Thursday, 30 October 2014

Little Pumpkins

Having a large family, means that I’ve had more than my fair share of babies and and all the experiences that they bring. I loved every moment of time spent with each one of them at pretty much every stage of development. The odd sleepless night comes back to haunt me every so often, but on the whole, the early years of hands on baby care and toddler activity are happy and pleasant memories indeed.
Now, with my youngest well and truly settled into secondary school, those days are almost distant memories. The baby, who can no longer be referred to as the baby of the family, gives me a stern look and a little talking to if I dare to mention ‘the baby’ words! During house moves and  bedroom makeovers during the past few years the amount of toddler clutter has gradually diminished. Bagged up and stored for a while before I eventually succumb and resort to reluctantly giving them away. 

With each bag of jigsaws and lego, Barbie dolls and Action men that left our family, went a large chunk of Fearn childhood. I’m far too sentimental, but also far too practical to keep boxes full of unused toys. We will always have the memories and hundreds of photos to bring back those happy toddler days. 
More importantly, we n0w need the space to store all the gadgets and belongings that teenagers seem to collect. The digital gadgetry, the sports equipment, the art materials, the musical instruments, the list is endless but the space is not! Family life is never dull, and is always filled with memories in the making, so different now to ten years ago, but equally as fulfilling and exciting.
 The plastic toys in blue and pink may have been replaced by monochrome and metal, the fiddly boxes filled with tiny pieces may have been replaced by substantial items, and the small costs replaced by hefty price tags, it’s a different kind of family life!
Some special toys however, never made the recycle pile and on Saturday they were washed dried and enjoyed all over again. Just in case any rumours get stated, there are no grand children, not yet,  I think they’re a long way off! Saturday was the first ‘Little Pumpkins’ cookery class, for little children under the age of six. The boxes of blocks and traditional toys that I’d managed to save were put to good use once again.The little tables and chairs were used, and I even made another batch of home made play dough, though I have to confess, I had to check the recipe!! 

The look of total enjoyment on their little faces as they mixed and folded and made their very own batch of cup cakes  with their Mum was delightful. The morning wouldn't have been complete without a play time, so as they put my home made play dough and toys to work, the Mums enjoyed a slice of freshly drizzled lemon cake and coffee (well, we had to do something whilst the cakes were baked!) Once cooled, the cakes were transformed into a flock of Towy sheep, complete with little tails! 

It was a happy morning, no squabbles, no mishaps, just baking. It’s not difficult to decorate the cup cakes and they really do look great. Perfect for a child’s party or sleepover activity, or just for fun on a wet afternoon. 

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Autumn Rain

Autumn rain
Last night, we experienced the first decent rain we’ve had in months!
I say experienced, I mean heard! I was tucked up in bed as the winds picked up and eventually started hurling rain towards my bedroom window. So in reality, I did not experience the first autumn rain. The garden this morning looks soaked, which is good! There is also the evidence of that angry wind that knocked over pots and brought down the remaining fruit on our apple trees - they are now genuine wind- falls and will need collecting very soon.

The morning after the storm is always eerily sill and silent, as though nothing really happened. I love mornings like this. The morning after the party. The event has been and gone. What remains, are the memories and the evidence!
This morning, the ducks and chickens are discussing the night’s events, relieved that this time the roof remained, tightly nailed to their sheds, though the ground is more than slightly wet beneath their feet. 
It’s funny how summer can last so long, the sun remain so warm and the sky so blue. Then suddenly, as though the nature has looked at the calendar, seen the month and responded with a catch up plan - it’s now autumn, and it’s time for change. If I’m honest, I’m ready for change.

That typical British conundrum of what to wear each day - cold in the mornings, warm by elevenses, hot by lunch and  yet cool in the shade was driving me bonkers! Having worn pumps and t-shirts for months, it’s now so comforting to get out the winter wools and jumpers and to rediscover the sock drawer! The tatty old garden shoes are now put away until next spring and the wellies are finally back in use. 
Despite all this, I can guarantee that although it’s officially autumn, and there has been a definite change this week, the seasons are bound to play a trick or two, and send more blue skies and sunshine our way. One thing is for sure, that summer heat  we’ve had for so long won’t return for a fair while. Instead, we have all the winter festivities and events to keep us busy. Bonfire night is just around the corner, then plenty of winter fairs, Christmas, new year… and new beginnings all over again!
A few years back I wrote a piece called ‘My year as a child’ about how I  viewed each month of the year. It’s fun sometimes to thing back, and to remember how we used to be, used to think and how we used to see things. This is how I felt about the last four months of the year.
“September in a child's life is the new beginning. It is the start of new year. New shoes indicate the arrival of change and of new things....a new class, sometimes new friends, new books, pencils, classroom, teacher and whole load of new procedures.  September is the scary month, a month to be feared, despite the welcome return to familiar daily routines and regular playtimes with friends.

October comes and goes, the weather cools, it rains, it's a dreary month, a sad month. Everything seems to give up...the weather, the leaves on the trees and the school heating!It seems to go like this..the school heating is turned on, leaks and is repaired. Fallen leaves blow about before the rain sticks them to the floor. Teachers get exited about a nature table, acorns and cones, mushrooms and colourful leaves.

By November, it's gone dark again. Winter has returned. Parents talk about the clock going forward ....or back... everyone seems confused. What is an extra hour in bed? It's cold outside and suddenly Christmas is becoming closer :)

December is a furore of school rehearsals for the Christmas play and nativity service. Teachers say they're tired, Mum's talk about the Christmas shopping and all I can think about is Christmas morning. I promise Mum not to get up before 4 am, Mum looks towards the sky. I thought that was a good promise.

Christmas is great but it's always a long time coming. I can't understand how it takes so long to get to Christmas Day, but Mum tells her friends that every year seems to go faster! I’m Puzzled, how can a year go faster”

So there you have it! Try it for yourself, what do the months of the year mean to you?