Well it's now Wednesday. Having spent Saturday night with a friend, taking along ds2 for a sleepover treat, we headed back home on the Sunday. Trying to make use of the gap between rain and - er - more rain we headed to a local garden centre/pick-your-own place that also offers a free 'farm park' and a reasonable playground. For once we actually remembered to bring a bag of carrots to feed the goats. The big greedy goat (think 'Big Billy Goat Gruff') got pretty much all the carrots and the little goats (think 'little billy goat gruff') hung back and didn't get much at all. No trip-trapping over a bridge though, it was just a case of sticking their necks through the fence and grabbing anything orange and crispy coming their way. Maybe I should suggest that they build a little bridge for them to trip-trap over - could be a good marketing ploy for the garden centre.
In one field there were a few llamas - actually I think they were alpacas, though I don't know what the difference is. Perhaps someone who reads this blog will be able to let me know? Anyway they were slightly soggy and sad looking animals that looked like they'd have much prefered to be anywhere other than a damp muddy English field.
The big guinea pig run - that's a big run, not a run for big guinea pigs - was empty as always, though there were bits of lettuce left out for them. I suppose the disadvantage of having a wonderful system of underground tunnels for the guinea pigs to run in is that they probably prefer to be underground running around than up on top being oggled by noisy kids. I'm sure it's been years since I've seen a guinea pig actually out and about in the run. Maybe there haven't actually been any guinea pigs in all that time and the owners leave lettuce out just to fool us passers by into thinking that we might possibly be lucky enough to spot one. There's something far more exciting about guinea pigs when they are evasive and you can't actually see them.
Then there were ducks and geese (I have a video of dd1 running around chasing some very angry looking geese which I'll try and upload). Anyone else with any sense at all would have been running in the opposite direction, but not my fearless daughter!
And then there were the pigs. Weird looking pigs. I thought at first they looked weird because they were moulting, but then looking closer, I got the impression that this was what they always looked like. Sorry pigs, nothing personal, but you do look weird. Looks a bit like my tongue after drinking too much Stella (ok, perhaps that's too much information).
The farm park had had some work done on it since we had last been there. There had been a picnic area set up in a field and a woodland planted at the back. According to the notices this had been created in 2006. I guess on previous visits I must have got bored before getting to that field and dragged the kids back.
We took a stroll with the dog through the new woodland. It was basically a few trees planted in very straight rows which, in their current state looked nothing like a woodland. Perhaps in 20 years it might show some greater resemblance. Does woodland normally have straight rows of trees? I guess The New Forest does, but those are conifers, so they would look like they were planted in straight rows even if they weren't. Anyway, running through the woodland field was a stream with a lovely trip trappy bridge going over it (darn it, they should have parked the goats nearby, it would have been perfect!). My kids being my kids decided that it would be a good place to investigate and spent half an hour jumping over the water, exploring under the bridge (doing a spot of trip-trapping over it) and generally getting wet. Eventually the not-so-active-and-getting-increasingly-cold adults decided it was freezing and time to head to the playground and get some hot choc from the restaurant. I think the kids could have stayed paddling and poking for most of the day.
Pose nicely for the camera please
And then started the great 'how can I get this as cheaply as possible' hunt. I must have been gone ages. Seeing the price of fruit juice (around £2.20 a glass) in the restaurant I bought a glass pint bottle of orange juice in their farm shop next door, plus some cakes from their bakery (55p each compared with £1.80 or more in the restaurant). Then I went back to the restaurant bought a coffee for dh and a hot choc for me, plus asked nicely for extra cups so that all the kids could share hot choc/orange juice.
Sigh! It's hard work this budgeting lark! Sometimes I long for the days when dh and I could go out for the day, buy lunch and drinks in a restaurant and not be worried about the cost (these were pre-kid days of course!).
DD1 feeding those hard sought-out bargain snacks to the sparrows.