During the night we had suffered from torrential rain again, with hail and thunder and lightening. I listened to the local radio to see if we had to avoid any flooded areas before heading out, but thankfully there was nothing to report. This year we are doing far better than last flood wise, fingers crossed that continues.
We started off the morning with a mad rush to get out of the house before 9.30. How on earth we would manage to get ourselves sorted and organised enough to get to school on time I genuinely do not know.
The animal duties needed to be completed before leaving as I wasn't sure what time we would return. The goats were fed and watered, and their hay was replenished ready for the day ahead. The chickens were gladly released from their overnight coop and we thanked them for their 3 egg offering. Then the ducks and rabbit were freed from their nightly abodes. The three ducks flapped their wings with gratitude as they wobbled out of their house, whilst Misty ran laps around his run as if completing his morning exercise. Fresh water was given in ample supply and food was offered to all the feathered girls. The back field is like a brown ice rink in parts at the moment, particularly nearest to the stairs which gets a lot of use. BUT if you venture further in and look where less feet tread, there is grass!! Yes, really! Of the lush green variety. Who would have thought it would be making such a recovery after the state it was in when we got here. All naturally done with the aid of our goats and chooks - thanks girlies. It's starting to look really good.
Of course, once the animals were seen to, it was back indoors where an awaiting baby had to be fed, nappy changed and clothed, and Taisia had to be assisted to ensure trousers were worn and shoes put on feet (I never take any chances with that little lady!). I seemed to be rushing around all over the place - running up and down the stairs in search of keys, purses, printing off bus timetables, seeking out bibs, hats and coats, library tickets, etc. I should have really found everything last night and put it out ready for this morning but I don't seem to be able to be that forward thinking at the moment.
I left the house looking bedraggled and worn out. Wearing a hat to disguise unbrushed and unruly locks, and without even finding a mini-moment change my baby sicked jumper or to put on a bit of lippy to make me look (and feel) almost human. In the meantime my 18 year old left the house calmly and sauntered to the car looking like she should have been on the front cover of Vogue magazine. How does that work then?
We managed to drive to town, park the car, buy a ticket, and get to the bus stop literally just as the doors opened for travellers. We saw Chelsea and Joseph climb aboard and head upstairs to the front seats, and the little ones left behind were happy to wave them off. The teens were only meeting up with friends in Exeter, but to the smaller people the rare bus trip made it feel as if we were waving them off on a big adventure. I totally adore how the teens (one at 16, the other at 18) enjoy each others company and are happy to go out together as friends as well as siblings. A good relationship with one another is something I have strived for throughout their childhoods and it appears to have been a successful wish.
I was left in the capable care of Tiegan, Callum, Taisia and Amara. We headed for the library first, where we looked at books, read posters, and coloured in pictures. We then started to make our way to our favourite little cafe for hot-chocs and toasted teacakes, just the right thing to warm up our tums.
As we approached the cafe we witnessed a little boy, screaming and sobbing from his position in the pushchair. The boy was about three. His face was extremely flushed, he had copious amounts of the gooey stuff streaming from his nose and entering his mouth, and tears chased each other down his cheeks from his red puffy eyes. I have no idea as to what was the cause, and don't wish to place judgement, but seeing two women (mother and grandmother?) ignoring the child and choosing instead to discuss favourite shoes from the Clarkes window whilst checking mobile phones did nothing but leave me tinged with a pang of sadness. Taisia was distressed at the scene and kept turning around to look, saying aloud "The boy is crying mama, he just wants some mama love!" which melted my heart somewhat. The sobbing seemed to follow us despite our distance increasing and I was thankful that I was able to close the door and find silence in the cafe. I find it really difficult to hear children so dreadfully upset, so very difficult to ignore.
Once we had drank, eaten and enjoyed, we headed out for a walk around a few of the shops and then set off to find the park I knew was around somewhere! We found it relatively quickly which was a relief. Being on my own with Amara in her sling and Taisia walking I was well aware that little legs may run out of steam and need carrying at any point along the journey. Thankfully that didn't happen and Taisia did an amazing amount of walking without asking for a pick up or carry.
The park was quiet. Very quiet. The play equipment was a little disappointing - not condition wise, that was perfect, but in quantity and design. There were two swings for older children, and a solitary swing set well apart for the younger ones. There was a slide for older ones and one for younger ones. There was a roundabout that didn't go around without pushing it with a huge amount of force, and two springy rocker things. So much more could have been done with the space. Considering how many houses the park is meant to cater for, well, I can only conclude that it doesn't get used that much and no effort has been put into it as a result. Guess it's a catch 22. situation really. The park does play host to a lovely green space though which I'm sure will become a favourite picnicking haunt in the warmer months when the ground isn't sodden.
This afternoon we were the only ones there. Nice to have the equipment all to ourselves of course, but sad that it isn't a more sociable experience for parent and children alike. I did take a few pictures but only had use of my mobile phone so quality is poor.
After lots of cries of "just one more go...", we headed back to the town (bird spotting along route), where a little more shopping ensued. We walked around the market square (love our local market produce), purchased postcards for our Postcrossing mailings, and bought treats for Kira our dog before returning to the car and driving home.
Once home it was animal check time. The goats were outside and happy that the day was at least dry. They bleated their usual greeting as they heard our voices and I took them up another armful of hay. I also collected another 2 eggs from the chicken coop so 5 eggs from 7 today, not at all bad considering the cloudy dark day and recent weather conditions.
Indoors once more, taking off muddy boots, and it was all about baby (and coffee!), then clean up house time. I cleaned the fire grate ready for this evening, emptied and refilled the dishwasher, popped a wash in the machine and the wet washing in the dryer, swept the floors and cleaned the toilet. All with spot checks on the little ones throughout - Taisia was asleep on the sofa and Amara was in her baby ring thing on the floor - that was definitely a best buy at £10 pre-loved, It is such a safe place for her to be and will grow with her for months to come.
We did a bit of reading together and I helped Taisia put together her new alphabet puzzle. Then I had a natter and a cuppa with Lee when he returned home from work. Before we knew it, 4.30 was upon us and Lee set off to buy goat food, fire supplies, and collect the teens. Dinner ensued, as did fruit pie and cream eating, whilst hearing all about the teens day out.. I won't mention the bar of chocolate that also seemed to find it's way into my digestive system much later on this evening, I shall keep that one to myself.
All in all a really good day, full of nice things and best of all no raised voices! Day one of yell free completed, I wonder how day two will fair.