Blackberries

DSCF3876For the first 2 years of your lives we all lived together in our big house in the Midlands. The “big old house”, with the big old garden.

You don’t remember it. I do.

I remember how I was your full-time, stay-at-home Daddy. For your first year with Mummy, and for your second year by myself when Mummy went back to work, with reduced hours.

034I remember it all so well. You don’t.
Continue reading “Blackberries”

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Silent Sunday 23/6/13

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Scenes From a Country Park

We’re so lucky here to be just a drive away from the most fantastic country park, which we love so much & which we’ve tried to visit weekly, all year round & in all sorts of weather.

The range of  things to see & do is fantastic, & the twins love it. Not only that but entrance, along with most of the attractions, is free; you just pay for parking. We of course have a season ticket!

Now that it’s (allegedly) Spring & the train is up & running again we’ve settled back into our ‘warm weather’ (ha!) routine.

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The little train runs from near the entrance & chugs past farmland; through woodlands where you can try to spot nesting birds; past farm animals; past a lake full of ducks, geese & swans and with wonderful vistas of fields, hills, the ‘castle’ & even an iron age fort emerging through the trees.  It stops at the castle, then goes back.

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If it’s the afternoon (meaning “after their nap”!) we’ll probably head to the cafe for lunch.

Then we’re off down the track to the lake to feed the birds. Jake & Ellie just love it. Yesterday there was a particularly aggressive & very noisy goose chasing off all the other birds, which Ellie was both frightened & fascinated by. They had a right old ding-dong of a shouting contest; & I’m pretty sure Ellie won!

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There’s usually an activity on the lake: for instance remote-controlled model boats, swimming rescue dogs, canoes, barrel boat racing.

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After that it’s down to the adventure playground: a great collection of stuff to climb in, up, down, through, over & around.

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The last couple of times we’ve gone it’s been in the morning, & after they’re had a good play here they’re usually ready for their nap. Otherwise we’d head down to the farm trail to look at the farm animals: turkeys, chickens, rabbits, goats, including rare breeds. Then head back through the winding woodland trail with its weird & wonderful wood sculptures.

Instead we then head back up past the lake & take the short route back to the car: which is great for heroic scooting!

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That’s if we can make it past the cafe…

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You know, I think I could get used to this country living! How do you think I would look in tweed?

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
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Memories

When I’ve spent time at the old house* I usually come back in a somewhat reflective frame of mind.

Take this picture, for instance, which I posted back in June & meant to explain but never did:

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I was working really hard: clearing, cleaning, supervising tradesmen, sorting, throwing out rubbish, organising storage & removals, trying to get leaking roofs fixed or replaced in torrential rain, sanding & revarnishing the 100-year-old wooden floorboards: that was a nightmare! I was desperately trying to get the place ready to go onto the market as soon as possible. I needn’t have bothered, as it turned out: despite dropping the price a lot – too much, I think – we still haven’t sold it.

One of the jobs then was cleaning the chalk off the back wall. This wall. It was some of Jake’s & Ellie’s first attempts at art, at making shapes. It will eventually lead to writing, drawing, who knows what else.

To wipe it all off, to erase it from existence, to remove their precious scribblings: it  just seemed wrong. I really didn’t want to do it. But I had to.

1-DSC00326Everywhere I go there I see memories. The big garden I loved so much: we had so much fun there, especially in their second year when they were more mobile & playful & I was their main carer. They loved messing about with sand & water with the play-tables, & playing with the hose. Jake never ceased to amaze me with his ability to find & pick the ripest & juiciest blackberries from the vines which were threatening to dominate all else there. Sometimes we’d just sit on the seats & watch our world go by. Other times we’d climb around & explore, & be fascinated by the insects, birds & frogs we might find. We weaned them in that garden, & would eat outside as much we could in the warmer months. In the house there are toys still there that we haven’t had room for in our little, supposedly temporary house.

1-DSC00325So many memories! They’ll never leave us, of course, but the house feels empty; just memories there now. I feel like it should be full of the sounds of laughing, running children – but it’s still, & quiet. Too quiet.

And it got me thinking : some of the most precious moments that we as parents will carry with us will be from these times: when our young loved ones were 2 or younger.

The age up until which we human beings are meant to have little or no memory of anything that happens to us.

So things that we’ll carry with us & that will be some of our most treasured memories will be things they’ll know nothing about?

I can already see myself reminiscing with Jake the teenager about the blackberries, & getting: “Oh Dad, stop being so soppy!”, before he runs off to his room to play some very loud music. Via his Ninsamyo Holodeck, probably.

Just one more of parenting’s, & life’s, ironies I guess.

I wonder what else this Daddying lark has lined up for me?

Now, if I could just remember where I put my keys…

* A year ago we reluctantly moved from our home in the Midlands to Wales because of work. We had a little place there which we had been renting out, & the plan was to move in there for a few weeks while we sold the old place, then buy a new family home in Wales. But we haven’t been able to sell & we’re still living in a house which just isn’t big enough for 2 adults & active twin toddlers. So we’re stuck. But we do have a Plan B.

Dear So & So: Violence, Legal Action & Security. Plus Some Nice Birdies

Dear So and So...

Dear Jallie babies

Thank you for respecting my request for a lessening of the bollocks-kicking activity. I think I’m on the mend now.

However when you wake up overnight & we’re good enough to let you sleep with us, please don’t wake me up at 5am with kung-fu kicks to my head.  Not hitting me while I’m trying to get you back to sleep would be nice too. And I know it’s with open palms, but it still kinda hurts.  (Yes, I’m looking at you, Jake…).

Love,

Bruised Daddy

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NHS logo
Image via Wikipedia

Dear Good Hope Hospital

I think a rebranding exercise is in order, don’t you? You need a brand, an identity, that more accurately reflects who you are & what you have to offer the British public.

I suggest: “No Hope Hospital”.

Or how about “Bloody Hopeless”?

I even have a slogan worked out for you. Writ large over your front entrance: “Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here”.

Otherwise  someone may sue you under the Trades Descriptions Act.

It won’t be me ‘though: I’m already busy suing you under every other Law I can think of, you nasty psychopath.

You are a disgrace. It’s places like you that give the NHS a bad name…*

Sore Daddy. But you may call me “The Plaintiff”

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Chris Packham
Image via Wikipedia

Dear Chris Packham & the Autumnwatch team

Thank you for your earlier suggestions for bird-foods for this time of year. They’ve gone down very well here, especially those niger seeds.

Did you mention sunflower hearts too? Also mixes specifically for ground-feeding birds? They’re also very popular here.

There are a lot of happier & less hungry birds here now thanks to you, & to shops like Wilkinsons & Tesco who stock their food

Birdy Daddy

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Dear Jallie

Sorry to bother you again.

Just an update on the security situation.

We’ve got some nice new door gates so we don’t keep having to keep all your doors shut, shutting out that nice shiny light that you like & making us all feel a bit claustrophobic. Or piling doorways with Pampers box bunkers  that would make a World War 1 soldier proud, or your old Moses basket full of toys. Especially as you eventually seem to be able to figure out how to get through them. You little monkeys!
We also now have bed-guards, so we can all co-sleep together instead of Mummy & Daddy having 1 of you each surrounded by, admittedly impressive,  pillow fortresses. If you rolled over onto a wooden floor you really wouldn’t be very happy, trust me! And neither would we.

Now, I know you don’t like being penned in; but it’s for your own safety, honestly. One day you’ll understand.

Also: I’m nearly finished converting the storage room into a big old play room: you’ll love it, believe me!

Love,

Safety-conscious Daddy

"We shall, we shall be FREE!!"

* I have to point out that whenever we’ve had problems or health concerns with Jallie they’ve been excellent. And the surgical team who delivered them were outstanding. So I guess they’re not all bad. My main problem is with its administration & the admin staff; they’re just abysmal.

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