This week we finally got a new car. We have been discussing it for a couple of years now but it’s been difficult because we felt that nothing would truly replace our old Toyota Previa.
She was almost 11 years old and was showing her age. If we could have, we would have just bought a newer one but they stopped making them in the UK 6 months after we bought ours.
We needed something big enough to carry 2 adults, 2 teens and 2 kids, plus two lab-sized dogs on occasion. We wanted sliding doors and a decent sized boot with all the seats in use. It had to be an automatic as we do a lot of town driving and we preferred a petrol engine. We also wanted a backing camera to help with parking. It was further complicated as DH didn’t want something that looked like a van.
In the end we settled for a Seat Alhambra. It’s okay. There isn’t quite as much room in it as there was in the Previa and we’ve had to have a diesel engine. The boot is pretty much non existent with all the seats up and you can’t take the spare seat out to create more room.
But the worst bit about getting a new car was saying goodbye to our old one. I felt like crying when DH drove it off to an appointment with We Buy Any Car dot com. And DS insisted on giving her a hug goodbye before he left for school. It’s the only car he has ever known.
He’s adjusting to the new one okay though. The automatic doors are helping, as is his integrated car seat. I like the dashboard that tells me the kids have put their seat belts on and I know the heated seats will come in handy next winter.
So we are coping but I do still feel guilty about the old car. That’s not normal, is it? I mean , it’s not like she was a member of the family or anything…
The girls had a petting zoo come to their guides group last week. I was on the rota as parent helper, so had to take the two smaller ones with me- what a shame.
They had a ball and DD3 loved the little bantams. She spent quite a lot of time hypnotising them and placing them in various places.
Then she had the idea of putting them on the donkey’s back and giving them a ride.
Luckily neither the chooks nor the donkey minded.
My youngest daughter has always wanted a pet bird but neither DH or I like the thought of a bird stuck in a cage for 10+ years. Plus, we have cats.
On Monday there was a post on a local parents’ page saying someone had found a budgie, had anyone lost one? And if not, could anyone take it and look after it as person who found it was asthmatic. I waited a bit to see if anyone more suitable replied, but after a couple of hours dropped the finder a PM. He replied quite quickly and told me that the bird was being kept in a plastic box. It was quite safe and well, but obviously needed more suitable accommodation.
All we could offer was a smallish hamster cage with perches made from apple tree twigs but it would do until the bird’s owner was found. The kids were ecstatic and have named him/her Charlie. The cats were also over the moon and had to be persuaded ( with a water bottle) that Charlie was not some sort of environmental enrichment activity for them.
Charlie has been with us almost a week and I’ve registered him/her on a load of lost bird/pet sites. I’ve had one reply from a lady who lost a blue budgie a week previously. She lost her bird about 6 miles away so it’s certainly not too far away, but hers was a mature male, while Charlie is probably 5-9 months old and most likely a female. So from now on I’m going to refer to him/her as ‘her’.
I think Charlie most likely comes from an aviary or pet shop. She is not scared of humans or cats or dogs but isn’t hand tame. I’ve had to hold Charlie a couple of times to move her and I haven’t been bitten. And budgies can bite quite badly if they put their mind to it!
So for now, we have a bird. DD3 is very pleased, I like having the little chirper in the house and even DH has just ordered a new cage for her so it seems that Charlie has her little feet firmly under the table.
Years ago, I used to frequent this local park. It has two playgrounds, lots of room for dogs to run around and a great slope for scooting and balance biking down.
But when all the kids started school, I no longer needed the playgrounds and started to walk the dogs in the local woods instead. But we’ve started to go back to this park for dog training classes on a Saturday morning and it’s nice to see it again.
It hasn’t changed too much but the council has installed a line of old fashioned Victorian-style lamps along one of the paths.
And someone has started digging up patches of the turf and sowing wildflower meadows. It did look a bit bare at first but now this is the result. Swathes of poppies and cornflowers and some other orange flower I can’t identify creating great splodges of stunning colour across the park. And the whole thing is buzzing with bees. It’s lovely to see.
It makes me want to dig up our lawn and try the same thing at home. But of course, it’s unlikely to have the same effect in our back garden so maybe I’ll start with a few individual poppy plants instead.
We have two rescue dogs and we do agility with both of them. Actually, when I say ‘We’, I really mean DD1 and DD3.
DD1 has taken on the training of our newest dog and I used to train our older dog myself but I’m too slow for him. So DD3, who is 10, has taken him over and she is doing a brilliant job.
She’s been running him for about a year now and they are probably almost ready to start competing. It’s been a steep learning curve for her and she found it hard at first taking directions from the lady who takes the classes.
She’s had to learn how to use her body language to give her dog the signals he needs to know what’s coming next.
She’s had to learn to think about the dog’s point of view.
And the rules involved in tackling different bits of equipment.
Most importantly, she’s had to learn to cope with making mistakes and disappointment in a way that keeps her dog’s tail wagging.
I think agility is a brilliant sport if you have a dog of any shape or size.
It’s loads of fun for dogs and owners, even if you end up relegated to the sidelines and function as a mobile hitching post. watching your daughters do all the work!
My eldest girls did Brownies, then moved onto Guides and both still attend now. They are 12 and 14 and DD1 is about to move on to the Senior Section.
DD3 did the Brownies thing too, but then she and a friend wanted to join cubs as well. Now they are both 10, in the next month or so they are going to start the move to Scouts.
Part of the reason DD3 wanted to go to Scouts is because they do real camping in tents
their parents they put up themselves. The Brownie and Guide groups around here tend to do indoor camps where the girls stay in dorms or perhaps already-erected tipis.
DD’s kit listed included ‘up to two soft toys’ to make bedtime easier. These are the two that DDs chose, AND I had to evict a 4 foot snake and 3 ft teddy from the black bag under the sleep mat.
She wouldn’t give up the wolf or the lion though and we drove them out to the campgrounds and lugged them across the fields to the site. I was expecting Akela to say no, but the other girl DD3 was sharing with didn’t mind, so the soft toys got to stay the weekend.
Next time I think Akela may be adding dimensions to the kit list.
When your kids are little, and you come across an ice cream van parked outside your school that you don’t want to patronise, you can just say no. Or tell them you have no money, or no time, or the van has run out of ice cream or…something …
But when your kids are a bit older, and you live really close to the school, and one of your children is old enough to run home and let herself into the house to find her purse, then run back to you and her little brother with the said money and offer to pay for ice creams out of her own money, you have a problem.
Or maybe you don’t. Choose your battles, remember?
At least DS didn’t complain about the difference in the size and build quality of their ice creams; he knows not to look a gift horse ( sister?) in the mouth.
We are lucky enough to have a local farmer’s market close by.
It runs every second Sunday and we often go for lunch as it has a good selection of food stalls.
It also has a petting zoo, and the kids sometimes use their pocket money to go and hold/stroke chickens, rabbits, piglets, lambs etc.
Last week it had something we’ve never seen before. For £1, kids ( and their parents) could take a goat for a walk! Of course walking goats is different from walking dogs, as DD found out. The secret is to have something green and juicy in your hand to encourage the goat to follow you…
Even then, they didn’t get far. Goats can be very stubborn, as can DD, and I think she may have met her match.
Last week DD3 and I visited a very special animal sanctuary and got to meet a couple of her favourite animals.
I will write about this later, as it was a great day out and deserves a post of its own.
But while we were there we visited a small stand manned by Teaching Talons, an animal encounters company, who were lovely and patient with everyone as we waited our turn to visit the main attraction.
One of the girls convinced DD to hold an owl, something she’s never dared do before. I took loads of photos but this is the closest I got to getting them both looking at the camera!
This is a young African Barn Owl. Isn’t she beautiful?
‘Whatever’ is not the most annoying word in our house.
Don’t get me wrong, it is pretty annoying; especially when used by a teen or tween who is determined to have the last word and thinks they know it all.
It is used as a last resort word though, mainly when things have not gone their way but they want it to look like they have the situation totally under control.
So let me tell you, if your child is using ‘Whatever’, you have won and they know it. You don’t have to have the last word.
Another really annoying word in our house is my eldest’s sudden adoption of ‘Yikes’.
I know this doesn’t sound that annoying but she manages just the right mix of rudeness and condescension when she uses it. I don’t much like the word; she knows it annoys me and I’ve asked her not to use it. but you have to pick your battles when they are 14.
Most of the time I ignore it, but DD2 HATES the word and is often reduced to tears by her older sister’s use of it. DD1 is totally aware of this, of course…
But the most annoying word used in our house is..are you ready for this, it’s a four letter one…’Wait’.
‘Can you turn the TV off?’-‘Wait’
‘Can you get off the computer?- ‘Wait’.
‘It’s time to get ready for school”- ‘Wait’.
‘Time for bed!’-‘Wait’.
My children seem incapable of hurrying when asked, but just casually put one hand up and drawl ‘wait’ while they finish what they are doing. And this is after 10 and 5 minute warnings of the need to cease and desist. The seem to think that time stops when they do!
What’s the most annoying word in your house?