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.