Monday, 3 June 2013
Yew are so nice
Half term has come and gone in a flurry of picnics, little adventures and general small boy mayhem. An afternoon was spent at Nailsworth, where I spotted this wonderful yew tree. I have a bit of a thing for yews; they are so tough, often incredibly old and they grow in all sorts of places and in all sorts of shapes. I've got a couple of little ones in pots - I forgot to mention that they are also rather pricey, so they are only small - but one day maybe they'll be like this beautiful specimen.
Nailsworth is a lovely little town, full of wonderful old buildings, like this one with its fantastic wonky roof. Well worth a visit.
Another place well worth a visit is Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust. Last week was Downy Duckling week, with tours of the duckling hatchery and the behind-the-scenes part of the property. Firstly we got to see eggs illuminated so that we could see how far along the duckies inside were. The children even got to listen to one that was about to hatch.
Then we went inside to see the brand new ducklings - some that had hatched that day and plenty that were just a few days old. Honestly, is there anything cuter - oh so downy, with great big feet and dear little wings and funny little beaks. The tour guide told us before we went in, "I won't bother giving you any information in here because you won't hear a word I say, you'll be too busy ooh-ing and aah-ing." He was right.
Then there was the outside bit, where the ducklings are put after a couple of weeks. The ones that like to dive have nice deep tanks. It was sunny the day we were there, and it looked blissful. The whole thing is covered with net to keep out predators and they have comfortable pens to go in when they've had enough swimming. It was beautifully run and maintained, and I'm glad we managed to visit this year during the duckling week.
We finished the holiday week with a Sunday afternoon picnic at Portishead. It's one of our favourite parks - loads of open space, a nice play area and a boating lake. I took the boys out in a rowing boat and we just about managed not to fall in. There was lots of changing seats and rather uneven attempts at rowing. We did get in a bit of a pickle a couple of times, and the middle boy managed to whack someone in another boat in the back with a dripping wet oar. Oops. There was of course football, also cricket, sandwiches, crisps and cookies. It was lovely, in the way that only a tranquil Sunday spent in the sun on the grass with those you love can be.
The route home follows the river upstream. This is the view from the main road. You can just about see the original Severn Bridge to the right of the picture. I never tire of this view; in any season it's wonderful.
And then it was all over and off they all went to school, leaving me with mud, dust, crumbs and a pile of laundry. Oh, and a frog. When I was tying in a rogue raspberry cane, he lept out and scared the life out of me. I am so not ready for a whole pondful of froglets. What was I thinking???