Junior turned seven today. No prizes for guessing the game of the moment…
I loved my time in the Scouts. It broadened my horizons and shaped my love for the outdoors and gave me the skills to enjoy wild country to the full. I was delighted today to see Junior invested into the local Beavers.
Well, in truth it’s just one wheel on a tag-along. He’s gone from a seat to a saddle and lost 4 kg in weight at the same time. Also, to aid with those Lancashire hills, he’s now got gears! The Weehoo was great, especially for when we rode across France but now he’s bigger the Piccolo should be a lot easier. He can get on and off without help for example.
We hope to go for our first micro-tour, complete with tent, in October when Mrs W is away visiting a friend. To make it more fun I’ve fitted a cycle computer with a rear wheel sensor so Junior can know how fast he’s going and how far he’s gone. The hope is that this has the same motivating effect that his step counter does on a family walk. Let’s hope too that I can maintain the fitness I built for, and on, my Welsh C2C – I think I’ll need it!
Having had his first dabble with ‘Big Boy Lego’ a fortnight ago we bought him a Creator kit. When I opened the box I wondered if I’d been a bit over ambitious on his behalf, a 9+ kit for someone only almost five. Well, five sessions later he finished it, a solo building effort, albeit with a consulting engineer asking the occasional, ‘Are you sure that goes on that way around? ‘ Well done Junior.
He first rode this bike with help on Thursday evening and by Saturday morning Junior was riding solo / unaided. He’s done so well, it looks like having the Balance Bike really did do what it was supposed to. Junior had the lightest one on the market, which was not only good for him, but also for me when he lost interest and I had to carry it home! Go for a Strider! I cannot upload a video onto the blog without upgraded, but you can see the video here.
Being on a sabbatical year has given me a lot of time to think, to develop but also more time to have fun with Junior. After a trial nights’ camping in the back garden in the Spring, we discussed taking it up a notch. Initially I thought we could camp on top of Pendle (and one day I hope we will) but I realized that he was still not old / strong enough to walk to the top without being carried some of the way. And, in saying this I hope I don’t shatter too many illusions, I’m not Superman! I cannot carry full kit for two and 19 kg of flesh and bone too.
As some of you may know during this year I am working two days a week on a local sheep farm. It’s great fun! This farm is on the fell side and reaches 850 feet at its highest point. From this point you get a great view across the valley to Pendle. So with the permission of my wonderful farmer friends we headed up to an empty field on the fell top where the grass was recovering (they work a grazing rotation system) and pitched up for the night. It was a glorious evening, dry and warm out of the wind. This was my chance to introduce Junior to the skills of wild camping. Finding a sheltered site, clearing obstructions (and sheep poo also in this case) and pitching the tent. Assuring him the tent would not blow away (how many kids have the assurance they are in a Hilleburg and safe from everything apart from the apocalypse?)
It was great to see the excitement on his face that we were going to ‘cook up’ some hot chocolate on our stove as a treat to enjoy as we savoured the view. OK, I enjoyed the view and Junior was more taken with the biscuits which ‘tasted better on top of a hill.’
He slept well and in the morning the excitement continued as Daddy cooked porridge without even getting out of his sleeping bag and he got to eat his also without getting out of bed. Hopefully some good memories have been laid down and this will warm him to the idea of more such adventures in the future.
*I was tempted to entitle this ‘Fell Trek – The Next Generation’ but imagine the humour might fall cold on all but the most geeky of my readership.
I am delighted to have just introduced Junior to Thunderbirds. Whilst originally made in the 60’s it was still being shown in my childhood some 10-15 years later. Showing superlative taste he loved it, which meant I got to relive the experience with him too. Great father-son bonding time. Then he wanted to know, can we build it out of Lego, so I shook the internet to see what I can find. Surprisingly it’s not a kit that’s ever been offered. Pleasingly though Lego have an ‘Ideas‘ site where people can submit ideas for model kits and then the Lego community can vote whether it is something they think they would buy. Apparently if an idea gets 10,000 votes it will be seriously considered as a new product. Well the Thunderbird 2 model has already garnered 3000 votes in just over a month, so only 7000 more are needed. Thus if each of my followers votes for this, and promoted it to ten of their followers who voted for it we would reach the 10,000. So please consider the young people of our world and how there lives could be transformed for good by such a model being made available and vote here. Thanks.
Mrs W was due to work this weekend, so Junior and I headed away for a weekend in York aided by our VW camper-van. I was really pleased with this photo which was taken just after we had woken on the Sunday morning.
A half term treat, going to Manchester on the train to catch a tram (and an incidental visit to the Museum of Science and Industry).
Preparation for our family cycle tour across France on the Canal des Deux Mers route is now in full swing with the arrival of Junior’s new accessory. He can now contribute to progress with his own set of pedals. He may only be 3 1/2 but I could feel his input. I’d say it was around 10-20% easier than pulling him in his trailer and on this point I’d agree with Tesco’s…
…every little helps!