Posted on September 25th, 2016 - Fiona
I thought I was done with the emotional roller coaster of the first day of school. At age twelve to eighteen my children are all growing up and finding their independence. Their need for me and their Dad is reducing all the time and this independence is something I’ve always encouraged. However I failed to factor in just how emotional taking the first to University would be. Suddenly I felt like a parent taking my child to his first day at primary all over again; except worse, I wouldn’t be returning to collect him with a big hug in a few hours.
Off to Cardiff University
When Alistair secured his place at Cardiff University I was so happy for him, it was an exciting new world opening up. The days closed in and as we drove up I could feel the apprehension in the car. A cocktail of nervous excitement from Alistair and a quiet dread of saying goodbye from me. Thankfully it was a beautiful day and the bridge into Wales felt very welcoming.
Nick had driven up separately as Alistair was keeping his car with him. As we met at his new halls of residence it felt like time had stood still from 30 years ago and my own first day. That same smell, a cross between school and a hospital, the old fire doors, bike lock up and small rooms. However a friendly group of early arriving girls keenly welcomed Ally to the group on his floor and I felt things were going to work out at university. He even had a cracking view over the city and Cardiff bay from his 5th floor window.
We were blessed with the most amazing September weather and took Ally for brunch in Cardiff bay. I’m already looking forward to return trips and Nick is exploring the idea of hiring a boat to blast across from Padstow to Cardiff which he thinks would only take an hour.
With a big supermarket shop done there was no more need for us to be there. It was time for us to bid him Goodbye and let him find his feet alone. I was determined not to cry but as Nick pointed out the family photos he had secretly packed and pinned up on his notice board I almost cracked. I walked out with a huge lump in my throat, but reassured this little cuckoo was well set up for his new university life.
I had to wait a full 36 hours before I had my first Facebook message. He had been out to his first freshers party and it was “awesome” relief flooded through me. He is hopeless at staying in contact so I treasure the occasional message and I’m trying not to keep asking how he is. I don’t want to be an annoying parent, but it is so hard to just let go and not wonder how he is doing. I remember all too clearly blaming vandalised payphones when I forgot to ring home, though I guess the modern day equivalent would be ‘my phone was out of charge or credit’!
Ally has left a big gap in our family life but we are learning to adjust, it is every bit as hard as I feared and I think about him all the time. Whoever is on dinner time table laying duty is still setting out eight places instead of seven. I can’t believe I may have to do this 5 more times over the coming years. If you have a little one just started primary, watch out, the heartache at leaving them certainly doesn’t get easier as they get older. Once a parent, always a parent, even when they fly the nest.
Posted on September 24th, 2016 - Fiona
Usually we have our piglets at around the time we return from visiting family in France over the summer. Sally, our breading sow, has a regular date with her boyfriend up on a pretty farm on the moor. Despite being reluctant to enter the trailer in spring, she jumps out to greet her new companion and spends a happy vacation there for a round a month. This year however things didn’t go to plan, Pasty the boar had gone off the boil and a new boyfriend was summonsed.
Where have all the piglets gone?
It was with some relief that we received the call to say that Sally had definitely been serviced and was ready to return home. The net result is that the much awaited piglets are later than ever this year, resulting in many questions from our regular guests. That said there is no doubting now that Sally is most definitely in the family way, and we suspect due next week.
I have been keeping a close eye on Sally on my morning farm checks ahead of the feed run. Instead of rushing to the gate to greet me she has now taken to lying in bed and sleeping in, a sure sign the piglets are growing and zapping her energy.
You can really see her belly protruding as it houses the piglets. I wonder how many she will have this year; last year she had a whopping 14.
I may not be the only one watching over Sally
I have noticed I am not the only one keeping an eye on our Sally. A friendly little robin sits all puffed up on her fence looking in each day too.
If only I could communicate with the Robin and ask her to come and tell me when Sally goes into labour, it would save me a lot of checking each day! However the fantasy notion is soon broken as the cynic in me realises the robin is actually loitering in the knowledge it will soon breakfast time and an opportune moment to pinch a little of Sally’s treats!
It is the cheeky Robin who has the last laugh!
Posted on September 23rd, 2016 - Fiona
Welcome to Country Kids from Coombe Mill
Country Kids is the original outdoor family fun linky designed to:
“Encourage family fun outdoors, in an age where technology and screens are such a draw to a sedentary indoor life”
Welcome back if you are a regular to Country Kids and if you are new please join in. You will find plenty of inspiration for enjoying outdoor space and please do share your own adventures. We support the National Trust 100 things to do before you are 11¾ along with all other ideas for family fun outside.
Trying to Pull the sword from the stone continues to delight children here each week.
Guidelines for Joining in:
- Post must be predominantly outdoors such as in the garden, the park, the woods or the beach with crafting, learning, exploring or playing.
- Despite the title, both countryside and urban outdoor adventures are welcome.
- Large unheated covered areas like a barn or tent count as outdoors.
- Comment on my host post and a minimum of 3 others of your choice.
- If you use #CountryKids when commenting the post owner will know where your found them and hopefully come back to visit your post.
- Please take my badge, without it you won’t be considered for winning the lovely Rockfish Wellies.
- Linked posts should be written and made live within the last 2 months.
- I understand sometimes you need to do catch up posts and write about something from a couple of months ago but the publish date should be within 2 months.
- By joining in with Country Kids you’re giving me permission to email you weekly as a reminder.
- There is no restriction on the number of posts that can be linked up, however please be sensible, if you have more than 3 consider linking over a few weeks.
Thank you to my top commenters from last week:
1st Cheryl from Time to Craft who commented on 25 posts this week.
2nd Samantha from Chocolate and Wine and I’ll be Fine who commented on 23 posts this week.
3rd Tracey from Mummyshire who commented on 22 posts this week.
I would also like to say a massive thank you to Merlinda from Glimmer of Hope who commented on a whopping 29 posts even though she hadn’t joined in with us this week! For putting so much effort in I’m sending her a little thank you present: a Coombe Mill hat.
Fantastic work ladies, thank you so much. Do check out their posts linked above too.
Massive welcome to Ashley from Views from an Urban Lake who joined with a wonderful after school blackberry picking adventure.
My top commented post will automatically qualify for a chance at the Rockfish wellies below provided other giveaway criteria are met.
‘link dump and run’ culprits was down to 2 which is an improvement on last week, please don’t be guilty of this.
Introducing Rockfish, the Country Kids Sponsor
Win a pair of wellies from Rockfish Monthly
I am delighted to introduce Rockfish as the sponsor for Country Kids. Rockfish are a local Cornish company specializing in stylish Wellingtons for all the family. We have been offering their country wellies in our borrow room here on the farm for over a year and they are always popular for their style, comfort and durability.
Each week my favourite #CountryKids posts, which include my badge or a link back here, will be considered for a free pair of Rockfish Wellies at the end of the month; the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors whatever the weather throws your way.
For more more information on the Rockfish Wellies on offer with us and terms and conditions to win see here.
Posts from last week in with a chance of the September Rockfish Wellies:
Cheryl from Time to Craft is the Country Kids top commenter for this week with a fab 25 post comments last week.
Dutch Dutch Goose shows off the beauty of the Isle of Skye with it’s stunning landscape, castles and seals.
Burnished Chaos shares a great action day bringing history to live at a Roman Fort
Country Kids Communities
I’d love you to join me:
Pin on the Pinterest Board Just ask for an invite to pin and include Country Kids on your pins for me to stop by on your boards too
Follow Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays’s board Country Kids from Coombe Mill on Pinterest.
Join the Google Plus community page for Country Kids and add #CountryKids to your tag elsewhere for a +1 from me
Share your posts on Instagram and Twitter with #CountryKids for a like or a re-tweet
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Posted on September 23rd, 2016 - Fiona
Each year on our family holiday to France one of the highlights of the week is kayaking down the Gardon. This is our 4th year and I was worried it may have lost its appeal. I couldn’t have been more wrong, old rivalries and competitive family banter kept the day as fun filled as ever.
Let the adventure begin
Just to kayak the 8km from the start to the collection point would take 2.5 hours, however we always manage to spin it out into a full day trip.
Half the fun is in stopping to moor up and swim along the way, jump from the rocks and enjoy a picnic. Sometimes it feels like we have only just begun paddling again before someone spots another good stopping place. Every year their favourite jumping places beckon and the confidence of their jumping increases. It certainly makes jumping from the Coombe Mill Bridge look rather tame!
The picnic I make beforehand seems to vanish in minutes, but kayaking is hungry work!
Pont du Gard
One place we always make time to stop and swim is at the famous Pont du Gard. It is such an impressive site as you turn the corner and see the elaborate viaduct towering overhead. There is actually parking there and many day trippers are lining the banks too enjoying a family day, it takes all our best kayaking to navigate between the swimmers with much calls of “Attention, Pardon” as we skim by.
It’s all about winning!
After the Pont du Gard it is a long row along the open waters of the Gardon to the finishing line. By tradition we are always with ‘Kayak Vert’ which is the last stop. As usual it was a battle for the finishing line between us all with Team Ally, Clio and Jed winning.
While waiting for the bus to take us the 8k upstream back to the car we jumped in for one last swim together with much laughter at the funny moments of the day from a person overboard, a kayak with a paddle floating off, who became stuck in the reeds or beached by choosing the wrong course.
Our 4th visit certainly hadn’t lost its appeal and I’m sure we will be back for a new family challenge in 2017.
Tips for kayaking on the river Gardon
Wear swimwear as it always gets wet inside the boats.
Life jackets are issued though the river isn’t very deep in most places.
The trip is suitable for all ages from age 3 upwards.
There are waterproof barrels issued with each kayak for keeping valuables and clothes dry.
Take a picnic it is hungry work and plenty of water.
Going in a group makes it competitive and good fun.
Average fitness is fine, all my children managed and I had no issue with little arm strength, the current does half the work for you!
Coaches leave from Collias where there is a free car park and return you to your car at the end.
Prices are around 16 Euros each so it isn’t cheap but is a great day out for all the family.
The river section includes passing through the famous Pont du Gard.
Posted on September 19th, 2016 - Fiona
On an exotic island, Tuesday, an outgoing parrot, lives with his quirky animal friends in paradise. However, he can’t stop dreaming about discovering the outside world and the adventures it holds. After a violent storm, the friends wake up to find a strange creature on the beach in the form of Robinson Crusoe. Here their island adventure together begins. Heralded as “A whole lot of fun” by Absolute Radio, “Fantastic” by the Daily Express and “A perfect watch” by OK! Magazine, it is sure to excite the whole family with sun, sea and a whole lot of fun.
There is something quite appealing to kids about an island adventure. Even our own little river island here at Coombe Mill inspires imagination and make believe by the children on holiday. From rope swings to bridge crossings, camps to cooking a little island to themselves bring out the best in kids with technology cast aside in favour of imaginative play.
Transform this into a tropical beach side island and it isn’t hard to see why the story of Robinson Crusoe has been inspiring kids for generations. This latest version looks set to be the most captivating yet.
Robinson Crusoe: Need to Know Facts:
- Certificate: PG
- Run time: 90 mins approx.
- RRP: £19.99 for DVD and £24.99 for Blu-Ray
Why not supplement the story with these creative activity sheets to keep kids busy long after the film has finished.
Win 1 of 3 copies of the DVD & extra Goodies with Coombe Mill
If you fancy treating the family to an afternoon in with this wonderful adaptation of a classic tale on DVD then just follow the instructions below.
Along with your DVD the winners will also recieve:
- Colouring Book.
- Robinson, Cat, Lizard and Tapier Mask.
- Sticker Set.
Good luck to all taking part.
We received a test disk for the purpose of this review. My children thoroughly enjoyed the film and now our copy can be borrowed from the Coombe Mill Games Room by our holiday guests.
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