Our Canal Barge Holiday

Today once school was finished for the holidays we went down to England and visited Jill and Aaron. For dinner we ordered some delicious curry. Then we went up for bed.

Saturday – In the morning we got some breakfast and then Grandma and Grandpa took Aidan and I to Liverpool. First we went on the Liverpool Eye then we went to a lovely sweet shop. After that we went on a bit of a walk. Later on we drove to the boat marina and we went to a place near there for lunch. After lunch we un-packed our stuff into the boat.

Our boat Ava and Aidan and I’s room.

 

After we had un-packed we were off!!!

We sailed our boat for half an hour then we moored by a lovely loch. After we moored we had a barbeque for dinner. Which was very nice. Then we went on a walk around the loch. Then we went to bed.

Sunday – We had a very early start this morning because there was a tunnel that takes 45 minutes to get through. While we were going through the tunnel Mum, Grandma and I played quirkle which we really enjoyed. Once we had finally got through the tunnel we made quesadillas for lunch. Then we cruised for the rest of the afternoon.For dinner we had fajitas.

Monday – Today we cruised for most of the morning which has been very relaxing. Then we moored the boat and went out for lunch. I had a delicious pulled pork burger. After lunch we cruised a bit further along the canal. Then we discovered that the canal was being closed further ahead so we moored there for the night. For the rest of the afternoon we explored Macclesfield. For dinner we had some delicious gammon. Then we went to bed.

Tuesday – Today we explored Macclesfield a bit more. First we bought some pies for dinner and then we explored a very nice church. After that we went to a sweet shop. later on we went to a very interesting Silk Museum. Afterwards we had some lunch. After that we started going the other direction. Meanwhile Mum and I walked along the side of the canal doing some geo-caching. For dinner we had some delicious steak pie and chicken pie.

Wednesday – Today we did the 12 locks. The locks took us about 2 hours. Then we had lunch. After lunch we set off again and Grandma, Mum and I did some more geo-caching. Then we went out for dinner. I had a Hawaiian Chicken Burger and then I had a Brownie for dessert. Then after a while we went to bed.

Thursday – Today was a more relaxing day. We explored Congleton. First we went to Victoria Mill and I got some very nice buttons. After that we to a lovely park and got some lunch. I shared a pizza with Grandpa. Then we got some cake. After that we went back to the boat and set off to one end of the tunnel. Once we arrived we moored the boat and had another barbeque. Then we went to bed.

Friday – Today is Aidan’s Birthday!!!!!!!!!! This morning we had bacon and eggs for breakfast. After breakfast we went through the tunnel again. While we were going through the tunnel Mum, Grandma, Aidan and I played quirkle. After we got through the tunnel we had lunch. Then we stayed in the boat for a bit. Later on we went on a walk round the loch. We stopped at a lovely cafe for afternoon tea. Then we set off to the marina so we could get some packing done early. Then we went out for dinner. I had a delicious steak pie. Then we bought a giant eclair for pudding. When we got back to the boat we split the eclair. Then we had to go to bed.

Saturday – Sadly today we had to leave our boat. ūüôĀ¬† So we had some breakfast. Then we packed the car. After that we said goodbye to our lovely boat and got in the car and went home.

Devilla Forest & Blaeberry Jam!

One weekend, back in late August, we went on a beautiful family walk in our nearby, Devilla Forest. The weather recently has been great, and we needed to get out on a walk, so we decided to visit again! (Previous trips Рclick here). img_6523-resizedWith the promise of afternoon tea at the end, and  an exciting walk, we set out Рand began walking towards our first Geocache. As we searched, I began to notice something about our surrounding undergrowth Рeverywhere I looked РI saw blaeberries (aka billberries, essentially mini blueberries) growing in their hundreds or thousands Рfar more on each bush than I have normally seen! So we started collecting!! Very soon we noticed that one: we would hundreds of them to do anything, and two: they were staining our makeshift hankie-bag bright pink!

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There are at least 20 blaeberries in this photo – the camera doesn’t make them obvious though – and they are easy to miss!

As well as our blaeberry collection, we were also after geocaches, and we found a lot of them – last year we found our 100th geocache on August —-, and we aimed to find a further hundred before then this year. After succeeding that challenge, we have set our target to 200 this year – approximately 4 a week! But the extra caches we collected, including the ones we found in Devilla – have brought our target down to 3.5 a week for the rest of the year.

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On our way to Loch Moor, we really enjoyed the trees, the undergrowth, the bird calls in the distance – and this weird thing in a hole in the ground!! None of us are sure what it is, possibly an abandoned bee hive – or an insect mound? Along our walk we also ate some of the wild raspberries along the side of the path – it all felt very different to some other forests, because other than the path – it was just untouched wild forest. After around an hour of walking, we had reached the loch – but we didn’t feel like going all the way around – so after something to eat, we returned by a slightly different route. Then, after finally making it back after our 10km walk, we had some afternoon tea at the walled garden, before heading home.

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300 berries – beginnings of the jam

Once we got home, we weighed our blaeberries – and we got the value of around 150 grams. We then weighed 10 berries, and calculated we had 300 berries (each one is about 5mm wide!) – and began our jam! And tasting the jam was (at least for me) a great end to our family day out!

Scone Palace

Sorry about the lateness of this post, I decided it was still worth posting though!

One weekend, beforeimg_5568-resized the summer holidays we decided to go out in the beautiful sunshine to Scone palace – but, just like Culzean Castle, which we did last year – when we went to Scone palace, the only thing we didn’t do was visit was the palace itself! The weather was just so brilliant we just took a walk around their stunning grounds and had some scones to eat afterwards (ba-dum crash??).

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We had a delicious lunch, straight from the Tesco deli!! Pork pies, cheese, ham, bread – was very nice – and the perfect start to a great afternoon. From there, we went down past the castle to the river – the palace was in pretty good condition for its age, though it was covered in vines! Once down at the river – Megan and I went down onto the stone beach – while Mum & Dad walked through the bluebell covered forest. Looking up the river was pretty spectacular – one of the nicest views since New Zealand! It was so nice, in fact – I later turned it into a felt picture!

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We then moved on to continue our walk around the grounds – and we encountered a huge hedge maze – in the shape of a clan tartan – using two different colours of hedge. Megan thoroughly bet me to the centre – she was waiting for me in the centre – because I essentially went the entire circumference of the maze, and some more! img_5612-resizedMegan took a more direct route. We also encountered a large wooden shelter, with a modelled pineapple on top – and inside it explained about how in the 17-1800s pineapples were known as the food of the rich!

Towards the end of our walk, we encountered white peacocks, roaming around – something none of us had seen before! They were just strolling around the park, where Megan and I were. After we had left the park and made our way back along the road to the castle – we went inside to get afternoon tea, and then came back out to enjoy it in the beautiful sunshine. And then, after a lovely day out, it was time to head home – but with the intention of returning at some point, in the future – to explore inside!

White Peacock!!!

White Peacock!!!

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Wheeeee!!!

Holiday in Liverpool

We are in Liverpool! We had a very fun travel from Caenarfon to Liverpool which Aidan will explain about in his blog post. Anyway today [Wednesday 6th July] we had a delicious breakfast then we got ready to go out to Formby. Once we arrived at Formby we went to the beach which was really fun. Mum and Dad sat around on the bank though. Then after that we went on a very nice walk around the place and we saw a red squirrel which was really cool. Then later on we got some ice cream; I had a chocolate sundae and Aidan had just a vanilla ice cream with a flake in a cone. Then we went back home. For dinner we had a chicken stir fry which was very nice.

The next day it was AIDAN’S BIRTHDAY. So later after a bit of a lie-in we went to the center of Liverpool. First we went on the Wheel of Liverpool which was really fun even if I was a bit scared the first time we went round. Then we went into the Beatles Story Museum which was really fascinating. Then we went home to pick up Mum’s new phone. Later on we went back to Liverpool for afternoon tea (it was delicious). Aidan had a Rocky Road Sundae which he shared a bit with me and I had a Lemon Curd Cheesecake. Then we stopped by a Liverpool Rock place. Aidan got some Liverpool rock, sugar mouse, with choclate sprinkle disks and a broken chocolate piece. I got some sour blue raspberry bubble gum and a packet of blue raspberry nerds and tropical punch nerds. Then we went back home for dinner.

On Friday we went to Blackpool. First we went to the Blackpool Tower which was awesome. We then went all the way to the top of the tower which was awesome but it was freezing even though it had an incredible view. After that we went to the tower gift shop and I got a mini Blackpool tower and an ice cream flavoured Blackpool rock. Then after that we went to the Tower Ballroom which looked very grand. Later on we went on a tram to Pleasure Beach fun park. The beach itself was sadly was closed because it was high tide. Instead we went to the central pier which was awesome first Aidan and I went on the Dodgems which was awesome then we went on a ride called Extreme which was really fun but a bit scary. Then we got 10 fresh donuts and a lemon and lime slushie. Then on our way back we went through an arcade. Dad said to try not to get distracted but we failed I did a coin drop machine that had other prizes in it to. I spent about 5 mins on it and I then won a crystal lizard keyring. Then we went on a long walk which was really fun. Then we went to a shop to buy some Blackpool rock for my friends. Then we went home for dinner.

On Saturday we had a lazy morning because we where feeling quite tired from all the travelling.Then in the afternoon we went to a place called Knowsley Safari Park. Which was really fun. We saw lots of different animals like Rhino’s, Camels & lions. Here are 4 pictures.

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Then we went to the gift shop & Aidan bought a snow globe. I didn’t buy anything but I did do a coin press for Knowsley Safari Park. Then we had a nice journey home.

Castle Campbell and Dollar Glen

On the Falkirk holiday Monday (7th September) we visited Castle Campbell, nestled at the top of the stunning Dollar Glen.

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It’s a pretty impressive 15th-century castle, small but perfectly formed and clearly a rich and ostentatious dwelling.

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The views from the top were remarkable – it was a bit hazy but we still had excellent views of the Forth Valley… from the opposite angle to what we usually experience.

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At the top was a colony of swallows – many resting on the ridgeline, many swooping hither and yon. We found one in the upper bedchamber, unable to find its way through the window – it was surprisingly easy for me (Keith) to carry it to an open window and set it free. I’ve never held a wild bird before. It was surprisingly warm. Megan also found a beautiful butterly resting on a warm stone, and a colony of bats in the rafters.

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The glen is also lovely – a network of paths on both sides of a Y-shaped burn, well developed but right in amongst the nature. Oak woods, moss, ferns – Aidan picked a bunch of blueberries as we walked which were delicious.
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Aidan practiced his Bear Grylls technique on a fallen log across the burn.

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Homeward bound at the end of the day – not just a castle ticked off, a fabulous walk, views across the valley, and a new destination for a return visit!

Not the walk we planned

Yesterday we’d planned to go for a walk as part of the 45-minute project. Carolyn spotted a lovely-looking walk just west of Stirling, around the North Third Reservoir.

When we got there, it was indeed lovely – but it was also very wet indeed!

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Megan and the rest sensibly elected to stay in the car. In the ten seconds it took me to get this photo my jeans got soaked.

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The rain radar showed there was no prospect of it letting up.

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So instead we used our Historic Scotland membership and visited Stirling Castle. In the Great Hall at the moment is the Great Tapestry of Scotland.

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This is quite some tapestry – 160 panels telling the history of Scotland from 450mya to present day, all stitched by local groups over the last four years. There were lots of beautiful details, and as a whole it told the story really well – I certainly learnt a few things!

The River Carron

The Forty-Five Minute Project is not dead! On 28th December we went for a walk past the Kelpies and up the Carron River.

The Kelpies were looking particularly awesome on this chilly sunny day. It was great to get out!

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First stop was this pond near the Kelpies, which had iced over – hard to resist walking on water, and collecting sheets of ice!

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Aidan loved the cold, but Megan wasn’t quite so keen.

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This year-old swan was just standing on the ice sunning itself. We tried not to disturb it as we went past, but it decided to move over anyway.

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As well as the river, we walked through a community woodland which had some interesting features. This human sundial was very clever – the equation of time is handled by a platform with month names – stand on the current month, and your shadow indicates the actual correct time! There are separate hour markers for summer and winter time. It was bang-on!

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This sculpture / barbecue area commemorating the ironworks was also very impressive. I particularly appreciated the clever construction. Aidan and Megan are re-enacting the crucible scene on the plaque.

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A wonderful winter walk. Thank you Falkirk Council, Abbotshaugh and Langlees Community Woodlands, and the Helix!

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Eden project flowers!

On Friday 11th July we went to the Eden project and went into the outdoor biome, Mediterranean, the core and on Monday 7th (Aidan’s birthday!) we went into the rainforest biome. I took photos of flowers and I’ve got some information about them too. I didn’t have my camera on Monday though and so there’s no information or photos of them. Here are some photos of¬† flowers that I took on Friday.

Cornflower                                                                            Bougainvillea

DSCF1115¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† DSCF1052 You can use corn flowers as a border ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬† This is Grenada’s national flower.¬† for a flower a flower bed.

Hydrangea                                                                          Bird of paradise

DSCF1077¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† DSCF1055 Hydrangea’s are beautiful and if you ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Bird of paradise is a purple and orange¬† change the soil you¬† change the colour.¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† plant that looks like a bird.

Lily                                                                           Water lily or lotus

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You can get lily’s¬† in lots of different colours.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Water lily’s are basically lily’s that¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† grow in water that is dark pink and white.

Thank you for reading about the flowers I took photo’s of.

Written by Megan

We’re all going to the zoo today!

This weekend Aidan was away on his first Scout camp, so as a treat for Megan we went to the Zoo. It was very cold, but we had a really good day with excellent views of nearly all the animals.

A highlight was bumping into Kato the giant hornbill’s training session – we got our own private show and a fascinating insight into how to outwit a very smart bird!

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The pandas performed for us too, despite being warned they were asleep. Turns out between them they eat 70kg of bamboo a day, grown by a furniture company in Holland.

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The pygmy hippos had a baby – a pygmy pygmy!

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I loved the Visayan warty pigs – their pen was heaven for pigs, and the dozen or so gold-striped piglets were very cute. I watched one get a big fright when the twig it was playing with flicked up – it shot across the field at top speed back to mummy!

Not to forget penguins, tigers, rhinos, science in the monkey research facility, near relatives in the chimp house, crested pigeons, zebras, sunbears, wallabies, koalas, meerkats, and more and more!

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