I love to take the girls down to our local National Trust Park. There is so much wilderness there. I park right down at the end of the park under the shade of the trees and spread out a blanket. We eat our picnic away from the crowds. No fancy sandwiches just a baguette torn into pieces, some cheese chopped into chunks, a pot of olives and cherry tomatoes, a punnet of strawberries and a huge packet of cheese and onion crisps. I save cakes for a going home treat. I'll also take a dog bowl, thermos' of water and some strong, milky coffee.
I gave the older three girls the camera and told them to give me some surprises. I think the pictures came out really well, although I didn't include in this post the many, many, many, crickets and ladybirds and snails that Nola persuaded them to photograph... "Take a picture of this buggy, and that buggy, Pwease, quick, now he's crawling up my sweeeve!"
The girls have a favourite Oak tree for playing see saw on. One of the branches in bent yet still strong enough to take the weight of a child and it bounces up and down when you sit on it. Nola calls it her pet dragon.
Fina and Nola played mostly in the little stick hut they made a couple of years ago and has since been embellished and furnished by other children. Nola has no fear and will try to follow her older sisters as far as they go. I'm sure she would be fine with them, but I can't let her. It is a completely different experience for me. The middle three were babies together and clung close to me, generally. But Nola is the youngest by 4 years and she has no apprehension of going out of my site so long as her older siblings are doing the same. I struggle with this on outings as I don't want to restrict the older ones freedoms but I still want Nola to be close to me. I also don't want to restrict her freedom, but I have to listen to my intuition. That is why I like this sprawling countryside so much. There are so many trees to climb, streams to paddle in and space to run and all within a close vicinity.
The dog has become very good at just hanging around us and not wandering off to meet, greet and jump on everyone as she used to. Though if she sees a duck or a rabbit she'll try to chase them so we have to keep a look out for that, but generally the ducks and rabbits outsmart her. Tani says she's got the junk yard dog look. I love her scruffiness, her goatie and her big long snout.
I settled the girls back in the car with some sweets and promises of ice cream while Boo and Emmy gathered some Willow for bow making.
They have been playing secret Summer Santa with their friends and wanted to make some bows and arrows for their chosen recipient. They are not too hard to make, although really more of an 8 plus activity. Emmy and I split a length of green willow with a billhook cut notches into the top and bottom for string and the girls sanded it. Matilda, Boo and Fina had fun whittling the arrows and decorating the bows with acrylic paint. And they really work!!! Think I might have to felt the arrow points.