Habitat Chat

The kids, Morris and I all went to the Harcourt Arboretum today for a session on habitats. We got there earlier as we wanted to have a wander round and a small picnic lunch. While we were at the pond we noticed some grown-ups with a few gadgets in the meadow, but didn’t pay them much notice. A little while later while we were talking to the ticket woman (showing her the peacock feather Hazel found) she mentioned the people were from the BBC filming for CBbeebies. The kids and I went over to watch just as they were using a remote control helicopter to film the meadow. They were very nice and explained what they were doing-so in three weeks we can see the finished project.

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Just as we went off to have our lunch-cheese rolls for all, the other families arrived so we joined them on their picnic blankets to finish our lunch. I met a new family, which is always nice. The funny thing about the meet-up today was that all the current HE recorder students were there, as all but one from the small recorder/percussion group the kids went to years ago. It was really good to see the one family again; it’s been well over a year since we last met-up. That’s the one drawback about knowing so many families that live so far away-the meet-ups can be few and far between.

The walk itself was fun. We all wore headbands with an animal’s picture on it. None of us knew which one we were wearing and had to guess by the clues that were given. There were a few slip-ups, but most did get the answer through guess work. Hazel and Lucy, one of the girls we rarely see, held hands for the whole walk and giggled about everything together. They always have a nice time together.

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The one sad thing about the walk was that they had cut down the tree I fell in love with last week! I couldn’t believe it when I saw it. Michael had been convinced the tree was probably a mobile phone mast disguised as a tree- so at least that debate was solved. (In my favour!) The woman was amused by my upset and looked at me as if I was daft and said, ‘it was a DEAD tree’. I explained that that was what made it so spectacular to look at. Am I the only one who can see the beauty of a dead tree?

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After the walk we were left to do a number of activities with the kids. We spent far too long on the first 2; we barely managed to get three of them done. The first task was to make a birds nest with eggs out of the material underneath a redwood tree. The boys each had their own ideas. Kieran built about four tiny ones hidden around the base of the tree. Ben made a huge one in the opening and filled it with dozens of eggs (pinecones). Then he covered it up to hide it. The three littlest girls, led by Sarah built a very nice one that was hidden, and decorated to look lovely. Hazel and Lucy were her workers and she designed it. The boys had fun pretending to be hawks trying to get the girls eggs, while all the girls sat on their nest and flapped and squawked at the boys-very cute! The two older girls were too busy collecting specimens to make a fairy den with. Their creativity astounded me.

Then the next task, which we finally meandered over to, was to build creatures out of the materials they could find. The older two made a wonderful mini-forest, which I wish I had a photo of. Hazel made this bird creation, and Kieran decorated a small tree stump.

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The other two parents and I just chatted with each other and the kids, and none of us wanted to stop the flow of creativity-so just let the kids enjoy themselves. Sometimes that can be hard if one of the parents wants to check everything off the list. It was fun to do it with two relaxed people. The kids then all played for a bit before we left for home. I was desperate for a cup of tea!

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