August 17, 2015

Not Back To School

Happy Not Back to School Day everyone!

Here in West Dunbartonshire all the children are back to school. This morning while Nibsy was still snoozing and I was enjoying my first cup of coffee for the day I saw our neighbours children heading off to school…they seemed pretty excited about it so that’s nice! In the Nibsy household we were celebrating another day of not going to school.

Here’s how our day went:

9am Nibsy finally wakes up, he’s a late to bed and late to rise kinda guy. He pops downstairs to say “Good Morning” and to grab a drink before heading back upstairs to continue the task of building his lego robot army. I get some housework done.

10:30 Nibsy reappears and declares he is hungry for his breakfast at last. After a bowl of cheerios he sits with me to read through his journal. We’ve been keeping the journal for a few weeks now and most days me or his Daddy will write a little entry in it for him, mostly about things we have done together or praise for something he has done. Every few days Nibsy feels inspired and writes a few words and draws a picture in response. Today he drew a picture of his new rocks and wrote the sentence “A lady gave me rocks” – this was in reference to our very kind neighbour who had noticed Nibsy’s love for rocks and stones and kindly collected him a bag full while at the seaside on holiday.

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11:30 We read a chapter of our current book club story, Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. The chapters are quite short which is nice as it’s a very descriptive book and can be quite heavy going for Nibsy. Afterwards he plays a few games on the tablet while I prepare lunch.

12:30 Lunch is done and dusted. I’m working on some of my knitting (it’s fun to learn a new skill) and watching a couple of episodes of Doctor Who. Nibsy plays with his toys in his room for a while before joining me for a little bit of Who. I’m super pleased that he enjoys the show also although he does like to yell at the characters quite loudly when he wants them to do something.

14:30 I’ve decided to start doing artist studies with Nibsy. He really loves art, especially creating his own so today we looked at the works of Monet and then experimented with water colours. Monet was an impressionist and painted most of his work outdoors, so, since the sun was shining on us today we decided what better place for us to paint than in the garden.

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We both explored the paints together to begin with but after a while I left Nibsy to his creations and read him a little more of Island of the Blue Dolphins while he worked.

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This was in the front garden so I think we are now officially the local crazy home educating family :D we got a few odd looks and lots of smiles from neighbours passing by.

15:30 Our next door neighbours children returned from school and passed our front gate. They stopped to ask if Nibsy was “done with his lessons” for the day and if he could come and play with them, which of course he was and he did.

That brings us to now 18:00. We’ve had our dinner – pasta and meatballs – and Daddy is home. Nibsy and Daddy have taken a walk down to the shop to buy ice cream, well, the sun is shining after all!

Part One here!

We were lucky enough to find a camp site just 2 minutes down the road from the museum, it had everything we needed which was a place to pitch our tent and a toilet block. At £5 each for the night it was a great price too. The views weren’t half bad either.

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The building of the tent was a bit of a debacle so we’ll just skim right over that subject shall we and just say that it all ended well…

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The boys were really, and I mean really, excited about sleeping in the tent for the first time. A word of advice for any parents going camping with their children in Scotland – don’t forget your layers! I remembered a super warm, fleecy, footed all in one outfit for Nibsy to sleep in and packed 3/4 length pyjama trousers for myself, what on earth possessed me I’m not sure. It was a long cold night that by 5:45am found the boys snoring and me and my friend huddled in the car working on our crochet projects.

Once the boys got up and we’d enjoyed a breakfast of barbecued sausages we packed all our belongings in to the car and set off for Loch Ness.

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I think I was more excited than anyone else in that car to finally be going to see Loch Ness as an adult. As I mentioned in the previous post I’ve been there once before with my parents but since I was just shy of 2 years old I only have a very very vague memory of standing by the water and yelling for Nessie. *spoiler alert* Neither Nibsy nor I had any luck finding that rather elusive monster.

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Our destination at the Loch was Urqhart Castle because everybody in the car has a love for castles and this was a particularly fine specimen. You begin your visit by watching a short film about the history of the castle – it was hugely interesting and the boys sat and watched it with undivided attention – before the screen rolls up and the curtains in the room part to show you your first glimpse of the castle sat on the banks of the Loch. Absolutely stunning, I heard Nibsy give a little gasp when he first saw it.

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I was a little disappointed and the boys were more than a little annoyed at the huge amount of STAY OFF THE GRASS signs post all over the castle and it’s grounds. I suppose they don’t want the grass getting churned up by some many visitors walking over it but it just made the visit a little more stressful as we were having to constantly call the boys back from their explorations. I’ve not encountered this at other Historic Scotland properties so I can only assume it’s because Urquhart attracts so many tourists.

While investigating the tower – the most intact portion of the castle – we found several nests with baby birds in them. The adult birds were flitting back and forth in the tower bringing food to their chicks. The photo isn’t clear but they are perched up in their nest next to the middle beam…

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We spent several hours at the castle before the boys began to get hungry and tired so we decided to call it a day and begin the 3 hour journey home.

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We also had to detour back past the Highland Folk Museum as T had left his special dog there the day before and we needed to collect it. It was actually a really handy place to make a pit stop as we were able to get a drink and let the boys have a good run around on the play park there before bundling them back up in the car for the rest of the trip home.

We had an absolutely great time on our mini camping trip and can’t thank our friends enough for taking us along with them!