Sunday, 31 January 2010

Tea and a chat

Having just read The Madhouse's last post, in part about tea I thought I would share this, my favourite tea quotation from William Gladstone...

If you are cold, tea will warm you; 
if you are too heated, it will cool you; 
if you are depressed, it will cheer you; 
if you are excited, it will calm you.

This is so very apt for me, describing my relationship with tea perfectly.  There have been many, many occasions throughout my life when I don't know what I would have done without it, my ever present friend.  I've just read that back and think I sound like a proper sado !

Now that we've done the tea, it's time for the chat.  I feel the need for a good catch up again.  I have been in Devon, without much internet access since last Monday and got back yesterday so feel totally out of touch with you all. So here is a whistle stop tour of what's been going on in my world...

Sewing - I now have a machine ! A Brother ES 2020 if that means anything to any of you.  I had an unexpected little windfall, and rather than fritter it away I thought I would get a machine.  I also have some fabric, and some thread so I'm all ready to start the online sewing course that I subscribed to earlier this month.

Duck Feeding -   I have managed it a whole three times since the new year...not good.  But in my defence we have had inclement weather and I have been in Devon for a week so I'm back on the case, which started with a little outing this afternoon. The Daddy even joined us and we went into the cafe for tea and cake before coming home :D  Easily pleased !

Drawing - miserable failure I'm afraid.  I have flicked through my book and unpacked the box of 'equipment'.  That's it.

Baby Making - An even more miserable failure.  I'm already taking the drugs for another go next month, and will be going for scanning the week after next.  I don't know whether it will work out though as The Daddy has to be away on a  course at the time he may be needed so all in all not good.  I'm REALLY cheesed off as I was convinced we were going to be successful this time.  Unrealistic ?  probably, but that's how I felt.  So cheesed off with it am I that at the moment I am a whisker away from abandoning the whole thing :(  I'm sure I'll get over it...

Last but not least Star has developed a nasty eczema type rash all over his trunk, and less so on his arms and legs.  Nothing on his hands, feet, bum or face.  It doesn't appear to bother him but it bothers me.  It started a couple of months ago with a few small patched and has gradually increased but seems to have gone mad over the last week or so.  I need to get to the bottom of what is causing it but am slightly confused at the moment.  A couple of months ago we started making his porridge with cows milk, and at the time I thought his poo turned slightly green, but my mother said to give it time for his system to get used to it so I persisted with it.  The poo situation improved, and as he has had cows milk formula, yoghurts, fromage frais and cheese for months I assumed it wasn't to blame.  But as it's the only 'untreated' cows milk he's had I am now wondering if it is causing the eczema.  I have started making his porridge with goats milk today to see if that makes a difference, but I'm not convinced it will.  I'm really worried he's developed a dairy allergy, as he has also been quite 'snotty' since he was a baby, and dairy can do this.  We'll see.

For anyone that has tagged me in a meme since the new year, and I know there are a few of you, I do apologise for my tardiness in responding.  I do intend to participate...sometime...




Sunday, 24 January 2010

Hereditary Dementia - Would You Want To Know ?

 As you may have read in an earlier post, last year my father was diagnosed with a type of dementia at the age of 62.  I have considered posting about this many times, viewed from many different aspects but each time I have chosen to push it aside.  Having just had my parents staying for a week it is once again in the forefront of my mind and this time it's coming warned this could be a long and depressing post.

My mother had been convinced there was something wrong since before his 60th birthday. The reason his diagnosis took so long was that the type of dementia he has is rare.  Twice he was visited by a psychologist who set him tests which he passed with flying colours.  The explanation my mother was given was that he was just relaxing into retirement and was 'under-stressed', the implication being that without some stress we can't fully function.  Finally he was sent for a brain scan and our fears were confirmed.  Whilst he remains physically very fit and well,  my lovely Dad has already left us.

Dementia, in all it's forms, is a terrible disease and one for which there is very little, if any treatment.  Worse still, relatively little research is being done to find a cure.  If you are unlucky enough to get dementia, Alzeimers is currently your best bet.  There are drugs to delay the progression, and as it's by far and away the most common strain, most of the dementia research is aimed at Alzeimers.  Sadly my Dad doesn't have Alzeimers.  He has Frontotemporal Dementia, a type of pre-senile dementia.  It's called pre-senile as it effects people between the ages of 40 and 65.  One study found the average age to be 56.1 yrs.  I will post another time about the symptoms and how this effects the family as it is quite different to that which people generally associate with dementia.  It can also be an inherited condition with strong links in families.  Whilst we don't know the type my grandmother, great grandmother and great great grandmother all had dementia...

I'm sure you've guessed where this is going.  Will it be me ?  I am 40 already, and Star is only 1.  Have I passed it on to him ?  Should I have another baby and risk passing it on again ?  How long have I got ?  Will I stay well to see grandchildren ?  To see Star marry ?  To see him graduate ?  To see him finish school ?  To see him start school ?

I feel I've been living in the shadow of this since my father was diagnosed early last year.  The initial panic has passed but I think about it at least two or three times a week, sometimes more.  Every time I forget something...what did I come upstairs for ?  What was I saying ? Every time I drop of Dad's early symptoms was clumsiness.  I don't feel as sharp as I this the result of being a SAHM ? or the pregnancy brain loss not recovering ?  Every time something like this happens the thoughts cloud in... is this the start of it ?  I try to keep busy... with Star, with blogging, with tweeting, anything to keep my mind from wandering...and wondering.

One thought that crosses my mind is whether I would be better off knowing.  Do I carry the genetic blueprint to develop this disease?  Or to pass it on to my children ?  I worry about it now, so maybe if I was to be tested I could either breathe a sigh of relief, or start making plans.  But could I live with knowing what was awaiting my family and me ?  At the moment I have decided not to find out as I just think that to know, whilst watching my fathers decline, would be too much.  But I haven't ruled it out forever. 

We have been told that my Dad has, at best, a year of any kind of quality of life, after which he will almost certainly need full time nursing.  So this year my sister and I are trying to ensure that he does as much as possible.  Last week The Daddy  and I took my parents to Cirque Du Soleil and Chinatown, next month my sister is taking them to Mousehole in Cornwall for the weekend.  In  the summer we are all planning a big family holiday and I'm sure there will be other things organised.  It's very difficult to know how much he takes in, or appreciates, but he seems to enjoy these things, at least superficially, at the time...

If you suspected you may have inherited an incurable, untreatable disease would you choose to face the demon head on, or would you run and hide ?


Monday, 18 January 2010

Why everyone, yes even you, should watch American Idol... least once.  Just give it a try.  I bet you won't be disappointed.

I have noticed a distinct lack of American Idol tweeting and have concluded that this must mean that you are yet to discover this particular joy.  So, in order to satisfy my need to be of service to you all, I will endeavour to explain.

For the completely uninitiated American Idol is rather like the X Factor.  There are nationwide auditions, followed by a weekend in Hollywood to select the finalists.  Then, each week, they all sing and the US public vote for their favourites, with the least popular going home.  And of course, as is inevitable, one of the four judges is The Cowell.

Now, if you're thinking 'I don't even like the x factor' well neither do I !  I don't watch it because the talent is usually somewhat thin on the ground, the hype is unbearable, and the british voting public seem determined to back the novelty acts to the detriment of those with talent.  However, the same cannot be said for American Idol.  The quality of the finalists is so much better that every week there are a number of stunning vocal performances.  There are no 'novelty acts' and generally speaking the weakest are voted out first.  As it should be in a talent contest.

If you do watch X Factor and particularly enjoy the audition stages, this is bigger and better.  More auditions, more deluded and many simply's just hilarious, but with some incredible talent too.

So if you are at least intrigued to find out more tune in to ITV2 on Wednesday at 8pm and let me know what you think :-)


Sunday, 17 January 2010

Bloggers for Haiti

There have already been so many posts on this subject that I'm really not sure I can do a new, or interesting take on the subject, but if I can in some small way simply keep the issue at the front of peoples minds, I'm happy.

For me, one photo in particular really struck home.  

As mothers, I'm sure we all strive to provide the very best we can for our children, and given her situation I felt this woman's pain.  I saw her desperation, her despair, her disbelief, her numbness, her desolation...and I imagined how I would feel if it were me.  If my precious Star was sick, or injured, or cold, or hungry, or thirsty, or frightened...and I couldn't fix it.  

Sadly I can't fix this woman's pain but 'Bloggers For Haiti' are trying to do something to ease the pain for some by raising funds to purchase Shelterboxes. 

Each Shelterbox costs £490  and is a complete rescue package in a box.  Each box contains:

  • A ten-person tent with privacy partitions that allow its occupants to divide the space as they see fit
  • A range of other survival equipment including thermal blankets and insulated ground sheets, essential in areas where temperatures plummet at nightfall
  • Life-saving means of water purification. Water supplies often become contaminated after a major disaster, as infrastructure and sanitation systems are destroyed, this presents a secondary but no less dangerous threat to survivors than the initial disaster itself.
  • A basic tool kit containing a hammer, axe, saw, trenching shovel, hoe head, pliers and wire cutters.  These items enable people to improve their immediate environment, by chopping firewood or digging a latrine, for example. Then, when it is possible, to start repairing or rebuilding the home they were forced to leave.
  • A wood burning or multi-fuel stove that can burn anything from diesel to old paint.  This provides the heart of the new home where water is boiled, food is cooked and families congregate. In addition, there are pans, utensils, bowls, mugs and water storage containers.
  • Each box can be adapted to the individual needs of the disaster area, for example, following the Javanese earthquake in 2006, when some resources were available locally or could be salvaged from one storey buildings, the overwhelming need was for shelter – so ShelterBox just sent tents, packing two in each box.  The box itself is lightweight and waterproof and has been used for a variety of purposes in the past – from water and food storage containers to a cot for a newly born baby.
  • And lastly, but I think just as importantly, each box contains a children’s pack containing drawing books, crayons and pens.  For children who have lost most, if not all, of their possessions, these small gifts are treasured.
At the time of writing £1415 has been raised so far which is a truly fantastic sum in less than 24hrs.  If you haven't made a donation to a Haiti relief cause yet, please go to the 'justgiving' page set up at Bloggers For Haiti and help us on our way to another box. 

Thank you.


Saturday, 16 January 2010

Quick comment on comments

I just wanted to say a little bit about blog comments as it has been playing on my mind.

I am not very good at responding to comments directly but this is no reflection on how I feel about them, and particularly the wonderfully supportive comments I have received recently.  I am SO grateful for anyone that takes the time to even read my diatribes, let alone spend added minutes leaving a comment.  I know only too well how busy you all are.  My problem is simply a lack of time.  

I would like to read every post in my reader, comment on each one, write a post of my own every day, and respond to all comments left for me.  But I can't.  So, please don't take offence, and please, please don't stop leaving your comments x


Goal #4 update

Hopefully if I put something related to goal #4 in the title of these kind of posts anyone sick of hearing about our pursuit of baby No 2 can pass on by without frustration or annoyance.  So, you have been warned...

A quick update then on where we are. I've been for three scans this week, and yesterday had a follicle measuring 18.8mm which means it's ripe and ready.  So at 1.30 this morning (I'm sooo tired)  I injected myself with something akin to lutenising hormone.  The clinic specifiy the time so that ovulation occurs at a precise time to coincide with when you are having the IUI procedure.  I am booked in for 11.30 tomorrow with hubbie required at 10am.  

I may be being overly optimistic but I have a really good feeling about this month.  I am feeling positive, fit and healthy, the follicle looks really good, and as for the timing, the last, and only, time we had an IUI treatment on day 15 of my cycle (which it will be tomorrow) was when Star was conceived.  And that was also on a it's all good !



Boring Technorati Claim 6ZUS7YBD7VHJ


That is all...


Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Do you believe in the power of positive thought or prayer ?

If you do, I am about to ask for your help, but first I will explain why.

As my regular readers will know The Daddy and I are currently embarking on our first post miscarriage attempt to get pregnant, using IUI.  For anyone not familiar with the story so far you can find it here and here.  When we originally began this journey, back in 2006, I bought a book called 'Stay Fertile Longer' by Mary Kittel which I would highly recommend to anyone planning to have a baby.  It is a mine of fantastic information, including this:-

Researchers at The Columbia University conducted a randomised double blind study involving 200 infertile couples undergoing IVF and/or ICSI at a Korean hospital.  All the women took the same medication, all had three eggs fertilised with their partners sperm, and all had the three embryos implanted.  What neither the patients, nor their doctors knew was that half of them (randomly selected) were also being prayed for by people on the other side of the world.  The volunteers were from the US, Australia and Canada and did not know the patients they were praying for.

The results were unbelievable.  The pregnancy rate for the control group was 26%, but the rate for the 'prayed for' group was almost double, at 50 %.  

Dr Michael R Mantell,  assistant clinical professor in the dept of psychiatry at the University of California and a clinical psychologist specialising in helping infertile couples said 'I'm impressed, but not at all surprised, by the results of the prayer study.  After treating infertile couples for more than 20 years, I've found that it's not unusual when the reason for not conceiving - or the solution - is on a more spiritual and psychological level than what hard science can explain'

If hard science can't explain it, I'm damn sure I can't but I do believe that there is ALOT that hard science can't explain that works.  And I'd like to give this a try, with your help.

Here's what you can do...

  • Think positive thoughts for us, and/or
  • Pray for us and/or
  • Visualise our perfect, healthy newborn baby later this year and/or
  • Whenever Geriatric Mummy pops up, in your blog comments, in your reader, in twitter over the coming days and months send us some good vibes
In addition I would like to ask you to retweet this post if you are on twitter or tell any open minded people you know that may be interested in helping.  The worst that can happen is that reading this post may help someone else trying to conceive, but maybe, just maybe it can help us.

Thank you so much for reading. 


Monday, 11 January 2010

Cheesed off - Rant alert

I am not  a happy bunny today.  Not sure why but think it has something to do with this:-

  • Snow.  Fed up with not being able to go about my normal business. Fed up with my routine being disrupted and getting nothing done. Fed up with the enforced loss of momentum on new year goals. 
  • Baby making.  Went for first follicle track this morning.  It went fine, but the process is now not clear and requires me to liaise between scanning people and clinic on an almost daily basis.  Not only is this aggravation that I could do without, it is also hassle due to the clinic being very poor at anything admin related.  I have thus far put off phoning them but have to do it today :(
  • Star Teething.  I feel really guilty about even suggesting that this could be contributing to my fed upness.  He is cutting two molars and has dry, red cheeks, an endlessly runny nose, three 'very loose' nappies a day that he tries his best to put his hand in whilst I am trying to clear up the debris, and a very sore bum that makes him cry when I wipe it :(  I feel so sorry for the poor little mite.  He's been like this for about 3 days now and do you know, he hasn't got whingy, he hasn't gone off of his food, and he hasn't stopped sleeping 12 hrs a night.  He's such a brave little soldier bless him, but I hate to see him in any kind of discomfort and know that he must be suffering. In the meantime I am constantly running around wiping his nose, applying cream to his cheeks and battling through nappy changes.  Surely, if he can put up with it all without getting fed up, I can ?
I must go in a mo and phone the clinic, but in the meantime a request for advice.  If you are a regular reader you will know that one of my new year goals (which I haven't even finished posting and we are nearly in the middle of Jan - Bah) was to learn to sew.  Step one was to retrieve my sewing machine form the shed.  I have done this but I fear that by the time I buy the missing foot pedal and cables, and the elecricity cable, and get it serviced it would be cheaper to but a new, or reconditioned one.  

So, my question is what features should I look for ?  I don't want to spend alot of money but I do want one that will serve me well whilst learning and beyond ?  I look forward to hearing your suggestions.

In the meantime, you know what I've gotta do...


Friday, 8 January 2010

My Favourite Photo

Well, I still have a list of posts as long as my arm that due to snow I haven't succeeded in ticking off yet.  WHat has snow got to do with it I hear you ask.  Well The Daddy and my stepson have both been at home and have upset our routine, and with it went blogging time.  Anyway, they are out at the theatre this evening, Star is in bed, dinner is taken care of so I have time for a quick post.  And as it has to be quick it will be this one.  The photo meme.

I was very kindly tagged by the lovely MakeDoMum  and Kelly which was just as well as I'd been desperate to have a go at this one.  I had a particular photo in mind, knowing in an instant which one I should post, BUT as yet I have been unable to find it in digital form.  I know I have it on a disk somewhere but The Daddy has this really annoying habit of 'tidying up' and putting things away in the most unlikely places.  So, I will post it when I find it, but in the meantime I am posting my 2nd favourite photo, and here it is...

It's not very original, it's not very artistic, it's not funny or moving but it captures a special moment in time for me.  This is Star when he was about six hours old. I like it because he looks so peaceful.  I like it because he looks, and was, and still is, so very handsome.  I like the scale my mum's hand gives.  I like the way his hands are crossed and holding on to the blanket...I don't know why but I always think of angel wings.  I like it because it was taken at a time of immense happiness.  Star was born by elective section which went absolutely to plan and was fantastic from start to finish. He was perfect.  My family had just arrived following a 160 mile journey to come and see us at the first opportunity.  I was showing off my new born son to my family. It had been a long and arduous journey to get here.  I felt euphoric.

When, after bad day or night with Star, I question my decision to have a child, or whenever I question whether to go through it all again I look at this photo...and I remember why.

I'm not going to tag anyone in particular.  Many have done it already, and I don't want anyone to be left out, so if you haven't done this yet, and would like to, take this as a tag for you.


Monday, 4 January 2010

New Year Resolution #4 - The Big One

Well, here it is, the big one.  The all encompassing obsession that will persist until I succeed.  The goal that will in all likelihood cause massive stress and emotional upheaval, for who knows how long ?

4.  Have another baby

I have posted before about my pursuit of this aim here so won't duplicate other than to say that getting pregnant is not a straightforward process for us.  Here is a quick run down of what is involved...

  • Take drugs days 2 -6 of cycle
  • Go to clinic for internal scans every other day from day 9 of cycle until day before ovulation
  • Inject self with ovulation inducing hormone at 1am
  • Go to clinic on day of ovulation for DH to 'produce a sample', wait while it is 'prepared' and then endure the IUI procedure which feels like a smear test gone wrong. (If anyone is unsure what IUI is all about see here )
Whilst trying to conceive Star I also did extensive research into what else can be done to maximise the chances of not only getting pregnant but also to have a healthy, full term baby.  Before you read this list and decide that it is all unnecessary and over the top I should explain.  We have been very successful so far, getting pregnant twice in four attempts which is significantly better than general success rates which are usually quoted as somewhere between 10 and 20%.  When you consider that most IUI patients are younger than me that makes our success rate even more impressive.  So, you will understand why I am so committed to these extra measures...
  • Take supplements as 'prescribed' following hair analysis.  I will do another post on this at some time as it is a very big subject and so very important.
  • Eat organic food and avoid convenience foods and anything 'nutritionally void' as far as possible.
  • Use chemical free toiletries
  • Don't drink alcohol
  • Have a monthly reflexology treatment
  • Listen to the Innertalk fertilty CD.  This sounds of the sea but has subliminal messages about fertility.  I became pregnant both months that I listened to it.  
  • Drink, cook with and bathe in filtered water.  Don't worry we have a whole house filter on the mains!
  • Do daily positive visualisations.
I know to many of you these things will probably sound wacky in the extreme but I feel that I can't afford to leave a single stone unturned.  I don't know which of these is most important or significant (although I have my theories) so I don't pick and choose but do them all religiously.

So there we have it.  We have already started this particular journey as I am taking the drugs and will be going for my first scan on Mon 11th Jan.  I don't know yet how much I will be blogging about this, it may help manage the stress, but equally not posting about it may take my mind off of it, and whilst it is monumental to me I also know that it's just another blog post amongst thousands and don't want to push my readers away so we'll have to see how it goes.  In the meantime please think positive thoughts and keep everything crossed for us...for me, for The Daddy, and most of all for Star x


New Year Resolution #3

OK, well, I was planning to do our second duck feeding walk of the year this morning, but it as sooooo cold I thought that Star's cheeks would freeze, not to mention his hands that he continually pulls the mittens from.  So I decided to postpone.  No need to become obsessive, as is my natural inclination.  I have been once in the last four days, I have three days left in which to go again to meet my 'aspirational target' of two duck feedings per week (what has my life become ?!) and only then if it is the right thing to do for Star and me.

No progress yet on the sewing front but as soon as I have finished this post I will be braving the cold to retrieve the sewing machine from the shed.  Steps and all that.

And so to the next goal on my list...

3.  Start pencil drawing

Yes, it's another creative one.  I have always been creative, but have not always given myself the time or opportunity to express  it.  So, this goal is another attempt at reclaiming something of myself, the self that gets lost in motherhood.  

I haven't done any kind of painting/drawing since I was about 13.  I loved art at school but my parents decreed that I should not waste 'an option' on a non academic subject.  I was quite well blessed in the brains department and therefore they couldn't see any benefit in gaining O level art rather than, say, history or geography.  Before I gave it up, the only kind of painting I was any good at was abstract.  When I say good, I didn't get it but my teachers would all rave about it.  I still don't get abstract art and therefore have no wish to do it.  It seems pointless and totally boring to me.  However I was also good at pencil drawing.  Largely only from photos and pictures, but hey, it's a start !  And it is to this start that I plan to return.

Today, I took delivery of a 'Windsor & Newton Complete Sketching Art Set' and no, this is not a sponsored post, I paid for it all myself.  And here it is...

Before I start I am also awaiting delivery of a 'beginners guide to pencil drawing' style book.  This is something of a comfort blanket I think, but I would also like to understand the technicalities of drawing as I don't think I have ever actually been taught how to draw.  The book should arrive any day, and then...I will begin.

I don't have any particular projects in mind but would like to do some sketches of Star and the dogs if I feel I can do them justice.  I would also like to attempt the view from our garden room window.  But I have plenty of getting up to speed to do before then.

So there we are, goal number three posted for posterity.  I'm off to the shed...


Sunday, 3 January 2010

New Year Resolution #2 and a catch up ramble

Well, since my last post on new years day there are so many blog posts I want to do, but as always, so little time.  I was tagged by the lovely Diney to partake in the High five Meme which, for me, is always an honour.  I had also been planning to do a post inspired by the Daily Mail's 'How To Have A Happy Life' article, only to find that The Wife Of Bold has beaten me to it.  All is not lost on this front however as she very kindly turned it into an 'open' meme so that even though I wasn't tagged I can still participate.  Very inclusive I thought ;-)  And then, of course, there is my outstanding list of new year goals which are yet to be posted.

Whilst I will definitely come back to the meme's, and look forward to it, I have decided to prioritise posting my new year goals.  I am posting them one by one so that I can expand on the why and how and believe that this exercise will clarify my thinking and make me more likely to achieve them.  I know this is rather self indulgent but hope you will forgive me ?

So, on with my second goal.  I should say at this point that these numbers are only significant with regard to the order in which I am posting them.  Certainly not any kind of order of importance.

2.  Learn to sew.

Largely due to being inspired by Mad Mummy's ( The Mad House )  learning to sew last year, and her wonderful creations since, I have decided that the time has come for me to do the same.

I have an electric sewing machine in the shed that I bought second hand about 15 years ago and have never used.  Sadly, in my numerous house moves, it is now minus the electric cable and the instruction manual.  However, part one of achieving my goal is to rectify this by taking it to a repair centre to get it serviced and buy a replacement cable.  I also hope to establish the model so that I can source a replacement manual - the internet really is a wonderful thing !

Once I have my sewing machine in working order I can begin to learn to sew and I have enrolled in an online course care of  Valerie at Frugal Family Fun Blog and can't wait to get started.  In the meantime I am looking for a cheap, but good quality and reliable online supplier of all things sewing related, including fabric.  If you know of anywhere, and if I haven't bored you into clicking away and you are still with me perhaps you could leave me a few suggestions ?

The one project that I am wanting to do above anything else is to make Star a xmas stocking/sack with his name on it.  I can already do the embroidery, so just need to make the stocking/sack.  Wish me luck !

PS I do apologise if this post is even more 'rambly' and full of typos than usual.  I am typing this with one one and three quarter eyes on the world darts final and it's gripping !


Friday, 1 January 2010

New Year Resolution #1

As I have quite an extensive list of new year resolutions  goals I decided that I would post about one each day, thus giving me the opportunity to explain why I have chosen the goal and in some cases how I intend to set about achieving said objective.  To get me into the swing of things I thought I would start with a relatively simple one, so here goes...

1.  To take Star for a walk to feed the ducks at least once, preferably twice, a week.

I am very lucky to live in an area that is both close to London and all the convenience that it brings, but is also rural.  Having spent most of my life living in Devon this is very important to me.  We live less than four miles from the M4 but were delighted to be visited by eight partridges on xmas eve and two deer on xmas morning.

One benefit of living where we do is that there are two council run 'country parks' within a few miles.  Both have a large lake and an abundance of water birds such as ducks, swans, canadian geese and others, are open all year round and are free to use other than paying a small parking charge.  

Star also loves ducks.  Having had three traditional rubber ducks in his bath since he could sit up his second word was 'duck' (his first word was 'wave' or rather 'wabe', as in goodbye - since when has a babies first word been a verb?!) When we go to one of the parks he smiles one of his wide open mouthed smiles as soon as he sees them and his arms and legs start flapping, seemingly uncontrollably, with unbridled joy.

Finally, I have recently started baking bread with the help of my new bread machine.  Star absolutely loves my bread (organic, 65% wholegrain, 35% white), and only my bread, preferably freshly baked and still slightly warm.  My regular readers will know that I am ever so slightly obsessed with healthy eating and good nutrition and so, I feel it is my duty (and one that I enjoy) to provide Star with a fresh baked loaf for his tea every day.  As The Daddy and I eat little bread ourselves this means that I have, on average, half a small loaf left over each day.  The prospect of throwing this away offends me, and've guessed will go to feed the ducks.

So, this seemingly simple goal satisfies so many needs.  Star and I get fresh air, I get exercise, Star and I have a trip out that costs next to nothing, star gets a close up of the ducks, the ducks get fed some glorious bread, and my leftover loaf goes to good use.  Everyone's happy, and that must be a goal worth pursuing.