Someone asked a question recently – what has blogging given you? The confidence to believe in myself again, new skills, wonderful opportunities for us as a family. But actually the best thing it’s given me is friends, some still in the virtual world, but some I’ve met, and had lots of laughs with. Sometimes you know, just by reading someone’s work that you will be friends; that’s certainly true of Iona at Redpeffer. When I read her posts, I can identify with so much of what she says, our boys are also very similar. We finally got to meet at Blogcamp earlier this year. We chatted away from the off as if we’d known each other for ever. We agreed that it would be lovely to meet up with the kids. We put a pin in the map and set a date. So recently Monkey and I went to Charlecote Park with friends.
Obviously, the weather leading up to our get together had been glorious, and the day we went to Charlecote Park with friends – it rained. It didn’t stop us all having a lovely time though.
For me it was a trip down memory lane. The last time I visited Charlecote Park had been pretty near to 5 years to the day; I’d been pregnant with Monkey and visited with a friend. It had been wonderfully sunny that day!
But here we were, visiting Charlecote Park with friends, new friends. Would Monkey get along with Iona’s children? Would he behave? I shouldn’t have worried, apart from some differences of opinion on who should lead us around the grounds the kids got on fine. It was lovely to chat with Iona and her husband and Monkey enjoyed himself – relax.
We started the day with a drink and some cake – I know the way to my Monkey’s heart!
We’d arrived just before Iona and her family, which worked well. Monkey had got used to the environment and was settled when they arrived. We were off to a good start.
Then it was time for some croquet. I used to love playing croquet at home in our back garden, but haven’t played for years. It was good fun, although I was slightly concerned Monkey might do someone some harm with the mallets!
Then it was time to wander around the grounds and for the children to explore.
Of course by the time the kids were getting hungry it was raining really rather hard. Bang went the idea of a picnic in the grounds. We found a sheltered staircase, the kids planted themselves on the stairs and away we went. It was all part of the day at Charlecote Park with friends; making the best of things. The kids weren’t bothered at all.
When the rain stopped it was time to explore again. As luck would have it, I swear it was a coincidence, there was a Riley car rally happening that day. It would have been rude not to admire the beautiful old cars.
We all agreed that it would be nice to have a look around the house itself. All accepting that with children, this would be a whistle stop tour, but Monkey and I learnt something new. The house has soft toy deer in every room – something for the children to spot. Iona’s daughter is a pro at deer spotting!
I managed to get in a quick stained glass window fix before we ventured back into the gardens.
The boys decided that they needed a break, which obviously involved an ice cream pit stop.
They needed the energy to go butterfly spotting and deer hunting after all! Iona’s daughter was upset that she couldn’t catch a butterfly in her hands. I tried to explain that actually Guru Gramps would say that was the wrong thing to do; it might harm them. I showed her how much easier it could be to go beetle hunting instead.
The gardens are lovely at Charlecote Park and we timed our visit just right to catch sight of the deer from the deer park. You can get quite close to them and the children loved it.
You can read about our visit from Iona’s point of view here.