31st July 2016 – A pretty perfect day

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Well, after yesterday’s dismal failure to fit in any wild time, we made up for it today. Out of the house by 9am and straight to the beach for a dip in the sea, in water that was almost a pleasant temperature!

IMG_20160731_094129477After that we headed to Kilmington on the hunt for one of the Great Trees of East Devon – a massive Monterey Pine growing next to the Cricket Pavillion. We gave it a hug, but unfortunately, it wasn’t particularly photogenic due to its location next to an ugly shed and several bins. The nearby toddler-sized playground proved too tempting to resist, so that was next on the agenda.

A bit later, I took the kids to Grandmum and Grandad’s house and we wandered down to the packed beach, where a brass band was playing as part of Branscombe Festival. We arrived as a demonstration by the coastguard was taking place – somebody was being winched from a boat into a helicopter just off shore. We ate our picnic and the kids amused themselves by putting pebbles down Grandad’s shirt and in his pockets, then we wandered back again for a spot of playing and cloud-watching in the gardenIMG_20160731_094254888

B greeted us at home with some freshly caught Mackerel cooking on the barbecue. He had also foraged some blackberries whilst walking the dog, so we had a wonderful dinner of free, fresh food. It was a pretty perfect end to apretty perfect day (except that E got his hand stuck in the garden bench, then painted himself in yogurt, apparently in order to do an impression of a reversing baby monkey and Izzy couldn’t sit still to eat her dinner because she was desperate for a wee, but point-blank refused to go to the toilet.) I’d love to be able to  say that they fell asleep as soon as their heads hit their pillows, but sadly that has never happened yet and wasn’t the case tonight either..

IMG_20160731_160821743Total wild time – All day! (about 8 hours)

26th July 2016 – Clay decorations

IMG_20160726_093433193We had fun making hanging clay decorations (in theory, for the Christmas Tree), using natural materials to make interesting impressions. Shells, leaves such as Rosemary, Bay and Sage, plus grass flowers, made good prints. We had less success with feathers and other flowers. This was a really relaxing activity, that Izzy and I enjoyed doing (E just played with the clay and a snail I made for him) and the time we spent doing it was only limited by the amount of available clay we had.

We had heard that ‘the Mackerel were in’ , so later in the evening, we took a picnic dinner and a fishing rod to the beach to try our luck, but sadly caught nothing.

Total wild time – clay decorations – 35 mins, fishing – 1 hour 20 mins.

25th July 2016 – A walk in the woods

IMG_20160725_133230324My mum and I took E  and the dog out for a walk somewhere we hadn’t been in Colyton before. We walked through a lovely meadow at the top of Ridgway, then along Sand Pit Hill Lane, through a field of cows, past a hollow tree, then down through a very peaceful woodland, full of Enchanter’s Nightshade, Honeysuckle and Downy Birch, where E fell asleep.IMG_20160725_135400184

We got back home just in time to leave again to pick up Izzy from Holiday Club. At the Playing Field, we made a map, did some sketches and explored the river bank.

Total wild time – Dog walk (E) – 1 hour 30 mins, Map-making etc. (E & Izzy) – 45 mins

24th July 2016 – Sponsored walk

IMG_20160724_105848795We joined Izzy’s preschool for a sponsored walk along the river, through fields full of calves (and cow pats, much to E’s delight). The highlight was seeing a Heron from Chantry Bridge. We had an early lunch at Road Green picnic area and played in the playground. On the way home, we saw a Large White Butterfly laying eggs on somebody’s Nasturtiums.



Total wild time – 2 hours

20th July 2016 – Den’s a no-no

My kids are possibly the only kids in the history of the world who don’t appreciate a den. I made one in the garden using a sheet slung over the swing frame and a chair, then filled it lovingly with cushions and books, creating a lovely, inviting shady spot.

They refused to go in it, despite me crawling in and showing them how comfortable it wa. Izzy had a complete meltdown and ordered me to take it down (I think she was upset about a tiny cobweb on the chair, although even when this was wiped away, she was no keener to explore the den). E copied his sister and started wailing, too. So, I gave up and put Wii Dance on, instead.

Later, I tried to liven up a dog walk by giving the kids binoculars and asking them to count the House Martin nests we passed. But, this turned into a disaster, too, with Izzy whingeing for the entire time we were out.

Even later, Izzy and I made pizza and we all went to Seaton for a picnic dinner. The beach was packed with fishermen/women, families barbecuing,  eating takeaways and playing. The sea was just as busy with kayakers, paddle boarders, sailing boats and swimmers.

The kids chased each other over the pebbles, whilst I tried to relax, listening to the sound of the waves and cloud-watching.

Total wild time: About 1 hour 20 mins

19th July 2016 – Trip to Bicton Park

IMG_20160719_115120758The weather was perfect for Izzy’s preschool trip to Bicton Park – hot, sunny and with a lovely breeze. We had a fantastic time exploring the park, which was full of huge trees and inviting shade. The children played on the tractors and playground, then we went on the train, chugging past Moorhens and Mallards on the lake and the tallest tree in the pinetum. Then, we did a loop around the Rose, Italian and Mediterranean gardens, pausing at the Shell House to admire the many different types on display. There were dozens of Common Blue Damselflies in mating wheels over the moat and quite a few dragonflies (mostly Southern Hawkers, I think, but also a Common Darter) buzzing about. We also spotted Whirligig beetles spinning circles on the water surface. After a picnic, more playing and some whingeing about the lack of ice cream, we went back to the stream garden and chilled out there for a while. Unsurprisingly, E fell fast asleep on the coach home (sitting upright – I had to lean across the aisle to prop him up!).

Total Wild Time: 4 hours (although, admittedly, much of that was spent in the playground!)

16th July 2016 – Natural Seaton Festival and sea-swimming

Bug hotelThe Natural Seaton Festival was just getting started when we arrived, but we saw Horace the Pliosaur, identified some birds’ eggs, (where I learned that Shelduck lay their eggs in rabbit burrows), then Izzy and E made a bug hotel, which we hung in our garden.

Later in the afternoon and trusting the weather forecast rather than the actual weather we were experiencing, we headed to the sea to swim. The water was cold, but bearable and the waves were choppy, but not too rough.  B held Izzy tightly whilst she swam and E splashed about in the shallows with me. B did some snorkelling, but didn’t see anything of interest and then I got a chance to swim on my own, whilst B watched the kids. We all left the beach feeling exhilarated and starving. It was almost 7 by the time we got home, so we had a very quick and easy dinner, before bath time and bed.Sea swimming

Total wild time: Festival – 30 mins, Sea swim – 1 hour 20 mins

15th July 2016 – Following the bees

We pottered around the garden following the bees we saw, watching them collect nectar from the Lavender and Purple Toadflax. We recorded Common Carder, Buff-tailed Bumblebees and Honeybees. And we have a nest of something like Mason Bees in our doorframe, which keep getting trapped on the wrong side of the door. I have tried in vain to identify them, so if anyone can enlighten me, I would be very grateful!

bees in the door

Izzy and E were meant to be drawing the bees we saw, but E had a meltdown because I was using the camera phone and didn’t want to give it to him and Izzy (dressed as Tinkerbell) rebelled by drawing flowers, instead. Then, E required a nappy change and we had to call it a day, anyway.

Total wild time: 35 mins