Saturday, August 25, 2012

Summer 2012 England and France: Highlights

Finally getting around to posting these, our favorite things of July 2012.

Body boarding.

Inflatable swimming pool

Had a little leak and needed partial inflating each day, but never mind. Such a super deep inflatable pool!

The Beast
Oli bought this tent off Ben who was moving house. It cost £30 and is vintage. Oooooh. In such good condition and tall enough to stand up in! Two bedrooms and a living area inside. We had no instructions on how to build it, but after 30-minutes or so of lateral and virtual thinking, we worked it out. Oli has subsequently made instructions. 

He and the kids had a camp out one night. All good except for a minor 1.5 hour child nosebleed in the middle of the night. I was sleeping peacefully inside with Josie.... 

Gratuitous baby photo.

Swing ball!

One of our first days in England Lisa (Oli's mum) took us out in search of some backyard essentials including swing ball. Oli taught Lili and she actually paid attention to his advice (?!) and got really good really fast. She's better than me :( 

Highlight of this highlight: Lili ecstatically explaining swing ball to me: "And the ball doesn't even hurt if it hits you, so don't be afraid. I was a little scared but then it hit me hard in the face and it doesn't hurt."

Light sabers 

Many a Jedi on Sith, Sith on Sith, and even Jedi on Jedi battle were reenacted or invented this summer.

Bike riding

Lili finally learned to ride a bike. *Relief* This and swimming were two kid skills she was lacking until recently. Even though we've always known that she would eventually pick them up, I am definitely relieved now that she can do them. She's a bike riding star. This may sound starnge, but she's a good crasher. It's pretty funny to ride behind her, see her careen at a wall and sort of elegantly release the bike and dismount. To be fair though, there's not a lot of crashing, just speedy bike riding and sometimes, some braking.

Mendy and Dave!

We saw them in their new residence in Dorking (*snicker*). They took us to a secret passage in the woods. I was packing a baby and two light sabers. Dave got muddy feet and then we all got lost.

Perfume making

We stole flowers from people's gardens and then Lili made sample perfumes, a separate pot for each flower type to determine which made the best perfume. Lavender won. Then we couldn't be bothered to clean it up so all the perfumes grew moldy over a few days.

Trying to crawl

Life as we know it is almost over. Almost.


They're super cute.

Tide pools

Something we don't get in the Mediterranean, tide pools. So we certainly enjoyed Atlantic tide pools. Crabs, starfish, sea snails, limpets, anemones and lots of shells.

The shop

At a campsite we stayed at over Easter some little girls invited Lili to run their shop with them. The shop consisted of laying out bracelets and shells colored with marker on a concrete block next to the main road through the campsite. On the first evening of the shop one of the older girls brought Lili back to our cabin for dinner and Lili was thrilled that she had been given a cut of the money...2 cents! Woo!

One afternoon in France I was alone at the house with the girls, reading my book in the sun while they made pretend food. After a while I noticed they had been ferrying snacks from the kitchen to the backyard wall. These things included a packaged rice krispy treat, a pack of oat crackers, some pistachis on a bowl, among other things.

They asked me to help them make a sign and we made one that said everything cost 20 cents. Then I reminded them how to say hello in French and gave them a pidgin way to ask, 'Do you want to buy something?'

They 'Bon Jour'ed everyone who passed and by dinner had made 70 cents and expanded their inventory to include colored shells. On day 2 they added shell necklaces and ended up with almost a total of 3 euros. Each of the three big kids got a euro to spend. 

The bus

This was the first time I really got to use our bus and was the most extensive time we've used it general. She took her second trip to France via the ferry and in addition to being our day-to-day vehicle in England, we did a one-night camping trip at a country pub with a campsite.

On the way back from France, our ferry was delayed by an hour or so, so we popped the top, made tea, played frisbee and hung out with people from neighboring cars.

Big bubbles

Thanks to Ben and Caroline we got into making big bubbles. Bought the stick and string thing and a bottle of super bubble mixture from the Toy Box in Godalming. Will look for good do-it-yourself mixture recipes in the future as that stuff is expensive! In any case, after years of watching hobos on the streets of Barcelona earn our pocket change by entertaining Lili with these things, we've learned to do it yourself, and that it is a very addicting passtime...especially when there are no kids around to pop your bubbles! ;)

Slip 'n' slide

We had done this once when Lili and Hannah were much smaller and were looking forward to doing it in the weeks leading up to our visit to England. We found no good Slip 'n' Slide sets in the stores, so we did what we did last time....covered the garden with Lisa's laminated tablecloths and propped a sprinkler up on a chair. Instant Slip 'n' Slide.

Goodbye Milner Estate party

Ben an Caroline threw an awesome goodbye house party complete with all-day barbecue, a fire pit, late-night disco dance room, an outdoor tent with projections and a healthy round of the peg game. No one was spared.

Helping out Uncle Dave and Sam

Oli's brother David and his mate/co-worker Sam were sanding and painting the exterior of Buckleigh House our last few days in town. Lili took great delight in preparing lots of tea and biscuits, sanding and sweeping, all while wearing high-tech protective wear.