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The Family Bandwagon

Our family is spread out across the country and across the world, and what better way to keep in touch than a collaborative digital journal?

Monday, 27 June 2016

Glamping in Glastonbury, a weekend in Wednesbury, and Chemistry with the Cubs

Hi all,

The last three weeks have simply disappeared! So here's all three bumpdates at once.

Glamping in Glastonbury

In Mid-May B & I decided to try to fit in a babymoon - a short holiday before bub arrives and changes everything. We started looking, with a few caveats - it could only be a weekend (B doesn't have much leave left for the year and we want to save that for after the little tyke arrives), somewhere close-ish (long car trips weren't that comfy for me), and obviously, not too expensive. And as the title suggests, we ended up glamping in Glastonbury.

We stayed in an ePod on the edge of a field - a little wooden building with a fridge, toaster and kettle. There was a Weber BBQ outside for cooking, and a private bathroom & toilet a short walk away. It was really relaxing to have a couple of nights semi-camping - food cooked on the fire, surrounded by greenery, listening to relaxing birdsong.. with the luxury of a real bed, blackout blinds, and access to a heated swimming pool! Divine! 

Saturday was our day for exploring (we arrived Friday and had to drive back Sunday). We started with a hike across fields to the Glastonbury Tor - apparently one of the most spiritual sites in the England. What a good place for a bumpdate:

From there we walked into town, past the Chalice Well (another spiritual site, but too expensive to look through a garden). Glastonbury is a strange town.. loads of hippy-type shops but with prices that seem above average. Bruce called them rippies (rip-off hippy shops, or shops for rich hippies). :-) After a tasty and random lunch (cream tea, chips & cheese ploughman's - all shared) we walked back out to the camp and had a swim. *phew* we certainly earnt our smores that night! For those who don't know, smores is a North American treat, we made ours by making a sandwich with chocolate digestives and marshmallows and heating it on the BBQ. :-)

All in all, it was a lovely relaxing weekend!
Some more photos here

Weekend in Wednesbury

Last weekend was British Father's Day, so Friday night we headed up to Wednesbury. We went shopping in Willenhall on Saturday, and visited Grandad on Sunday before going for a short walk around the Swan Pool.

And here is last week's bumpdate..

Chemistry with the Cubs

We've had a busy weekend this weekend! Yesterday Bruce had to keep 21 Cubs and 5 leaders occupied from 1pm-4pm. He hadn't been able to find any helpers, so I went along.

We ran three different activities - solar windmills, hydrogels (disposable nappies), and red cabbage chemistry. The first activity was engineering, the next two were chemistry (although hydrogels are a smart material and so they also fit under the materials engineering banner).

It was a super-busy day - we spent the morning collecting everything for the workshop and then the afternoon running everything (and cleaning up). As a treat, we stopped at Wagamama for dinner on the way home (mm, ramen). We ended up being out of the house for more than 12 hours, and my ankles certainly showed it (where did they go?!).

On the up side, we had some lovely weather at Swansea Bay Campus, so this week's bumpdate is from there:

Today we had our first antenatal class, it ran from 10am until 4pm. We were asked to bring along sharing food for lunch.. but apparently it isn't something that the British do. We took a tasty salad (mango, strawberries, bacon, chicken pieces, lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms and a yellow pepper - using veggie "meat" of course).. and we'll probably be eating it for the rest of the week! Other contributions included crisps; crackers and hommous; shop bought flapjacks and slices; grapes and watermelon; and cold pizza. O well.

We now have some idea what to expect next month (! Time flies!!).  We've got the second (and final) class next week. It's quite an intensive course but we couldn't fit in any of the "slower" classes (that run a couple of hours each week for 5 weeks) because either B or I were away for one of the sessions! We're lucky to have found any course that we could get to!

I've got two busy weeks before I start my maternity leave - I'm off to Aberystwyth tomorrow, back Tuesday.. then with training sessions in Swansea, ChemNet events in Treforrest and an open day, I'm already looking forward to sleeping all day Saturday! Bruce also has a busy June.. but he's promised me that he has no events booked in from mid-July - in case bump decides to arrive early. :-)

Everything is going fine with bump.. lots of moving and kicking (often when I want to sleep). We still don't feel ready, but we did get a pile of baby clothes from one of my friends (she got them in the grand tradition of hand-me-downs). Once I'm on leave I'll wash everything and get the Moses basket set up and all of that kind of thing. It's really weird to think that the due date is only four weeks away!
Apologies for another mammoth post. I'll keep the next update shorter. :-)

Friday, 10 June 2016

Gordon St Gossip

A week and a bit ago I managed to come off my bike. I was riding on the road and tried to ride up onto the footpath only to discover the gap between the two which I thought was manageable was actually quite wide. The bike went into the gap, and I continued with great force into the footpath.  I was a bit battered and bruised, and indeed my left shoulder is still recovering (I'll be sleeping on my right side for a while yet I suspect)

It's messed me about, but I've continued with my passion project - building a complete set of 16th century Japanese armour. I started it as a way to improve my non-existent handyman skills, although about 800 holes later I'm possibly only improving my skills with a drill. To buy a set of armour costs around $1000 though, so slow though my progress is at least, using the scrap metal I found around the shed, it's pretty cheap.

Apart from that I've been working. One animation job has turned into 4, but hopefully once they're finished I can have a bit of a break. I did find the first one I completed up on YouTube, so if you feel the need you can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-SNAxpQR1fc

Cheryl has finally caught the cold that's worked it's way through the household. It doesn't mean she gets a break from ferrying the kids from place to place, it just means she feels a bit more miserable while doing so. Hopefully she'll be better soon. Her bro will be arriving back in Bendigo with his family at the end of the month, and possibly Rach as well, so it will be great to catch up with them all again.

Oscar is doing much better at school - I think he's found his group of lunchtime friends, which is good. Right now he's all about the Pokemon card game, and I think they might regularly gather in the library to discuss it. Totally not like I used to do with Magic: The Gathering.

As I mentioned on Facebook chat his swimming skills haven't been advancing like we would hope, but the Swim School have offered him (free!) one-on-one classes to get him past the block. The school is pricey, but they definitely care about their students. He had advanced okay, and then went backwards, so hopefully this will get him back on track.

Lil is doing well with her dancing, swimming and kinder. She's a cheeky little bugger. This morning I gave her a pair of socks, and she said she already had some from the night before. I asked her what she did with the extra pair, and she answered "chucked 'em in the BIN" before running off chortling to herself. With no pants on of course.

That's about it from us for the last couple of weeks.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Cardiff capers

I've had a really relaxed week - long weekend + couple of days leave = one day work week! Score!

Bruce, on the other hand, was back at work on Tuesday and then headed up to the Urdd in north Wales on Wednesday, spent a couple of days taking about engineering, and drove back Friday. Luckily he wasn't by himself - the traffic was horrendous. On the way there, they were hoping to arrive around lunch time and it ended up being closer to 3pm! Coming back was a similar story (he left just after lunch and got back around 8pm). The journey should have taken 4 hours! Poor lad, he was exhausted by the time he got home. 

Here's this week's bumpdate:

This is one of the few maternity tops I bought - I've been making the most of stretchy materials so far :-) and I've been living in the two pair of maternity jeans we bought in Abu Dhabi! Bub is kicking me regularly these days, but usually stops just before Bruce gets to feel. Heheh.. tricky little thing.

We bought more of the small things this week - grow suits & sleep suits, blankets, socks, and a musical Winnie the Pooh (cos everyone needs one of those, right?). Mum, thank you for buying us some reusable cloth wipes and some long-sleeve baby grows (we used the Cashcard - and plan on getting some more things with it too!). There are plenty of things we still need (I think) - but not really sure what... did you guys buy a receiving blanket to bring your little ones home in? 

p.s. if anyone is feeling creative in a sewing way, I'd really like a 'birdie blanket'.. ;-) fleece on one side, flannelette on the other (wasn't it Mum, Lis?) We had those things for AGES! And if anyone wants to make one, Mum can bring it over when she visits. :-) Right?

Love to all.

Thursday, 2 June 2016