Week 29 of 2014

At WroxeterLast Saturday we had a lovely day trip out with our former neighbours.  We went to Wroxeter Roman Town which was very interesting.  H got to dress up as a Roman man in a toga and we went round their replica Roman house. After our visit we went to a lovely pub on the banks of the River Severn for lunch and to drink in the view.  After that we visited a nearby winery looking at the different types of vine they have growing and looking out for signs of animal life.  There was definitely evidence that rabbits lived there and something bigger had been making holes and tunnels too.  I’m not sure how you tell the difference between a badger’s hole and a fox’s.

red mouth from ice lollyOn Sunday we went to a local annual event in a park close by.  It’s a very relaxed, non-commercial event really, certainly compared to the ones that the council tends to run: no noisy fairground rides.  The park is run by a community trust and most of the stalls are for charities or local organisations.  Local musicians come to play and people can either go for a while or stay all day with a picnic.  H persuaded Grandma to buy him an ice lolly and this picture was taken shortly afterwards with his mouth coloured bright red from the strawberry split.  We tend to just drop in to browse around, support the trust and see who we bump into.  As ever the Hook a Duck stall proved irresistable to H and he was thrilled by his prize of some sweets.

walking home on a hot dayIt’s been quite a busy week.  We’ve been doing some preparations for the next school year (largely so we can forget about it during the holidays), so H now has a new, bigger book bag more suited to his junior status.  Yes, he’s going into juniors in September and I can’t believe 3 years have gone so quick.  We invested in some new school jumpers: we’d had the last ones for three years, so I can’t really complain about how expensive they are (£16 each).  There’s a lot of change at H’s school at the moment: a new head, a new deputy, changing to an academy group status and the lollipop man is retiring too.  It will be interesting to see how it all beds down in the new year.

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A Day Out At Wroxeter Roman Town

The Old Work WroxeterIt can be difficult to get a real sense of what Roman Britain must have been like in this country.  There are very few Roman remains that stand above ground for us to see, aside from Hadrian’s Wall.  The Wall is all about a border and defense and not about every day life for the inhabitants of Roman Britain.  Most of the Roman towns and cities are also today’s towns and cities, so remains are buried under places like Bath, Colchester and London.  Wroxeter is unusual in that it isn’t a current town or city, in fact the village of Wroxeter is very small and doesn’t cover the main area of the Roman town.

replica Roman town houseWroxeter (known then as ‘Viroconium’) was the fourth largest city in Roman Britain and it stands in modern-day Shropshire, not far from Shrewsbury. It started life as a legionary fortress and later developed into a thriving civilian city. Much of that city remains below ground, but you can see the seconnd century municipal baths, plus the remains of the large wall dividing them from the exercise hall or basilica.

It takes a bit of imagination to envisage the baths complex in use.  There are display panels to help and there is a free audio tour.  H (7 years) started out listening to the tour, but soon got fed up with that.  We tried to bring it to life for him and I think he understood roughly how the baths worked.  What you can see quite clearly is how the heating system functioned and that is very interesting for a budding engineer like H.

interior of roman houseAcross the quiet road from the baths site is a replica Roman house.  This was built by workmen using Roman techniques and tools.  This is a fairly recent addition to the site and really helps visitors understand what the city would have looked like.  We enjoyed seeing rooms furnished like they would have been in Roman times.  You could also see, in other rooms, how the property was constructed, as some of the walls haven’t been completed so you can see how they were made.

wearing a Roman TogaAnother nice touch was giving children a chance to dress up as Romans.  H was willing to don a toga, but he drew the line at dressing up as a Roman lady.  We also had fun doing a little role play in the shop.  Roman town houses often included a shop on the ground floor and in this case, it was kitted out as a butcher’s shop.

I think Wroxeter is a very interesting place to visit, but it’s helpful if your child has some knowledge of Roman times, as it can be difficult to understand otherwise. Parents will need to work quite hard with their children to help them understand the site, so you’d best brush up on your own knowledge too.  There are very few places where you can get so close to Roman life and Wroxeter is good to visit if your child has an interest in that period of history.  Wroxeter is run by English Heritage and entry is free for members.

Also In The Area

You could combine a visit to Wroxeter with a trip to one of the local abbeys: Wenlock Priory or Haughmond Abbey (both English Heritage).  There’s also Attingham Park (National Trust) or Stokesay Castle (English Heritage).  There’s also a vineyard you can visit and buy wine at in the village of Wroxeter.

We ate at The Riverside Inn, which is a few minutes drive away in Cound.  It has a great position on the banks of the River Severn and has a large beer garden with great views of the river.  The food is lovely as is the real ale, but there is no children’s menu, although you could order a side dish or a starter for them if something suits (check the menus online).

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Posted in Days Out, Travel | 7 Comments

Orion Books For The Summer

Orion BooksWe regularly try out some of Orion Books’ fab children’s book selections.  These three arrived at just the right time this week. H was a bit under the weather and he was struggling to get to sleep, so I let him read for a bit longer for a couple of evenings.  He literally devoured these books in that time and they got the H thumbs up sign of approval.

Deadly Factbook Jaws and Claws

This book is one of a series based on the children’s TV programme.  It’s full of facts, figures and illustrations about creatures with unusual jaws or claws.  For instance, there’s the merganser, which is a duck with teeth.  H liked the sound of the assassin bug too, who injects its victims with a substance that dissolves the body tissues, then it drinks it all up.  If your child likes scientific facts or finding out about the natural world then this book is a good one to pick out.

Pets From Space: Splash Landing and Cosmic Claws

These books are written by Beast Quest authors Jan Burchett and Sara Vogler (that Adam Blade name is a pen name for a group of writers).  H is a massive Beast Quest fan, so there’s no surprise that he liked these books. If anything they are shorter and easier to read than Beast Quest, and they are a good introduction to chapter books, as they are fairly short at 80 odd pages and there are illustrations on most double pages.

The pets from space turn up in Tom, Zack and Daisy’s patch.  They have cool gadgets and clever, but they are naughty and get their human friends into trouble.  These are fun, very readable adventures for your child to enjoy.

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Stuck on You Lunch Box

Stuck on You Lunch Box bag Finding the perfect lunch box can be a bit of a quest.  Key factors for us are:

  • Easy to carry
  • Easy to spot
  • Keeps lunch cool and protects it against damage
  • Wears well

So with these requirements in mind, we’ve been testing out this lunch box from Stuck on You.

interior of lunchboxEasy to carry

I wasn’t sure how this would work out.  Previously, H has worn a backpack with his lunch and drink inside (he has to have a separate drink for lunch because it’s apparently too difficult to remember to bring in his water bottle from class). This pack doesn’t have backpack straps, but does have a carry handle.  I was a bit concerned that it would be awkward to carry on the scooter, but it’s actually very easy.  In fact, I’ve taken to putting his lunch onto the scooter handbars when it’s ready and that way we can’t forget it.

Easy to spot

This one was very easy to do.  H choose the colour and the design. It’s personalised too, so there’s no chance of missing it or getting it mixed up.

sandwich lunchKeeps lunch cool and protects it

The reflective coating helps keep his lunch cool especially when combined with an ice pack.  There’s a little mesh pockets which could be used to store cutlery, etc.  We found that the bag protects lunch well from outside knocks and should survive everything bar being sat on.  H’s drink bottle went in with the lunch and potentially this can move around and bash sandwiches, as there is no holder for a drinks bottle.

Wears Well

We’ve been using it for a few weeks and the lunchbox shows no sign of wear.  It seems well made and sturdy.

We’ve been very pleased with our Stuck on You lunch box.

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Week 28 of 2014

birthday teaLast weekend was very busy.  It was my nephew’s third birthday and my niece’s christening(all from the same family).  Saturday was the birthday party.  We went to a soft play place which we had to ourselves.  H was the oldest child there and much in demand as the bigger boy.  That situation was perfect for H as he liked being popular and he’s a gentle child, so he plays with the little ones nicely.

Sunday was my niece’s christening and I was Godmother.  H had more fun playing with his cousins and the other children at the party.  It was a nice day and they spent most of the afternoon on a big trampoline in the garden.

school sports daySorry for the quality of this picture, but it was difficult to take good pictures of moving targets with an iPhone and then I had to crop the other children out.  Here’s H at his school sports day.  He didn’t win any races (despite his slim build, he’s not a natural athlete), but he did his best and who can ask for more.  It was a nice day for the sports day: the previous year’s had been excessively hot, but this was a pleasantly warm and dry day, without too much sun.

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Posted in Project 366 | 11 Comments