Thursday, 28 June 2012

Legoland Windsor

Today we ventured out to Legoland, Windsor.  The threat of thunderstorms was not going to put us off.  We packed waterproof jackets and cardigans just in case.  This ensured that the temperature would be around 26-28 degrees and we'd have no need of all this stuff that we decided to carry around!

Having removed the solid wheeled pushchair from the boot of the car before we set off, we got our 'caching pushchair' out only to find it had a puncture and the tyre was completely flat. No doubt some sneaky thorn from our last trip out.  Fortunately we are armed with a pump so hubby just had to keep on inflating as we wandered around :)
The view from the entrance is pretty amazing (as you can see hubby and S were checking out the route here) and we decided to ride the Hill Train down to Kingdom of the Pharaohs which both S and N found very exciting. The train is good and you can get quite a few pushchairs on.

Off we got and went over to Desert Chase which is basically a carousel ride. S loved the 'up and down horses' which she went on with hubby.  He made me laugh as he sat on the horse next to hers only to be told by the operator that this ride was not for adults.  Oops! He had to just stand next to her.  I suddenly realised that for S, this was really her first proper experience of rides.  After that, she and I went on the Thunder Blazer which is a set of swing chairs which made me feel a little sick.  We then went to Scarab-bouncers which are seats for 7 people (1 adult can go on each) that go up in the air then, as the name implies, kind of bounce down and up again. It gives the sensation of going over a hump-back bridge so hubby said.  S wasn't sure to start with but within seconds was smiling and enjoying it.  N was busy eating puffs as she couldn't go on any of these rides, which was a shame.

By this time it was about 11.30am and the girls were already feeling hungry so we settled on a seat at Lego City and started our packed lunch.  A loud speaker announced that the Pirates of Skeleton Bay Stunt Show was due to start at 12 noon so we decided to stay and watch it. I even went and bought us an ice cream each (£2.85 for a single scoop).

It was a total hit and was quite crowded at the main area seating but we were just around the corner, still with a good view and with some of the stunt crew performing right in front of us.  Both S and N were dancing, shouting and clapping.  The high diving was impressive (by the stunt crew - not the girls).

We then went over to Adventure Land and straight on to the Atlantis Submarine Voyage.  Both the girls were glued to the windows watching fish, rays and sharks swimming by. Of course there were Lego fish and divers down here too ;-)  Another short ride but enough fun for them.  Our next ride was Dino Safari which entailed little cars going around a track very sedately.  We got to the front of the queue and I was told that N was too little to go on.  I have to say this did seem utterly ridiculous to me as she could have easily sat on my lap or next to me.  Shame.  Hubby and S went on and photographed various dinosaurs on their way round.  One was even having his teeth brushed as you can see.  I am guessing that's a plant eater...

Our next area to explore was Duplo Land where hubby and S went on to Fairytale Book.  I have to say that the signs at the entrance to these rides really need to be made clearer.  This one says 'no children on laps' and 'guests under 1.3m must be accompanied by an adult'.  Maybe we were being daft but we presumed that this meant that N could not go.  Shame as it looked almost as exciting as watching grass grow to me. Oh well.  She and I went off to find a spot to look for S and hubby's boat to come past. As we settled down and started watching, a family with a very young baby came past in a boat.  Another ride opportunity missed for N as we were meeting up with a friend for a drink as soon as hubby and S had finished the ride :( 

I think that the signs by the ride entrances should state that they are suitable for under 3's (although I did now notice the guide book says this if you look for a teddy bear face).  I think I was getting too hot and bothered to notice all the little symbols (plus I didn't have my glasses with me!).  

We went into a cafe to get a drink but were told by the staff there that we could not just buy a drink, we had to buy a buffet lunch each.  I think we all just looked at each other and shrugged and left.  This was a bit of a case of 'jobs-worth' if you ask me. The place had about 3 people in it.  There was seating inside, at a back area and outside behind a fence.  I know that when they are busy I am sure it is a pain if people are just having a drink but talk about not wanting your custom even when they are empty.  Crazy!  We ended up just around the corner buying a cappucino and 2 standard Fanta drinks.  The cost?  Over £8.

Heading over then to Miniland, we went to Balloon School where up to 4 people (yes, N could ride this one) get into a balloon 'basket' and up you go, pulling a cord to control how high you go and letting it go to come back down.  N squealed with excitement on this ride.  

Miniland was what I remembered the old Legoland to be.  Lots of models of areas of the world you would recognise from London to Cape Kennedy.  It is quite awe inspiring to look at these models and realise just how many Lego bricks went into each.

We walked through here and off up to the Sky Rider.  S and I went on this ride together as, once again, N was just too small.  It clearly is a height thing for the safety rail as the ride neither moved fast nor was scary so I know she would have enjoyed it.  The view over another part of Miniland was lovely as we went past.  S said she liked "roller coasters".

Everyone was getting a little tired now as we had walked around for 5 hours and yet had still managed to miss quite a few sections of the park. We decided to finish up at this point and just pop in to the Star Wars Experience on our way out.  Ironically, this was the one thing that made S cry.  The volume of the music and sound effects inside was extremely high and it upset her so hubby took her out straight away whilst I whizzed N round in her pushchair, almost bumping into Darth Vader as we came out!

One final hit to your pocket is a £2 car park charge to leave.

Now, Legoland (if you've not been there) is not a cheap family day out.  Oh no.  In fact, the gate price for an adult ticket is £44.20 and a child (from age 3!) is £35.20.  That's a hefty sum of money for a family of four for a days entertainment.  I know you can get discounts with early booking, voucher deals, etc but bearing in mind most 3 year olds would probably not be able to get onto many rides due to height restrictions (and they check EVERY child), that is a pretty steep entry fee.  With an ice cream costing £2.85 and a fizzy drink £2.35, you'll see why we packed our own lunch.  

There is a new hotel on the site and staying there does include a park ticket. In September, for example, a room for 2 adults, 1 child and 1 infant would be £385-£485.  You can also jump the queues at the rides by buying a Q-Bot ticket for £45 per day. 

Fortunately for us, an old friend of mine works there and gave us free tickets for our fun day out :)  We also collected some vouchers from a newspaper recently and have two free tickets to go again in September.  Mind you, that still means a £35 payment to get S in.  At least we can go to the areas we missed then :)

Monday, 25 June 2012

Help, I need a teen translator!

I don't know about you, but I am suddenly beginning to feel that I am getting old.  This has nothing to do with my age you understand, more about the fact that I cannot fathom what my teenage daughter, and her friends, are talking about anymore.

Let me give you some examples.

A nice picture that I showed her.  She said "That's sick mum".  Now to me, that means it is horrible/depraved/unwell.  No, apparently this now means it's it 'nice'.  So when I am sick, am I fine?  What do I say to the doctor now?  Oh dear, this is getting very confusing.

I am off to collect her and give her a time I'll be there.  "Cool beans" she says.  I understand this means "that's great, thanks mum".  This must be due to a slightly 60's/70's throwback in my mind that I 'get' this.

I have seen parents referred to as "rents".  I have no idea at all what this means! I am assuming it has something to do with living in their house for free.

My friends son said my driving was "beast".  Had I scared him?  Was I too fast/slow?  No, apparently this means that I can "drive really well".  Excellent. I am beast.  I'll remember that.

My friend has bought a new (to her) car and her daughter said "Boom".  Some scratching of head ensued until my friend confirmed that boom meant 'fantastic'.

I'm getting rather scared to talk to my teen in case I say something bad without meaning it or, worse still, find I am suddenly promising her something like money or taxi services unintentionally! 'Nuff' said.

Google do a fairly good job with their foreign language translators but I wonder if they have considered the challenge of "Teen Speak"?  I'm sure it would be easier if we all learned Klingon ;-)

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Early miscarriage is just a late period

At least, that is what I thought until I had my first one.

What was the fuss about?  So, you're pregnant and you've missed your period, you've done your test and the line has appeared.  Then, out of the blue, a few weeks later, your period starts.  It's clearly a miscarriage but so what?  There isn't anything much there is there?  It's only a heavier bleed after all. It's not like it's a proper baby or anything.

Yeah - right.

I had my first miscarriage in 2007.  We came back from holiday and my period didn't start.  I honestly did not think I could be pregnant so did a test and the positive result came up.  Immediately the emotions hit me - both the joy and the fear.  The excitement took over as hubby was just so made up to think he was going to be a dad.  We talked.  We would wait until after the 12 week check and then tell our family.  We waited...well, about 30 minutes....then called folk up.  The excitement went around our families and close friends quickly.  I found a Haynes Manual online about babies and bought it ready to give to hubby at our 12 week scan.  I called the doctors and went down to officially confirm my pregnancy and had a booking in appointment with the midwife.  How exciting!  Everything seemed to be going well.  The sickness started.  This was a good sign right?  And then....

....I woke up in the early hours of a Saturday morning at the end of September bleeding.  Hubby was on a night shift so I called him in tears. He held it together for me and said if it was still happening in the morning, we'd go to A&E.  I hardly slept.  I kept checking.  Maybe the bleeding had stopped a little?  I went online and Googled.  If the blood was a brown-ish colour it could just be 'spotting' and hopefully everything was going to be ok.  Who was I trying to kid. There was nothing brown about this. It was bright red and getting worse.  Morning arrived and hubby came home.  I had phoned the midwives and they said this can happen and everything may still be ok. Try and rest.  I tried (and failed).  By lunchtime we went down to our local A&E.  Same things were told to me then but there was nothing that could be done until Monday at the EPU (Early Pregnancy Unit).  They said go home and rest and call the EPU first thing and they would see me. 

Monday arrived. Our 1st wedding anniversay.  We went down to the EPU.  I had an internal scan.  The sonographer wasn't exactly kindly.  No baby, she announced.  Nothing there.  You've clearly already lost it.  Thanks for your care and gentle words - not.  We cried - both of us.  We were very upset.  Maybe I was too old to have any more children?  We went home. Not an anniversary to celebrate.  Hubby was due to start Jury Service that day but had phoned the court to explain.  No problem they had said, come in on Wednesday.

That day arrived and off he went.  I was still curled up in bed when a friend called to see how I was.  We spoke and as I sat up, it came out of me.  It wasn't just a little bit of blood, it was large and I felt it leave.  Clots and what seemed a huge lump. I cried like I hadn't cried before. I hung up on my friend and phoned the court. Hubby arrived home within 30 minutes.  I didn't know what to do with 'it' whilst I was waiting. It was there, in our bed.  I phoned the hospital. They said flush it away or put it in a clean jar and bring it down so they would confirm the miscarriage if that's what I wanted. I wanted neither of those.  Eventually, just before hubby came home, I put it down the toilet.  We were sad for a long time afterwards.  I know that it is likely something wasn't right and that's why it went but it still hurt.  I put the manual I had bought away hoping there would be a time I could give it to hubby.

Our daughter, S, was born in 2008.  I had 'spotting' with her and you can imagine the fear that washed over me and hubby.  We had an early scan with her and there she was.  Utter joy!

In 2009 I was pregnant again.  Sickness was well and truly happening and our 12 week scan was booked for the clinic in London.  Off we went on the train, leaving S with my niece.  We waited excitedly for the scan and both had butterflies when we went into the room.  The sonographer put the gel on and we watched.  There was the sac but there was the tiniest little 'blob' inside.  She was quiet for a moment and did a few measurements.  It was clear, I had a missed miscarriage. The news still made us cry.  A doctor came in to confirm it. It looked like the baby had stopped growing around 5-6 weeks.  It was a long train journey home.  Worst of all, I still felt sick. My body thought I was carrying a good pregnancy. I phoned the hospital I had had S in (not the local one - wouldn't go back there) and went down for a scan straight away.  They confirmed the missed miscarriage and booked me in for the Monday for an ERPC in day surgery.  I felt sick still the whole weekend and up until I went under.  It had stopped when I came round.  I was out that evening.  Somehow, although still so sad, this miscarriage didn't have the same affect on me.  I think it was just a bit more clinical in my head.

In 2010 N was born.  Again I had spotting and an early scan. That reassurance meant so much.

So, to anyone who has never experienced a miscarriage, please be assured, it is not just like a late period.  It is far more than that and more devastating than you could imagine.

(Image source)

Friday, 22 June 2012

There is always time for a couple of caches

The weather has been hideous again. You would never know it's June would you. No wonder us Brits like our holidays in the sun!

S has been desperate to go out. Actually, none of us like being stuck indoors, so we decided to put our rain coats on and head out to a new playground we had not yet explored and a couple of caches that happened to be nearby (come on, you know I had to check out the location on the map before going anywhere didn't you).

Hubby took S into the playground whilst N, riding happily in her pushchair scoffing puffs, and I went in search of the first cache which was by Holy Trinity Church in West End.  There were a few young muggles about so stealth had to be employed - which was why N was given puffs. She can sing and shout rather loudly ;-)  A quick look across the ditch to GZ showed nothing.  Ummm....  I had an 'aimless wander' a little further down, dangerously close to said muggles and spotted the cache. It was just laying on the bank of the ditch in full view.  Oh dear.  A quick retrieve and all seemed to be in place but it had been opened. I wonder if a muggle found it and then realised there was nothing of interest inside and threw it back?  Once signed, I placed the cache back where it should belong and we went off back to the playground.

Met up with hubby and S again and went off for a little bit of a longer walk to find out second cache in the area - Hatch or Thatch - which was down a lovely lane of houses.  We really must win the Lottery!  There was this gorgeous self-seeded single rose on one side of the road that just stood out among the greenery.  Reaching the end of the road, we went down a footpath until the GPS said we were at GZ - well, thereabouts as it was not about to settle down in the drizzle under trees :)

Hubby guessed what the cache would be and we started to look. Some great, twisty trees around and lots of lovely hiding places.  Ten minutes of searching had thrown up nothing.  We started to wander around the area and look again.  N had decided, at this point, that she had definitely had enough and was shouting and hollering away.  S was doing her best to placate her by picking her flowers but it had minimal effect.  We knew we had to find this quickly or give up.  Suddenly hubby called that he'd found it.  We went around and he asked S if she could spot it.  Bless her, she tried hard and pointed to lots of different things but she wasn't looking up high enough.  We pointed it out to her and she thought it was great. However, she was much more interested in the little log container as it was a Kinder Egg plastic case and she was sure there would be a toy inside for her.  Took a little explaining.  All signed with a favourite point from me (my 250th cache) and we headed back with N wailing away.  At the end of the footpath I got her out of the pushchair.  Bingo!  She had wanted to walk. I must teach her the word "walk" as my ears would not suffer as much (and nor would the neighbouring houses when we cache!).  She was fine and dandy then and toddled back to the car with us, climbing on every little brick or post outside peoples houses as she went :)

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

If only I'd known then what I know now

I was thinking today about what a pain in the butt it is to have to do some GCSE qualifications.  No, this is not forward planning for J but about me wanting to get a specific job when I return to work.  A teacher in fact.  No more IT sales, product management or cold calling for me.  I want a job that gives me satisfaction at the end of the day!

Unfortunately, way back when Big Ben was a little wristwatch, I was at school and studying well to be a vet.  Yep, I know, different goal back then. 

My parents decided to split up when I was 13.  A pretty crappy age to suddenly have that happen around you (I do appreciate no age is good for a split but very young or grown up does seem better).  My life suddenly turned upside down and from being a rather spoiled (yes, I'll admit it) youngster, I became the person my mum turned to asking "Why?" so many times.  I remember sitting up in the early hours of the morning drinking coffee with her at our kitchen table with her crying and just feeling angry at my dad (whom I didn't speak to for a year - I'm a Scorpio after all!) and then having to go to school the next day.

The result of this, my interest in school hit the floor.  I continued to do well and was in the 'grammar school stream' for all my subjects and was expected to get high results in my 'O' Levels (yes, that's how old I am) but sadly for me, I was determined to leave school at the earliest possible opportunity and get a job.  My teachers tried to tell me this was a mistake. They tried to encourage me by saying what better potential I had leaving with 10+ 'O' Levels but it all fell on deaf ears.  I therefore left a few months before the exams and walked away with absolutely nothing.  My mum had meetings with the headmaster to try and get me to stay.  I was called to the headmaster numerous times to talk about staying on for the exams but I was having none of it.   I left school on the Wednesday and home on the Thursday, sure I was a 'grown up'. How naive I was. 

I did get an A in GCSE English at Adult Education when I left school and distinctions in all my typing exams.  In 2001 after 4 years part-time at University whilst holding down a full-time job too, I received a 1st class Honours Degree, but here I am now in 2012 needing to get some qualifications that will cost me around £200-300 each which I could have had for free.  Hindsight is a wonderful thing :(

Maths is going to be a pain for me because, one thing I said when I was at school and I was absolutely right, was when am I ever going to need algebra again?  Never it has turned out.  So I'm hoping this all comes flooding back when I start the course.

As I would like to teach primary school level, I also need Science but I'm quite happy with that as I can opt for Biology which interests me and I think is a lot of common sense.

So, if you're young and reading this, or have teenagers determined to leave school with no interest in gaining qualifications, please think hard as decisions you make when you think you know it all, often come back to bite you. 

Monday, 18 June 2012

Big tractor, piglets and favourite caches

Yesterday we wandered off to an Open Farm Day over in Maidenhead.  This is an annual event where a working farm opens up to the public so that they can have a look around. S was amazed at the size of the tractors and combine harvesters and enjoyed seeing the horses and piglets.We did queue for a tractor/trailer ride but after 15 minutes we gave up which was probably a good thing as apparently they were lasting around 45 minutes and N would never have stayed still that long!

After our farm visit, we headed out to collect a few caches we had seen at a public bridleway a couple of fields away.  We managed to park right by the entrance to it which was lucky as the road this is off is another very fast one with no parking on it other than the odd little piece of track. Everyone decanted from the car and off we went.

Despite the rain having held off and some pretty good tree cover, it was very muddy in places.  Thank goodness we all have wellies (an essential piece of geocaching kit I feel).  More than once hubby had to help me by lifting the pushchair up and carrying it and N over the mud.  We are never put off by things like that though.

The first cache we came to was Get My Drift, a letterbox cache. This was our first letterbox but unfortunately we didn't have a stamp with us so we just signed it as a normal cache.  GZ was easy to spot and the cache was nice and tidy so we left a Geocoin there after photographing it for the owner, to continue it's travels.  I had a feeling this set of caches could be good for dropping some TBs off :)

Off we went again, by now starting to eat our little picnic lunch as we went along.  As a family, we do love to have some sandwiches and fruit everywhere we go you know ;-)

The next cache we came to was called Newton's Pendant and sounded intriguing.  We weren't disappointed.  This cache was basically a log high up in a tree and attached to it by a rope which was tied near the base.  You untied the rope and lowered the log.  Once you had the log, you took the lid off, which the rope ran through, and inside it was hollowed out and there was the cache log container.  Ingenious!  This delighted everyone (as you can see from the picture) and got an instant favourite point from me.

Smiles all round, we carried on up the path crossing the area where the farm rides were running. We watched two tractors/trailers go past and S waved to the people bumping along.

Our next cache was Mice May Dare which J decided she was going to find on her own. I pointed out what I considered was the cache area and she had a look around it, muttered "eugh" a few times and then said she thought it was a little further on.  She was looking all over the place and I turned to hubby and said "I'm sure that is where it is" (sometimes I am told I am not allowed to go look - I'm just GPS girl!) and he picked up the object that J first looked at and there it was.  If only she'd not been worried about getting her hands a bit dirty ;-)  Another nice little cache so I left a Taz TB there to carry on it's journey, having taken a nice picture of it first.

Our last cache in this area was The Clingon and it was another that didn't disappoint.  Again, the coordinates were spot on and S and hubby went into the little clearing bit of the hedgerow and spotted it quickly.  This was another log, hollowed out with the log inside, covered in ivy and hung up in the branches with two little hooks.  The CO certainly has made a great effort with their caches around this location and we have enjoyed every one of them.

We turned around at this point as I worked out we really needed to drive around to get to the next lot as it would be quite a long walk for everyone otherwise but we intend to come back to this area as the CO has placed quite a few more a little further along.

We weren't in the mood to head off at that point so we went into Maidenhead and had a look for a few more in a group we could do before dropping J off.  There were some up at Pinkneys Green so we went up there.  This is a nice area of maidenhead with two lovely greens as part of the little village.  As we arrived by the main one, there was a scout summer party going on in one part and a game of cricket next to it in another part.  How nice.  We parked up and headed off.

The first cache we found was Pinkneys Green 8, which was a quick find for J and S.  We walked back through the grass path on the green itself.  This was probably not the best idea as J had hayfever starting and, as a typical teenager, had not taken her tablets that morning. DOH!  We found this wonderful tree near the next location which S and J found fascinating.

The next cache was Pinkneys Green 7, which was right where the cricketers were playing. This would take stealth.  Note to self - stealth is not J's strong point. I must remember that.  However, she did a good job this first.  The cache was apparently at a joint of the posts/rails at one side of the car park.  We stopped and looked at the cricket match whilst J sat on the rail and, in true 007 fashion, moved along grappling around each upright.  When she reached the far end, no cache was in hand. I went over and stood by where it should be (in a puddle of water) and she came back and had another prod. I bent down and had a look and an explore but nothing.  J then got off the rail and crouched down by each post exploring. Heaven only knows what the cricketers thought was going on around their cars with this teenager bobbing up and down by the grass bank.  She had to stop when a taxi pulled up and the driver got out.  Not our best stealth tactics so a DNF for us.

Off we went for one last cache at Pinkneys Green 5 (not sure how the CO was working out the numbers here!).  We ploughed along the path with J's eyes starting to water badly.  This really was the last one as she was beginning to suffer. I guess waist high grasses that were all blooming wasn't the best idea with her.  This cache seemed to be hidden in a small clump of trees.  The clue suggested to look for the 'natural path' but lots of sun and rain had helped the nettles grow to about 5' tall and the brambles take over everywhere else!  This was not going to be an easy one.  Hubby was determined though, so whilst J sneezed with the girls, he stomped the nettles down, followed by me with a pen.  A few owch's later (or words to that effect muttered under his breath), the cache was in hand and signed and we headed back to the car.

The predicted rain had held off for us all day and we had really enjoyed ourselves.  All together we had walked for 2 1/4 hours today which isn't bad considering S walked the whole way with us and the bridleway was heavy going in places.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Mummy and daughter caching time

Today the weather has been rather odd.  Sunny one minute, pouring with rain the next but all the time windy as hell.

As hubby was home and could look after the little 'uns, teen and I decided to nip out and grab a few odds and sods caches.  This is never an easy thing with the geokids as they have no interest in being taken in and out of the car for one cache and then off again so we tend to do rings or areas where there are multiple caches quite close with them.  So, this was an ideal time for my teen and I to head out.

The first cache we aimed for was quite near a main road with no footpath - another reason we didn't try it with the little ones - so we parked up and went off.  We got to the area and J had fun jumping the ditch and almost climbing up a signpost looking.  I had a quick look at the clue and what was around GZ and found it immediately.  Nice hiding place and not a place I've ever found one before so it was a good find.  Log signed and off we went walking a bit further down this dodgy bit of road (cars are very fast on it and lots of blind bends).

We spotted the footpath and went off aiming for our second cache in this area. I had tried this one once before with hubby and the little geokids but we had no joy. We were a bit put off at the time by the barbed wire that was all around us as S loves to search too.  This time we had a little poke about and suddenly I spotted it.  Why didn't we see it last time?  It goes to show how you can lose your cachers eye at times!

Back to the car and off we went to find a Premium Member cache that I had spotted on the map around the corner.  We drove down this lovely road until we reached a ford (as you can see).  As it had been raining heavily I wasn't about to drive the car through so we parked up just before it. As we got out the map said we were pretty much on top of it.  Intriguing.  A dog walker was coming up the road towards us so we stood and 'admired' the ford and walked over the bridge.  He stopped and started having a chat as his brown puppy was bouncing around us.  J was not what you would describe as a 'discreet' cacher and was, at this point, half laying on the bridge hanging over the edge trying to spot the cache!  Argh!  He did look at her a bit strangely as the puppy bounced around us and I suggested to her we carry on our *walk*!  What is she like?  Anyway, as we wandered off the dog walker seemed to lose interest and turned around and headed back the way he had come.  We sort of hid around the corner a bit then went back to the ford.  J stuck her head under the bridge and spotted the cache.  Fortunately I had wellies in the car so I put them on and did the retrieve.  A definite favourite point for this one.

Back in the car and off to another area.  We parked up and went off into a section of woodland that I had no idea existed.  The cache took us a few minutes to locate.  It said it had two TBs but when we opened it there was nothing. I saw one had been taken by a cacher who stopped caching last year (but they only logged a discover - oh dear) and the other had been recently dropped off but there was no sign of it.  We signed the log and I decided to risk it and put in one of the TBs I had in my possession in.  The cache had no signs at all of being muggled and was in good condition with all the little swaps inside so I have to assume that perhaps another cacher has forgotten to log their collection of the other one.

Back to the car and off we went home to grab a sandwich. Hubby said had we collected the 'one by the bridge' yet and I said no. We decided to head straight back out and see if J could spot it.

We parked up and went off to the cache location. This was my 3rd visit to this location and I was getting annoyed with myself.  J headed up the bank to recce the area but nothing showed up.  Compass and map said we were pretty much standing at GZ.  I carried on looking in the undergrowth and J went across the road and suddenly I heard "Found it mum!" and there she was with it in her hand. It was so flipping obvious I could have kicked myself.   Great find by her and we carefully extracted the log and signed it.

Back to the car and I suggested we do a couple more that were also on roads that weren't suitable for the little ones. We headed up to Hook Heath (posh bit of Woking) and parked up.  At the other end of this area is Woking Golf Club.  This is a nice place to go feed the ducks with children as they have a little pond outside and just around the corner, you can wave to the trains.  First was a nice easy cache to find.  Great clue!  We then walked down the pavement-less road and then down a rather nice private road to the next cache.  What a view!  I said to J that we really did need to win the Lottery as I loved the house opposite :)  Back towards the car we headed and saw another cache quite close.  Another little explore around the area and we had the cache in hand quite quickly.

All done and back home.  Tomorrow we are off to one of these Open Farm events and, it just so happens, there are some caches close by too ;-)

Friday, 15 June 2012

Television is my (children's) friend

I am sure we've all been there.  A mother and baby group.  The nursery gate.  A coffee shop.  We overhear Mrs Perfect twittering on to her little circle of nodding friends saying "Oh, little Esmerelda is only allowed 30 minutes of television per week".  This is the point I roll my eyes and walk away.

Now, I'm not saying that television should be your childs babysitter but it depends on what you want to do and what channel you are letting them watch.  Cbeebies, for example, is a lovely channel with no adverts (hence no requests for the latest doll/horse/Nintendo game) and excellent, age appropriate programmes that children from 0-5 will enjoy (and perhaps a bit beyond).  Other channels such as Nick and Nick Jnr seem to have no educational value whatsoever, so they are very rarely on in this house.

My children enjoy television and whilst I could happily let it babble in the corner of the lounge for the entire day, they rarely watch it for more than about 20 minutes without wandering off and doing something else in another room.  Yes, I am a mummy who does leave it on whilst I also get on with my day.  I often see my girls wander past as they have heard a particular theme tune and have gone in to watch a programme.  Favourites include Something Special (S has learned quite a few signs), Mr Maker, Num Tums and Mike the Knight.  They also like In the Night Garden... (for which I think, as an adult, you need to be on some mind bending drugs to understand. Same goes for Telly Tubbies).

If we are in the house due to (a) bad weather or (b) things I have to housework (yawn, dull), then the TV is on and the girls will happily watch what they like and leave what they don't.  Does it bother me?  Nope!  They have picked up some amazing knowledge from the TV and it isn't all restricted to children's programmes.

S has enjoyed watching almost every David Attenborough documentary, a series about the planets, various medical programmes and even the occasional One Born Every Minute (I don't need to tell her where babies come from, but she will happily tell you if you ask).  She loves programmes about animals (wild or domestic) and has a very inquisitive mind.  Providing I judge the programme as suitable for her or educational to her, I see no issue with her watching it (of course I do view it first I hasten to add).

The girls enjoy films too and every few days will ask for a movie to be put on.  Generally these are just fun such as Despicable Me, Flushed Away, Gnomeo & Juliet, etc.  S can sometimes sit through an entire film but N, on the whole, manages about 15 minutes before she is off to play with the dolls house or look at books (she is book crazy - unfortunately this means tearing them up at times too).

Don't get me wrong, this is not a TV only household. I read to my girls, we paint, swim, colour, bake, dress up, make puzzles, build towers, go for walks, play in the garden, listen to music, etc, etc. 

S can walk along happily geocaching for 3 hours or more so my girls certainly aren't 'couch potatoes'.

So,  does the TV being on daily hurt?  In my opinion, not in the slightest!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Unfortunately, it's not all nice areas

Today I signed S up with her own geocaching name :)

She is very excited about this fact.  You may say why would I bother as she's only 3 and can't even sign her own logs yet?  Well, having read about it on the fabulous Geocaching UK Facebook Group, I suddenly realised this made sense as eventually she will want her own account when she gets a little bigger and can log her own cache finds.  As it is, she knows we sign logs and would love her name added so what more excuse do I need?

We thought we would have a wander out and let her find her first few caches 'officially'.  She had asked if we could go caching before she went to school this morning so to say she is keen is an understatement!

Off we headed to West Byfleet and a few caches I had spotted on the map along the Basingstoke Canal.

Now, the Basingstoke Canal at Woking has had a lot of work done on it and has a lovely footpath, plenty of cycleway and generally has been 'done up' to a great standard.  Hard to believe then that this shoddy area we had arrived at was only about 1.5 miles away from the nice area.

Immediately we felt it was not going to be a pleasant caching experience. I don't think any of us like to cache in amongst dog poo, litter and 3 foot tall stinger nettles.  Fortunately the path was clear.

The first cache we came to was by a sign saying "Please clear up after your dog", with about four piles of dog poo next to it. Umm....  The cache itself was a magnetic 35mm canister with no lid. The log was wet through (unsurprisingly) and it was utterly pointless to put another piece of paper in as you couldn't read a single signature. We took a photo of S on the path near to it should the CO want proof but somehow I doubt they will.  They seem to have ignored all maintenance requests from before July 2011 (that's as far back as I could be bothered to look).

The second cache seems to have disappeared despite me sending hubby in to investigate.  Lots of DNFs so we moved on.

There were some gorgeous flowers growing in the reeds (see pic) which was one of the highlights of the walk, along with the tinest, baby Moorhen we had ever seen.  The swans sitting at the bottom of someones garden seemed like giants as it swam past them.

A lady walking a retriever dog on a very, very long retractable lead was heading towards us.  The dog bounded up to S (who doesn't like dogs at all) and scared her but hubby intercepted quickly and batted it out of the way, in a split second it had reached the pram with N in eating her sandwich, put its head in and snatched the sandwich out of her hand!  I was absolutely horrified!  This happened so quickly and I screamed at the woman to get the bloody dog away and she then pulled it back saying 'oh, sorry'.  WTF?  If you are going to walk a dog in a public place, keep it under control. Having it on 15 feet of lead and not even attempting to pull it back when passing other people is utterly unacceptable. It's not the dogs fault - it probably thought it would grab a quick snack - but it could have bitten N and then all hell would have been let loose.  Hubby was absolutely livid and told the woman to control her dog and sorry was not acceptable.  N was in total shock. She just sat there, staring to the side without moving.  It took about 3 minutes to get her to look at us. Poor little mite :(

We carried on our way, feeling ever more disillusioned but there was another cache by a different CO set some 500m away and had been found in the last few days so we ambled up to have a look.  S was getting disappointed as she really wanted to find one that she could comment on herself.

We arrived at GZ around the back of some houses.  It had clearly been muggled.  Graffiti was everywhere, a new lock was on a unit and the lock box was nowhere to be found.  The clue was good and there really was only one place there it could be.  Shame.

We headed back and decided that rather than walk the canal, we would rather walk on the footpath down the road. I think that says a lot.

As we went under the bridge to get to the other side of the road, woman and dog appeared. She pulled dog tightly to her and stood back as we passed.  I should think so too!

Off we went down the road back to the car making a note to ourselves not to ever bother with this area again even if the caches reappear.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Am I turning into my mum?

I always swore that when I had childen, I would not do some of the things that my mum did. Don’t get me wrong, she did a huge amount right, but there were certain sayings and things she did that I said to myself “I am pretty sure I would I ever do that if I were the mum”.  Well, doesn’t it just come back to bite you as I’m afraid to say, I have – ever so slightly – turned into my mum!
So, here’s a few things that I promised myself I would never say or do:
- Wipe my girls faces with a tissue that I have spat on first.  Eugh...I know. Sorry.
- Shout “It sounds like a herd of elephants up there” when the girls are playing in their room 
- Say “It will all end in tears" 
- Say "Because I said so" with no explanation as to why my girls should or should not do something.
- Comfy is good, particularly when it comes to shoes.  (Ahhhh....kill me now!) 
- Yes, I do get excited about going to the garden centre. 
- I start asking my teen “Who is this person?” or “What a load of old racket” when listening to the radio (I hasten to add that I do still listen to Capital FM, Kiss and our local radio station). 
- I can’t see the appeal of RPatz at all. 
- I will make you go to bed when it’s daylight, I don’t care that it’s British Summer Time, I want my own bit of time and space after 7pm. 
- Use an audiable monologue: “Now, what did I come up here for?"

My mum would have been 85 this year (the picture is of her age 17 in Austria) so, bless her, she had a certain outlook on life which is probably a few generations away from mine and my general age group. I think that many of us in our 40s now do have a much younger outlook on life.  In my parents’ day, life began at 40 far less than it does now.
So, are you turning into your mum or have you managed to avoid it?

Friday, 8 June 2012

Wind and the rain won't stop us...

...we decided to wrap up, get out and do some geocaching.

What a miserable half term week it has been. Where has our summer weather gone?  Well, today was the icing on the cake as the wind is howling around blowing the garden chairs over and the rain is pounding. Having looked out the window a few times this morning and seeing no sign of it letting up, we were feeling rather housebound.

That's it! Coats and wellies on. We're off out.  There were a few caches at Pirbright we never got around to doing so we parked up, loaded N in the pushchair and S and I put our wellies on and off we went.  Hubby had packed a small snack box for us with some sandwiches, crisps and fruit we could eat as we trundled along.  British weather will not get the better of us I'll have you know.

First cache in hand and off we went to the second one. We only had 3 in all to find but hey, it was an adventure anyway and it certainly was blowing away the cobwebs.  Number two was quickly in hand (mind the muggles in the rather nice houses nearby) and travel bugs were exchanged.  Sandwiches eaten, crisps opened.  Rain had stopped which was nice as we'd just popped out of the nice tree covered footpath.

Over a fallen tree we lifted the pushchair and then over a little bridge - not really sure why it needed the awkward stile type thing on it but hey, it didn't bother us.  Our wellies were squelching along in the mud.  Number three appeared to be on some common land but the clue (which we needed) didn't imply that.  Crisps eaten, we went for the fruit whilst wandering up and down the muddy path trying to find a 'bowl of a tree' in amongst hundreds of trees all with bowls.  About to give up when I spotted it.  Hooray!  Right, caching done, let's amble along the footpath to the car.

After a while, I had a look at the GPS and we seemed to be moving in the opposite direction to where we wanted to go. Oh well, there are houses up ahead so there will be a road and we'll just follow that back to the main road and then back to our car.  This was a fair enough thought BUT we had no idea just how far out this road would take us. Almost to the opposite site of Pirbright!

S was getting tired at this point as we'd been out for almost 2 hours and her little legs were aching a bit in wellies, which, let's face it, are not the most comfortable walking wear (note to self: buy hiking boots). Enterprising mummy put the pushchair into a flat position and sat N forward, putting S behind.  Off we went again except this time it really began to hammer down with rain.  S tried to hold her umbrella over her and N but N was determined to grab it and much shouting by S ensued. I was in stitches. The pair of them were like a comedy sketch - neither being sheltered by the rain from said umbrella.  Kids!

Back at the car our feet were aching but we had really enjoyed being out of the house, despite the weather.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

What your best friend *might* tell you about pregnancy and new babies

I was reflecting on the pregnancy diaries I kept with each of my children the other day, grabbing little snippets out of them about how I felt, what was happening, you know, that kind of thing.

As you may recall, I had quite a gap between J and S – 10 years in fact – so when I was pregnant with S, I decided to buy some pregnancy books and magazines.  Well, to be fair, I bought just about every magazine on the shelf as often as they were published, along with two or three chunky looking books at WH Smith which I was sure would see me through every question I had. Come on, I had forgotten an awful lot.

However, my first port of call was to re-read the pregnancy diary I kept for J.  I say ‘pregnancy diary’ but it actually went to birth and beyond.  Boy, things had changed and so had current thinking – weaning her at 12 weeks would be totally frowned upon now, dummies you could put honey in, whatever next?!

I attended NCT classes with J and also with S.  In hindsight, the classes with S were a mistake because I went to the ‘2nd time or more pregnancy’ offering from them and most people had children 18 months to 2 years apart, not 10 years like me. I really could have done with a 1st time mummies class again – thank heaven for my local doctors NHS run one as I made some great friends and it was nice to revisit some areas.

However, there are some things about pregnancy and having a newborn baby that the books don’t really get across to you.  This is where a friend with young children comes in or, indeed, a friend with a great memory.  If you are lacking either of things “The Best Friends Guide to Pregnancy” by Vicki Iovine is crucial reading (trust me, even though it’s American, it will tell it how it is). I have never laughed so much or nodded so furiously reading a book like it.

In case you don’t want to buy it, here are a few things you need to know about the adventure you are on and what awaits you.  Be prepared (as the Scouts say).

1. Your body will do horrible things to you when you are pregnant.  It will fail to respond in the way you want or expect it to.  Wind will come at inopportune (when is there a good time though?) moments, piles will form, bits of you will stretch in strange ways and your bladder may well have a mind of its own.

2. Your boobs definitely get bigger and for a short period of time, this is a fantastic thing to be proud of. Unfortunately, this euphoria is short lived as your bottom will suddenly begin to grow at an equal pace.  Come on, it’s just Mother Nature’s way of helping us not to fall on our faces every few steps.  Shame though...

3.  For many women, morning sickness is an pain in the butt (if you’ve not already got the piles there of course).  Who called it ‘morning’ sickness?  For heavens sake, I felt sick all day and when I wasn’t feeling sick I was thinking about when I would next feel sick.  This did not go away at 12 or 20 weeks, it continued for much of my pregnancy.

4.  You will cry at anything even remotely weepy. For goodness sake do not watch any commercials featuring children/animals/beautiful sunsets.

5.  No, your fella will not bash babies head when you are having sex. I don’t care if his name is King Dong.  However, sex really could be the furthest thing from your mind or that of your fella.  There is a tendancy to feel like there is a third person involved here which can be somewhat off putting.

6.  Yes you will want things NOW! and there will be no logical reason as to why you break down in tears shouting that nobody loves you if you don’t get those things.  It’s hormones baby, it won’t last long, honest.   However, it is worth making sure your fella always has cash at hand, knows the nearest 24/7 shop and has the car/motorbike/aircraft full of fuel just in case one of those whims hits you.

After the pregnancy comes the birth.  A few things  you need to know about birth and afterwards, not necessarily in order!

1.  Birth is messy. Fact.

2.  Babies go through the most mind blowing amount of babygrows/vests/nappies.  My husband could not believe that I had taken a five vests and babygrows into hospital with me and when he left at 2am (we had to stay in overnight with S to check her breathing), S was in a lovely new one I’d put on her. When he called in the morning to say he’d be in at 9am, I asked could he bring another half a dozen – yep, she’d gone through the lot (mostly posset).

3.  Sleep will become a stranger.  Even if your baby is sleeping, you will not be. Most likely when they are sleeping, especially in the early days, you will be watching them sleep.  If you are not watching them sleep, you will be running up and down stairs checking they are breathing and, occasionally, prodding them gently to check this fact until they wake up. Paranoia is part of parenthood, accept it and move on.

4.  You will find your conversation turns quickly to number of poos/wees/sicks with almost anyone who will listen. This will show you who your real friends are!

5. The ability to eat a full roast dinner (if you ever have the time to cook one) single handed with a blunt fork will be your new party trick.  You will also either eat at the speed of light or happily munch stone cold food.  That is, if you get to eat as babies inevitably have a way of waking and demanding food or attention the second your plate gently touches down on the dining room table.  I recommend a swing-seat.  This gave me my first 5 minutes of peaceful dinner in about 3 months.

6.  You will find that most of your clothes and those of your partner have strange little marks on them.  The times hubby has arrived at work with what he thought was a clean jumper on –yes, he gave them a cuddle goodbye – only to find as he took off his motorcycle clothing, the familiar odour reached his nostrils and the small, crunchy patch on his shoulder/back became noticeable.  Cover any part of you that baby will touch/lean upon with muslins.  This is a law for all parents who are dressed for work.

7.  Make sure you have a good washing machine and tumble dryer.  Trust me, you will be washing like a Chinese laundry, 24/7.  That or you will need a gold credit card and limitless access to baby clothing stores.  I’d opt for the former.

There are so many more things but I think this would give any newly pregnant lady or mummy a good idea - and hopefully a good laugh.

What kind of things do you wish you had been told prior to getting pregnant or having your baby?

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

State or Private? How do you choose a school?

When we moved to our current house, the last thing on our minds was how good (or bad) the schools around here were.  Well, we didn't plan on having children so it really didn't matter did it.

However, a few years down the line and two under 5s in the house now and suddenly we are extremely concerned about the schools, the lack of places and the waiting lists.  But why?  Surely you just go to the nearest school to your house - that's what we did when we were young.  There were no Ofsted reports to view online, no league tables for your State schools (yes the private schools had their rankings but our families couldn't afford those so who cared) and no waiting lists to get into a preferred school. So, what has gone wrong now?

Immigration is higher now than it was then, significantly so with Europe being 'opened up' and birth rates are rising, yet still many schools have just one or two classes available for the new joiners, as they did 40+ years ago.

We started to think about schools when S was not quite a year old.  Crazy you may say but when you realise that we looked up details on our 3 local schools - one being about 200 yards away - and found two were under 'special measures' and one was oversubscribed by 2+ times the quota they took in, you'll realise why we became worried.  There was no way on earth we were sending our girls to a 'failing' school and it seemed the next best one we had little chance of even getting into as we are 1.3 miles away and their recent catchment area has been 0.3 of a mile.

So, we considered private schooling.  Something I always thought was just for the very rich.  It's not.  Yes, there are some very wealthy people there who probably don't bat an eyelid at the fees but then there are many people just like us who sacrifice other things to give our girls a good education and work hard to pay for it.  We aren't snobs. We aren't rich.  We don't have lots of money in the bank.  We just aren't prepared to offer our children a sub-standard education just because the school is close by. So, at 1 year old, we toured the school and put her name down.

To be honest, why should any school fail? Shouldn't they all have good, qualified teachers and meet Government standards?  You would think so wouldn't you. I'm not about to get into the political arguments here but I find it mind-boggling that the first four schools we are in catchment of, are all almost at the bottom of the Goverment league tables for this area.  Great huh?  No wonder people move house to get into the right school but what a palava to go through!

S has started her education at a lovely preparatory school for girls.  The class sizes are small, the teachers specialist in their subjects and the care excellent.  They all wear an identical school uniform even down to the shoes and rucksacks.  I think that is a marvellous idea. I like school uniform at any school.  It gives a sense of belonging and unity.

The idea was a simple one. To put S through the private schools in the area and once she had started full time, I would go back to work or build my business.  Then N came along.  A true blessing to us but, now the outlook is a little less certain.  One child in private school is do-able.  Two is going to be hard work and, effectively, all my income would simply pay the fees.  Daft?  Maybe, but what other options do we have?

To be honest, I would rather home-educate than send either of my youngest to the local school - yes, it's about 3rd from bottom for the whole of the County with less than 23% of children there meeting the Goverment targets for maths and English when they leave. What a dreadful claim to fame. I think every teacher and the head there should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

I also had no idea that when you choose a State school you need to be so careful about your preferences (a friend told me this).  I would have put the two good, oversubscribed schools at the top and then one further away as 3rd choice.  Bugger going down to 6 choices!  Anyway, it seems that if we didn't get top choice, then the 2nd choice would look and say "oh, we're only 2nd choice for these people so we'll take all our 1st choice people first and if there are any spaces, we'll take the 2nd choice, then 3rd, etc".  However, if you don't get in to either, the 3rd choice school would say "we'll take 1st choice, then 2nd choice and, if any spaces are left over, we'll take 3rd choice".  It would be easier to play Russian roulette for a place at the school!  What an awful system!

So, for now, private education is our only choice. If we get our girls into one of the good schools, we will consider moving them but at the moment that just isn't an option.

Monday, 4 June 2012

No need to cut out yummy things

I am pleased to say that, in the first two weeks of following a points type diet, I've lost 7lb!  Hooray!

I say 'points type' because I am not signed up to WW or any similar programme, but found a freebie App which does pretty much the same thing :) The one I have chosen to use is the Ultimate Weight Watcher Diary on Android Market, along with a Barcode Scanner you install separately.  Definitely worthwhile.  The App is primarily American but it has a huge amount of UK food outlets, restaurants and products on it already and you can add any that it does not.

In my view, WW not having an App for Android is a massive fail on their part as I nearly joined up but fortunately noticed that huge error in their offering. Of course, the big plus is I don't have to pay a monthly fee for...what?...the priviledge of being on a diet!.  Win-win for me as I see it :) 

The best thing I have bought other than the scales to actually weigh myself (far more accurate than the Wii Fit board!), is the little Salter Diet Scales.  These have 5g increments so it's easy to weigh food for a diet.  It's also been a real eye opener for me.

I thought I ate good food - which I do - but the problem which was highlighted when I bought the scales, was the size of the portions I was eating.

I'm not an obsessive food weigher but it has been a shock to see just how much mashed potato is considered a 'portion'.  I must have eaten about 10x that correct amount at any one meal!  As for my cereal, I had at least 2x the amount, 2 x the amount of rice and was amazed to see just how many points were in a sandwich which I had considered  to be a relatively healthy lunch.

The thing I like about this style of diet is that nothing is out of bounds - I've eaten chips, curry, pasta, cheese, Sugar Puffs, ice cream, etc. It's just that now I eat smaller portions or have a banana as a snack rather than a chocolate digestive.

I do miss scoffing a bag of crisps in the evening but if I really want one and I've used up my daily points, I can use a few of my weekly additional allowance to have one so it's not out of bounds.  However, I do think twice about what I am eating and don't just eat for the sake of it.  I can also build up exercise points to give me additional eating allowance for a day.  Trust me, geocaching for a few hours with the family is a great way to build points up even walking at a slow pace :)

Yes, the first week I was bloody hungry. I almost caved in a few times but it was just coming to an understanding about all the extra bits I was 'nibbling' that helped me get over the hunger.  This is the 1st day of week 3 and I'm already in the swing of things happily and not really missing anything.

I will keep you posted as to how I get along over the next few weeks, but so far, so good, as they say :)

Saturday, 2 June 2012

I never knew that was there

Today we set off to do part of a ring of caches around RHS Wisley.  We had done a little of this before but have to take it in stages as S is walking with us and can get a bit tired.

We parked up at the RHS car park (right at the back out of the way) and wandered aimlessly about a bit looking for a footpath to get to the first of the More Common caches that we were after.  Finally, it was spotted but we had N in the 3-wheel pushchair and a large, 7' narrow, metal kissing gate to negotiate first.  Oh dear, would it be a total decamp of N and a collapse of the pushchair?  Fortunately hubby gave the gate a bit of a shove and found it opened up completely!  Brilliant.  Just wide enough to get N through with a bit of jiggling of the wheels.  Off we trotted, having picked up the first cache at the gate itself.
We crossed over part of the walk around Wisley Gardens themselves and headed to the back of the golf course which became a little precarious, full of annoying flies and very long stinging nettles.  The river to the side of us was nice to look at but the flies around it were driving us mad.  I put the rain cover over the pushchair, much to N's protests, and pushed through as she does like to hang her arms out each side and touch everything!  A few more caches and another gate and we were out of there and into open fields. Phew.

There were poppies growing here and there in the fields but in this particular one, there seemed to be just this one, lone poppy.  S thought it was very pretty and wanted to pick it but we told her to leave it there for other people to see and for the bees.  She seemed satisfied with that :)

We headed off to the next cache and some ponies came along to see what geocachers looked like.  They seemed fascinated as we walked past.  Clearly we were more interesting than the ramblers who had marched past us as we were strolling along :)  Around the corner were some bee hives (glad we left the poppy alone then ;-) ).  This gave S the chance to tell us all what she knew about bees - very cute explanation.
A few more caches in hand and we realised we needed to cross a roundabout at the bottom of the A3 by Ripley in order to carry on to part of the airfield we hadn't done before. Not a nice place to cross but a quick jog with N in the pushchair and hubby carried S and we were safe and sound off down a pathway again.  Another one of those places you just don't realise exist.

N was starting to shout a bit at this point so we stopped and had a little picnic. Well earned I felt it was too!

Off we trotted again but N really didn't want to go back into her pushchair despite the fact that I knew she was very tired as she'd not had a sleep this morning either.  I wedged her in (yes, I did have to try and straighten out the ironing board that babies become when they have a paddy) and off we went, now with her screaming ringing in our ears. Not exactly relaxing.  She continued this for a full 11 minutes, all the while twisting around in her pushchair and a couple of times it looked like she was almost strangling herself with the harness. Talk about tantrum!  As we left the airfield, we headed back towards the A3, hoping dearly that there was a bridge across the road as RHS was just the other side of it now.  If not, we had one long walk to do!
Hooray!  Bridge ahoy!  Another one of those things you just don't notice when you're driving along.  Off we went over it picking up this lovely bolt cache on the way.  N's tantrum was completely drowned out by the noise of the A3 and I was relieved as well as my phone battery was about to die. Note to self - buy a spare and keep it charged.  As we exited the bridge, N fell asleep. Typical! We were now about 5 minutes walk up the car park at RHS to our car.  Oh well, at least it was a peaceful walk and the flowers that appeared to be growing wild were amazing.

This was a 3 hour walk (and brief stop) for us which I am very proud to say that S walked all of.  Not bad for someone of 3 1/2 :)

N is now asleep upstairs and peace reigns again in our household.

I think tomorrow we may go back and do the final few caches of this circuit :)