Frensham Little Pond – Friday 2nd June 2017

It’s the last day of the school half term for my two, they’re back to school on Monday. So what better way to spend their last day of freedom for a while, why not go on a massive walk! It was supposed to be a relaxing day strolling round Frensham Little pond, but it turned into an epic adventure. The drive down was fine and very uneventful, until we reached the final part. As we were driving along the narrow country lane I saw a road sign saying “Ford”. Now this word was in a red triangle, you know the sort of triangle I mean. In the 25 years since I passed my test I have never come across this sign. There in front of the car was some flowing water. How deep this water was, I had no idea. Do I get out the car to check it first, or just drive through it and hope for the best? I didn’t have much time to think what to do, as there was another car waiting patiently for me to cross the “Ford” first! I went very hesitantly, and I’m glad to say we made it through without any problems. The reason I was being so apprehensive was because a friend of mine once drove through a ford, and her car started to float away down stream, with her still in it!! We found the car park, but it was quite small. It was a national trust car park, so we were in the right place. We later found out that it wasn’t the main car park, just a sub car park.IMG_3945.JPG

Once we had parked we gathered up our packed lunch and made our way up the rustic path hopefully towards the pond. Very soon we arrived, and the sight that met us was amazing. It was so tranquil and peaceful. You could hear birds singing, dogs barking and children playing. It was perfect. There was several bird hides that you could look through, and get a wonderful view out onto the lake. They also had pictures of birds that you would most likely see. We saw a heron, a couple of swans and some moorhens with 3 little babies!!

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We wanted to find the perfect place to sit and have our picnic, so we started to follow the path. There are a couple of main paths that you could take, and then off each of those are lots of little paths. The vegetation varied as to where you were. Where the streams trickled through, it was like a wood with oak trees and bogs. Then you came out of that area and were into sand, and gorse bushes. This area look positively prehistoric, and we expected to see dinosaurs roaming in the distance. Then came a question from George, “If you were a dinosaur which one would you be?” How he gets through a day at school I will never know.IMG_3947-1

We finally found the perfect spot to sit and have our lunch, but before we sat down to enjoy our picnic we all had to use the ladies or gents. When you’ve got to go….. Round by some of the pond is a wonderful sandy patch. Emily called it “the middle class beach”. It was lovely. Just like being down at the beach, but you don’t have to pay for the car park, and no wind blowing away your umbrella. No horrible tasting sea water, and a lovely clean toilet very close.IMG_3951.JPG

The pond was very calm, and little kids and dogs were having a wonderful time splashing about in it. It seems that you can go in for quite a long way and it stays very shallow. There are no signs warning you of deep water either, so I guess it’s very child friendly. Once we’d had our picnic lunch George just couldn’t wait any longer, and stripped down to his pants (fortunately he was wearing some) and in he went. IMG_3954.JPG

Once he’d played enough in the water he then had to get out of his wet pants and back into his dry clothes. If you do visit her, make sure that you take a towel with you, you’ll need it. George had to drip dry, with the help of a few tissues that I had. He then hid behind a tree to change. The tree wasn’t quite big enough, and didn’t hid him completely, but he was very discrete and quick. Once he was dressed again we continued on our adventure. We climbed a rather high hill, which exhausted us all. We all had to rest at the top for a while before we continued. At least once you’ve climbed up a hill it’s easy going down.IMG_3959.JPG

When we’d explored enough, we went to the cafe to treat ourselves to an ice cream. Oh they were really lovely. George had a blackberry one, Emily had a rose water one and I had a caramel and walnut. They were all glorious!! As we were walking to the cafe, we saw a fire engine parked in the main car park with it’s lights flashing. We couldn’t see any smoke, so through they had just come to educate people about fire safety. We then saw a ladder leaning up against a tree, and a fireman helping a your lad down out of it. He’d clearly got stuck, but he wasn’t a young boy of about 5, no, he looked about 8 so should have known better. We’ve always had a rule in our house regarding climbing trees, “You get up there yourself, you get down yourself”. Some of you may think that’s a little harsh, but kids have got to learn!!

When we’d finished our ice creams we used the facilities again, and then decided that we would make our way back to the car. To say we went straight back to the car would be a very big fib. Now we have a family motto, “We’re not lost, we’re exploring”. Actually I can quite categorically say we were lost!! There’s no getting around it. We missed the path we should have taken, to be honest you could only see it from one direction. Emily was convinced we were going in the right direction, but George and I disagreed. After walking and walking and walking, Emily finally agreed that we’d taken the wrong route, and so back we went, and finally found the right path. Then to all our great joy there was our car!! We hugged it and told it that we hadn’t forgotten it. “What have we learnt today?” I asked the children. They looked at me, “Emily has a worse sense of direction that I do.” Next time we go we’ll remember where we parked. Hopefully!

 

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Tuesday 30th May 2017 – Day trip out with the kids

It’s the May half term for my two this week, so instead of staying inside and twiddling our thumbs all day, I decided that the best thing to do would be to go out and have some fun. The weather was supposed to be overcast, but hopefully dry, so I thought we’d take a risk and go to an outdoor National Trust place. Now I know we’ve been to Winkworth Arboretum before, but it’s always such a fun place to go, and we explored some other areas that we’d not ventured into before. We were well prepared with a packed lunch and plenty of drink (nothing alcoholic) as the kids are under age and I was driving. Winkworth is about a 50 minute drive from our house, but a very pleasant drive, especially when you don’t hit any traffic which we didn’t. When we arrived we changed into our proper walking shoes and off we went. We took a map, just incase we got lost. We have a saying in our family, “We’re not lost, we’re exploring”. Although sometimes we are lost, but shush don’t tell anyone. We decided that we were going to follow the red route, which was the longest path, and the most challenging path, and was about 3.6 k.

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At this time of year Winkworth is wonderful because all the trees are in full bloom and the azaleas are so colourful. There are wild flowers growing all over the place, and it’s just so quiet and tranquil. With the major building works going on right next to where we live and the noise that is coming from their machinery, it’s great to get away to the peace and quiet and listen to the wildlife for a change. Some of the wooded areas of the arboretum look like something straight out of the Cretaceous era. The kids and I were expecting dinosaurs to pop out from the undergrowth at any moment.

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We found some wonderful places to sit. Some very basic, a tree trunk cut in half longways. This is where we sat when we had our lunch. We chatted about all sorts of things, from camping (Emily and I are not fans), to adventures my sister and I got up to when we were little, to our new home (when we finally move in, when that will be is anyones guess), to other strange things that I can’t share with you and should only be discussed between my children and myself. We followed the red route all the way round, and when we sat down we played “eye spy with my little eye, something beginning with T!” I wonder what that could be? We found some wonderful swathes of lupins growing. Their colours were so beautiful.

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We took lots of photos and to finish off the day, before we got back in the car to come home, the kids had an ice cream and I had a black decaf coffee. I did ask for a black decaf coffee and the lady asked if I wanted milk? I guess they only hear the coffee part.

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A wonderful day, and a shame that Mark had to be at work and couldn’t join us. They don’t have a shop at Winkworth, so we were unable to buy him a little present. Still we’ll visit another place on Thursday or Friday and get him something then. Emily is not a very outdoorsy type of person. She loves going for walks, but dogs, cats, birds (even the chickens) she’s not keen on. Don’t get her started on bugs and insects, and definitely not spiders. So when we were sitting down having a snack and a teeny tiny beetle landed on the ruck sack, well, let’s just say Emily wasn’t amused. It was a tiny little thing and wouldn’t have hurt her at all, but I’ll let you decide whether it looks evil or not.

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Looking back At The Bestseller Experiment Episode 1 – Who Buys Bestsellers?

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Originally posted on Mark Stay Writes:
At the time of writing, we’re up to episode 35 of the Bestseller Experiment podcast and, as we get close to finishing the first draft of our book, I thought it would be interesting…

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How to grow French beans.

Have you ever wanted to know how to grow your very own French beans? If the answer is yes, then I have some wonderful news for you. My latest ebook is all about French beans. Click HERE and it’ll take you straight to it.

I’ll tell you how to prepare your soil, what structures to use, my favourite varieties, when to sow them, when to plant them out, how to look after them, how to harvest them, and a scrumptious recipe for you as well.

Now is the perfect time to start sowing your French bean seeds, so take a look at my latest book and it’ll give you everything  you need to know.

Happy growing!!

Claire x

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Claire’s Allotment Essentials – Carrots ebook is out!

I’ve been a very busy girl lately with my writing. My latest ebook on everything you need to know about growing your own CARROTS is available now. Click HERE and the link will take you straight to my page.

Don’t forget I also have my Essentials guide on how to grow POTATOES, and also an Essentials guide on how to grow ONIONS.

I hope you enjoy them, and find them useful.  I would really appreciate it if you could please leave a comment and a star rating as well.

Happy gardening and I’ve already started on my next book which will be out very soon.

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A Good Friday at Polesden Lacey

It’s hot cross bun day!! So what better thing to do then have some for breakfast, and then go out for the day as a family. Once we were all ready we drove to Polesden Lacey to have a wander about. It’s a National Trust place and we’ve not visited it for a couple of years, so it was good to go back. It was very busy, which we expected, and the first hurdle once we’d parked was to figure out the new parking machines. Now before, what you would do is, as long as you had your sticker on your car window then you didn’t have to visit the machines. Easy, simple, no hassle what so ever. Now, you have to get a ticket from the machine. It’s still free as long as you have your membership card. But oh dear lordy, lordy, it’s so fiddly. First you have to press “Any key”. Now we couldn’t see a key named “Any”, so we just pressed a key. Then you have to push the button to say you’re a visitor, then scan your card, and then finally a ticket is printed for you which you have to go and put on your dash board. What a palaver!! There are 2 machines and both had queues. Look National Trust, I love visiting your places very much, but there is a saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

We finally got in to Polesden Lacey, and off we went to explore. There were lots of kids running round doing some kind of easter egg hunt, but we wandered off, without a map, to find somewhere quiet to have out picnic lunch. Polesden Lacey is lovely. There are plenty of things to explore. On our travels we saw a beautiful rock garden with paths meandering through it. George being George had to follow the paths.

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You know in a previous life I think George was a dog. The reason for this is because he has to go for a good run at least twice a day, and where ever we go he always has to find a stick. There were other things discussed but I’m not going to talk about those here.

We sat down and had our lunch and looked at the views around us, which are so beautiful and calming. After lunch we continued on our exploring venture and found the vegetable garden, all of which looks very bare because it’s the beginning of the season. I’ll have to go back  again in July/August time to see it in full growth. We found the chickens that looked very happy in their large run. It’s surrounded by an electric fence, and George wondered if he would get a shock from the fence if he touched it with his wooden stick. How that boys manages to get through a day at school without injuring himself I’ll never know. Although I do sometimes get calls from his school, which I dread. Last time, about 2 months ago, he broke his finger during a PE lesson. I dread seeing his schools name come up on my phone.

After walking round for a little bit longer, we ended our day out going to the cafe to get the kids and ice cream and Mark and I had a hot drink each. Then it was time to come home. It was lovely for Mark to be able to come with us today. Usually he’s at work and the kids and I have all the fun, so today he was able to come and enjoy it with us.

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Happy Easter everyone, enjoy your hot cross buns today, and your chocolate easter eggs on Sunday, and spending this long weekend with friends and family.

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Friday 31st March 2017 – The end of an era.

This is a little bit sad, but I need to share it with you. Today was my last official day on my allotment plots. After 11 years I am leaving because we are moving house very soon. Don’t panic I will return, but it may be a couple of months before you see me again. We are moving a distance away from where we live at the moment, but in our new place we will have a much larger garden, and Mark and the kids have told me that I can do what ever I like with it. I love them all so very much. They clearly know how much gardening means to me. Let mum garden, it keeps her calm!

So for one last time from my allotment plots in Surrey here goes. Thank you for watching and commenting you really have made it more fun than I could ever have imagined it to be. I would also like to thank everyone on the allotment site. I have made so many wonderful friends and we have swapped so many stories and information, I will miss you all very much indeed.

Next time I see you, I’ll be in my new garden, and I’m hoping that you will join me there, not actually in the garden itself, but via the magic of You Tube!!

TTFN!

Subscribe to my HERE for my FREE newsletter and I also how ebooks available, so if you would like to know how to grow Potatoes or Onions I can help.

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