Tuesday, 5 April 2016

The ups and ups and the downs

On her birthday bike. Maybe a little room for
growth, but I am guessing not that long
though. What else do you expect from a
dad who is a bike mechanic? 
It has been a lovely week visiting grandchildren and I have now made it to two birthday parties. One of the biggest problems of living abroad is not being able to make it to many of their birthdays, so this was lovely. Unfortunately the children may have been overly generous in sharing their bugs. I am not normally ill and was a little shocked to come down with a rather nasty virus that has taken some shaking off. It hasn't completely stopped me being out and about though, although I did have to cancel a meeting today to talk about herbalism, because I didn't feel up to riding on the bus and passing around the germs. It was a good job that I cancelled as I also lost my voice at times too.

Eyre's new boyfriend has been hanging around the place
My little granddaughter was quite upset today as I could only read one book before my voice gave out and I told her I couldn't read any more until later on in the day - well actually I squeaked the last bit of information. It was also funny trying to convey to people my desire to get through with a pushchair, as I could rarely shout loud enough to make myself heard and so people ignored me. Having said that my daughter said people rarely moved anyway, so it wouldn't have mattered if I had been loud enough apparently.

Taking a rest in the garden centre
So backtracking up a bit, some of the fun things I have done this week is to plant seeds with my grandson. These were seeds I had bought for him in January to grow his own salad. We first had to go out with his dad and little sister to buy some compost of course and while we were out we had a drink in a cafe and bought presents for the second birthday party. Such ordinary activities if you live close by I guess, but not so ordinary for me and quite a treat.

Our sheep would have been over those fences in two seconds
flat and certainly not tolerate the visitors in quite the same way
Next was a trip to a working sheep farm. It was amazing to see so many sheep calmly standing around in their pens while people milled around, some just having given birth and some about to. Our three female sheep only have to get the scent of people they don't know and they would be half way down the field and the low fencing they had around the sheep pens at the farm we visited would have proved little obstacle to them. It was quite a clever set up really as they only open to the public when most of the sheep are in the barns. People love to see the lambs the most of course and the rest of the year they are an ordinary farm with the sheep on the hills. They also have tractor rides out onto the South Downs where there were good views for miles around, even out to sea.
The official photo! Two very serious little faces
The selfie taken earlier

I look ever so small sat there. There were five of us in the
car and my daughter-in-law had to squeeze in the back
Saturday we took the long journey up north to the second birthday part and a chance to see all my children and grandchildren together. It is a long time since I was with them all at the same time. My parents came too. Just a pity that Ian couldn't have been there to complete the reunion. The problem of having animals.

Cousins having fun in the park before lunch
A view from the tractor ride towards the free range pig
farm on the opposite hill

My son who had driven me up with his family stayed overnight so we joined our daughter and her family for a time at Messy Church at the local Anglican Church. I was most impressed with the warm welcome and the fact some of the older ladies took the time to say hello and chat a little. It is far more important to make people feel welcomed into a community than to have the most exciting services. You can keep those for all I'm concerned and would much rather sit down for a chat with a nice cup of tea and a sausage sandwich like we did that morning.

Meanwhile back at home Ian says the snow is nearly all gone, the storks are back and Eyre has a boyfriend - so she is definitely going to the vets when I get back. He also said the wagtails were back and tormenting Eyre. I must admit our cats are not good for the baby wagtail population and I wish the cats would stick to hunting mice and not eat the birds. Ian has also seen some little orange butterflies and a bee and the first flowers of spring, the coltsfoot, are out on the oak tree hill. If I am still coughing when I get back I might be making some coltsfoot tea (although I do know it is a plant to be careful of for that)

Just possible to see the sea
And just in case you are wondering, I am feeling quite a bit better this evening, Although it would be nice to have a clear day tomorrow, I am hoping that I won't be taking any bugs back because I have been threatened with being put in quarantine by Ian otherwise.


  1. Those times when you manage to get all the family together are so precious.If we are lucky we manage it twice a year.Our children and grandchildren lead such busy lives and are hours away from each other.

  2. Very precious times! I hope you have recovered Joanna

    1. Very precious times indeed Gina. I am much better, just still coughing and a bit sleepy.


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