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When you are: September 2008

18 September 2008

HMBARNS revisited: Day 7: Time for a bath

The high: People looking on smiling, proud parenting

The low: Lack of sleep

Today's recommendation: Use Sainsbury's car park rather than the pay and display next door - it's free, and legit!

Read on for the details....

We're into day 7 of our second visit to Holestone Moor Barns. The details of today's events are ...

The last full day, it's been a funny one, having come around so quickly. It hardly seems two minutes since we landed and we're packing up ready for home. The car is partially packed, we're having a few minutes before loading up as much as we can before the morning.

On our last day we stayed local(ish) and went to Matlock & Matlock Bath. Matlock Bath was a revisit, one that was on the cards due to the liking for fish. The Aquarium was a big hit, not so much was the hologram exhibition in there though. It was for us, but unfortunately we didn't get the full enjoyment out of it as boy wonder was bored in there. That boredom lead to a full on grump over lunch, so we headed back to Matlock (and more importantly the park) for a little while.

MOTS headed to the butcher to get some stuff for dinner, the boys went to the play area at the far end of the park. There's a paddling pool there, with water jets. It was only a few minutes before it was spotted. He was happy at first with the dancing jets, then he had to run on in. He was the only kid in there, in the paddling pool that was just the soft porous tarmac that just gradually dropped away from the main area. It was not warm by any means, he'd already taken off his shirt (his choice) so was just left with nappy, shorts and Crocs. And did he have a great time running through the water, falling over, splashing. Other people sat nearby looked on with a certain smile on their faces, one that said a certain something to me.

When MOTS caught up with us she had a look of pride on her face when she saw where he was. And she had noticed the looks we were getting and commented. It was exactly the same as I had thought - the looks we were getting were very much "it's nice to see that, there's not many would let their kids just get on with it these days". I'm just really thankful I didn't have to go in, I wouldn't had looked great walking back with no trousers, whereas he was fine in just a nappy, shirt and wrapped in a huge towel.

Looking forward to: April 2009 - the next visit!

17 September 2008

HMBARNS revisited: Day 6: Easy, Tiger

The high: Accepting that over which you have no control

The low: 'elf and safety

Today's recommendation: Crocs

Read on for the details....

We're into day 6 of our second visit to Holestone Moor Barns. The details of today's events are ...

One of our wet weather alternatives came into play today. Not because it was raining, but because we've done some non-family stuff this week so need to catch up on some kiddie time. There's a soft play place in Chesterfield, Easy Tigers, that MOTS had found on the tinternet so we headed along this morning. It was an under-5s only morning, so was quite an even base of ages. The facility itself was superb, the price was really excellent value, the coffees were spot on, in fact an all round hit. Apart from the way in. It's like the bowling alley, you have to hand shoes in at the front desk. So we sat him down to take them off on the nearest flat surface, which just so happened to be right in front of us - the very sturdy counter.

OK, I can see the point, but to be chastised for using this above, well the floor, "for 'elf and safety reasons" - come on, I'm at greater risk of putting my back out bending down than he is catching some nasty disease - the 'elf part - or falling off - we're right in front of him. The very procedural "welcome" didn't match what went on inside, for that we are truly thankful.

We have been thinking about some snappy feet for a while, and with Vicki having some for the chucks and swearing by them we decided enough was enough, no more procrastination let's go and get some. Three pairs of Crocs later and they haven't been off the boy's feet. We've all got the ones with lots of holes, which were really handy at letting in the muddy water from the meadow, but equally as good at letting it back out again. So we finally accepted that we can't keep him out of the mud. Instead we have damage limitation and preparation for the inevitable. Crocs so that we have no shoes to ruin, a washing machine on standby for the clothes, and finally a happy set of parents seeing their son enjoying himself when he sits down in it. Hot water in the bath helps too!

Probably the slowest day of the week so far, and one where we realised we haven't even been to Matlock or Matlock Bath yet, but that's tomorrow. And here I am realising that my second Bakewell lunch is looking far from promising.

Looking forward to: The ice cream from the farm after dinner.

16 September 2008

HMBARNS revisited: Day 5: Different class, darling

The high: "Morning..."

The low: "Morning..." - NOT

Today's recommendation: Shalimar, Darley Dale

Read on for the details....

We're into day 5 of our second visit to Holestone Moor Barns. The details of today's events are ...

Yesterday morning I took the little guy out to the recycling point to drop his nappy sack in the "dregs" bin. Vicki was in the office, so shouted out a "good morning". This morning's trip was a lonely one, there was nobody in the office. But, from on my shoulders, came a finger pointing to the corner of the courtyard and the office door. "Morning" was the cry from above. This is a new word, and one especially for our hosts. Unfortunately missing just how special a moment this was. Back in the cottage it was a delight showing MOTS what a superb new word he had. Even after a couple of dozen times the novelty wasn't wearing off.

Later on this morning we had a nother trip out, and this time Vicki was in the office. Would he say "morning" to her? Would he chuff. He'd picked up a new word [all by himself] especially for Vicki and here he was with the ideal opportunity to show it off, and nothing. Not even for Steve. Not even "what do we say to noisy dogs".

With this level of disappointment we had to have some retail therapy, so booked up for next year. The countdown starts now!

Denby & Chatsworth today. Denby a quick pit-stop, Chatsworth don't let sproggies in so we were limited to the farmyard and adventure playground. There was obviously the "yummy mummies" congragating, with one I tried to engage in conversation with not only blanking us, but telling her little darling [about ours] that "he'd be gone soon and you can have this to yourself again". Stuck up mare.... I hadn't heard it, MOTS had and knew full well I'd go ape if I had. There's no need for that, I don't care how much cash you've got, who the Earl of Shagathon is married to, you can shove "class" up your hoity-toity arse. Give me Chesterfield over Chatsworth any day.

Looking forward to: Rain tomorrow, so we can go to Easy Tigers!

15 September 2008

HMBARNS revisited: Day 4: You can't get slower than a slow-fit fitter

The high: The little guy finally discovering that he can go head first down slides

The low: Forking out £580 for new brakes and a new tyre, and for the 2-21/2 hour job being completed 2 hours late.

Today's recommendation: aquarterof.com

Read on for the details....

We're into day 4 of our second visit to Holestone Moor Barns. The details of today's events are ...

We needed new brakes. Not a surprise, I was told at my last service. I'd forgotten and thought the kick-back was just the usual corrosion on the discs after the car had been sat on the drive, as it's normally sat unused for at least 4 days a week there's alwasy some rust on the discs. Anyway, it wasn't, the pads had worn and the discs had more grooves than the average 7" single.

A visit to Kwik-Fit on Saturday left me happy enough, they can get parts within the hour. So, at 09:30 this morning, I dropped it off and we had a wander around Chesterfield.

I was more than happily surprised with Chesterfield. I didn't really know what to expect - probably a "clone" town full of the usual chain stores - but it wasn't. There was everything* in such a small place - indoor fruit & veg market, meat, clothes, outdoor market, yes the chains were accommodated, friendly people. FRIENDLY PEOPLE. I can count on one hand how many people in Edinburgh have held doors open for us this year, but we can count on the hands of an Arabic thief how many didn't in Chesterfield. It's the sort of place you can get a hold of just about everything, with a smile, and that goes a long way in my book these days.

Half past 10 - the call came. The damage is £x, and it'll be 2 to 2.5 hours. No problem.

13:30 - walked past, car in the air.

14:15 - walked past, car in exactly same position. So in we went - 5 to 10 minutes. Sure enough, about 15 minutes later we were off. 5 minutes later we were back, the handbrake was almost vertical and not catching. Advised it was self-adjusting, give it about a week. Off again, and back again after a few miles - there was something catching at the rear end. After an adjustment to the heat shield we finally left just after 16:00. Not bad, 6.5 hours..... Quite.

We stocked up on some provisions and headed home. The wee fella had an explore around the grounds, into the games room, down to the chucks, back into the games room - he knows exactly where he's going to get there, and from the cottage too. If we ever rent out the Barn I think he'll be stuffed on which way to turn once he enters the courtyard! After tea he headed back to the games room and outside to the slide, where we had a first - his first head-first-on-belly slide! And second. And third. And..........fiftyseventh. There is now a nice rut formed in the grass from the bottom of the slide to the bottom of the steps in a nice arch - not the shortest route, but certainly the quickest!

A boring day for the little guy, but a great end for him. He was so well behaved apart from the last stint in Kwik-Fit waiting for the dodgy fix to be looked at, but was to be expected. His cuddles for Daddy at supper time were very welcome after the stresses of the day.

Looking forward to: Chatsworth tomorrow. Much more for the "family" than today.

* A stall in the indoor market selling sweets (old & new) by the 100g, from aquarterof.com - Yogurt coated raisins for him, honey roasted cashew nuts for us. Yum yum!

14 September 2008

HMBARNS revisited: Day 3: Ding-ding!

The high: For MOTS, feeding Domino by hand tonight, some 2 days after I did!

The low: The second load of washing in two days due to Junior splashing in the mud [again]. Not really a low point, because dirt is good! We love it really!

Today's recommendation: Crich Tramway Museum. Keep right on the way up if there's a special event on.

Read on for the details....

We're into day 3 of our second visit to Holestone Moor Barns. The details of today's events are ...

Just about the best scrambled egg I've ever had. And I'm not saying that because I cooked them, I'm saying that because of the tatse. We had a double-yolked egg which is not something you see every day with your battery farmed nonesense. These were about the lowest food-miles free-range eggs you can get. All of about 70 feet as the crow flies!

Boy wonder was a little confused at Crich, the National Tramway Museum. He has a fixation for buses at the moment, so everything was a bus. Or they were until the tracks left normal "road" surfaces and looked like regular rail tracks with sleepers and ballast. Then the trams became "toot-toot", or trains. We'll have that confusion sorted out by the next visit.

And then the invitation from Steve & Vicki to feed "the boys", an opportunity MOTS had been gasping for since learning they were here. And she wasn't disappointed. Only Domino came and fed from us, but boy was he "enthusiastic"! Considering the news about their arrival was that he tentatively fed from the hand, he has really come on between reading that and what we witnessed tonight. He's more like a dog than an alpaca.

Looking forward to: Finishing this post so I can get my pork & tomato sausage roll out of the fridge!

13 September 2008

HMBARNS revisited: Day 2: Well Baked

The high: Polishing off the pork & apple sausage roll
The low:
Not polishing off the pork and tomato sausage roll
Today's recommendation: Don't expect too much from a tired boy!

Read on for the details....

We're into day 2 of our second visit to Holestone Moor Barns. The details of today's events are ...

A slow day, with a visit to Bakewell for lunch and a browse, with the afternoon spent at HMBARNS. Last night was a tough ride, the wee fella was too tired and took a long time to settle. Up as usual this morning meant he was still tired, and wasn't happy until after his snooze. We paid for yesterday's smooth trip with a grump this morning, but back to normal this afternoon. Not a bad price to pay I suppose.

The facilities on site have changed a little since our last visit. The climbing frame has gone down well, equally between Junior and MOTS. The slide is not "wide" enough for MOTS, so he's got that to himself.

The biggest worry we have is looking at the availability for next year, when do we fit it in?

Looking forward to: Crich tomorrow. And that pork & tomato sausage roll!

12 September 2008

HMBARNS revisited: Day 1: Getting there

The high: Meeting up with some faces we haven't seen for a while and meeting some new faces for the first time - Adam, "the boys" (Barnaby, Domino, Cappucino, "Prince" Rupert).

The low: The British weather. It was mostly dry until we hit 900 feet above sea level, then it went all cloudy. And wet.

Today's recommendation: In-car DVD player. Boredom saver!

Read on for the details....

We're into day 1 of our second visit to Holestone Moor Barns. The details of today's events are ...

We've had a superb journey down this year, in contract to last year's. Last year we must have got stuck behind every tractor that John Deere have ever built and every articulated wagon a certain Mr E Stobbart esq. has on the roads. This year we made good time, even when traffic was heavy it was still moving.

Last year we had a screaming baby in the back seat. This year a very content young boy, watching his DVDs and being generally chatty. We encountered no problems on the last stretch, so Vicki was met with a wave rather than me banging my head off the steering wheel like in 2007. In return we were met by Vicki who made us feel right at home again. I was pleased to see Steve, and the work he's put into making a new home for the boys. He's clearly been working like a Trojan this last year.

We only had a week here last year, but it's been like slipping into a comfy old pair of slippers - the sort you just get attached to and can't get rid of, that become part of you. And that's just after landing!

I managed to get to feed Domino by hand. If the wee fella is lucky Vicki has said he can try too. She obviously doesn't know him!

Looking forward to: Bakwell for lunch tomorrow. Pork & Apple sausage rolls, yum-yum!!

11 September 2008

HMBARNS revisited: Day 0: Afore Ye Go

Soon we're going to Derbyshire again, for our first "boomerang" holiday. If you don't know why it's a "boomerang" you haven't been paying attention, so get on that search function!.

We're in preparation mode, and have been since we got home last time. Every email [almost] to Steve & Vicki has had the number of days to go in it, I've spoken to Vicki fairly recently and had the number of days at the ready because I just knew she was going to ask, and I wasn't disappointed.

We are looking forward to the journey down, thanks to the boy's early birthday present from his Mum & Dad. Well, not so much looking forward to it but not dreading it! But it's the destination that we're looking forward to the most, as we sit here trying to plan the week out as best we can, revisiting some places and adding new ones. It is strange, however, as we look back to the canal over 2 years ago when the whole holiday was about the journey and not the destination. So where will we finish up? Crich is a must as there's a Classic Ford day while we're in town, Bakewell will be on the list for lunch, the Denby factory because we just have to check the shop out for any new or special Regency Green (we also have our cat sitters to think about, who share our taste in crockery). The new things? To be agreed upon, but we have a wet weather ace up the sleeve! Did I mention Bakewell? Twice? Oh go on then, if you insist!

Anyhow, here we go, the car's full and we're all packed and ready to go. All pigs are fed and ready for take-off too.

10 September 2008

Congratulations to the Clarks

Congratulations to the Clarks on the birth of their second son on Monday!

We can't even begin to comprehend how difficult the last few weeks have been, but hope you're all well and that you get him home soon. We're really pleased for you all to hear he's doing so well.

03 September 2008

Blog: Chrome trim

I'll be downloading Chrome tonight for a play around with, there may be some changes to the blog layout coming up over the next few weeks / months to suit it if necessary. And it's about time I changed the banner, Crich has featured there for almost a year now, so time to look at something else I think. Watch this space.

01 September 2008

Coining it in

Starbucks. I've covered that particular topic some time ago, but during an age when little minds weren't so decisive themselves. An age when portability meant pram, when you could have a happy baby all day long as long as the pram was moving.

That age is gone.

The time is nigh when the monster in our midst wants to have hands on everything, won't sit still in a pushchair, and as we saw yesterday knows when it's time for a coffee.

It was a light and warm drizzle that was falling yesterday afternoon when we went for a late shopping trip. The wee fella had shorts on, no socks no shoes, and no cover on his pushchair.

This rain was slowly dampening his feet, much to his delight. Not as much as the delight expressed from over the canopy of the chair when we passed by Starbucks. This is a fairly new shop, and saying that he's only been in times numbering, well, not enough to fill a hand. But the excitement when we walked passed was unreal. Just turned two years old and well into the coffee culture already. He'll be the ruin of us financially if he carries on like that.

It was snack time for the family so we did go in. He was happy bouncing on the comfies near the door while MOTS got ours in (OK, rant time - I normally hate people who bag a seat while waiting for someone else in the queue, occupying space while those with coffee hunt for a seat, but it was quiet and there were other comfies available. So no double-standards creeping in, well not too much anyway). The coffee was up to usual standard, and as the gentleman on the table by our left finished and left with his daughter, the wee fella saw it as extra space to run about in. It went quiet for a few seconds. Then he appeared from behind his bag and held out both hands, a small reminder ran through my mind of the infamous scene in Dickens' "Oliver".

There, in one hand was a small coin. A small silver coin, the smallest of them all. And there, in the other, was another silver coin, the biggest of them all. Yes, he'd found 55p on the seat just vacated by that gentlemen on our left. Now I know why he plays with the coin return flap in the vending machines at the swimming pool, it's got nothing to do with the swing of the flap and the crashing noise it makes when it hits the front of the recess - he's looking for cold hard cash. And yesterday he hit the jackpot!

That's my boy!

Thanks to his Grandpa for getting him the new design coins from the Royal Mint for his birthday, it was obviously the incentive he needed to go out and make his own!

Wake up, time for school

I know the age old saying about kids growing up so fast these days, and I've used it myself. But imaging my horror when I got home from work last Thursday to the following greeting:

Me: "Hi, honey, I'm home"
The wee fella: "Daddeeeeeeeeee"
MOTS: "Did you have a good day? He's enrolled for school"

School's out
SCHOOL? Eh? What?

What on earth happened there? It was only 2 seconds ago I changed his nappy (literally) and he's enrolled in school? I'll ask again, what on earth happened there?

So it wasn't that much of a shock, we already knew he had to enrol just after his second birthday and had picked the forms up ready. It was just another milestone that he's getting to that marks another step towards old age for me. So exactly what is it that I'm not looking forward to? Old age? The grave? Or far worse than that, parent's race at the sports day.


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