Sunday, March 30, 2008


The Shepherd family joined us for Easter (well, Christopher and Carrie didn't make it but that's ok as they're moving just down the road very shortly!) and we had lots of fun celebrating with a
Middle Eastern symbolic breakfast (courtesy of the Calladines) involving crackers, coffee, sugar and egg yolk - it's actually quite nice!
hunting out Easter eggs,
eating chocolate,

going on the Avon Valley steam train (though Matthew wasn't as impressed as I expected, partly tired, partly poorly and partly because the train steamed into th station with quite a bit of noise and he was a little frightened; he remembers it fondly now however!)
and experiencing the competitiveness of the Nintendo Wii (and nearly losing our TV screen).

Friday, March 14, 2008

Coach Carter

So Neil had his choice of players (bar 1) for this weeks crucial match against a sport's academy local school. He was clearly inspired by Barnsley's win over Chelsea last weekend (the first thing Neil said to me when he woke up on Sunday morning was not "I love you!" but "Chelsea lost!")because they were 3-0 down at half time but came back to win 7-4! I'm very proud!

Monday, March 10, 2008


At the end of half term we went to Liverpool to see the Shepherd side of the family. I always love going to Liverpool (not least because every time we go out for a curry it's amazing!) and it was great to see Alastair and Helen's house nearly finished after over a year of building and refurbishment - it's so nice! We visited a children's centre called Underwater Street which had a fantastic range of activities, including painting a mini (as in the car!)! Matthew and Emma did manage to paint quite a lot of themselves too!

We also took a trip to a National Trust red squirrel sanctuary; I realised why people think they're so much cuter than grey squirrels. I was amazed at how near they came up to us, but then we did have a big bag of nuts to give away.

On the way home we stopped at The Iron Men, a piece of art - iron sculptures of men spread out down the beach over a distance of about 5 miles. At high tide only their heads are showing but as the tide goes out more and more of them appear. It was really quite impressive but my photos won't do it justice.

Sunday, March 09, 2008


On one of the very chilly days in half term we decided to visit the helicopter museum just outside Weston-super-mare (our thinking was that it was way too cold to go for a big walk with Matthew in a carry-pack so we'd do something inside, not thinking that a helicopter museum would just be a big metal aircraft hangar which would be freezing but not have the benefit of the sun!). Matthew loves helicopters and he spent the whole time running from aircraft to aircraft saying "copter"! We didn't spend very long there as a toddler's attention span is brief but it meant I didn't have to try and look interested in the immense amount of reading there was. The entry ticket is valid for a whole year but I think I'll send Neil with Matthew and a grandad or uncle next time!

After the museum we decided we couldn't possibly leave Weston without visiting the beach. Matthew loved the space to run and giving us parcels of sand and then we had a picnic in the boot of our car - very English but good fun!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Catch Up

There has been little blog activity over the last two months because I thought there hasn't really been a lot to tell. However, in searching ou a couple of photos I've found quite a few so this post will probably turn into two!

English winters are definitely warmer in Bristol than in Sheffield but that hasn't stopped either Mags or I making the executive decision to put the heating on all day on a regular basis. The park is still a favourite in most weathers, apart from on one occasion when Matthew's only word the whole time was 'chilly'. I thought this was understandable when he came off the the slide with his fingers covered in frost!
Still, spring seemed to arrive very early and the flowers and sunshine encouraged me to get my camera out and try and be arty. Matthew's become more of a chatterbox and it's great for him to be able to make himself understood - less frustration and tantrums! He's a bit more into sticking and colouring but balls are stil the absolute favourite (unless, of course, he could be watching In the Night Garden and then there's no contest!). Matthew went to one of his first birthday parties too and they decorated gingerbread men - what I think was most impressive was that they survived long enough to actually be decorated before they were eaten! I've done a couple of days supply teaching which I've enjoyed; though I'd had enough of the features of instructional texts after I'd taught the same lesson to four different classes on one day!

Neil is now the manager of the Year 7 boys football team; he's very proud at the moment as they've won all their matches. However the lads have dubbed him 'Coach Carter' - basically if their behaviour in class isn't good enough they don't get to play. So who knows if there will be a team to actually turn out and play the next this space.