Tag: Country life

A Country Kid’s Post: Autumn Fun in the Garden

Our garden is carpeted in leaves.  We had absolutely lovely sunshine weather a few days ago, the kind that’s best spent outside, so T and I decided to hunt for a rake and do a little bit of tidying up in our lawn.

We couldn’t find one, what my husband found instead was his nan’s old small garden pea-rake.  “Yep, that will do!” I said to him as I grabbed it and handed it to little T who seemed really excited about it.  I promised that she could jump up and down in leafy piles after.

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Hard at work with her great-grandmother’s small pea-rake.

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And once she had a good pile of raked-leaves, she decided that it was a great burial ground for her baby.

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 I warned her though that children’s services would take the her baby away if they found out. That stopped her. She took Ella away from the pile and started raking again, till she had a good amount of leaves to jump in.

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Don’t you just love watching them have fun in even the simplest ways?

I do.

PS

My husband is right.  We do need a leaf-vac.

A Country Kid’s Post: Bike Lights Carnage

The first time we’ve heard of the Bike Lights Festival at Wadebridge was last year, when we T came home with one of her school’s newsletter asking if any of the kids would want to participate.  I don’t know why, but we didn’t go that year.  My husband and I don’t even remember what we did, or why we didn’t go.  The ones who went said that it was fun, but most of them also mentioned that it was “carnage”.  We didn’t put much meaning to that word, until we experienced it ourselves.

Since the historian had a back-to-back lecture in Exeter that day, one of my mum friends picked T and I up.  It was also her first time, but she repeated what the others said and also used the word “carnage”.

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We arrived early.  There were already tents around, some were selling food, and thankfully, the kids found one that caught their eye.

It was a tent that had bikes which powered a bubble machine, a blender and a home-made-spinning-paint-maker (not sure what they called it), which made absolutely stunning designs/ work of art.

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The kids had fun waiting for their turns to make their masterpieces, which they took home at the end of the parade.

Thankfully the historian arrived before the start.  As you can see from the photos below, I just strung T’s old fairy lights from her room to her scooter.  We weren’t really sure if we were going since it was raining the whole morning and my friend and I both agreed that if it didn’t stop, we wouldn’t go.  I’m glad I decided that it was still worth wounding up her Tinker Bell lights on her scooter.

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There they are, posing before the beginning of the parade.  I don’t know why they call it a parade when it wasn’t a parade at all.  It felt more like a race!  Now I know why the called it “carnage”.  It was sheer utter madness once the “parade” started.  All hell broke loose.  Imagine kids ages 5 and upwards in bikes and scooters, zooming past you.

Sorry for the blurry photos since I only used my phone to take some shots.  Besides, even if I brought my Canon, I doubt if I’ll be able to take any decent photos since most of the time, I was actually running!  At one point, I actually thought that I was going to have a heart-attack.  Yes, that’s how unexercised I am, and how manic it was.  I’m glad my husband was there and managed to keep up with T as she zoomed past everyone in her scooter.

It wasn’t just carnage, it was mayhem!  Children in steroids.  That’s what happens when you give kids the go-signal to scoot/bike the streets of Wadebridge.

Jogging along, I passed a pub with everyone outside watching the parade of madness before them.  For a second, I was tempted to run inside and wait for them with a pint in hand and send them a text saying “In the pub.  Wait for you here”.

But I ran along, heart pounding, past the dad with two of his daughters, the other one riding way ahead of him, while he hung on to his other child.  Another mum from T’s school passed as I stopped to catch my breath, all I could hear was her shouting his name to slow down.  She sprinted ahead, I think Mo Farrah would have been impressed!

Then came another Dad trying to stay calm, but you could hear the panic in his voice as the gap between him and his son grew bigger and bigger.

There were funny moments too, like E who somehow let go of her scooter and it came whizzing ahead of her.  They were on a slope and one of the mums said she heard a man who was way down ahead of them say, with open arms “Don’t worry sweetie, I’ll catch it for you”.

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It was a beautiful night.  The moon was out and it wasn’t really cold, although that might also be because we were busy running.  By the time the parade ended, we were all holding our coats in her hands and actually sweating!

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After the parade, there was a show where everyone’s creations was paraded around a small arena.  T along with her friends went up to queue.  When the host ask one of her friends her name, she balked and didn’t want to go in, so he turned to T who gamely gave her name as she scooted around in front of the crowd with her other daring friend E (the one who lost her scooter).

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It was a lovely fun event in spite the mayhem.  This year’s theme was “machines” and we were really impressed with other people’s creations.  One man came in a bathtub made of paper, sculpted around his bike.  T’s teacher, who represented their school came in what looked like a train with a built-in projector showing some animation (see blurry photo above although it doesn’t give it justice).  Others were as spectacular, too bad I wasn’t able to take more photos, since I was busy running, panting and trying not to embarrass my daughter by passing out in the streets.

Are we doing this again next year?  T gave us a resounding yes!  As for me?  I might just be in that pub cheering them from the sidelines with a pint of beer.

A Country Kid’s Post: A Lovely Summer Walk

After constantly moaning about the weather last week, we thankfully had glorious weather over the weekend.  And last Sunday was one of those lovely days where the sun was out and it was nice and warm(ish), a perfect day for a walk through farmlands.

We are lucky our lovely neighbours own about 500 acres of land surrounding our house and has kindly told us that we ca roam it freely.  They even gave us a map!  And since it was a lovely day, we decided that it’s about time we did some exploring with the dogs.

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We also decided that it was best to put the dogs in their leash, we knew there were cows, but weren’t sure if there were sheep too.  We were also dog-sitting our friends’ dog Wilbur, who also happens to be Doc’s best-friend.

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And there’s little T leading the walk …

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Little T decides to stop and admire the view.

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As you can see, we don’t live far from the coast, although of course not as near as where we used to live.  But I love our house and I’m okay with seeing the sea in the horizon.  On a clear day, you can even spot it from our back garden too.

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With the map in hand, we just walked on and on and on.

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Passed the cows who looked at our little group suspiciously.  Couldn’t resist taking some photos of wild flowers by the path.

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Now if only we had more days like these, summers in England would just be heavenly.  After awhile T announced that she was getting tired and the dogs seemed thirsty, so we decided to head back home.

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And what better way to end a beautiful day out in the sun, by dining al fresco in our garden of course.

Yesterday though and today, all that is forgotten, as we are once again cloaked in grey and rain.

Did you have a lovely weekend too?

Do share.

March Chat with a Mum: Fiona of Coombe Mill

If you are a UK Parent Blogger, chances are you’ve already heard of Fiona of Coombe Mill. Apart from running the lovely must-visit self-catering cottages specifically made for families in Cornwall, she also writes about country living in her blog and hosts the famous #countrykids linky which I’m a follower of.  Grab a cup of tea or coffee you lovely folks, and get to know the lovely woman behind Coombe Mill:

Tell us something about yourself and your children (age & sex)

Hi I’m Fiona, married to Nick, or Farmer Nick as all the children here on holiday call him. I’m a full time Mum to our 6 children, working full time at our holiday business and squeezing a little blogging and social media into my spare time, that’s a lot of full time jobs in one but thankfully I thrive on very little sleep. My children are all coming up to birthdays but are currently 17, 15, 13 and 11, the 11 being my triplets. Only the youngest (by minutes) is a girl so she and I are rather outnumbered in our household.

Family Team from Daily Mail

What were your children’s birth stories like?

I can sum my birth stories up as long, boring and conventional right up to the triplets. Each was 48 hours of hell as far as I’m concerned but reading the stories of others I know I was actually very lucky and felt right as rein straight after giving birth. I even took the older children to a 2 year olds birthday party in the afternoon after giving birth to my 3rd in the morning, so yes I was lucky. The triplets on the other hand were a pain free c section; though I still remember lying there watching the reflection in the rim of the ceiling mirror and seeing a distorted view of what was happening inside me the other side of the curtain! I was kept in with them for 3 weeks as they were born at 33 weeks and only tiny. It was only when I came home and had to instantly be on hand for the older children and the business I realised what a rest hospital was! Poor Farmer Nick had been amazing back home on his own with the other 3 children and the business in that time and having to furnish our first Scandinavian lodge alone; it still has a very minimalistic male touch to it! As for the next 2 years with 6 children under 6 and the business, I have only limited memory; survival of each day was my only goal!

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KF2-2002

What you wish you knew about being a mother before becoming one?

Oh everything! I didn’t even know how to change a nappy, I was as clueless as anyone could be and I wish I had put my first down more, sterilized everything less, and accepted every offer of help I turned down. I wised up with subsequent children. I think the triplets almost brought themselves up and I never sterilized a thing, they were my most healthy babies!

How do you manage your “me” time?

I’m addicted to fresh air and exercise. I can’t manage as much as a day indoors. I sneak an hour mid day most days to go for a run, cycle or swim or surf, often with a friend or with one of my teens if it’s after school or just on my own to think. It is one of the biggest benefits of working from home, having the freedom to take a break when I feel I need one. When the children were tiny I’d wheel the pram round my running route.

Do you have any favorite anecdote of your children?

Oh plenty, but I think the thing I find most amusing and annoying is never knowing ‘who did it’. Whatever the misdemeanor it is always “I didn’t do it” I” I saw ….” I”I wasn’t there” finding out who broke something or ate something I was saving etc is impossible, they cover for each other no matter what and Nick and I don’t stand a chance. I think it is probably a big family thing.

What is it about motherhood you absolutely love about?

I cherish the sense of belonging to a big family and of loving and being loved. The family bond is so very important to me.

On the other hand, if there is anything about motherhood you dislike about what would it be?

My biggest dislike is the 11 – 13 age when the children go through puberty, the mood swings and aggression is tough and for a while I feel I’m losing them, I now know it is a phase and to just love them and give them the space they need and they come back to you, the things they say along this journey can be hurtful but they don’t mean it. Fear not if you’ve not yet reached this stage, they don’t all go through it in such an obvious way but at least half of mine have and the triplets are right in it now. Like the terrible twos, there are of course lovely days too at this stage, it is just an emotional roller coaster.

What’s a typical day like for you and your kids?

Our days change throughout the year with the changing needs of the business, all the kids have jobs around the farm on different days though it is fair to say they do enjoy time off in the holidays except our busy Saturday changeover when they are all needed.

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KF2-2002

Best advice you’ve ever received about motherhood/parenthood?

Be consistent, make rules you can stick to and follow them through.

If you could give yourself advice about motherhood before becoming one, what would it be?

Use your intuition, do what feels right, take advice from others but don’t feel bound to anyone else’s word, every child and parent are different and there is no one rule that fits all; do what works for you and your child.

How do you manage your time, blogging/workwise and time with your family and other activities as well?

The age old work life balance! We have family time over dinner every night, meals often take an hour now as with teenagers there is plenty of humour, banter and debates that take place around our dining table, and this is our daily family catch up time. In summer family trips out are much harder as changeover and business needs take over, however we try for a family outing on a Sunday between the animal feeding and even train rides then in the winter close down period we value our weekends together. My blogging time is either mid week while the kids are at school and the guests out for the day or late in the evening as I’m a bit of a night owl.

Thank you so much Fiona!  

And if you’re planning to visit North Cornwall over the Easter break and looking for a place to stay with your family, why not stay at Coombe Mill?  It’s nothing like your usual holiday self-catering cottages – it’s a working farm and Fiona and her lovely family have fun  activities planned for your little ones that will surely make your holiday even more special. 

Click here to visit Fiona’s blog and if you haven’t read last month’s chat with a Dad, do have a read here

Cuddle Fairy

Us by the Sea in Photos

The weather is lovely today.

Come and have a walk with Doc and I.

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Last time we took you along the coast, this time we’ll take you around another path.

Don’t worry, you will love it too.

Now let’s start our walk by the church.

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But before we go through that gate, let’s stop and see if we can find some flowers.

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Ah, there they are.

Lovely crocuses, aren’t they?

I love its purple colour, looking so vibrant among all that green.

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Now let’s go through that gate and step into the graveyard.

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Lovely blue sky, the bluest of blue.  Now if only the sky stayed that way, all would be lovely.

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Little T loves it here.  She likes to wander around and inspect the different graves and likes to have a little poke around.

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And through that gate, you’ll see the ocean.

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And the wild expanse of headland which Doc loves.

Now you see why we call it doggie heaven.

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And there’s the coast-guard’s hut, its white building against a shade of blue and brown.

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See that bit of rock, I like to sit there and watch the sea when it’s calm like today, or even when it’s raging as if in torment, although the wind can be rough, sometimes it scares me, and I wonder if I’ll get blown away.

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My first sighting of tourists, you always see them up there, especially in a lovely day like this one.

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You’re lucky it’s low-tide and you can see the blow-hole in all its glory.  When the sea is mad, you can see the waves thrashing against the rocks and making a loud bellowing noise in and out that hole, like a dragon puffing out steam.

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And there’s our little village nestled against the valley.

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On this side, you can see the 15th century harbour wall, during peak season, you’ll see the tourists enjoying the sun in all its glory.

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I’ve never seen that small truck in the water before, I’m not sure what it’s doing there.

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The trees are slowly beginning to show some leaves.

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Little T’s school is somewhere there.

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And now we’ve come full circle.

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And Doc is waiting for us by the church.

But before we end this walk, I have one more beautiful sight to show you.

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Yes, the snowdrops are here.

Does it really mean that spring has sprung?

What do you think?

The Week That Was

Yes, I know the week isn’t over yet, but somehow, when you’re a mother of a young child, the week ends on a Friday, at least for me.  As for the weekend I feel it belongs to another time, if that makes any sense?

For our little family of three, well make that four, if you count Doc, and five if we also include our missing cat, Boots, the week was a restful, albeit uneventful one.  We liked it that way, especially since T seemed to have been really worn-out after school and after her other activities as well.  If you have children of school age, are they same?  Are they also exhausted by the end of the week?

Today, (before half-term ends) we are going on a short trip to visit my in-laws who live in Woburn Sands in Bedfordshire.  The husband has a meeting on Monday.  T’s school has an inset day on that day, so we thought of taking this opportunity to visit the in-laws, and most importantly have that very much needed retail therapy!

When you live in the country, every now and then you yearn for the chaos of city-living.  The shops, the crowds, the amenities and even the noise.   The very same reasons why you fled the madness of urban living and opted for rural life in stead.

Not that Milton Keynes is even a city, though it is massive in size and probably has all the amenities a city has to offer, except for a cathedral, hence it’s status as a “non-city”.  I am so looking forward to mooching around the long MK mall, going from one shop to another.  We’ll probably end up in toy shops mostly or book shops, but that’s fine by me.  Then it will be time to go back to the country, T has school the next day.

What about you?

If your kids are of school age, what have you been up to this half term break?

For those who don’t have children, do you prefer country-life or city-living?

The Reading Residence

A Walk in February with Doc

Doc says:

Come and walk with me.

I’ll show you where we go.

But first, you will have to wear your wellies.

Yes, it is very muddy.

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Told you so.

Now we go through that gate

and as soon as we’re in, you can take me off my leash.

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Oh sorry, I didn’t mean to leave you.

I must have a little play with my stick first.

Do and have a look around, enjoy the view.

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Where are we going?

Through there, yes I know there’s a gate.

But that’s not for us, they’re for the cows.

Oh don’t worry,

the cows aren’t here.

They are way up in the headland.

Just wait and see.

Now c’mon, I’m sure you’ll fit through the side of the gate.

You’re slimmer than my human’s mum, you’ll fit.  

But shhh, please don’t tell her I told you that.

C’mon.

The view down there is so worth the squeeze!

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See, I told you so!

We can even move closer ….

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See those waves crashing into the rocks?

Don’t they just look magnificent?

C’mon, closer now …

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Lovely, aren’t they?

Now enough of that, let’s move along!

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It’s not that high, don’t you worry.

Move along!

I see you’re like T’s human, always stoping to take a photo.

Oh alright then.

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Why do you have stop to take a photo of those flowers?

It’s called gorse, in case you don’t know.

C’mon, the view is way better up there!

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Once again, I told you so!

Let’s move along, and see if the cows are up in the headland.

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What’s wrong?  

Why have you stopped?

Oh the lock is jammed?

Just jiggle it like my human’s mum does, it usually works.

No?

Climb over then!

My human’s mum does it all the time!

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C’mon the view is lovely up here too.

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I always deliver, don’t I?

Yes, it’s beautiful up here isn’t it?

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And that’s my little human’s favourite bench.

She likes to come up here and sit there while I forage around 

and her mum takes photos.

Speaking of my human, 

it’s time to go!

She’ll be done with school by now now, it’s past three!

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Why are you stopping?

I must be home before she arrives, or else she’ll wonder where I am!

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Okay, I’m off.

See you around!

Thanks for coming along with me.

You won’t get lost …

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As son as you see the church tower,

turn right and go through the gate,

across the field,

and you’ll be back from where we started.

See yah, bye!

Woof!

Doc says thank you for coming along with him on his walk.  Those photos were taken last week when we had a brief interlude of lovely blue skies, before we were engulfed in grey, the rain and gales.  Hope everyone is having a lovely Tuesday.

ANIMALTALES

What’s the weather like in your end of the world or the UK?

An Idyllic Life: Village School Activities

Ever time we have friends over for a visit and they see little T’s school, they always comment on what an idyllic life she has, growing up in our little village by the sea, where everywhere you look is beautiful.

Little T goes to a small village school with a population of probably about sixty children.  Yes, it is that small.  Their school activities include days spent on the beach, exploring around our little village and their latest, doing a nature-inspired dance routine in a meadow, down in the village.

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T’s class getting ready for their performance.

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We were so proud when we learned that little T actually volunteered to read in front of everyone during the activity.  And she did it brilliantly!  In fact, when her friend stalled and couldn’t read a word, T helped her out by whispering it to her friend.  This little gesture warmed my heart.

Moments like these make me really proud as a parent, more than a perfect score in spelling or maths.  Being kind and helpful is more valuable than perfect scores.

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And there’s my little munchkin eating her picnic lunch with her friends.  This was actually only part one of their activity.

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The second part was held at the beach in Port Isaac, another lovely seaside village, now made famous by Doc Martin (a television program featuring a grumpy doctor played by Martin Clune).  I love that show, though don’t be fooled.  In the episodes, it is always sunny.  In reality, you’ll be lucky if you get a sunny day, especially if you visit after the summer holidays.   But we were lucky that day, the weather was just perfect!

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And at the end of their activity, they were given little bottles to fill up with sand, a little memento  from their day’s activity.

The parents went home proud of their little ones performance, the teachers were also beaming.  They knew they did a great job and we certainly agreed with them.

What about you?

What’s your children’s school like?

Or

Would you like to live in a place like this?

“MumofThree

Off the Leash: An Autumn Walk with Doc

Our little village by the sea is quietening down.  Tourist season is over, although when the weather is fine like last week, you’ll still see a few of them roaming around the headland.  But there is no doubt, summer has indeed faded into oblivion.  Hello autumn!

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The closing of the tourist season is good news for our over-excitable, over-eager not-so-little bundle of fur and neurosis doggie called Doc.  This means he can finally go off-leash again after the few unhappy incidents we’ve had since getting him from the kennel a month ago.

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And now he’s free to roam the headland again, sniffing, running around like a loony, finding the most disgusting smell he can find and rolling on it.

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He is at his happiest when set free to run like the wind!  And since the stitches are now mostly empty, I can let him off leash without worrying that he might jump on poor unsuspecting tourists.  Doc is free.

As I am too and happy to snap away at the evidence all around me that summer has definitely packed its bags and left us with its remains of wild flowers that used to stand so proud with its vibrant colours now looking withered and sad.

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Where has the brightness gone?

And we’re left instead with every shade of grey and brown.

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But autumn can be pretty too with its leaves turning golden before the winter days set it in.

For now though, Doc is happy to hear the sound of autumn leaves squelching under his paws.  As for me, I’m just glad that he is happy too.

What do you love about autumn/fall?

ANIMALTALES

A Village Duck Race

Every year little T’s village school holds a Duck Race and Talent Show as a fundraising event for their school. We’ve been going to this event long before T was born and finally this year, we came as a parent.

There were different tents, and little games children could partake in, as well as for adults, and of course food stalls and even a bouncy castle. The day started really grey and drizzly, thankfully though, by the time the talent show which children from their school participated in, was about to begin, it stopped raining.

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T’s reception class (and a few kids from the older kids) opened the show with a little dance routine they call “Wake up, Shake up” which they usually do to start the day.  Was really pleased with T, she danced without even looking nervous at all.  I think she enjoyed all the attention!

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And here’s little T and one of her close-friends’ M watching the older kids perform.  Some were brave and danced alone, some sang alone, most though had a friend or two to perform with.

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After the “cello babies” performed (a group of young kids from T’s school), we came up to the cello teacher and introduced little T to her.  She was really nice and gave T an impromptu lesson.  The teacher also wanted her to try out the smallest cello, we were worried that it might be too big for her, but as you can see from the photo above, it was just right!

And then it was 3pm, time for the main event – The Duck Race!

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People were already sitting by the side of the river, ready to watch colourful plastic ducks race down the river.

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Before long, hundreds of them were released.  As I’ve mentioned, we’ve been attending this event for years now but have never won, for a while, we wondered if this might just be our lucky one.  And as always, our duck didn’t win.

The Duck Race was a big success, as reported by the newsletter we received yesterday.  We managed to raise two thousand plus pounds!  Not bad for a small village school eh?

Have you ever attended a duck race?