Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Kenilworth Castle: Time Travellers Go... Rogues and Villains

We always make the most of our English Heritage passes by making frequent visits to our local Kenilworth Castle throughout the year. During the summer holidays, English Heritage sites run a series of Time Travellers Go... events for children. Each week there is a different theme, and the children have a Time Travllers passport which they collect stickers/stamps in each time the visit. Once they have collected two stickers, they get a medal, once they have collected four stickers, they can fill in their details and post off to English Heritage who send them a reward.

This was our second trip, so each of the Small People got their medals. This week the theme is "Rogues and Villains". We arrived after lunch thanks to a delayed morning start, and having to wait for the next available bus out of our village. Robin Hood was already in full sword-fighting swing in the Chapel Ruins, so the Small Person went and joined in. She was extremely enthusiastic, and I wouldn't be surprised if there were a few adults sporting injuries, despite the swords being made from foam!

We followed straight from there to meet the Highway men (or highway man and woman), who expalined the concept of an ambush. The Small Person volunteered herself (before knowing what she was volunteering for!) and took on the role of part of a coach :) So the Coach had to make it's way from the rocky outlook, through the monkey forrest, through the village/town an over the bridge without being ambushed by highway men. After a while they introduced the soliders who were there to prevent highway robbery by themselves ambushing the highway men. The children could choose if they wanted to be soldiers or highway men, plot amongst themselves and then select a spot for the ambush. The Small Person chose to be a crook every time (and they won)! Not quite sure what that says about my daughter...

The highway ambushes carried on for a full half an hour, through the short but frequent rain showers, and the Small Person wasn't the slightest bit bothered - she was having far too much fun. The Smaller Person, stuck in his pushchair, took great pleasure in shouting out "Ali" every time the human coach whistled by. He was starting to get fed up by the time it was over though, so he was released to join Robin Hood's band of outlaws, to fight against the grown ups.

Lady Marion

Lady Marion found Sir Zacky very difficult to keep under control, and she labelled him mad. I would agree with that assessment :) First Robin instructed his archers (the older children), then he instructed the next group, but I didn't quite catch what they were supposed to be doing as I was trying to chase the Small Person back into the arena! I do remember they had imaginary swords though, and the audience were the sound effects team: "Sching" as they drew their swords, "shonk" as they holstered (is that the right word? Probably not.) them. Then came The Small People's team who were the littlest. They were the outlawed knights who had traded sides to fight with Robin. They had to gallop up on their horses with foam swords and fight the evil grown ups. They each got a  Knights school certificate. Zack just thought it was great to be running around free with a weapon!

That was the last event, so we started to head back up into Kenilworth Town. We were going to go to the cafe for an hour until Mr Bogert finished work and collected us (saves on bus fare!), but then it starting raining again, so we took refuge in the gift shop until it stopped. Half an hour later, we left the gift shop with lollipops, a new bag of marbles for the Small Person, and big, brightly coloured bouncy ball for the Smaller Person. There really wasn't time for the cafe, so we made a quick stop into the library. The Small Person chose a book with stories from Egypt, and I got the Smaller Person his very first library card. He got a book about animal noises (he likes those - especially "Mooo!" and "RAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRR!!!!"). I checked out a couple of crochet books which have some lovely projects in. Will any of them get made? I might just Oooo and Ahhhh at them a bit, if I get time to make anything, I'll be sure to post my efforts, but for the time being it's back to "The Politics of English" for my uni work!

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Royal Pump Rooms - Leamington Spa - Saturday 28th July

We're trying to make the most of the Summer Holidays, and the most of the time we have together as a whole family, Mr Bogert included, so weekends are our best times.

We haven't been to the Royal Pump Rooms before, in fact, we don't really spend a lot of time in Leamington. I used to work there when I was a teenager, and that is pretty much the last time I used to spend any amount of time there.

I had seen the Art Gallery was running a children's art competition on this day, and as Alexandra loves drawing so much, I thought she might have fun. We had a look around the displays including a temporary sporting exhibtion called "Going for Gold". The Small Person chose an Olympic poster in this display as inspiration for her art work. She spent a lot of time just trying to get the wiggly water lines right. She was given a medal, a biscuit and a drink for taking part.

This is the Small Person Art Competition entry based on an olympic poster.
We've had more lovely weather this weekend, so we set out across the road from the gallery into Jephson Gardens, and sat with a picnic under a big tree (that the Small Person was convinced was just the right size for her to climb!). After eating, we had a little look around the hot house. They had Olympic inspired art work from the local schools on display.

Then it was across the bridge into the children's play area. The Smaller Person was convincedhe could do all of the things that his big sister was doing, and it took a bit of persausion to get him to stick to the smaller play things. He also wasn't entirely convinced by the tube slide. Another little girl had to show him it was OK before he would go down, then there was no stopping him.

We started to take a slow wander back to the art gallery for the anouncement of the art competition winnders. The Smaller Person loved the fact he was allowed to walk freely again. He spent some time talking to the pigeons and a goose by the water.

Back in the Art Gallery, The Small Person had just enough time to make a mask with one of their family activity craft packs, before the winners of the art competition were anounced.

The Small Person was so happy - she won second prize in the competition in her age category, and was given a certificate and a £15 voucher for WHSmith. She had her photograph taken with the other winners and the judges, and her art work is now on display in the gallery. She said "I just keep winning things!".

Friday, 27 July 2012

The Lunt Roman Fort - Thursday 26th July

We took a wander down to the Lunt Fort, which luckily for us, is located in our village, so not too far to travel.

We've been here quite a few times in the past, and they always hold different events for childrn over the school holidays. Today they were looking at Roman pottery. There were pictures and books laid out on the table for inspirtion, and then the children were encouraged to make their own Roman pot.


The Smaller Person pottery was mostly focused on how it would fit inside a kitchen roll middle.

Mys sister joined in and made a pot for Zachary (which I think was just a good excuse to play with the clay :D)

The Small Person's clay pot with a face (like the example above).

More pottery examples.

When I say children, that obviously includes my 22 year old sister, who had tagged along for the trip.

The Small Person noted the faces on many of the pots, so used a tool to scrape a face into her pot. She gave the pots to the staff for safe keeping whilst we went outside. We've been having some absolutely lovely weather this week, and today was no exception. We found a shady spot on the grass and had a picnic. The Smaller Person, as is often the case, got bored and wandered off for an explore. Because it's enclosed and has wide open spaces, it was fine to let him explore a little while we sat and watched him from our picnic spot. He loves the idea of freedom, but is so surprised when he's actually allowed! He kept looking back as if to say "Are you sure? You know I'm going right? Now's the time to stop me...."

The Small People had a mad five minutes running around the gyrus and checking out their echoes, then we went up the steps on the reconstructed gateway. You can see right across the fields to the city from there.

We collected out Roman pots, and set out from the Fort to just across the road where the village park is. The Small People burnt of a little more energy, before we headed back home. It was still so hot, and they still had so much energy! They must have Duracell batteries or something, because there's just no stopping these two once they wake up.

We called in at my Mum's house and they Small People were given ice lollies (most of which ended up own their clothes, in their hair and on my Mum's carpet) and were entertained by my Mum and her partner's pet ferrets: Dora, Rodney, Smudge, Benjy and Charlie. Zack thought they were the funniest things ever, Alexandra was trying to give them voice commands. Yeah, didn't work. Did that stop her shouting at them? Nope, of course not.

Back home, they cooled off in the back garden with the paddling pool, and were much quieter - ah, momentary peace! We finished a really lovely day with a BBQ with Mr Bogert when he got home. All days should be like this one.