Saturday, 23 August 2014


A: Super helpful big kid. When not trying to jump to the moon, he keeps a close eye on his brother in the park.
T: Noodles are his favourite. Always wolfs every last mouthful.

It's been a rather embarrassing seven weeks since I last posted a weekly picture of my children. Well, all I can say is that we've had a hectic summer and, sometimes, something's got to give. With just ten days left of the school holidays, the last bank holiday of the summer looming plus that hint of autumn in the air, I'm feeling a little melancholy. There's nothing like a bit of a shift about when the gloom hits, and this weekend we've tidied, cleaned and sorted ready for the weeks ahead. New school year = mini new year, and therefore new starts a-plenty. Might even go stationery shopping next week for a real hit of shiny September-ness...

Joining in with Jodi's 52 project

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Just So 2014

'I want to stay here for the rest of my life', I heard a small child say as we left Just So Festival on Sunday evening. And who could blame him? He'd just experienced the time of his life, no doubt. As had the rest of us.

From the minute we arrived (after the most hideous journey of gridlock/are we there yet?/backseat whistling), we had wall-to-wall fun - without the walls. Not exactly a camping pro - I may be a romantic but I never relish the idea of sleeping under the stars - we pitched up with our friends Kat, Lori, Heather, and Sarah-Lou, and got stuck into a weekend of magical adventures.

The kids got lost in the excitement of it all: rumpusing in the forest, sandcastles next to a pirate ship, Ukrainian gypsy bands, magic, dancing at the Northern Soul disco, big top skills, staying up and watching Charlie & the Chocolate Factory and Bugsy Malone, whispering secrets in the tent late into the night.

The best part? Just how sweet the kids were together, with each other and their new friends. Given acres to roam, small people with whom to roam, and more freedom than they've ever had before, those boys of mine were as happy as I've ever seen them.

We were kindly invited to the festival by the organisers of Just So, and we're incredibly grateful. Thank you Rowan and Sarah - you are AMAZING!

Thursday, 7 August 2014

In the sky

Today is the beginning of Bristol's annual Balloon Fiesta, a tradition that sees hundreds of hot air balloons rise high in the sky above the city.

As a child, the Balloon Fiesta loomed large over our summer, a focal point for fun and excitement. We'd watch them glide by from the flat roof of our childhood home, sometimes waving (slowly, with both hands), or alerted to their presence by the urgent whoosh of the gas filling the material. Each of us had our favourite balloon, those special shapes being the most thrilling of all.

There was that one year a balloon crash-landed on the zebra crossing near my house and we all rushed out as we saw it lose height. Down, down it came, our small, wide eyes incredulous as the basket bumped to the ground. My dad photographed the scene, the pictures later making the local paper.

And there was that time my primary school teacher asked me what my father did for a living. Not having the slightest clue, I made up what I really wanted him to do: hot air balloon pilot. In Bristol, that's not so far-fetched.

And there was that time last year we got the kids up early to climb to the top of the hill in the park, packed breakfasts by our sides, to watch those quiet giants rise up into the sky over our heads in the pale, milky dawn.

And there were endless times we'd just go to Ashton Court and sit on the grass and watch. Much like this video of just such a time, shot in the early eighties (I'd guess 1984 or thereabouts - I think I must be about eight years old). Only of interest (probably) to people who know us or balloon enthusiasts. But, hey, this is Bristol. There's a fair chance of a few of both out there.

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