Sunday, October 10, 2010

Visit Home

Back in August we headed out to Ascension Island and had a week together as a family. I still need to process these photos and weed out several thousand before I can post them here. After our week there John came back to the Falklands as he was unable to take anymore leave and the rest of us headed home to the UK for a bit of much needed r&r and some shopping!!! obviously my favourite activity of all :)

We flew home to Brize Norton where I picked up a hire car and made my way back to Mum and Dad's. I only had one major scare on the way when I nearly turned right on a green light into oncoming traffic! You have to remember there are no roadabouts, traffic lights or major junctions here in the Falklands. I also had to stop myself waving to everyone we passed as you do here. We arrived at Yew Tree Cottage just after 10am to a wonderful bright summers day. A much needed cup of tea and then we all headed down the garden to inspect the new arrivals. The kids have been very excited about seeing the new chicks and they were not disappointed. They are so cute and all so very different. We all gathered around to choose our favourites and it was a close run competition. Throughout our 12 days home, Mum started to let them out to explore and it was very amusing to see their reactions. Some loved it, some freaked out and some were just not sure they could handle it. The top photo is a picture of one of the cockerals who spent most of his time rounding everyone up and making sure they didn't wander off. This lady above and below wasn't sure she wanted to come out but when she did decide that she might, she wasn't going to come out the easy way and jumped out of the top hatch flapping like crazy on the way down.

Below is the other cockeral in the pack who had a really stunning plummage. Unfortunately he met with a sticky end through Leo the dog much to my Mum's horror.

Mum wanted us to try to catch each chick so they would get used to being handled and the girls were more than happy to oblige. In fact the poor things got hunted down especially by Ellie who was very determined to handle as many as possible.

This one is a beautiful smaller bird with wonderful black and white plummage. Ellie was rather good at holding the birds and didn't fuss them to much.

But Maddie hung on for grim death and just about strangled the poor darlings when she got hold of them.
There was lots of fruit picking, veg pulling, onion cleaning and egg collecting going on behind the scenes and the little one thoroughly enjoyed helping Granny label up all her delicious home made jam and beetroot. I helped prick sloes for sloe gin and picked lots of blackberries and rip apples for sale at the gate. It really is the good life from Mum and Dad's plot and so nice to just wander out and see not only green, plants, flowers and veg but to just pick and then transfer them to the dinner plate. A big change from what we have here in the Falklands.

Somebody else was very pleased to have some play mates to stay and he followed the kids round most of the day waiting on ball throwing and kissing games.

I spent my first few days running around and reaquainting myself with shopping down at Cribbs, Cheltenham, Bath, Swindon, Cirencester and Nailsworth. School shoes, new clothes and supplies were purchased for the kids, craft bits and pieces for me along with some new underwear, jeans and shoes. J got a few bits but not everything I wanted to get him unfortunately as they didn't have it in stock. I actually got tired of shopping, gosh I am so out of practice, it will need to change when I get home for good :-)

We had some nice weather for the beginning of the stay but mid way through the heavens opened and we had rain for a few days. It was odd to see rain that come down vertically and that wasn't blowing horizontally, not only that but such heavy big drops. It is one thing that we don't tend to have a lot of here.

The kids spent most of their days on the go either with me shopping or in the garden with the grandparents. My Dad taught Euan how to shoot an air rifle which he loved. He was quoted as saying "It is such a lovely day Grandad, it would be a super day to go down the garden and shoot some targets"! how can you argue with that, well Grandad couldn't which Euan loved. I cannot complain though as most nights they went straight out like a light.

At the end of the first week we went over to Crudwell to visit old friends. We dropped Ellie off for her first of three sleepovers in a row and then went to say hello to our old next door neighbour Lynda. She looked absolutely fabulous after loosing lots of weight which made me rather jealous but she softened the blow by allowing me to trawl through all her clothes she was getting rid of. Thank you darling you are a star, I scored some wonderful dress and casual pieces. Our tenants kindly invited me around to meet them and their gorgeous little girl. We then went to stay with Ness and Bruce who are currently renting a place at the deer farm. All the stags were starting to rut and they looked very impressive with their racks. I had a chance to try out my new camera which I am very pleased with, it is such an improvement on my old one.

The boys Thomas and Harvey got along famously with Euan and much giggling and playing was heard from the bedrooms. We had a girly night out (pictured further below) and Bruce kindly babysat for us. The next day saw us all head off to a local country house to have a play in their tree top fun park. There was a death slide there that Euan used to love and this visit was no different.

Molly and Wendy, Maz and her boys Tommy and Joseph came along to so there was plenty of happy children running around the cargo nets, down slides and into hidden huts.

We had lunch in the sunshine even if it did mean sharing it with some wasps, which again I had completely forgotten about as we don't get them here. Cuddles were required on occasion for pretty much most of the children and I captured this one of Ness and Thomas that really shows their close relationship well.

Picture from the night before courtesy of Ness's phone so a little dark.

Soon enough it was time to head back and move children around for other sleepovers. Euan went off to his friend Tom's which he absolutely loved, climbing trees, riding go carts and generally being a boy, it was rather upsetting for all when I had to take him away the next day! Ellie went off to Aimee's after having been at Jess's and Flo's. Maddie came with me and we went to Wendy and Molly's house. Maz and Ness came over for chinese takeaway and we had a girly night in. I shall not say who's bra that Maz has one her head but it had us in absolute stitches for quite some time, I guess you could say you had to be there. I got to play with Maz's iphone which I loved and now secretly hanker after.

The girls were up late but they eventually dropped off and looked rather pieceful.

Soon enough it was time to say a teary farewell to everyone before heading back to my parents for a couple more nights before our flight out.

My Mum had some wonderful news while we were there, she had been approached by a magazine in New York who were doing a feature on etsy and it's sellers. She was asked if she would send one of her scarves to be photographed so it could be featured. How fantastic is that? she asked me to take some head shots of her in the garden but my Mum cannot get her picture taken without posing. I was trying to show her what to do when she snapped this one of me looking rather tired but very mellow.

Then of course tweedle dee and tweedle dumb had to get in on the action. They are both incapable of keeping a straight face also but I absolutely love the shots that I got of them messing about. Look how brown my Mum looks I was so jealous, even after a week in Ascension I had only just started to look normal again.

Ness popped over with the boys for a final farewell and a look around my parent's place. Bruce and Ness have just completed on a wonderful cottage in Gloucestershire which needs a bit of work but will be wonderful when they have finished with it.

Maddie came racing down the garden afterwards and asked me to come and watch her climb the tree. This is a big thing for her as last year she couldn't get up on her own but now with a little coaching from her siblings she has learnt how to climb up.

The following day we went and said our goodbyes to Great Granny who is still hanging in there at such a grand age. I spent ages trying to shuffle around weight and get our bags under the limit. It was not to be, I ended up 5 kilos over no matter what I did. I wedged all our bags in the little Turbo Vauxhall Astra which I had such fun driving and we headed back up to Brize to catch our long flight home.

Home safe and sound after a very bumpy and windy landing and all rather tired, we spent the next day getting caught up with unpacking and washing before the kids headed back to school. Fergus was very pleased to see us all back and followed me around for the following week. While we had been in the UK, Euan had been watching the Grand Prix with Grandad and it inspired him to build himself a lego formula 1 car.

It never ceases to amaze me how he can just build something from a little picture without plans and yet it always looks so good. It kept him busy for the best part of a day which was wonderful in my book as it meant he wasn't fighting with his sisters. The kids were wonderful in the UK and hardly bickered at all, yet get home and they started within minutes of landing!

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