A trip to the mere

Yesterday saw both my parents and one of Amy’s friends visiting. Me and parents got some work done in the garden and then after lunch we got out for a walk.


We started off heading along the seafront. Then went along the old railway track to the mere. We stopped off in the cafe for a selection of ice cream and cakes and teas. I had a suitably good custard slice. Alice enjoyed an apple roll. One of the best things for making her quiet to give us time to enjoy a cuppa.

At the mere tested out my new camera lens which allowed me to get snaps a bit closer than previously possible.


Some super teasel growing. I’ve got some growing on a windowsill at home that I hope to plant out later in the year. Birds and bees love it and I like the look of it, so it’s a winner.


I was able to capture a photo of one of the pied wagtails. Their numbers are apparently in a slow decline, but still a common site around Hornsea. They have been becoming an increasingly urban visitor, but the mere is more their traditional habitat.


The lens allowed me to get some nice shots of the ducks and swans on the water. While their not shy and don’t mind you walking up to them on land it’s still nice to capture them with the waters reflection showing off their lovely dark green feathers.



Continue reading A trip to the mere

The Deep

Yesterday saw us getting out. As mentioned in a previous post we are having a wood burning stove fitted. This left us confined largely to the kitchen with Alice staring out the window, though she does like playing in the corner by the French windows.



We had an invite to join one of Amy’s sisters taking the other sister’s girls out to The Deep. For those who don’t know The Deep is one of the UK’s largest aquariums and was one of the few successful millennium projects, the others largely being abysmal failures. Amy’s brother in law works there, which will give Alice a bit more insight into it as she gets older. I used to go with nephews a lot and they would happily sit watching the tanks for long stretches. It’s a super day out and has had more added since I last visited.

The first tank you come to, the lagoon, has been refurbished with more interest added above the water. It’s looking good for it. Amy’s sister informed me that the leaves were individually attached on by a lady who worked on set design on star wars. Now there is an interesting CV.


Alice had a peer at the fish, but at this point she’s more interested in the people around her.


Recently Alice watched through Finding Dory with Amy. It was one of the first movies where she’s sat and watched for periods, so it was nice to see some dories.



The family watching the tank.


We arrived at the penguins in time to see feeding time. Alice quite liked the penguins when we’ve sat watching Attenborough, but she was more interested in the people round her.


Further round you can see them swimming under the water, but yesterday they were all stood on the side.


Since I last visited the sea turtles have been introduced. They are pretty spectacular seeing them swim right up the tanks glass. Well worth a return visit to see.


Along the stretch between the two main viewing windows are several of my favourite tanks, not containing fish. Most people flock at this point to the clown fish of finding Nemo fame, but personally I like the tree frogs.


Further round there are more frogs, leaf cutter ants, hissing cockroaches, snakes and millipedes. In the centre of this section is a soft play area giving the girls a chance to bounce around. Sadly the hissing cockroaches are sealed in, so no hearing the hissing. I enjoyed watching the leaf ants at work, fascinating creatures. Having recently revisited a number of the evolutionist E O Wilson, whose speciality is ants, I’ve had a renewed interest in them. However they don’t photo well. These tanks of amphibians, reptiles and mini beasts are mainly looked in briefly by children and adults as they realise it takes effort to actually spot anything in the tanks, but it’s worth a bit of patience to see the occupants.

I did however manage the green and black arrow frogs and the milk frog. The arrow frogs are pretty well known. The milk frog is a species from the Amazon rain forest. The name milk comes from the fluid they excrete when stressed rather than their colour. They apparently make quite good pets, but need a big tank.



Towards the end is the tunnel allowing you to see into the main tank. It was here we went for the family shot.



Me, Alice and Amy said our goodbyes to the others as we wanted to go see the Weeping Window Poppy display. We have previously seen the poppies down in London, but wanted to see them again installed in Hull.

It’s a rather pretty tribute to the soldiers of the war. One of the aims of the piece is to open up dialogue about the events of WWI, which currently seems like a relevant subject as we seem set to repeat mistakes. I hope Alice doesn’t find herself living through events as tragic.

However she seemed happy to be out and about again after being inside The Deep.


Just down the road is another flower display, but this time made from lego. This is featuring as part of the city of culture instalments.

We decided to finish off with tea out to avoid traffic, so headed to Ask as we know the pram can fit in and it has suitable baby chairs. Alice discovered dairylea dunkers.


A nice day out avoiding the chaos at home.

Three activity sources for Spring

As it’s made the definite shift to Spring the outside world is looking very appealing in bright sunshine I thought I’d share 3 sources of free inspiration for family or school ideas.

One removed as requested.


The Canal and River trust have put together a duck pack giving advice on waterside quests. It details waterside safety, several duck breeds, what to feed ducks, grass trumpets, and a couple of craft activities. As is quite well known feeding ducks bread can be bad for them, especially white bread, so it covers alternatives.

Duck guide

The wildlife trust has a whole load of downloadable idea sheets that feature in their junior members magazines. There a lots of different ideas varying from quick things to do to longer projects.

Wildlife trust ideas.


New beginnings

Yesterday was the last day in my current teaching job. I am moving on for a promotion to be a Foundation Stage coordinator at another school. I’m going to have a steep learning curve, but I’m looking forward to it. The unit has a super outdoor area, which I’m looking forward to developing further. I had a lovely send off. Lots of kind words were said and a selection of very generous presents. I will miss many of the staff and was sad to say bye, but moving onto exciting things.

A hamper filled with sweets and amazon vouchers. So I have enough sweets to keep me going through the stress of taking on a new job. Then between my birthday and these vouchers enough now to buy the camera lens I’ve had my eye on for a while. I haven’t felt I could justify it as a treat for myself, but six years of service at a school I think warrants a special treat. It’s a it’s a mid range telephoto lens that should hopefully allow me to get better close-ups of the wildlife I see out and about.


They also bought me an enormous pork pie, which I started on today making an rather nice ploughman’s lunch.


It is the first day of the holiday and the sun has come out for it. Alice has been eager to be out. We had a quick stroll out around town visiting the school where there was a craft fair on. I bought some tasty chutney to go with my pie. We had a wander down to the beach. It was looking rather spectacular today with no clouds to be seen.


So with two weeks off I have a chance to sort out a few more things in the house. Want to look at clearing some junk. Sorting storage. Get a few things planted in the garden. Over the next week we are having a log burning stove fitted, so lots of dust for a few days. Should be worth it though to sit back in the warmth watching the flames in winter. Then in the second week we’ve got a trip planned on the North Yorkshire Moors railway. A stunning spot and one of my favourite areas to visit.