Christmas Cake Ingredients

No-I’m not going to bake a cake. That was the name of an outing at the Oxford Botanical Gardens today. I thought it sounded like a great outing-we were going to find the ingredients in the garden that were needed to bake a Christmas cake.

Though we had a late night the kids and I were up early and on time-so I thought! We would have been on time if my map-reading skills were a tad better. I had used the park-and-ride map to judge how far down the High Street it would be to the gardens. I used my fingers-and twirled them from the stop we get off at in town-and compared how far the History Museum was compared to the Gardens-seemed the same to me. Wasn’t! We were walking at a fairly quick trot down the High Street-I started to wonder if I’d gone the wrong way. We finally got there-about 5 minutes late. I hate being late!

We gathered in the conservatory first-they had a huge Christmas tree decorated with things from the garden.

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The woman that led the talk was very good (very much like my cousin Jenni in demeanour) and got to know all the kids names, and kept them all interested. She was asking quite a few questions about what the ingredients were and where they came from. Kieran had his hand up permanently-he likes talking to the leaders. The group was divided into two groups-one to look for indoor ingredients, and the next to look outdoors, and then we’d swap over.

The three of us went to the indoor group-which was nice. One of the girls my two used to take recorder class with was there. Alice and Hazel had a nice chat and seemed to hit it off very well. Kieran was intrigued by the cotton plant-and was allowed to pick a piece, and to take off the outer layers to get to the seed. Yes-I know cotton has nothing to do with Christmas cake-but he liked it! He also kindly removed a snail from the greenhouse-and put it outside on one of the bushes.

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The outdoor walk was nice-we basically wandered round the nice gardens and all chatted. One of the elder girls did a great job at locating all the ingredients for us. It’s fun letting the kids lead! I liked this huge mistletoe in the tree.

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Have to say-it was a simple outing, but one of my favourites.

When it was over the kids and I headed home. It was almost 1pm when we got back to the Park-and-Ride and we were all a bit hungry-but they were going to have to wait just a bit longer. I keep meaning to go to Millets Farm Centre with the kids for lunch as it’s near their recorder lessons-so we went there today. We all shared some chips and had a sausage roll each-though I think half would have been plenty for Hazel. I ordered them while they were in the oven so didn’t see how large they were. As I’m not eating wheat at the moment-it was good it was large-as the sausage stuffing was plenty.

When we were done eating we walked along the animal enclosures down to Phoebe Wood-which we’ll have to explore another day-preferably a day when the ground isn’t so muddy. It was a nice way to spend the afternoon. We got home in time for Hazel to go to ballet and to have a quick dinner before our guest arrived. Their cousin Jamie and his parents were coming for the weekend. I told the kids they’d be here on Saturday afternoon. I promise you-those little lies spare me endless questions and the anticipation levels don’t get out of hand. So three very riotous kids enjoyed seeing each other for a couple of hours before a very late bedtime-which isn’t too good as Hazel has her Ballet exam in the morning.

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