Thursday, 4 April 2013

Easter outings in the cold

We’ve had an enjoyable and somewhat packed Easter this year, as we endeavoured to do something despite the freezing weather... For us, as always the challenge was to find suitable days out which held something for us adults and M alike, preferably not too exposed to the elements given that the temperatures have struggled to get more than a degree or two above freezing!

Being Coventry based, we headed to the Transport Museum on Saturday bundled up against persistent snow flurries that swirled around us as we walked along. M isn’t a huge fan of Coventry’s Transport Museum, since the exhibits tend to be for looking at only with no touching. M is more of a hands on kind of a girl, so finds it inexplicable that you should have all these interesting vehicles behind rope barriers and she (nor us) are allowed to climb aboard, sit in them or fiddle with them to our collective hearts content.

The 999 exhibition was on and fortunately they’d had the foresight to include a children’s play area with Little Tikes push along cars and bikes. M decided against the fire engine but was rather taken with the police car which looked a lot like her own Cozy Coupe:-

Little Tikes Police Car
I saw the exhibition in passing as I pushed M around and around and around in this little car, stopping regularly to crouch down to describe or talk about what we were seeing. M still wanted to get on board the exhibits, but accepted my explanation that we were not allowed to do so in good humour even if it made no sense to her at all.

M also tried out a LittleTikes police bike, but the police car was her decided favourite.

The Transport Museum was also playing host to a craft fair but it didn’t have any handy push along toys so while we did drop in it was something of a whistle stop tour as M whisked us around very quickly. I did spot several people selling crochet bags, a few hand knitted baby clothes and simple sewn dolls. I think there might have been jewellery and even cake, but I didn’t get a close enough look to even consider parting with money.

Sunday was a bright but bitterly cold day, so we decided to try to find something with a little bit of shelter. In the end we opted to combine history with baby animals, the latter being a big draw with M. With this in mind, our destination was Mary Arden’s Farm near Stratford. M was a bit reluctant when we first walked in but when she saw her first free ranging chicken she warmed to the idea, following it to a cow shed.

Cow (AKA Ruby)

Now, M has a soft spot for cows and her long standing companion has been Cow (AKA Ruby) who is something of an eccentric bovine, liking swings, climbing, wrapping up against the cold and being pushed around in a pushchair.

Mummy and M crouch down to get a better look at cows (at Mary Arden's Farm)

This was the first time M had ever seen a real cow and she was fascinated although not quite prepared for how large cows are in real life. We crouched down together and talked to the cows, saying hello to each cow in turn just like in Melrose and Croc.

The cows were friendly, sleepy and a bit bemused. One also looked like she was wondering why her obvious attempts to get her nose scritched were failing (M wasn’t up to touching). We visited the cows several times and M was delighted to witness a calf feeding. She stared at it for a few minutes, a huge smile of understanding creeping across her face as she loudly declared:-

What’s that baby cow doing? He’s having booby!

M meets ducks (at Mary Arden's Farm)
A bit unsure of what to make of the horse
Mummy explains the importance of sheep and wool
The pigs are curious about Stripy Horse
In addition to the cows, M met ducks, goats, pigs, more chickens, geese (including a feisty trouble maker called Reg) and sheep. All were greeted with a wide grin and much chatter on M’s part. Her companion for the outing was Stripy Horse, who met a real horse who M was a bit uncertain about, possibly because its head was almost as big as she was. Despite her natural cautious inclinations, the horse was the only animal M wanted to touch and she stroked its mane very gently. The horse in turn tried to sniff Stripy Horse which M found funny if a bit disconcerting. The pigs also tried to sniff Stripy Horse, but M had learnt from her experience with the horse and kept Stripy Horse well out of reach.

We went into the main house where there was a cooking demonstration and M noted that the lady was cooking on a fire. She also helpfully pointed out that the lady might need some more sticks.
Exploring the main house at Mary Arden's Farm
We explored upstairs where the solid timber floors sloped in many different directions and the doorways were very low. There were some beds made up including a pullout cot complete with a rag doll tucked under the covers. Stripy Horse saw the doll and wasn’t to be left out, trying out one of the beds himself and a couple of bed rolls.
Stripy Horse tries out a bed
Stripy Horse tries out a bed roll on the floor
He was a very cheeky Stripy Horse.

There was even an adventure playground, complete with a swing which a very cold M thoroughly appreciated. The slide was a bit steeper than anticipated though and a surprised M was launched through the air at the bottom, landing a few feet away! Fortunately, M took this unexpected flight in good spirits, scrambling to her feet and ran off chortling but did say she’d do something else now.

Easter Bank Holiday Monday I was very tempted by the open day at Toft Alpaca Farm, the yarny in me wanted to touch fibre and there was cake, need I say more?

M had a prior engagement and it is still early days for my plan to corrupt her to love all things textile related, so no alpacas for me. Instead I escorted M to a birthday party, where she was introduced to the idea of a bouncy castle.
Bouncy castle!
Bouncy castles and balloons... A good combination which even topped ice cream!