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One of our favourite destination is Walby Farm park; not far to go and so much to do, especially on a rainy day and it is good to have something up one's sleeve. When in South London it was the soft play at the Brixton Rec or Peckham and here is a far superior Walby Farm Park.  

Boys having fun at Walby Farm Park I was so pleased when I discovered Walby because it meant that I could get a latte and the boys could enjoy action. Usually they made a friend and wear themselves out.  

Whenever my sister is visiting us, one of the first things she does is organise a day to Walby, usually with Barry's Taxi and takes all four children with her and I can imagine she does what I do, sit and have a coffee.

I love the fact that Walby are developing what they offer and loved the visiting reindeer at Christmas and now the maze.  When Nick's niece came up from Crouch End with her two boys, we all managed to fit in a visit, including Nick. It was brilliant to be able to sit and have an adult conversation over coffee whilst the four boys between 4 and 10 were happily occupying themselves. Well done Neil and Katie. 

Jazzy sharing strategy with the younger Kittoe or is he giving a lecture? Wonder where he gets that from. 


Posted by on in Life at Tranquil Otter

Cycling solo is not something I would have attempted in a City or even in Carlisle. Last weekend, the weather was dull and seemed just right to explore Solway villages by cycle.

Mostly on c roads this map sets out a lovely route; apparently these were the highways of medieval times. I have yet to explore the history of the area in detail, however there is no doubt that the same quiet lanes saw much action with border battles with Scotland.

However, now in 2011 the hedgerows are impressive, the lanes are quiet and cycling is such a civilised way of exploring this area. My only regret was not to bring my purse as I would have loved to have a long lemonade at the Greyhound, Burgh by Sands.

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Posted by on in Life at Tranquil Otter

Nick and Mike have been working diligently to clear the Canadian Pond Weed and the silt on which it grows, from the Lough, which is both a blessing and a nuisance.

A blessing because it releases oxygen into the water, the absence of which can be fatal to the ecosystem and a nuisance because it can make it difficult to row and fish (and swim for the madder of us!) in parts of the lake.

With the lake clear from ice and weed the boys have been rowing; and Jon is able to row to the far side of the Lough. Ijaz just likes to jump in; seeing the boy in the water made Nick so jealous that he decided to restart his daily swimming regime, commencing with a micro dip.

One advantage of this is that Nick was able to say that he has swam with the otters. The other is that he can report that much of the Lough has regained its gravel bottom.

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Recently we have taken to cycling to the nearest pub, having lunch and cycling back. On the last three occasions we've cycled to The Greyhound at Burgh by Sands with Leah, as they allow dogs into the bar.

This week we decided to try further afield. Off we headed to the Aikton Arms, through Kirkbampton; me ahead with one boy and Nick falling behind with Boy no 2.

A sign to the Aikton Arms to turn left and Nick insisted not as he had been before. We headed off to Little Bampton, arriving at Tam O Shanter, another pub recommended by locals and some of our guests. However as the Chef was off, unusually, and the land lady as she offered us some scampi and chips and took care to explain that she was no cook. Now why would anyone want to pay for Sunday dinner prepared by someone, who by their own admission, was not a cook.

Off we cycled to Aikton Arms, in the middle of nowhere;with wifi, darts, pool table and an open fire. The land ladies were both welcoming and we had a lovely lunch with the boys, 1 and 2, playing pool.

Aikton Arms also offers a takeaway service; I have never before seen beer battered haggis on a menu. If you like haggis then this would be a treat no doubt.

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Our boys had become increasingly fascinated by dogs over the last year and one of their favourite games was " playing dog ".

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