Archive for category Family Life

Cornbury time again. The highlight was on Sunday morning, listening to a bunch of eight-year-olds happily giving “Paintball’s Coming Home” a good go.

Here’s Nick Lowe, from Saturday night:
Nick Lowe

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(I’m never sure which order the words go in on these events.)

The boys ran their races today, D. tackling 1.8km and R. doing a slightly longer 2.4km. Although the weather wasn’t kind, they both did a great job. D. finished in 12:24, and R. in 13:50. Their own blogs are the places to look for photos, obviously.

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Golf - 2003Golf - 2008

A weekend at Centerparcs. Very, very cold, particularly when we were out on the bikes, which made me ask myself if it was really worth all the stress of strapping them to the roofrack and wondering which stretch of the M6 they would fall off on.

The boys flew birds of prey, played football, climbed trees (Richie did at least), swam and archeried. We played short tennis and mini-golf, and Sarah did some pilates. I had a small victory in that I actually managed to finish a book (The Prestige, by Christopher Priest, top notch, as is the film), which brings this year’s total to, I think, two.

Amazed to find out that it was 2003 when the first of the pictures above was taken, and D. must have been not yet two.

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Cake

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  • It’s possible to have cracking time without going to Disney at all. The Universal parks are smaller and easier to manage, and there’s lots to do away from Disney. With kids, obviously, you’re not going to be able to get away with this as a plan (and I know I nominated three Disney rides as the best rides in Orlando), but if you don’t want to mess with The Mouse, or you’re making a return trip to Orlando, it’s worth a thought.
  • If the rain’s going to come down, then it usually arrives mid- to late-afternoon. It’s worth getting an early start (and if you’re from Europe, the time difference helps you to do this.
  • You don’t need to hire a convertible. No-one who lives here has one, because the sun is too fierce and you’re better off with a roof over your head and the air-con on.

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I think we decided on our favourite ride in Orlando – the Tower of Terror at Disney-MGM Studios.

Richie, Davy and me loved the thing. The lads didn’t get the “Twilight Zone” stuff, naturally, but the atmosphere and the sleight of hand of the engineers in the lead up to the pay-off was great, and the power-dive of the elevator wasn’t pretty darn great too (as my hat floated off my head…)

Honourable mentions also go to Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom and Mission: SPACE at EPCOT (take the so-called “extreme” version).

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We had a fantastic evening at Tu Tu Tango tonight. The food (American Tapas – huh?) was great, Spanish dancing occurred (performed by professionals, I hasten to add, not by us), and the artist-in-residence showed Richie how to make a turtle and a hammerhead shark out of clay. Best meal of the holiday, I expect, though Sarah particularly enjoyed Jiko, back at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.

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Five boys aged ten and under is too many for two adults to deal with.

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So, to Oxfordshire this weekend for the Cornbury Festival. We spent the previous three weeks anxiously checking the weather forecast, as the wettest June ever drenched the UK… then a day before the festival, the rains stopped and the sun came out. That’s the point at which I should have realised that things were going our way.

Still had a huge trek to get there, driving round in circles trying to find the entrance, lugging the tent across the fields (whilst separating the boys from each other all the while, natch), no space left in the VIP camping (bless) and all the rest of it. Kids couldn’t see the acts (being short – we really should have thought of that), so come Saturday evening I was feeling really hassled.

Then Echo & the Bunnymen came on, and with the opening bars of “Rescue”, everything was suddenly OK.

And we had a great time.

Looking back, my favourite moments would have been…

  • The Bunnymen, as above
  • Davy just howling with laughter on the waltzers
  • The Proclaimers doing “Sunshine on Leith”, which was just transcendent
  • The healing power of a good shower on Sunday morning
  • Spending most of Sunday morning sitting outside the tent, drinking loads of tea
  • My back holding up
  • The festival finishing at 22:40 on Sunday, and the rain starting up again at 22:45. We were charmed.

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I tried out the new tent for the first time today. It took me THREE HOURS to put it up (including a break for lunch), but (with Vince’s help) about ten minutes to bring it down and put it all away again. Should be much quicker to put it back up when we do it “live”.

Tent

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