Treasures

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Getting hold of a wider range of goods and services without using the car usually involves a journey across the estuary, and what a delight it is. A short walk takes us to our local ferry and a bumpy ride over the sea transports us to Fleetwood, a town packed full of interesting architecture and a good range of independent shops.

Designed by Decimus Burton in the 1830’s, the town was originally designed to accommodate the working classes in  ‘golden sands, sea, air like wine and breath-taking views across Morecambe Bay on clear days.’ It certainly felt that way as we enjoyed a beach side picnic today.

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A train load of books in Fleetwood Library…

And so to more domestic matters…..

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Planning this year’s harvest- inspired by the permaculture movement we are going to plant some full-size trees this year..more later

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Finding a much prettier alternative to filter cartridges

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A handwritten letter from a dear friend on the most gorgeous notepaper

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Making naan to go with our lentil and tomato curry.

A Few Lovely Things this week…

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Treasures on the beach- mermaid purses (shark eggs)

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Veg boxes- two ways

A delivery from Growing With Nature ( plot to plate less than 2 miles)

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Learning…

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Building wooden towns -and then knocking them down…

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music two ways….piano by CC, gramophone by me..wish I could play the piano!

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Finally getting around to stripping the lavender flowers from my dried bunches.

Into The Woods

Where dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water rats;
There we’ve hid our faery vats,
Full of berrys
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

W.B Yeats

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It’s been a week of contrasts. Reading the brave words of Tina Rothery as she recounts the days spent fighting energy giant Cuadrilla makes me feel so very sad and proud in equal measure. The brave team of people who are slow walking the trucks in an effort to save our water and air are heroes observed by many in Lancashire; as a mum of a small child, it wouldn’t be safe for us to be there during the week, but we can show our support on Solidarity Saturdays.

As activists we need to continue to thrive, take time for ourselves against the seemingly endless onslaught of bad news. We need to make sure that our families engage with nature and learn those precious lessons that only being outside shows us. After all, it is our love of the natural world that will save us, we only protect and cherish what we know and love. Being outside is so very good for our physical and mental well being and reminds us all of what is at stake.

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Time spent nourishing our minds and bodies strengthens us and makes us more effective.

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Today we spent time in the woods and baked a nourishing loaf. All my love to the activists in the world today, wherever you are. XXX

Raisin Bran Loaf

In a large bowl mix together;

1 cup sugar

1 cup of sultanas ( or any dried fruit such as dates)

1 cup of bran fibre (all bran)

1 cup of milk ( soya or cows milk work equally well)

Soak for one hour.

Add 1 cup of sr flour and a teaspoon of mixed spice.

Bake in the oven at around 160C for about 1 1/2 hours.

Why far fewer toys mean a happier and healthier child.

Children with too many toys struggle to focus properly and fail to gain meaningful experiences through play.

Our son turns one next month and we have made a special effort to limit the number of presents he is given this year. We have requested that people do not buy him gifts, asking friends and family to join us for a small celebration instead. Many studies have shown that a child who has far fewer toys experiences more enjoyment from them and will take far better care of their belongings.

Professor Kathy Sylvya of Oxford University writes about the harmful effects on concentration in a study of 3000 three to four year olds, her research showed a link between greater development of perseverance and intellect when children had fewer, well chosen toys and parents who spent time reading, singing and playing with them. Her research shows that giving children too many toys or the ‘wrong’ toys may actually be harming their development. She suggests a ‘distractive element’ in some toys may lead to children to struggle to focus and subsequently play and learn poorly.

Family homes also benefit from far fewer toys. We have a small basket in our living room with some simple wooden blocks, board and fabric books and a puppet. These toys are brought out when we play together with our baby and tidied away in the evening when it is time for bed. The adults in the house gain a restful living space, free of visual distraction and our son learns to take care of his special things. In his bedroom he has a compact shelving unit with some special toys for now and later on as he develops, wooden toy vehicles, a few books, some gorgeous hand made toys and a small selection of music making toys. Like any other family, these toys use used throughout the house and garden during the day, but are carefully returned to their designated place at night. The result is a restful home, pleasant for the whole family.

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It isn’t easy to achieve this, reminding well-meaning friends and relatives that you place more value in experiences and time spent is difficult. In our cash rich-time poor society it is so much easier to purchase a gift than to consider something that may add more meaning and value to a child’s life.

Next time you need to express your love why not consider the following ways to enjoy your time together?

A special day out -a picnic in the park,visit to a nature reserve or a trip at the beach?

An hour or two teaching a new skill-Spend some time baking scones, making pizzas or kneading bread together and treat yourselves to a cream tea at the end. Build something together such as a cardboard car or fort, defend it from invading armies and retreat for essential ’emergency’ supplies.

A special experience– a treasure hunt or scavenger hunt in the park or garden, a visit to see a seasonal display such as a bluebell wood or falling leaves in Autumn or exploring a castle or stately home.

A special journey – a trip on a steam railway, a seaside tram or funicular or a bicycle ride.

The memories of these special times will last a lifetime and are far more likely to be enjoyable and developmentally beneficial to our children.

Please share your stories and ideas, have you managed to make a birthday extra special ? We would love to hear from you.