Day 047 – Thistledown camping day 1…

Our annual pilgrimage to our favourite camp site – Thistledown, at Nympsfield, which is near Stroud, which is 25 minutes drive from Gloucester. Anyway, a very nice and seni-eco site, with camp fires, composting toilets etc, positioned overlooking hills and forests, adjacent to the National Trust Woodchester estate.

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Day 002…

Wild Garlic flowers and a swan at Stratford Park, in Stroud. It rained all day but we went out with the waterproofs on and had a great time. The smell of garlic filled the air and it also made great soup that evening : )

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Stratford Park abstracts…

A great day out at Stratford Park with the boys. Clear and bright with an autumn nip in the air – lots of good direct sunshine with shadows everywhere! The leaves are starting to turn and fall from the trees and my favourite time of the year : )


Laura Fok jewellery…

We’ve just got back from a visit to Stratford Park, Stroud and we had a quick look around the gallery’s latest exhibition – Laura Fok’s jewellery – ‘Cloud Nylon’.

Her website is here

Incredible creations and I really want to go back and have a closer look. Her attention to detail is amazing and some very nice ideas in there, particularly the nylon/plastic materials and the suspended approach.


Protected: Stratford Park sunshine…

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New(ish) bunk bed…

So, the boys have a new bunk bed and we’ve swapped the beds and rooms around (again)!

They were so excited when we built it for them (with help from a friend) and it took them ages to go to sleep! Claire had found the Ikea bunk bed on Ebay for only £12.50(!!) with the original new price at £120. It was being offered just up the road in Stroud, so I went over there to pick it up.

The guy in Stroud was very helpful and it seemed his family had been going through similar things as us – swapping rooms and giving over the main ‘master’ bedroom to their two children! It’s a logical approach given that the kids can use the space as a play room as well as bedroom.

So anyway, very exciting and jamie is on the top and Jac on the bottom. This all coincides with night weaning Jac, which is the process of Claire finally stopping breast feeding him at night. He’s had a lot of good milk from Claire for two years and has had the best start in life because of it. I’m proud of Claire for giving him so much love and energy. The new bed was basically the transition point for the process and seems to have helped it along.

There have been numerous hard points along the 4 or 5 days, but it seems to have been easier than it was with Jamie and we’re are both more determined and confident this time. So far, I have actually been able to get Jac to sleep myself twice, which I could not have hoped to have done while he was still on the boob. It’s a real achievement and i’ve been using the same technique that I used with Jamie, when I first started to get him to sleep without Claire. In short, it involves stroking his head slowly and humming a repetitive tune to him, while lying next to him.

If anyone out there is after an idea to help them (but mainly for my own record), the tune is from the film Jaws (wait for it!) which is sung by the fisherman – farewell and adieu you fair Spanish ladies. It seems to have enough variation in it but without being too exciting. It’s a legendary film and that scene has always stayed with me.


Stratford Park…

We drove over to Stroud the other day for a cold, but nice couple of hours.

Stroud have got a great park, with lots of different areas, including some mature landscaped grounds, playground, museum and woodland!


Stratford Park, Stroud…

A day out in Stroud, first looking at someone’s insulated render system (part of the Stroud Open Homes weekend) and finally to Stratford Park.

Interesting to talk to a guy called Nick about their render. They now don’t need to use their central heating because it’s that good. They use a wood burner for the primary heat. I’m sure I know the guy from somewhere as well, just can’t place him!

Here’s the link to Nick’s project:

The first house we went to, the guy there had opted for internal insulation, which we’ve done upstairs, as the quotes he had back were too much.

Anyway, the park there is amazing, combining duck pond & fishing, museum, bandstand, playground, woodland walks and leisure centre complex.

Amazing cedar trees alert!


Growing up boys…

Recently, i’ve noticed a few things about the boys which have made me think that they’re growing up faster each day. Sometimes there are periods where things just move along, with quite subtle changes, but then there are things which stand out.

Last week I let Jac climb down the stairs by himself! We’ve been a bit nervous about this and he’s been able to do it for a while, but now I just let him climb down without holding his hand and staying 6 or 7 steps down from him. He holds the bannister and goes down facing out and half-stepping/half sitting to each step – he has had the tendency to want to jump down in the past – Jac the no-fear toddler!

He’s also really into 3 books – all picture encyclopedia type things. He loves just going through them and pointing out various objects etc and practicing his words. He can say some things like ‘tractor’ and ‘bike’ very clearly but some things, like lion, he still uses the sound – GGGRRRRRRR!

Jamie is also growing fast. He’s much more connected to everything and aware of what’s going on – gotta watch what we say now! The other day we were getting some bread from Sainsburys and he went to the toilet and was quite firm that he wanted to do it all by himself, so Jac and I stood outside the cibicle for 10 mins! 

He’s also just brushed his teeth by himself for the first time. He was quite careful about doing each side, top and bottom, then I just said i’ll finish it off.

Just went to Go Bananas in Stroud yesterday, as it was a wet and uninspiring kind of day. My dad’s, partner’s son (kind of the boys Uncle) was staying for a few days and we thought it would be a good activity. He really liked it and it was apparently the first time Jamie had tried the whole place out, rather than just playing in the ‘up to age 4’ area. He was sliding down all the slides, except the really steep red one, and loving climbing up through the various levels.

Jac was also going nuts in there and also trying everything out and wasn’t at all put off by the balls pools or the other kids running around. He wasn’t sure about the rope bridge things but he still went across with me.