Monday, 30 May 2011

What I'm grateful for.....Libraries

Library book

I am grateful for libraries, these amazing hubs of knowledge accessible to the whole community. I only hope that they do not keep closing.

Throughout my childhood we were fortunate enough to have a library just a ten minute walk away. I clearly remember the large wooden tubs of books, little red chairs, Gumdrop books by Val Biro, prickly carpet on my bum and a librarian that looked like Windy Miller from Camberwick Green. (This was the 80's) In the days before the Internet, photocopying sections of huge dusty encyclopedias was the norm for your school projects. The library expanded conveniently when I was 12 to introduce a special area for Young Adults to meet, chat and play computer games on a top of the range Commodore *giggles*. I was given my first taste of independence and allowed to go just with friends. It became a more social place and less stereotypically silent. Thank you Coppice Avenue library for creating a bibliophile and for stocking all of the Sweet Valley High series.

Libraries offer the opportunity for all to educate, they provide entertainment and encourage community spirit. My local library is always jam packed with people using the computer suite, all manner of clubs and societies gather, there are activities for children and new artists showcase their work in the lobby. It's one of my favourite places.

However, I walk in last week and see an automated machine being installed. This saddens me. I hear of libraries being closed all over the country and it horrifies me. Little Bird and I love browsing around, choosing books and joining in with Rhyme Time. Seeing his chubby fingers clutching a Bookstart Bookcrawl certificate makes me so proud. Thank you library for providing my son with an ongoing supply of books whilst I'm on a strict budget, for sheltering me from the howling wind and rain from time to time and for hopefully encouraging him to love books too.

Library books collage

This is my entry for The Gallery: I'm grateful for.....

Little Bird's Outdoor Adventure in Wonderland

Little Bird was sitting in the house very bored. Fed up of Mummy saying, 'No' and 'Don't touch that!' or 'Be careful!' he wondered what he could do? Suddenly out of the window ran a White Rabbit shouting 'Oh dear! I shall be late!' and looking at his pocket watch. Little Bird became very curious and decided to try and follow him through the cat flap.

Through the cat flap

Falling, spinning, spinning he went shooting out until bump, he landed giggling uncontrollably on some wooden decking in the big wide outdoors. GREAT, fresh air! He sees a gate with a beautiful garden beyond but cannot get through as he doesn't have a key. The White Rabbit appears again but is frightened by the noisy tearaway toddler and drops his gloves. These gloves are magic and the gate mysteriously opens to a garden that looks like amazing fun!

water table

Look, a water table with lots of colourful buckets and funnels! But what are these birds doing dancing? A Caucus-Race around it to get dry apparently. Poor Mr Dodo gets a nose chew and our tot enjoys throwing the toys out and then putting them back again whilst splashing around in the warm water. Too much watery frivolity causes the animals to disappear and our venturer finds himself in a lush green garden. Tramping across the long grass he whirls around excitedly especially when a frog jumps out at him. Ribbit! Such new wild wonders at 17 months old.


A bleeping noise and flashing lights direct him to a caterpillar sat near a lovely red mushroom. Ooh great, toys outside. The caterpillar, a dignified fellow became angry at his rough treatment and orders him away. No matter as Little Bird has found some very unusual items to prod and poke at. Giant insects, huge flowers, tickly leaves and the Queen's (plastic) greenhouse to be very cheeky and tip seed trays over in. Why not a good trampling over the flower beds to get very muddy aswell? There goes a bouncy ball - hey, isn't it that frog I saw earlier?


Tra la la, tra la la -probably mummy making a cup of tea? This deserves further investigation to see if my lunch is ready. The tiny explorer has an outdoor tea party with all sorts of goodies. Gosh this makes a nice change from the highchair.
'More tea' says the Mad Hatter but quickly withdraws his best china and offers a plastic beaker instead. Suddenly, there is shouting...'Oh Dear', says the March Hare, 'You're in trouble. The Queen has found her prized flowers crushed and mushed by your little paws!'

mad hatters tea party

Little Bird quickly dashes back to the house without looking back. 'Mummmmmmy!!'
A snoozy snoring little toddler is there in his bed, it must have all been a dream. Perhaps?



This is for the Tots 100 Blog Hop

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Quiet Moments

After the hustle and bustle of a toddler filled day, I sometimes mosey on down to the plot.

Something changes here everyday and I love that. I walk around and spot the new events.

Today, strawberries, peeking through leaves, waiting to be coloured in by the sun.

strawberry jewels

Opened foxgloves softening the edge of a compost heap.


I notice everything, every unfurling, each new bud and annoyingly, new slug munched leaves.

Sometimes I get creeped out as I do a little evening pottering- rustling, swishing, creeking wood. My imagination goes into overdrive and with a hint of the Scooby Doo swamp monster in the air I quickly scurry off home and leave the night time creatures to it.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Little and Often

The work on my plot has been little and often. We go in shifts to complete bits of weeding, planting, sprucing and maintenance. Daddy Bird gets home from work, we have tea and I zip off for an hour (or two if I'm cheeky and pushing it) or he goes (armed with instructions) on his way home from work. Usually DB does watering, turning the compost heap or something involving hammers and screws. I am chief seed sower, planter, feeder and decorator. You see, to me it's more than a plot, it's a creative space and a place to relax.

shed collage

I feel behind at the moment as it seems as if my fellow allotmenteers have already got runner beans, peas and squash shooting up like triffids whilst mine are only just getting started. Maybe I've been too over cautious of frost?

empty bean poles

We don't all go together as a family at the moment as it's too dangerous for an almost 17 month Little Bird who would be hurtling everywhere and I worry about canes and jagged bits of wire. I've made my plot as safe as can be but it would be exhausting to make sure he didn't get up to mischief. For the moment we can practice digging at home in the garden.

Allotment rules of course are that you must reuse junk of any description and put it to another use. In this spirit I have been using old bubble bath character bottles and play food (which my son has chewed, he chews everything, and is hence now not safe to play with) as cheery cane toppers.

benjamin potato bunny 1

The number of families on the plot is increasing and I regularly see children helping out with a bit of weeding, raking or stalking Velociraptors in the blackberry patch. The junior birds when they visit like being given tasks such as planting a row of seeds before going off exploring. I've found the plot can hold their attention no longer than an hour at the most. I keep a couple of vintage board games in the shed but I am planning to have some more activities organised to make it more interesting for them for when it isn't always possible to find them a suitable job. Any ideas?

Dinosaur dung is great by the way on your pumpkin patch.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Mini Potterer

This week's Gallery theme of My Backyard is close to my heart.

I love gardening. I have done since a child. I hope my child will too.

Little Bears Garden

Our garden has been altered this year to accommodate all of the family. A fence has been created reusing pallet tops, free, and put together by Daddy Bird with Grandad's assistance. This gives the dogs a small run to go about their ahem, daily business and also keeps Little Bird (Bear - poor child has several nicknames) safely on the decking and not have full roam of the garden unaccompanied.

Here, he wildly pushes his trucks around and in quiet moments watches the tall birch tree next door waving in the wind. He has also started showing an interest in what I'm growing. When I'm potting on my vegetables, I'll often get a blonde head peeping over my shoulder or little hands delving into compost.

helping garden

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Even a Happy Homebird falls out of love with her home

Sometimes I wake up a Miserable Homebird and wish I could move house. Usually it's something trivial that sets it all off, like the ageing boiler has packed in again and the shower is shock-treatment cold or yet another siren has whizzed past and woke Little Bird up early (spitting distance of fire AND ambulance stations.) This accumulates into seething, teeth gritting annoyance at my poor old home because I know we are stuck here, being in no position to move for a long time. The nitpicking starts: it's on a fairly busy road, the kitchen's too small, the front door opens into the living room and I WANT a hallway, there's a loft room/ 3rd bedroom with steep wooden stairs that's awkward unless you are a mountain goat (what happens if and when another Baby Bird appears) and I WANT a utility room AND a play room....the list goes on.

Noisy Road

One of my favourite pastimes is nosying at houses; driving past pretty houses (making Daddy Bird go the longer route home so I can gawp), walking around leafy streets (excellent opportunities when you have either dogs or babies) and snooping on Right Move when the family down the road have their house on the market. If you have pictures of your house on your blog I'll be ogling and if you leave your lights on in the front room as I walk past (with the dog of course) I'll be peering in. BOO!

It can't just be me?

I appeciate a lovely house, amaze at storage solutions and admire coordinated book shelves. However, it's very easy to feel as if you live in a bit of hovel if you think all you see online is the true picture. I feel instantly better when I see you have bit of cleaning to do to, so please include a few dust balls or rogue socks.

Home Sweet Home

Then, there are other days when I'm grateful for my abode as to be honest it's not that bad. Once rush hour has gone, it's fairly quiet and I can hear bird song in the garden and we have a secret passage that opens into a private road with quaint cottages with dear little gardens. The house is Victorian so the high ceilings make it feel extra spacious and I like the way that if all the doors are open from the front you can see straight through to the back of the garden where it looks like a little garden party with all my bunting strung up.

Most of all it is home because my son loves it here. He's always been happier at home and in the garden than anywhere else. He runs, pushing a wooden truck from the kitchen to the front door squealing and laughing and only has to hear a jingle of keys and he's rushing to be let out into the garden where Grandad and Daddy Bird built a fence from pallets to create a contained play area.

Colourful Areas

Of course, one day I would like to move, mainly to be on a quieter road so Little Bird can ride a bike safely up and down and I'm sure we eventually will. For now, I'm making the best of my space with my main purpose being creating a real fun child friendly house. I have a few projects underway to develop the now dining area into part play room too with many books and art/craft materials to hand whilst still looking organised-ish! I love how children inject such colour into your home even if it's down to toys littering the living room floor or scribbled pictures on the fridge. I love my house again now.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Cake Face

Better late than never.....

Being a newbie blogger I stumbled on The Gallery and thought that's right up my street as I'm always snapping this, that and the other.

This is for the theme Mustachioed and is my Little Bird having his first taste of homemade chocolate cake whilst creating a cakey facial hair look. I can assure you that his response is now much improved.

cake bw

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Il pleut

I wished for rain and it arrived. Now I want it to go away again....just for a little while.

My lawn is squelchy, my allotment squidgy, slugs aplenty and my socks are damp. No longer washing blowing in the breeze but the dryer eating up our pennies.

Our shoes are all muddy, the dogs smell musty and the floors are slippy. My big fat jumpers are back out of storage, I'm feeling gloomy as we can't always go out to play and we're huddled in a blanket on the sofa.

Rainy Days

However, my son has a snazzy raincoat and I have snazzier boots and we love dancing and twirling on the decking with light rain on our faces.

Everywhere is fresh and zingy green with crystal droplets.

Kitchen garden treasures are growing well and we have many books to read whilst snuggling under our knitted blanket.

Rainy days 2

But I think we are still ready for the sun to come back.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Full Throttle

Everything in the garden, allotment and home life has been absolutely non stop. My list(s) keep growing as quickly as the weeds on my plot. Mainly I have been pricking out seedlings and potting on everything from Calendula and Nasturtiums to Ornamental Gourds. It's the first time I have grown the latter & I have lots! The germination rate of this v v cheap packet of seeds puchased from Lidl has been amazing. I am going to grow them up wigwams and arches for interest as unfortunately you cannot eat them. It will be a surprise to see what weird and wonderful fruits appear in late summer.


We all had a day off from being busy and went to the annual event in my town, the Thundersprint. This is a motorcycle festival with racing, vintage bikes and entertainment where the whole town is descended upon by bikers from near and far for the entire weekend.


The town is buzzing and a highlight of the event is a three lap cavalcade around the streets with weird and wacky bikes and a few scooters thrown in for the Mods.....


.... but the Rockers ruled.


Perhaps I'm biased though as in my salad days I had a motorbike.

salad box

However, I prefer my new salad days of a more gentler nature.