August 2012- Finally made it to Stowe & Chartwell

The month was filled with outings, music and science lectures.  One of the science centres in Oxford offers great lecture series and the kids have always been welcome there.  Unfortunately, they clash with badminton so during the school terms we miss most of the lectures.  But this summer they had 6 lectures we could make, four of which were this month.  It was nice to attend them this summer; they always have such interesting guest lecturers.

One of the places I have wanted to see for ages was Chartwell.  I’m not even too sure why, I think there is just something about the many sides of Churchill that has always fascinated me.  I wasn’t disappointed, but was slightly surprised that he couldn’t actually afford to buy his own home.  Who would have thought that?  Even the kids enjoyed wandering around the house & we all liked a few of his paintings.  To be honest, I just loved the studio!  I think I would just love a little ‘studio/escape’ of my own—something I’ve always longed for.

The other place on my never ending list to see was Stowe.  I’ve heard so much about this landscaped garden that I had to see if it lived up to all its hype.  It did!  What a lovely walk.  I’m almost glad there really isn’t a house to wander through, as the gardens were more than enough.  When we first got there we went to a local geology group’s exhibit.  I was beginning to think I wouldn’t get the other 3 out of the building!  The geologists were lovely and let the kids each pick out a stone to take home.  They were impressed when Kieran and Hazel could both name the types of stones. 

We have been to the White Horse in Wantage many times, but had never walked out to Wayland Smithy.  Michael and I had attempted it when I was pregnant with Hazel—big mistake!  I was still nauseous from the car ride that I barely made it half-way to the smithy.  We had a gorgeous walk, and just made the most of the day.  On the way back we went off the beaten track and managed to find a couple of geocaches on the way back.

The 19th of August was a gorgeous day, so we decided again to drive to the beach in the afternoon—and we were just as lucky as the last time!  We love this little beach, but parking is very limited so we timed to arrive when most people would be leaving.  This still gave us over 3 hours of sunshine on the beach, and not as much worry about burning.

For my birthday Hazel decided to get me a bird feeder.  I might have mentioned a few times how much I missed all the birds that used to come to our Lilac tree that used to be outside our kitchen window.  So Hazel decided on a multi-bird feeder.  She and Kieran even put it together that morning, so when I came downstairs it was already in the garden.  I really was thrilled!  A robin visited it within an hour, and it has been busy every day since.  One of the best gifts I’ve ever received.

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