It has been a stop start sort of week as we've found our home ed feet again after the Christmas break but yesterday we enjoyed a really super day out at Bourton-on-the-Water.
I'd been keeping a close eye on the weather all week and the forecast looked great so I had made up my mind to take them out somewhere and enjoy the sunshine. Also, Jenson had been talking all week about about having a tea party for Bunny and Clown, (the little sewing kit that I talked about in my previous blog) because apparently they were struggling to become friends. It was a fascinating insight into perhaps how Jenson sees himself and what he needs to do in order to make friends with others.
Knowing the kids and how naked they like to get I packed a spare of everything. We also packed a little wicker basket with enough plates and cups to go around for Jenson, Wren, Clown, Bunny and Dog. These day outs always feel like such a lot of effort even before getting out of the front door, however it is (nearly) always well worth it. We parked up and I asked them what they would like to do first. Jenson pointed at Birdland and ran off in its direction.
I was surprised how interested in the birds the children actually were. Normally a good playground and an ice cream provides the main entertainment and although they did enjoy the playground at Birdland I think equally they enjoyed looking at the birds too, in particular the King penguins!
I must admit to getting a little carried away with the camera at this point! I've never seen penguins so close, literally just a few feet and well within touching distance. I can imagine on a warmer day in the school holidays you wouldn't be able to get even remotely close to these beautiful animals. Home schooling really is fantastic at times like this when we were fortunate to enjoy a very personal encounter.
In the end the kids had to drag me away from the penguins! Jenson had spotted the flamingos and correctly identified them too.
Then of course we found the playground. The kids had it to themselves so I left them to it. I was more fascinated by the gorgeous parrots that were just next to the play area. How handy!
Without the burden of school Jenson is able to enjoy physical exercise more and more. He has more energy and so much more enthusiasm for everything. Here he was showing me all the different stretches he could do using a simple hand rail and rope swing.
There's a picture on our wall at home from a year or so ago of the pair of them having a cuddle and I remember it was something that happened so infrequently I was lucky to capture the moment. Now, for the most part, the balance has shifted completely. Yes they still fight, but they spend so much more of their time now as best buddies. It's really wonderful to watch.
I'd say the pelicans came a close second to the penguins. Again, we were the only ones there and they seemed remarkably happy to stand right by the railings giving the children and I a bit of a jump whenever they lunged at us with their giant beaks! Wonderful characters. We spent a fair amount of time with the pelicans, mainly because I was desperate to get a half decent shot of them! The children were very patient with me.
We took a walk around the park. Jenson made some good observations about the birds and correctly identified the cranes. We came across a bird bath that had frozen over and Jenson asked if we could find a stick to poke through the cage and break the ice. We couldn't find one small enough that was strong enough but I was touched by his compassion towards the animals and their needs.
Lunchtime called and as I had left all the food in the car we took a slow stroll back to the entrance, walking past the penguins on the way out! I've been thinking about a new lens for my kit for some time now and after today I think it's made up my mind that a pro telephoto lens is definitely needed!
Just a quick pit stop needed before we left and when I came out of the loo I found the pair of them like this!
We picked up all of the things for our tea party from the car and the children picked a spot by the river where they wanted to sit. Jenson couldn't resist feeling how cold the water was, Wren on the other hand was content playing second shooter!
I think the children chose a brilliant spot for their tea party. The ducks thought so too as they swarmed around us! We were literally fighting them off as they pinched food out of our hands and snuck their beaks into our bags!
After the tea party the children spent over two hours just playing together. One of their favorite games was duck spotting. Think of poo sticks and you get the idea!
Duck spotting became a little wearisome after a while so they started some hilarious role play games which included schools, work, dropping Wren off at nursery and my favourite: check ups. This involved Wren lying on the floor on one side of the river and waiting for Jenson, who would run over the bridge tap whichever part of her body he was checking then both running back to me to inform me that Wren's head/back/heart were all okay.
That evening I had acupuncture but when I returned Jenson presented me with a present and a card that he had made whilst I had been out. I was really touched. Although according to him it was a birthday present, Jenson had given me so many yummy hugs since we had got back that afternoon that I couldn't help feel in part it was a thank you gift. Simon agreed. That night I asked Jenson if Bunny and Clown were now friends. He picked one up in each of his hands and threw them together in a huge embrace that turned into a massive smooch! A great day where friendships were made, a party was had and fun was shared.