends. We decided on a very impromptu visit to the grandparents' home on Monday evening, rushing back home while Katie was at Guides to pack overnight bags, feed the cat, check the rabbit, water all the veg and indoor plants and generally shut up the house in half an hour flat before picking her up at 7.30 p.m.! P had been in London and had decided to stay at his parents home overnight as they were away - we thought it would be a nice surprise for us to turn up, unannounced.

A surprise for us during the day - 8 ducklings belonging to one of our favourite ducks, wandering around the duck enclosure being very carefully watched by mum.

Tuesday we had a really lovely day tracking down Holywell Ponds in Peterborough. Full of history this "park land" has an eerie monks' cave with dipping pool, stream and several ponds all of which which are quite hidden and unknown to many locals. The children had a fabulous time wandering through the stream, watching for fish and enjoying the antics of a cute and fluffy young moorhen. We picked our way through the nettles among the trees and over rickety bridges between the ponds. While we were there we met a man who is single handedly tidying up the area. He was full of information on the history of the place; how the monks used the dipping pool and fresh water stream for medicinal purposes and the ponds for fishing.

We dragged P away from work for a pizza picnic lunch at Ferry Meadows (a much loved and often visited park in Peterborough) choosing our favourite quiet spot which the children named "rabbit creek" a couple of years ago. We sat by the water watching a heron dipping in and out trying to catch it's own lunch, and the many rabbits on the bank. After lunch we walked along the jetty to look for tadpoles, and then Katie and Ben did some tree climbing. After dropping P back at work (poor love), we headed back to the park for a bit of geese and duck watching while enjoying a much needed ice cream and cuppa. We headed home via the Spalding Bulb Museum. Came across this by chance as it's next to a garden centre and tack shop. We were after joddy boots for Katie but got sidetracked! Although small, the museum is full of information on the history of the Fens and bulb growing in the area. A lot of thought has been put into the displays which help to make it interesting for children.

On Wednesday mornings Katie has a 1/2 hour riding lesson at a local school. She's really enjoying it, but boy do they make her think, and work, hard. Although Katie's been riding for 3 years now, the instructor suggested she went right back to basics which she was happy about. We've realised that although all the schools she's been to before have been good in their own ways, this is probably the first place where she's actually receiving some structured tuition. This week she was able to keep good control of her horse during walk, stop, walk and trot. Doesn't sound too hard I know, but usually schooled horses know exactly how the lessons work and don't need much controlling! This school doesn't seem to have any routine in their lessons at all, and so it's up to the rider to tell the horse what to do - something Katie has always wanted to learn. She also going to start 2 1/2 hour stable management classes on Saturdays and hopes to go along to a Beach Ride day very soon (although that'll empty my pocket somewhat).

Today, Thursday, we headed to Kings Cliffe, just outside Peterborough, for a Katie to take part in a group art session. While Katie was busy drawing, I took Ben and his friend to the Nene Valley Railway at Wansford. Nothing much was going on there, but we were able to look at some of the huge steam trains in the sidings and spotted "Thomas" ready for the Bank Holiday Weekend. Wandered along by the water's edge and then the boys had a good run around after a bit of an icy snack (yep, another ice cream). They also played for about an hour in the playground, so a pretty easy morning for me. Back at Kings Cliffe, we met up with the group and had a picnic in one of the most beautiful and relaxing settings you can imagine. Katie and Ben, and several others, enjoyed a dip in the stream and then a short walk to see the three horses that belong to the lady who runs the art sessions - Katie was obviously in her element.

Sad news this morning, 7 of the 8 ducklings didn't survive the night. Can't tell what happened, although it was a cold night so that may have been the cause. The remaining little one seems full of life; let's hope it survives.

In between all this, Ben has been doing lots of DT and science with his Hot Wheel track and cars and Katie has been making photo stories using some of her model horses and riders. Also, making the most of the sun shine (mixed with a nippy Easterly wind at times I should add), the children have helped plant some cabbages and French beans plus loads of French Marigolds. An area has been set aside for the last veg to go in our patch, corn on the cob. Just need to get lots of pots for our pepper plants and numerous chillis and then we can sit back and wait for the goodies to grow!


At 7:23 am, Blogger Lima said...

Glad she is enjoying the riding, my eldest would just love all that but its well out of my pocket sadly...

Sorry to hear about the ducklings too, very sad. :(


At 7:22 pm, Blogger Elaine, Ellies Treasures said...

We were chuffed to find this riding school as Katie's now getting at least 3 hours each week with horses for 50 pence less than her previous 1/2 hour riding lesson! Elle


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