Sunday, 30 October 2011

Half Term Highlights

We've survived another October half term. Lots of sport, lots of lie-ins, and cheap trips out...all captured by my new camera - an early Christmas present and late birthday present from my lovely hubby. Here's some of the highlights...
A one day rugby course with the Falcons. Can't believe how grown  up my little lad looks!
Enjoying the Autumn colours at Belsay
Looking through a window at Belsay Castle

Getting beat at footy...
...But we did score 2! (Note the hairstyle of the oppositions's defender!)
And Spook Night in Hexham...and yes, that IS a stuffed hush puppy dog in the man's arms behind the kids!
All in all, another busy, but nice week had by all :)

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Seize the Day

'Seize every day as an adventure and your spirit will soar when you discover the wonderful surprises life has to offer.'

Its tricky these days to 'seize' each day by the scruff of the neck and make it into one big adventure. Sometimes, there's just too much washing to to do, cooking, tidying...

Yesterday, however, without making any effort whatsoever, my spirit soared sooooo high, and it was all thanks to my 7 year old.

'Do you want to do a rugby coaching day tomorrow with your brother?' I asked her on Monday. She's never played rugby in her life and she's never even watched a game on the telly.

She considered the question for half a second, and without even asking 'Will any of my friends be there?' or 'Will I be the only girl?'  she said - 'Yeh, ok.'

When we arrived at the rugby place the next day, there were 93 boys and my 7 year old girl. The only person she knew was her brother, but he had abandoned her as soon as we'd got there. Great big lads lumbered around like bears, alongside squeaky, excitable, skinny-legged, 6 year old man-cubs.

I hung around and watched as the smaller boys chased each other around the tables and chairs. I asked the 7 year old if she was okay. I expected her to reply with, 'Did I say yes to this? Sorry, I meant no.' But she didn't. She nodded, smiled and took in the scene thoughtfully. She quietly took her footy boots out of her bag. I tied the laces for her, and the coaches gathered everyone together for a briefing about the day. Relieved, I noticed another little girl in the group. They gave each other a little smile. My 7 year old looked so tiny against all the others, but she happily followed them outside with her new friend to the training pitch giving me a little wave before disappearing out of the door.

I fretted and fidgeted at home for the rest of the morning, until finally heading off an hour early to catch the end of the coaching day. I hoped to God she would be alright.

When I pulled up alongside the pitch I caught sight of a little blond child, caked from head to toe in mud and clarts. She was shouting 'pass, pass!' A stocky little lad chucked her the ball, she caught it before running like the wind to score a try. She tackled, she kicked, she passed and she ran. She even got felled to the ground a few times...always getting back to her feet and always with the biggest smile in the world across her face....

'Seize every day as an adventure and your spirit will soar when you discover the wonderful surprises life has to offer.'

It can be so difficult to seize the day as a grown up. Adventures? What adventures? We are always holding and juggling so many things in our hands at the same time that we just can't manage 'adventures' as well. Surely not!

But after watching this little bundle of happiness in action today - seizing her day, surprising herself and simply loving life, I realised that nowadays I don't have to go too far to experience the wonderful surprises life has to offer. They are often right in front of my eyes....

Monday, 3 October 2011

Pockets Full of Sand

With the 10 year old away all day at a friends party, and the 7 year old rested from this week's football action, I decided to take advantage of the fine weather and take her up the coast to Bamburgh for the day.

I chucked the buckets and spades in the boot and threw in a couple of chocolate tea cakes. We had all we needed for a day on the beach.

When you arrive in Bamburgh, the castle is the first thing that you notice - you can't miss it! - It dominates the little village from the top of its perch on the Whin Sill outcrop. Tomlinson, in his 'Guide to Northumberland' describes it beautifully -

 "A more impregnable stronghold could not be imagined, for rugged strength and barbaric grandeur it is the king of Northumbrian castles."

We parked up, and set off on the short walk across the dunes to find the beach.

The 7 year old bounced off ahead and scrambled to the top of the last dune. 'It's here!' she grinned waving madly from the top.

I caught her up at last, and finally clapped eyes on her view. No matter how many times I have visited Bamburgh, this view always takes my breath away.  

As always, the beach was fairly deserted. The tide was right out so we could explore the rock pools, and rummage through the other treasures that the beach always provides.

Rockpools full of treasure!
The beach was all ours for the day
Thats me on the left, and the 7 year old on the right :-)

Thats the 7 year old on the left and me (needing a haircut) on the right
When we felt a bit peckish, we set off to find something to eat in the village. We stopped off at the loos in the carpark, and I had a little chuckle when the 7 year old didn't know which door to go in.
'Mum!' she exclaimed, 'Its either gents or laddies!'

The loo for laddies
A quick ice cream...

...and then a lovely stroll back along the beach...

...with a few cartwheels hoyed in...
...before collapsing back into the car for home.

 Our lungs were inflated with fresh air and we had a bucket brimming with shells. Later that evening, I also discovered that I'd brought half of the beach back home too - in my pockets and turnups - (thanks to all the 'dune races' we'd had!)

Happy days at Bamburgh Beach
A wonderful, wonderful, happy day.