August 2012


Bags were packed and off we went exploring.

Little Boots took the map and led the way.

We went along a route we have taken before, so it wasn’t in that sense exploring. But things always change and move in the countryside, so that there are always discoveries to me made.

We saw a pair of big birds. “Kites” said the team leader, rather dismissive of a daily sight. I was not convinced – the wings looked wrong – scruffy somehow. Out came the binoculars. “Buzzards” we decided after I had made an explanatory sketch to illustrate the difference in tail feathers.

Recent hedgework had revealed a trig point. We matched it with its symbol on the map as I explained its purpose.

Close by we stumbled upon a Geochache, but it only contained a logbook and so we quickly moved on.

Map in hand Little Boots briskly made for the woodland path, “I know where we can eat our food!”

But the fallen tree that we had used as a meal-table before had been cleared away. After some searching we found a substitute and broke out the provisions. With them was some plaster of paris, but we’d found no decent tracks to cast. Little Boots wasn’t too bothered, but I was a bit miffed, it, and the water required, was a lot of weight I could have left at home.

We’d not long set off again when we heard a tapping noise. Standing stock-still at first we slowly began to turn around to locate the source of the noise. “Woodpecker,” mouthed LB. I wasn’t so sure. Then we saw it, about ten feet up an oak tree, five yards away. A nuthatch belting what looked like a hazel nut against the bark. We watched its pale slate-blue back for some minutes as it hammered away, then a noise deeper in the wood spooked it and it was gone.

“That was amazing”, I said as we continued our ramble.

“Better than squirrels”, declared the map reader. “Squirrels are rubbish.”

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What does love look like?

It looks like this.

Instead of sitting, full of cold, on the sofa watching cheesy old films, I spent a recent Saturday making this Mandeville headpiece.

Little Boots was hell-bent on having suitable fancy dress for an Olympic party. ‘It’ll only take an hour or so’ I told myself as I acquiesced to the design brief.

It was more like six hours and although a reasonable amount of that was spent waiting for glue to dry (or at least ‘grab’ properly), and the process was no-doubt extended by cold-fuddled synapses,  I was so very glad to finish it.

Tho’ not as glad as Little Boots – ‘It’s awesome!

And that of course made it all worthwhile for me, although a share of the chocolates that made up first prize would have been nice.

Time rattles on ever faster.

Little Boots’ birthday is in a couple of weeks, but the last one seems such a short while ago.

The present list consisted entirely of branded plastic tat and electronarcotica.

To this I added a short  fishing rod and reel, that wasn’t really understood at the time but has since proved its worth.

There was another small gift that I’d forgotten was a birthday present until I saw this blog post last week. A Swiss Army knife.

Some might say that it wasn’t a very appropriate present for a seven year old, certainly the OH thought so, but at bedtime the question “What’s your favourite present?” was answered with “My knife”.

Of course I’m not that stupid to let the munchkin loose with the thing unsupervised. Whilst potentially dangerous it is only a tool, and it’s important that children are taught to use tools correctly, safely and responsibly. So it stays stored in a drawer and is only allowed out for fishing trips and exploring expeditions.

It undoubtedly adds a degree of ‘grown-upness’ and confidence to these events simply by being carried around in a pocket, but even more so when, as has happened a number of times, it proves itself invaluable.

(Thanks to VHD for use of the image)