Millie’s been away with the school for the first time, visiting a “field centre” called Sayers Croft with the rest of Year 5.
The Year 5 teachers undertook the heroic task of looking after 90 children for an entire weekend (90!), ensuring that 90 went away and 90 came back.
And came back they did – tired and muddy, but all of them with a smile on their face when they got off the coaches. They left on Friday morning (to tears from one or two mums, including the Lovely Melanie) and arrived back Sunday afternoon. In between there were stream walks and midnight feasts and walks in the woods and heaven only knows what else.
Whatever it was, it tired Millie out. She came home, had a bath, sat on the sofa and fell asleep, exhausted (of course, she then woke up again and couldn’t get back to sleep until gone 10 o’clock that night…)
While her sister was away, Amber revelled in being an only child for two and a half days (and, despite dire warnings, sneaking in to read her sister’s diary); but at times even she seemed a tiny bit lost without her sister. So we went to Surrey Docks Farm, a little inner-city farm in East London, next to the Thames. It was a toss-up between Nunhead Cemetery and the farm – both were having an open day – but the weather was too nice for mooching about catacombs so we went for the farm.
And we were so glad we did. It was much bigger than we were expecting, and just full of animals, most of which could be petted and stroked. Personally, I found the sheep-shearing demonstration absolutely fascinating (you can take the boy out of Wiltshire…), not least because the little OCD voice in my head couldn’t wait to see that messy fleece tidied and sorted… :-)
And there were goats and turkeys and ferrets and lambs and cows and pigs and chickens and donkeys and baby chicks.
Millie, whose love of cute furry animals knows no bounds, would have wanted to live there; Amber, whose love of cute furry animals is quite minimal, mostly tolerated it.
Despite being the loud bolshie one in the family she’s a bit of a chicken when it comes to animals: visibly unnerved by the sheep shearing (which, to be fair, was very physical) and unable to bring herself to hold a baby chick, she nonetheless managed to stroke a lamb, declaring it not unpleasant.
There were demonstrations of baking delicious bread in a wood-fired outdoor oven. There was face-painting, too, which we queued half an hour for (but which was well worth the wait – those ladies had skillz!)
If you’re in London next May and find yourself with a hankering for the countryside, pay a visit to Surrey Docks Farm, you won’t regret it. :-)
Afterwards, we took a different route than planned back home, following the bank of the Thames westwards. It was a glorious day so seemed churlish not to follow Old Father Thames on his merry way.
But Old Father Thames didn’t have to walk it, and by the time we got to Rotherhithe station complaints were being raised by some members of the Carter family about their legs. But never underestimate the restorative powers of an ice cream on a warm day, and we were soon homeward bound.
As you can see in the picture, I managed to avoid my usual sunburnt bonce by using Amber’s hoodie as a hat. It’s only May and I’ve already been caught out like this twice, but not today! :-)