Saturday, 5 July 2014

holidays at home

The time is flying by, only last week I was bemoaning the start of the summer holiday and now 10 days have passed almost without us noticing. It is difficult to remember what day of the week it is without the structure of school. The weather was glorious until two days ago, when normal Scottish summer resumed, bringing showers, wind and sun, all at the same time. We spent a lot of time in the garden, mainly inflating and re-inflating the paddling pool (me) and splashing water (the offspring). There was also some loom banding and bubble blowing. It was a delightful few days and we very nearly believed that summer was going to be like this for the next 5 weeks.
 

When we were not frolicking in the garden, we explored nearby countryside and town: Friday last week we cycled around the island of Cumbrae. This tiny island is less than an hours drive from Glasgow, the ferry trip from Larggs to the island a mere 15 minutes. Perfect. Somehow, Richard managed to fit all 6 bikes onto our car! There is only two ways you can go when you get off the ferry on Cumbrae: left and right. We chose to cycle counter-clockwise and set off at a leisurely pace. Alistair's legs are very short and his bike is tiny, he had to push the pedals about 4 times for every one of my own pushes! There was no way Alistair could keep up with the other kids but he didn't mind. He was happy to pedal along slowly, stopping to observe a butterfly or two, or survey the sea for seals. The big ones were a bit like dogs on a walk, going ahead, coming back and off they were again. We had an early lunch right beside the sea and enjoyed ice cream in Millport before we cycled back to the ferry. It was an 18 km loop and I am really proud of my two little boys with their low tech no gear bikes.


We enjoyed some more outdoor time in Mugdock Country Park, which his very close to home. Picnics are a must and so is a walk to the castle and around the loch. We took a detour to have a look at the lily pond but didn't find any frogs. These we found on the shore of the loch. They were teeny tiny froglets. We also found a tree that was completely wrapped in caterpillar silk, a most fascinating find. The playground  at Mugdock it always a winner.


It is a family tradition to go to the local strawberry farm during the first week of the summer holidays. The farm is right next to Glasgow International Airport and if little boys get bored with harvesting, they can watch planes. This year is great for berries, much better than last year. We usually pick a bit of everything but decided to stick to strawberries and raspberries only this year. We still have plenty of gooseberry jam and blackcurrant jelly from last summer. The outing nearly didn't happen for there was so much bickering and arguing that I nearly cancelled the trip. Why is it that even simple things like getting in the car has to be argued about? We do have enough seats for all but a car outing chez nous is not much different from boarding an an Easy Jet plane without seat allocation. I had to sit on the front steps for a few minutes to regain composure. I was ill tempered for the rest of the day, which is a shame but there you go, I am only human. I did however enjoy cooking up a batch of strawberry jam in the afternoon. I also decided to make some dried strawberry flakes but not very successfully. I managed to scrape the off the baking paper, they look not very appetising but the flavour is divine. The raspberries we couldn't eat are in the freezer.
 

Yesterday it was raining and the thought of spending the day playing games and settling arguments didn't appeal. Instead we went to the Science Centre, using our free tickets (courtesy of Richard's employer). The teenager stayed at home, glued to the computer no doubt. The Science Centre was fun, and I really enjoyed it. There was one exhibit where you could move a small ball with your mind only. I am not sure how it worked but you had to wear a head band that seemingly measured your brainwaves. Maybe it is just setup but it was fun. The sight of Alistair concentrating on moving the ball was priceless. We also went to see a show about fire. The kids loved the act in which methane gas trapped in soap bubbles was set alight on a volunteers hand. The presenter called the methane "collected cow's farts" and of course we were in stitches.


We made use of the Council's sports activities for kids and spent a short while at the local leisure centre every day. Sam likes to swim and the other three went trampolining. I sat on my backside knitting and listening to an audiobook. Bliss.

All in all, a successful first 10 days of the holidays. Simple pleasures.

We have no outings planned next week but we'll be out and about I am sure. We haven't been to Nardini's on Byres Rd for our summer ice cream bonanza. You'll find no better ice cream in Glasgow. We also need to go to the library to choose books for our holiday in Cornwall. I suppose I'll need to pack as well. Most importantly, we are counting down the sleeps until James's 7th Birthday. I am not sure who is more exited, James or Annie. Annie is the event organiser, she has a little booklet with detailed plans for the actual day and the party (after the summer holidays), including a sketch of the gummi bear cake that James wants her to bake. We'll be leaving for Cornwall in the evening of James' Birthday and will continue to celebrate with his cousins when we arrive at the campsite.

I noticed that I have new followers. A very warm welcome to all of you, I am glad you found this space of mine. I love to read your comments and l love to visit your own blogs, too. Have a lovely weekend.



43 comments:

  1. Sounds like you have been keeping very busy! Lovely photo's too. I know what you mean about days slipping past so quickly, the summer hol's have a rhythm all of their own x

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    1. I like to keep busy because it prevents some of the bickering that is precipitated by spending more time together than usual...

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  2. Love, love the look and sound of your holidays. Ours start tomorrow for 2 weeks and I can not wait! xo

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  3. Sounds like you're doing a great job, Christina. Well done for grabbing a bit of 'me time' with the knitting and audio book. I hope Cornwall's lovely and the weather is kind!
    Sarah x

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    1. I have been checking the weather forecast daily, one of the pre holiday rituals. I am just choosing a project to take along on holiday.

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  4. That sounds like a blissful start to the holidays. The stuff that memories are made of.

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    1. It has been a good few days but as always, the less blissful moments are edited out of my memory!

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  5. Christina, your family is gorgeous, your life sounds so beautiful. Hugs to you,
    Meredith

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    1. Thank you Meredith! Life has been kind to us so far (even though I don't always appreciate this). I am glad I have discovered your blog. x

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  6. I always love reading your posts, Christina. Please congratulate your husband for me on getting all six bikes on your vehicle. The picture of the loaded car is awe inspiring. When my five children were young we had designed seats in our van. It was a great stress reducer.

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    1. He'll add a roof box to that setup next week.... (but my bike is staying behind, I prefer walking). I might introduce designated seats in the car, a good idea, although some might consider themselves hard done by!

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  7. Berry Picking Yum, my most favourite thing to do with my children. And I totally get that bickering/arguing thing! Hope you get through the holidays... :) It looks like your having loads of fun so far.
    I spent some time in Scotland many, many moons ago, It's nice to meet you Cristina, I look forward to following your colorful adventures. Karen x

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    1. Good to see you here Karen! I would pick berries every day but our freezer is small and there is only so much jam and preserves we can eat. I tend to edit the not so fun parts out of my memory!

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  8. I admire how well you deal with 4 children, we had only one, but she frequently told me that I liked the cat better.
    I'm one of 3 and how we must have driven my Mom mad when we took trips, none of us got along. The Science Center sounds wonderful.

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    1. To be honest, I don't deal that well with my four, I just don't write about the tantrums and tears as much. And yes, the cat is often preferable! No talking back and a lot more independence. My lot always try to get me to choose favourites, which I refuse to do.

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  9. What an action packed 10 days you've had, you put me to shame! We used to have a science centre nearby which sounds similar and was very popular especially with my boys, sadly it lost it's premises and closed a couple of years ago. Their shows were brilliant, the boys particularly loved the exploding food and the yucky body one which included wee and bogeys!!
    I hope you have a great holiday in Cornwall, it must take you an age to get there.

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    1. Large parts of the days are spent in front of the telly or computer, tidying the debris of a large family and generally feeling grumpy. It just doesn't make for good memories and the photos of zombiefied children in front of the screen are not so nice either. It is just like with the garden posts, the not so glorious parts are edited out. :) It takes an overnight drive to Cornwall. Richard likes to drive and stops when he feels too tired. The rest of us sleep through it all.

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  10. I have to say after seeing these photos and hearing about her party plans that Annie sounds like a wonderful big sister. I really like the photo of her with them at the Science Center. The way she has her arms around them is very sweet. It sounds like you're having a very nice summer so far. I'm really glad to hear that.

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    1. Annie is a very dedicated big sister indeed (sometimes a bit overbearing). Yes, the summer so far has been good, which is a relief.

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  11. Man, you guys have been busy! Great colorful collages. All of those berries at one farm? Oh, I am jealous!

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    1. Keeping busy is a good way to keep the lid on simmering sibling rivalries.... I also don't talk much about the hours of tedium in between outings in this post, it would be very boring! If we had a big freezer I would spend half my husbands salary on the berry farm! There is also peas but they weren't ready yet.

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  12. Looks like you're having a great holiday so far. Our weather has changed too. Thunder storms today but not too bad.

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    1. I miss a good old thunderstorm! It never quite gets hot enough for one to build up. It is one of the pleasures of a hot summer I miss from Switzerland, sweltering heat followed by a cleansing thunderstorm.

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  13. What a great start to the holidays. So much fun, fun, fun. we went to the fruit farm this saturday too - the blackcurrants were just massive. Jo x

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    1. It is one of the best years for berries I think. The raspberries are enormous and the strawberries juicy and wonderful.

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  14. Sounds as though you have been having a great time already in your first 10 days of the holidays!!! I hope that you have lots more fun to come! xx

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  15. Raspberries, loombands, cow's farts - my kids would be in heaven in the company of your family. I am not sure why, but some of your blogposts don't show up on my reader. I have found this with a couple of other blogs I follow on bloglovin', so I have added myself to your GFC list now too so I don't miss out on more of your stories. Thanks for reading my post today, it's nice to know that someone else out there doesn't find "funny" cat videos funny, even though I do like animals - really I do! I must look into how to block such things from my wall :).

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    1. I find all blog readers I have tried unreliable. Not all the time but sometimes. You are more than welcome to join our family fun if you are ever nearby.

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  16. All this fun and only a couple of weeks ago you were worried about the start of the holidays! It all looks good fun, especially visiting an island. I love islands - I'm not sure if it's because there's the chance to explore all you can see before you or some wish to recreate all those books I read in childhood about island adventures.

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    1. Swallows and Amazons? I love islands, too. Small ones mostly because they are easily explored. It would be a shame though to be stuck on a tiny island...

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  17. I cannot believe 10 days have gone by already! That has gone quick. We still have ages for school to break up - boooo. My James is going to be 7 soon too, he is quite the grown up now. I do know what you mean about bickering. It will often happen with us and by the time you get to the place you are visiting, your mood is not the greatest and in can spoil everything! But you are right, we are only human! We've had a lot of bickering this weekend actually and I have been well and truly at the end of my tether. :)) I hope you have a great time this week. Sometimes, the weeks with no plans ends up being the best. :)

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    1. We'll be doing stuff to prepare for the holidays, going to the library, buy new wetsuits (if needed) etc. I am at the end of my tether most evenings and I loose my temper a lot... but if I write a blog post like this one it is easier to focus on the bright side.

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  18. Sounds like you're having a super holiday so far. I'm hoping to take the Rs berry picking later this week. Hope the birthday goes well and you enjoy Cornwall. x

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    1. James's Birthday is all under control. I think. Annie's control. Enjoy raspberry picking!

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  19. A lovely read, life with kids is always interesting. I love the Western Isles but have never been to the island of Cumbrae. Lots of memories been made.

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    1. Cumbrae is often overlooked because it is so small I think. I know about it because my husband spends a week each year there, working. Well worth a visit. I love Islay, Arran and Mull and would like to explore some other islands, too.

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  20. ***Mum of the year award goes to Christina***
    trying to put us all to shame or what! Your kids are lucky ducks….so many adventures. Those raspberries look AMAZING.
    Car bickering and me don't see eye to eye either, I banned the front seat for a week
    Liv x

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    1. Yes the front seat is the most argued over.... This post does not show any of the many boring moments in our life, hours spent in front of a screen for example, or just moping about! I am most definitely not super mum, just good at editing.. x

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  21. hello christina,
    what a lovely start for the holiday. beautiful photos from your happy kids. love picking fruits from the field.
    after a sunny sunday turned the weather cooler like a fall day.
    wish you wonderful days with your family,
    greetings from germany,
    regina

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    1. Willkommen, Regina! Unfortunately, the kids are not always happy.... but I try to capture the happy moments.

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  22. It looks like an amazing holiday so far, the stuff of memories. You really know how to squeeze every last drop of fun out of each day. x

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Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment, I love to hear from you, I really do. I sometimes reply by email but I am not all that reliable... Christina xx