Someone in this house seriously loves getting some air on the giant pump track at Glenlivet… (April holidays spent at Glenlivet and Laggan Wolftrax this year).
How much do we enjoy this? It’s mud and adventure and exercise and endorphins. It’s family time when we are all doing the same thing together, with plenty of time to chatter. It’s life with two boys, anti-stressed and pro-haribo. It’s serious amounts of laundry…
After 10 weeks of whooping cough I’m almost back to normal. Eight solid weeks off the bike though meant I needed to pick up some more sedentary hobbies. (Midori Traveler’s Notebook from The Journal Shop and Kaweco Classic Sport, EF nib from Cult Pens).
Coffee at the Boat in Aboyne after a lovely ride out on the back roads, then a pub lunch to celebrate report cards, followed by a lazy afternoon in the garden. I think I like summer…
There are some things which make me so happy that I can’t imagine life being any better and today was a perfect example. Riding through thick fog, on twisty single track following Duncan is great, and then hearing Fraser giggling with glee as he descends the rooty trail is even better. This is so cool – being able to to go out with the boys on our favourite trails and have adventures together. Cory and I ride the same trails when we’re out together without the kids – the only difference is that we drove to the top rather than riding the long uphill (around 6 miles) from the house.
We’ve just had a fab week away with my parents in Strathtay, near Aberfeldy. Again, lots of hiking, biking, golfing, running, and only one trip to the excellent Aberfeldy GPs to get Fraser’s chin glued/taped back together. I think the lesson learned is that Fraser’s not quite up to riding off the three foot drop at the skatepark yet… (Cory and I were way behind them so we didn’t even see the accident). I can’t believe the weather was as good as it was – April in Scotland isn’t supposed to involve hanging out at the beach in the sunshine – I even got a sunburn.
This may be one of the last years, if not the last year for the Santa Special at Milton of Crathes railway, which has been our tradition since we moved to the village when Fraser was a baby (and pictures from 2010). Duncan’s a big kid now and part of the Santa magic but he loved it too, handing over his Santa letter with excitement. It’s these traditions that really make this feel like home.
I’ve been put off updating this site with the knowledge that I needed to spend a whole lot of time going through our Canada pictures from our October trip. Let’s just say that’s not going to happen anytime soon and move on …
September’s been a month of outdoor adventures, enjoying the warm weather and getting extremely muddy as often as possible. Last weekend I rode the 63km Scotland Cycletta down in Perth, my athletic goal for the year, and we turned it into a mini-holiday and spent the weekend staying in a wigwam on a farm. It’s like warm and dry camping – which was great considering the kids both managed to fall into the small creek surrounding the site numerous times. It was an Enid Blyton type of magical place, with boards and offcuts of wood just sitting there for the kids to build secret dens and paths.
I rode well too, even with high winds and lots of rain, with that feeling you get sometimes that you’re flying rather than your normal pedestrian efforts. And 63 km, or just under 2.5 hours, was enough time for me – I felt like I could ride it well without serious amounts of training that just doesn’t fit in to our lifestyle at the moment.
And then yesterday was that type of day that childhood memories are made of – walking in the woods at Drum castle with friends and watching and waiting while the kids explored and climbed trees. They came home covered in midgy bites, slightly filthy, and utterly happy and exhausted. It feels like how childhood should be, rather than one scheduled activity after another.
Of course there’s a few scheduled activities in there too – the boys had a rugby tournament on Saturday up in Huntly and they had a brilliant day playing micros (tag) rugby and running around playing between matches. Duncan is really be able to contribute to his team this year, scoring and being a part of most plays. This was Fraser’s first tournament so he didn’t get as much time on the field but was generally in the right position and is figuring out what he needs to do. But I think both liked the unofficial scrimmages and wrestling matches off the pitch best. My friend with two older girls describes my boys as just like two little puppies and they do seem that way as they play and roughhouse together (without anyone getting hurt at the tournament – over two hours wrestling for rugby balls didn’t lead to a single injury – it’s not rough play just physical).
We had an amazing long weekend in Innerleithen, mountain biking four out of five days at Glentress. The boys are now riding the blue trails confidently on the descents, but struggling with their small bikes, small legs, and in Fraser’s case lack of gears, on the ascents. I can see that it won’t be long before I’m the weak link in family mountain biking – I’ve been out for a lesson from a friend and that helped a lot (this another one of those never learn from your spouse things) but I lack confidence when riding over the bigger rocks and its humbling to realise Duncan is (braver? stupider?) better at riding over some things than I am.
Admittedly it was dark within the tree canopy, and the boys now ride fast, but somehow we managed to come home with zero pictures from the trails. In fact, the only photos we have are from the kids at the school play park on my iPhone. Parenting fail? I think we’ve got about an hour of video of everyone riding on the go-pro though.
What is the best way to handle videos? Photos are easy, they work on the web, I make photo books, we could occasionally print them. But what is the best way to catalogue and view videos?
The boys and I also embarked on a project this summer, reprinting a chest of drawers which I loved the shape of but had a rather ugly faux-old paint job. The amazing thing was that the boys were actually a great help. Both of them painted carefully, smoothly, and managed to make less of a mess than I did. These little kids that I have? They’ve turned into big kids overnight. Still, one set of drawers was enough, none of us has caught the restoration bug and we were thrilled to be finished. (Thank you Cory for sanding off the bottoms of the drawers that we’d carefully painted when they didn’t fit back in the frame – we were all sick of the drawers by then!)
We ended up swimming in the River Dee yesterday, warm and calm from two weeks of hot weather (both us and the river). How magic to live in such a beautiful spot, to walk home with wet clothes from a dip, to not need to go away to capture the feel of a holiday….