Day 45 – Pinch, Punch, First of the Month!

As has become the norm in our house, the first of the month is usually greeted with cries of ‘pinch! punch! first of the month, no returns!’ along with a good natured assault. This month Alexander woke before Lucy, so he got everyone. They both slept in the blanket fort (and they’ve gone back for another night).

Lucy inside the blanket fort built by Alexander (Photo: James Kemp)

This morning breakfast was made by the children, camping style. Alexander boiled water on the trangia in our camping kettle. They also toasted marshmallows to go with the hot chocolate that they forgot to make yesterday evening.

Alexander toasting marshmallows with a blowtorch. (Photo: James Kemp)

I don’t think either of them got dressed over the course of the day, although it’s possible that Alexander might have changed before joining in the Explorers zoom session this evening.

Lucy made her own breakfast, a toasted waffle with a mini-marshmallow in each square. (Photo: James Kemp)

Tracy and I were both working, neither of us had the most productive day. Tracy’s was way worse though, because she didn’t make it home from the hospital until after seven. I fed the children before she was in because I didn’t want them to wait any longer. Dinner was good, we had a chicken crown roasted, and fresh bread that was 50/50 white and wholemeal. We forgot about it and it spent longer in the oven than we’d planned. It was taken out with a very dark brown crust, and on eating it I think this was a huge improvement on our previous breads.

Alexander preparing to boil water to make hot chocolate on the trangia. (Photo: James Kemp)

I went for my evening walk on my own. Luckily it was in a gap in the rain, and so I didn’t get wet. My walk took me to the scout hut where I collected a couple of badge books. I took one round to the assistant leader candidate for the new troop we started a couple of weeks ago. We can’t meet fact to face until at least September, and maybe not even then. So we need to do some planning for teaching scout skills and doing badge requirements online. ALthough all the info is online, have a physical book is much easier to flick through and get inspiration from.

Day 44 – Camping at Home

Another Thursday, which was similar to Monday. While Tracy did sterling work we stayed home and I endured back to back meetings for most of the day while Lucy largely avoided doing school work when I wasn’t watching and Alexander attempted to complete several hours of school work in less than the expected time.

Outside the rain fell, at times so hard we could heard it banging on the patio furniture and the windows. At other points it was so dark we needed the lights on at lunchtime. On days like this you can feel happier being inside all the time.

Camping at Home

Today there’s a world record attempt by Northumberland scouts to have the most people on an organised camp. We’ve signed up for it. The rules are that you can’t sleep in a bed. Ideally you’d camp in your garden, but building a den indoors is allowed. Given the weather that’s exactly what Alex and Lucy have done.

Lucy asleep in the blanket fort she helped Alexander to build. (Photo: James Kemp)

After I finished work Lucy and I went into the garage and got out sleeping bags, sleeping mats, and a cooking stove and kettle. In the morning they’re going to use the camp stove to make breakfast.

I also found the gas to test the trangia cooker that I picked up on an evening walk a few weeks ago (see Day 26).

It worked really well, with a strong flame that sounded like a jet engine. The only downside was that the pan has a couple of tiny holes in it. It looks like a staple gun has hit it at close range. So when filled it leaked significantly. I either need to figure out how to patch it or replace the pan.

Day 26 – Easter Sunday

I was woken this morning with a about of “Hoppy Easter!” before Lucy threw a Cadbury creme egg Easter egg at me. So I did what any sled respecting Dad would do in that situation. I got out of bed, made some coffee and ate the chocolate egg for breakfast.The kids each got a present for Easter and one chocolate egg. Alex has a baby Yoda plush somewhere in transit to the UK. Lucy had an LOL Easter Surprise. They also got some money from their Nanna and Grandad, and Lucy used hers, along with the pocket money she’d saved to buy the Lego Mia House. I’d anticipated this and already ordered it from Amazon, so it was on top of the shelf until she’d negotiated the purchase from me.

So the morning was pretty relaxed, mostly featuring chocolate, hot cross buns and Lucy building her Lego. I went upstairs and sat with Alexander for a bit as he built things in Minecraft. I experimented with a painting app on my tablet and a stylus. It was pretty good.


After lunch, which was the rest of the jambalaya for three of us, I went out into the garden to cut things down. My first thought was to try and clear some of the back of the garden before it turned into a jungle. So I rolled the extension cable as far up the garden as I could and set the old lawnmower on the longest setting. At the time I thought that Tracy was going to come out with the kids, but that didn’t happen.

It was pretty hot, 22°C according to the forecast, so I didn’t knock myself out at it. I mowed a path up to the compost heap at the very back of the garden. The compost heap itself is covered in nettles and brambles. I’d quite like to get into it and move some of the compost in the raised beds. However when I got that far the cable didn’t quite reach and the lawnmower choked on the long grass/bramble/nettle mix.

So I switched to weeding the raised beds. There were a couple of green shoots I’d missed in the first one. I took them out and then spent about an hour clearing the second one completely apart from the ten strawberry plants that were growing in it. There were quite a few weeds around the bricks on the raised beds, so I fetched some shears from the shed and cleared round the outside of three of the beds. I also started on the brambles that had infested the main strawberry bed.After a break Tracy wanted me to finish off putting fabric on the area outside the shed. So I left the back of the garden and took up the pickaxe to dig the ground and clear the roots. I ended up lifting some of the path too, as many of the roots went under it. Tomorrow I’m hoping that I’ll get to finish this off.

Evening Walk

Alexander and I went for a short walk so that he could get some exercise. On the return leg we spotted some things outside a house in Radstock Way with a sign saying “Please Take Me”. There was a battered trangia camping stove. So I picked it up to bring home. It’s clearly spent some time on a shelf somewhere, and it will need a serious clean. If it works then it will come in handy for the scout camps when we are allowed to do that sort of thing again.