Posted on March 12th, 2017 - Fiona
If you have been following my Greece series on the blog, this is the 5th post recounting some of the places we visited last summer taking our older boys on a post GCSE and A level trip. We began in Athens, Explored the Acropolis, headed down the the Peloponnese staying at Kantia where we visited Nafplion before heading out on a historic journey to Epidavros. It is the the power of the Gods in Greek mythology and the healing powers of Asklepios that brought Epidavros to our attention.
Ancient Greek civilisation and their belief in the power of the gods are responsible for so much of how Greece was developed. Between chilling out on the beaches of the Peloponnese it was a golden opportunity for us to explore some of the impressive history of the area. Epidavros is right up there as a top cultural destination being home to one of the most impressive ancient Greek theatres remaining today and it was only a 40 minute car journey for from our base at Kandia.
I arrived at Epidavros with very little prior knowledge, but a helpful leaflet and signs all around the site soon bring a lay person like me up to speed. The Epidavrians founded the site as a centre for healing based on its fresh water springs and influence of the gods. The healing powers of the gods at Epidavros actually dates back to the Myceanean period when the sanctuary was first established. However having been overthrown twice it is Asklepios who really developed the healing qualities and reputation for the sanctuary into a vast community by the 6th century BC; the ruins of which can still be seen today.
Visits to the sanctuary became big business with a whole welfare program for the ill who paid to stay. Healing rooms and recovery rooms can still be seen. Myth has it that the gods would visit patients in the night and they would wake either healed or knowing the treatment they needed. Snake venom was a common ingredient in medicine and the snake became a sacred symbol depicted with Asklepios. Having a beard was also seen as a mark of power and intelligence. From the number of olive trees I’m sure olive oil had to be involved too.
Typical treatments were carved into stone so that they could be followed by healers. Instruments recovered from the site suggest that the healing moved from myths and belief to basic surgery over time.
Wellness of mind was considered an important part of the healing process and a whole running track and seating can still be seen. Major athletic events were hosted here.
Without doubt the highlight of the ancient sanctuary is the well preserved theatre. This is still in use today and a play had been shown the evening prior to our arrival. There was clearly a hanging involved as the props for this were still there. I would love to have seen the theatre all lit up at night. It is said that if you drop a penny on the central stage you will hear it at the top of the theatre thanks to the amazing natural acoustics of the arena. To be fair we failed that test but could hear a basic hand clap with ease.
Despite being THE centre for healing, the site pays little regard to catering for disabled visitors with steps everywhere. Even in the theatre, there are some token wheelchair seating marked up to the 5th row. Quite how those in needs might access this is far from clear; a little lie down in the healing room to wait for divine inspiration first maybe?
Tips for visiting Epidavros
- Avoid the middle of the day in summer as it is very hot. We set off early retreating back to the beach for lunch time.
- Entry prices: 6 euro for Adults 3 euro for children.
- Do visit the museum before you go round the ruins to make sense of what you are seeing and see the reconstructions of how life was in the sanctuary.
- Only take a small bottle of water, there is a fresh water tap to refill there and we had no trouble all week drinking tap water where ever we visited.
- Wear sensible shoes, as the surface is rough and in places slippery around the ruins.
- Do brave the steps to the top of the theatre, looking down is the most amazing sight and you are rewarded with a good breeze at the top.
- Parking is easy and free.
- Toilets are well serviced.
- Wheelchairs and prams are not practical.
- A visit is a half day excursion at best.
Posted on March 11th, 2017 - Fiona
I remember wakening in the early hours of the morning to the sound of rain pattering down on the roof window. Snuggling down under the duvet, I was quite unaware that out in the field a baby lamb was being born. Timing was not great, in the open, the wind and the rain, on the bleakest of March mornings.
Hello Baby Lamb
It would be a few hours later before I would discover the little lamb in the distance whilst on my morning farm checks. Racing round to check the other animals had survived the wild night I ran back for my camera and a closer look. At a distance I couldn’t see the mother close by. Returning the lamb was still stood in the same place, looking lost and lonely in the field. I approached with caution, hoping this might reveal a protective mother and I was indeed met by a ewe at the hay feeder who began to walk towards her new born lamb. I retreated and crouched down with my long lens camera. All looked well as Mum nuzzled her lamb.
Out on the feed run it was a very muddy trek for our little visitors to get a better look. The rain was still present and the wind whipping around us. Separating Mum and Baby from the rest of the herd turned out to be much harder than it should have been as a vital post gave way under the muddy ground. Finally we edged them into a little field of their own with field shelter that would hopefully keep them dry and safe from foxes and badgers. It was Farmer Nick’s newly build shed we really wanted to use but this was just too far from where they were and the ground too soft to take the stock trailer across the meadows to move them.
I was back and forth all day checking up on them, moving the little baby lamb inside out of the rain; they seem to have precious little common sense! Finally I caught them through the shelter slats enjoying the hay and looking very united. In case you are wondering about the orange stripes, this signifies the 1st lamb to the 1st Mum. A twin would have had 12 sprayed on and Mum has a single line for first mother.
We should be lambing from now until mid May. It really is an exciting time to visit the farm and hopefully with a little sunshine the fields will be less muddy!
Posted on March 10th, 2017 - 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.
The chickens are back on the lay
It must be spring, the chickens have notices the longer days and milder temperatures and are laying enough eggs for all the children staying. That said our outdoor fun as been very much with raincoats and wellies this past week. Not that this has stopped our little helpers who have been so brave turning up for the tractor rides each day despite the rain. I hope it has been a little drier where you are and that you have some adventures to share on the link up below.
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.
- Unheated covered areas like a barn or tent count as outdoors.
- Please 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.
My top commenters from 4th March:
- Helen from The Princess and The Pickle who commented on 29 posts.
- Karen from Stopping at Two who commented on 28 posts.
- Sonia from Mamma’s School who commented on 27 posts.
We have no guilty bloggers linking up this week, I’m so glad we’re back to everybody sharing some blog love.
Rockfish kindly sponsor Country Kids
Win a pair of wellies from Rockfish Monthly
I am delighted to have Rockfish as the sponsor for Country Kids. Rockfish are a local Cornish company specializing in stylish quality 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. Keep your posts coming, it could be you winning next!
For more more information on the Rockfish Wellies on offer with us and terms and conditions to win see here.
Favourite posts from last week added to the shortlist for winning the March Rockfish Wellies:
Top Commenter : Helen from The Princess and the Pickle who turned their day out into a whole heap of Muddy Fun at Mottisfont Abbey.
If you are a Daniel Craig / James Bond fan, the countryside in post from Are We Nearly There Yet will have you reliving scenes from Skyfall
The snowdrops have been beautiful around the countryside this spring. Little Hearts Big Love went on an adventure to find some
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 growing Country Kids Instagram Community with #CountryKidsFun.
I'll like and comment on all and share my favourites from the week with a tag on a Friday on Instagram and Twitter. With over 2080 posts this community is flourishing with outdoors photos.
My favourite photos from the week came from @miltonkeyneskids @otisandus.blog @mudpiefridays
. Please do check out these lovely folk on Instagram if you are not already following.
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Posted on March 10th, 2017 - Fiona
For February Half Term we try to fit in a few family days away between changeover days on the farm. Traditionally we spend this between catching up with friends and cousins in London and days by the sea on the south coast seeing Farmer Nick’s Mum. One of the kids favourite day trips is into Brighton. There is so much to do in this coastal city that the children are always keen to visit. On this occasion it was Brighton pier and the marina that were our focus.
My children have been drawn to Brighton pier since they were little. The colours, sights and smells are all so different to the Cornish seaside. Jed had taken his scooter with him which was perfect along the promenade but less than perfect along the wooden planks of the pier. More than once Farmer Nick was left holding onto it!
Half way down the pier there are some lovely views back across Brighton and I always feel hungry as the aroma from the fish and chip stalls and doughnut stands drifts past.
One of my least favourite aspects of the pier is the arcade. However on a biting cold day it does provide a little warmth and the kids and Nick settled into a few games of horse racing until the 10p supply ran out! Not exactly like the point to point at Wadebridge, but a fun 10 minutes.
However the real thrill is at the end of the pier. The children have never let us forget letting them go on a couple of rides a year or so ago, only to discover they were not tall enough. Fast forward to now where they are only just shorter than me and it was payback time! They had been given some holiday money from their Yia Yia and aunt and uncle and treated themselves to a sensible dodgems inter family challenge with Farmer Nick
Guy and Clio then decided to go for the biggest scariest ride there. Jed held back with me deciding he didn’t have the stomach for it and I couldn’t blame him. I was envious of their sky high view of Brighton, but not the subsequent upside town tumble!
I would have felt quite ill climbing down but they grinned from ear to ear and it totally made their day. After fleecing us for fast food lunch and a fortune in “needed” clothes and shoes in town we headed down to the Marina.
We admired the giant yacht in the harbour village only to discover the triplets had hopped over the rope barrier ad jumped on board for a closer look. They have some nerve and I shouted them back.
Guy and Nick checked out the boat prices in the window and decided a boat would have to wait for another year. None the less we crossed the road to the main marina and admired the waterside flats and boots moored up whilst the kids took it in terns to scoot up and down.
We didn’t manage the beach this time or a visit to the lanes but it will still be remembered as a fun day trip and one I know they will want to do next time we visit family.
Have you visited Brighton Pier or Marina?
Posted on March 6th, 2017 - Fiona
Here at Coombe Mill we are huge fans of the wonder of nature and the outdoors. Set in a wooded 30 acre estate we have so much for children to explore for natural woodland to the fairy gardens and den building areas. Children come together in these wild adventure zones to create and play and be at one with nature. When I came across the Night Gardener as a children’s book I had a feeling it was going to be very in keeping with our ideals at Coombe Mill. So often our Friday activities with the children include nature study and gardening, a book that mirrors our work with a good fantasy element would be perfect for our bookshelves and one to read ahead of our gardening activities.
About the Night Gardener
The Night Gardener is a newly released A4 hardback book designed for age 4 plus and available from Quarto Kids priced £12.99. Written and illustrated by brothers Terry and Eric it is a delightful tale, beautifully illustrated with minimal carefully chosen words. Follow the story of young William, who wakes to discover the tree outside his window has been sculpted into a magnificent owl. The magic of the night gardener is evident each morning thereafter. The town awakes and unites on the street and in the park to see what masterpiece has been created over night. They never spot the man himself, he has long since packed away his tools and left; until one evening when the night gardener invites William to help.
What We Thought
This book is enchanting, uplifting, captures the imagination and is perfect for little ones beginning to explore and enjoy nature. The clever minimal use of words and descriptive illustrations would make this a great bedtime story as the large book is remarkably quick to finish. You may find children wanting to linger over the pictures though, creating their own ideas out of the pages. Older children will be able to read the story for themselves and be equally inspired.
Win your copy of The Night Gardener with Quarto Kids and Coombe Mill
If you have a creative child that enjoys nature this book will be perfect. Why not enter to win by following the instructions below.
The Night Gardener
We work closely with Quarto Kids and were sent a copy of the night gardener for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and our copy is available for Coombe Mill gusts to borrow from the bookshelves of the games room.
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