Category: Grandparent stuff

if you go down to the woods …

if you go down to the woods …

I had a fine time yesterday when I set off with two of my grandchildren for an amble down the woods – grandchild number three remained at home with my wife, he’s just a little young too join in the sort of walk we had.

There’s seldom a time when we see them that they don’t surprise us and yesterday was no exception – before we had even set off both Daniel and Emma were chanting their 2 and 3 Times Tables to me – I’ve long since forgotten at about what age children learn these things but I hadn’t expected it from a five and three year old. To be fair they topped that whilst we were out walking when they started singing some song about the Romans with mention of Carthage – after they had finished and I had complimented them, Daniel told me in a quite matter of fact sort of way “It’s Geography Grandad”

081117 Woods (3)I had a single £1 coin in my pocket and when we stopped off at a local newsagents I had optimistically thought that we might get three chocolate Freddo’s – alas they had decided that it would be a good idea to get one Milky Bar and one Freddo which they could then both share. The two bars accounted for £0.95p of my single £1 … I was grateful for them both allowing me a small bite of their chocolate bars.

After that it was a pretty much routine walk through the woods down near the River Tame with imaginary worlds to explore and ‘mountains’ to scramble up – and on one occasion, for the three of us to tumble down, it could have been worse and we really shouldn’t have gone up it, thankfully we hadn’t been seen by anyone or I’m sure I would have been branded irresponsible.

We found names for almost everything we came across: slippy bridge, Roman Ruins, white water corner, big mountain, red rock mountain etc … and to be honest I’m not sure who enjoyed it the most!

Lunch was a simple affair – a jam sandwich for Daniel and a cheese sandwich for Emma, I got some of the crusts from Emma’s bread (or bones as we call them).

All in all we walked 3.5 miles, had a good time, got dirty and didn’t go near a television, DVD or Ipad – sometimes the best things really are free.

Although Harry had been left at home – he didn’t look as though he had missed out – and as well as nipping to the shops with my wife, he had generally had the run of the house as well as the endless fascination that a small boy gets from a washing machine.

One last thing – as we walked home we passed the primary school where my children used to go many years ago, I pointed it out to the children and explained that was where their Mummy used to go – they were genuinely surprised and asked me why did she go to school, as children who are being Home Educated I suppose I should have anticipated the next question – “did you teach her Grandad?” … er no, “why not Grandad”, er I don’t think I would really have been good enough to do that,  a look at her Blog will amply illustrate that she really does excel in ways that I never could


pumpkin time …

pumpkin time …

Yesterday was that time of the year when another established routine in our house takes place – the annual pumpkin activity with the children.

The only change in the routine this year was the addition of small pumpkin so that Harry could join in with Emma and Daniel – which he did with enthusiasm.

It’s actually a pretty basic process, the children draw their design (strongly encouraged by me for them not to do anything other than simple – due to my limitations with a knife) – I then attempt to carve out the design  and the children scoop out the innards.

Thankfully I had design control over Harry’s, and whilst Emma’s was a pretty traditional design it just left Daniel to offer the challenge by the inclusion of four eyes in his pumpkin design, it could have been worse as his first drawing had 10 eyes!

The other bonus of the day was that I had received a package earlier that arrived in two large boxes … or cars as the children informed me, so a bit of fun was had in those – which included me ‘driving’ them around the kitchen.

After that the morning was rounded off with some decorating of cakes for Halloween, I was a little dissapointed that the children were allowed to take them all home!



time passes so quickly …

time passes so quickly …

A little over five years ago I was at Manchester Airport about to board a flight to Amsterdam with my son to watch Manchester City play Ajax in the Champions League, with just a few minutes to go before boarding I got a ‘phone call to tell me the news that my daughter Sarah had given birth to her first child – a boy.

Step forward five years and my wife and I were calling to a local community hall to deliver the Paw Patrol birthday cake that my wife had made for Daniel’s 5th birthday.

As well as a bunch of his friends being there, his younger sister Emma and younger brother Harry were also there.

It wasn’t a family party as such, already he’s ‘too old’ for that, so after delivering the cake we didn’t stay too long so as not to outstay our welcome, but we did call back later to help with the cleaning and tidying of the community hall.

It was excellent to see that the children played traditional games and activities (including pass the parcel and biscuit decorating and even better to see that none of them had their heads buried in mobile phones or iPads.

Later in the week – 1,825 days after arriving and on Daniels birthday we met up for breakfast before they called back to our home for some present opening.

timeWe’re fortunate to have frequent and regular contact with our grandchildren, but it doesn’t half focus your mind on the passage of time and we can hardly believe how quickly the days have passed.

Five years ago we didn’t have any grandchildren and now we have three – along with birthday parties and the inevitable cake making being firmly established as part of our family routine.



another few weeks pass by …

Peek a BooAnother few weeks have passed by since I last posted on this Blog – that’s not because we haven’t seen much of our grandchildren – quite the opposite in fact, it’s just been a case of there not really being enough hours in the day to keep up to date with everything.


Not surprisingly the children continue to be massively entertaining and the continued development of their personalities and abilities continues to astound us (as well as bringing us great pleasure).

I addition to sampling some of Grandma home made (best served warm) sticky stem ginger cakes we also got to sample some of their home made Slovakian biscuits … which were magnificent.

IMG-20171013-WA0006A trip to my parents in Cardiff saw us come back with homemade shortbread from Great Grandma – heart shaped and with the children individuals initials set into them, which not surprisingly went down well as did the duck shaped egg cups which received a fine thumbs up from Daniel.

Last but not least was the now routine taking of ‘staircase pictures’, this time with Daniel and Emma wearing a couple of my old crash helmets – complete of course with some face pulling!






if you go down to the woods …

if you go down to the woods …

If you walk a few hundred yards from where we live and go down to the woods near the River Tame, then you can hear the wolves and risk being chased by them … well you can according to Emma.

Happily though there were no wolves yesterday when Daniel, Emma and I set off for a wander through the woods and did the sort of things that small children should be doing when their out with their Grandad  – pulling faces, clambering up into the woods  (or mountains if you’re Daniel or Emma), swinging from rope swings (some a little more precarious than others), throwing stones in the River, getting a bit muddy and all in all having a good time – and watching out for the wolves of course! Click  on any of the pictures to open them.

All in all it was a reasonable distance for the children to walk, we did 2.8 miles and had a very decent time of it, the first picture in the gallery below is what it looks like when you believe you have heard a wolf. Click  on any of the pictures to open them.

Then to round off a decent afternoon what on earth can be better than when you get served cheese and onion pie that your Grandma has made and that your Grandad has wrapped in paper. Sometimes it’s the simplest things that are the winners, but I’ll leave the verdict with Daniel who simply said: ” I can’t believe my eyes”


park time …

We had some time in Wythenshawe Park this week with Daniel, Emma and Harry.  Its always a reasonable park to go to, plenty of parking, decent play area for the children, woods to wander through and a small community farm. To be fair the community farm isn’t great, but the children always seem to enjoy a quick wander around there.

Our visit started well when Emma spotted a small hedgehog as soon as we got out of the car.

After that it was straight to the park area for some pretty energetic play on the most of the items that were there.

It doesn’t seem so long ago that when Daniel and Emma went on the swings they only wanted to be gently pushed – how things change, this time they had me pushing them as high as they could possibly go and then as fast as they could possibly go on the small roundabout!

Next up was time for a wander through the small woods and time to collect some ‘interesting things’ which included acorns and which in turn led to finding an oak tree and making the link between the acorn and the tree, and then of course some hide and seek, quickly followed by some tree climbing and a walk to the statue of Oliver Cromwell.

Next up was time to sit down and eat our picnic, before a wander around the small community farm. To be honest by this stage I was more than ready for the respite of that sit down and a welcome cup of coffee.

We rounded our visit off with something from the ice cream van, always a decent way to finish off a trip out with your grandparents.

All in all a decent day.


thunderbirds are go …

As a child growing up in the 1960’s the futuristic tales of International Rescue and the Thunderbirds easily captivated me and I suppose I probably watched all of the episodes at least a couple of times.


I would have been around six years old when the first episodes were broadcast and there’s something neat that now over 50 years later my Grandchildren are discovering pleasure and entertainment in that same thing.

This new found area of interest was prompted when they spotted some die-cast Thunderbird models in the garage the other day, which in turn led to me looking up a few episodes on You Tube to help me explain how Thunderbirds 1, 2 and 3 took off.

Both Daniel and Emma were as taken with Thunderbirds as I was all of those years ago, despite the puppetry being amateurish when compared to the latest CGI type productions.

It wasn’t a long step from there to them asking if they could come to our house to make Tracey Island … and that’s exactly what we did last week – although the keen observer will note that our cardboard model of the ‘island’ differs a little from the original, but there’s no stopping when you’ve got imagination, cardboard, glue and a bit of paint.

There’s some pictures below of the work taking place and the creativity didn’t stop with the children, I crafted the magnificent (and realistic) swimming pool on the top- clicking on a picture will open a scrolable galery. 

Our visit to Buxton yesterday was directly linked to this stuff as we spent an hour or so scouring the charity shops there for old Thunderbird toys – unfortunately our search was good fun but fruitless.

Although Harry was with us he didn’t take part in the construction work, preferring to check the walls for hand marks … a spot of lunch and then the finished item complete with Thunderbirds 1, 2 and 3 in their respective ‘parking’ areas …