Tag Archives: Morden Hall Park

This week

This week I have not written anything on the blog at all.  That is quite unusual, and it was not for lack of things to write about.  The lack of blogging has been caused by a busy weekend, a week of sleep deprivation, two sick children and technical problems (solved by the lovely Jo from Mum Friendly, The Adequate Parent and other places too numerous for me to remember.)  Now that I am back, I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the posts I would like to write, so I think I am just going to have to combine them or they are not going to get written.

Last Friday, Suburban Dad had the day off to help with preparations for the party we had planned for Saturday.  He spent a lot of the day in the garden tidying up, cutting the grass and taming the weeds and overgrown borders.  I spent most of the time inside cleaning, doing laundry and making cakes, but late in the afternoon I joined him outside and had some fun with the children.  They had been making a woodlouse house, which by this time had quite a lot of residents for me to admire, and then the big three and I had a lot of messy fun repotting the seedlings grown from the seeds they had planted at Morden Hall Park on the last Bank Holiday Monday.


On Saturday, we had a joint party for Tiddler and Owl.  It was roughly between their birthdays which are in April and June, and they both thought it was a great idea to have a sharing party, as Monkey and Rabbit had done in February.  We hired a bouncy castle, provided large quantities of food and let them get on with it.  I think there were 27 children altogether, and it was very lively but quite successful.  We attempted to do a Science experiment in the Tuff Spot, which turned out to be a rather unimpressive volcano – well I think the little ones quite liked it but it didn’t impress any 8 and 9 year olds.


In the afternoon, after most of the children had left, we had a lovely and more peaceful time with our friends from 3 Kids and a Gluestick, daddy’s cousin and two of his children, and Granny and Grandpa.  The highlight of the afternoon was making giant bubbles with Dr Zigs bubble mixture and wands.  Rabbit was particularly good at this, and very patient.  We finished the afternoon with a barbecue, and luckily the weather was perfect all day.

Party bubbles 1

Party Bubbles 2

On Sunday, the children and I had a quiet morning at home to recover from the excitement, while daddy went to church.  In the afternoon, a friend of mine came to visit.  As she arrived, Rabbit, Tiddler and I had just decided to do some painting in the garden.  We started with the easel and then moved on to the Tuff Spot.  We squirted several different colours of paint in, added some cardboard tubes, plastic balls and toy cars and experimented with different ways of making marks and patterns in the paint.

Paint 1

Paint 2

Paint 3

The children also enjoyed showing my friend the giant bubbles, and then with her help they made vegetarian kebabs for another barbecue lunch.  In the afternoon, we went for a lovely walk in Banstead Woods.  The bluebells were still out and it was beautiful.  We didn’t get very far because the children discovered a tree in which someone had built a platform of planks, and underneath a den, so of course we had to spend the rest of the afternoon on tree climbing and attempts to extend the den.

Banstead Woods 1 Banstead Woods 2

On Monday, after another quiet morning of work and play at home, we went to Morden Hall Park for the afternoon with our friends from 3 kids and a gluestick.  After an expensive visit there for the May Fayre, it was nice to visit when it was free.  The afternoon got off to an eventful start when Tiddler fell in the stream, but one we had got him out and moved away from the water we had a lovely time.  We ticked off a few more of the things on our National Trust 50 things list – making daisy chains, making a grass trumpet (not very successful but we had a good try), playing pooh sticks and holding scary beasts (worms and woodlice!) We also discovered a hollow tree which the children had fun climbing in and out of, and we want to go back to take some bark rubbings.  We finished the afternoon with a play in the natural playground, which the children really enjoyed.  I am sure we are going back soon so we will review it properly then.

Morden Hall Park 1

Morden Hall Park 2

On Tuesday, the big boys went for a Maths lesson (and Lego play session) with my friend, while I took the little ones to Toddler Group.  I really enjoyed it and had another go at crochet, which a group of us had started to learn at Toddlers last week.  In the afternoon, another friend and her daughter called round and ended up staying for an hour or so.  The children had fun playing schools (!) which led to making clocks out of paper plates, and playing with letter and word tiles and magnetic letters. After that, the big three went to Dramabuds.  It was a good day, but in the evening Tiddler was sick, and he spent the night in our bed.  He was sick several more times and none of us got much sleep.  Sadly on Wednesday we had to miss Tiddler’s swimming lesson and another outing to Morden Hall Park with our Home Education Group.  I can’t remember what we did at home (I am quite tired!) but I’m sure when I look at my photos I will be reminded.  In the evening, Rabbit went to Rainbows and Monkey went to Beavers.  Thursday was another day at home, in which the children did lots of Maths, English and Science, and worked on their Prehistory projects.  Owl went to Cubs in the evening.

We had lots of lovely plans for today (Musicbox, meeting with friends afterwards and then a visit to a PYO farm) but sadly they too had to be cancelled when Rabbit was sick this morning after breakfast.  The children spent the morning playing with playdough while I caught up on some housework.  Owl also wrote an issue of his local newspaper, in which the top story was a shark being found in the Ponds!  In the afternoon, the children played, watched television, did some of their Prehistory project, tidied their bedrooms and did some music practice.  It was sad to cancel so many fun activities, but quite good to get some down time at home.

Morden Hall Park

On Bank Holiday Monday, we went to Morden Hall Park in the afternoon.  It’s that time of year when I start to think we must visit some National Trust properties again, and it is our nearest one.  After we had already planned to go there, we found out that there was a May Fayre on.  So instead of a walk in the park, which is beautiful – and free, it became a rather more expensive outing.  It cost £15 for our family to get in, so I was hoping to avoid spending too much more money at the fayre.  There were some really good free stalls with plenty for the children to do, but unfortunately there were also some very expensive fairground rides and attractions which inevitably distracted the children from the free stuff.  We started off in the National Trust area, where we picked up our 50 things to do booklets, and did our first two activities.  One was to walk barefoot in the grass, which all the children did, and then they had to draw round one of their feet in the booklet.  The second activity was to plant some seeds, which at this point only Rabbit wanted to do.  She planted some radish seeds, and then we had to move on as the big boys were very keen to go on an enormous inflatable slide.  It cost £3 for 5 minutes, and the big three all went on it.  They all enjoyed it, but it was a very expensive 5 minutes.  Tiddler was too young, so we paid £2.50 for him to go on a smaller inflatable slide, but he came straight off as it was a bit too scary.  We couldn’t get our money back, but were offered a voucher for another ride.

Morden Hall 1     Morden Hall 2

Next we went to look at an army camp which had been set up as it would have been in 1815, with people dressed up as soldiers from the period.  It was really interesting to talk to them, and there were lots of other historical stalls around the fair which I would have loved to explore more.  However, it was difficult to get the children to look at them, because they just wanted to do all the stuff that cost money.

Morden Hall 3

We met up with our friends from 3 kids and a gluestick, who had won an enormous cuddly dog on one of the fairground stalls.  The children obviously thought it was wonderful, and wanted to do the same, but I didn’t want to spend money and risk winning something so big!

huge dog

We managed to distract them for a while by looking at some of the animals.  I am not sure exactly which ones the children saw, but there were ferrets, dogs, chickens, rabbits, horses, Shetland ponies and goats.  We then sat down in the shade (it was a very hot day) to watch the dog races in the main arena.  After a few races, the children were called up to see if they could run as fast as the dogs.  Owl had a go, and did quite well, but it really did show how fast dogs can run as even the biggest children couldn’t quite keep up with the smallest dogs.  After that the children started to get quite grumpy as it was very hot, we had nearly finished our shared bottle of water, and all they wanted to do was go on the fairground rides but we didn’t want to spend another ten pounds or more.  We thought we might have to leave, until we discovered a great stall raising money for Great Ormond Street hospital.  They had Knex kits for sale, but also an amazing display of models including a huge rollercoaster.  They also had a very simple game in which you paid a pound for a jar and there was money wrapped up inside which you could keep.  We had several goes and won lots of 1p coins, but I didn’t mind spending the money on a good cause, it kept the children entertained and was in a nice shady area.

Morden Hall 5

We then found a small bouncy castle which Tiddler could go on with his voucher.  He only went on for about 2 minutes, but he was quite happy.  Next, we went into the Riverford tent to escape the heat and have a chat.  We are huge fans of Riverford veg boxes and we always try to go and see them when they have stalls at local fairs.  Next to the Riverford tent was a stall selling freshly squeezed lemonade, and I would rather spend money on that than on bottled water, so we bought two cups at £2 each.  The children all really liked it, and daddy got very excited about the idea about buying a proper citrus juicer and setting up a stall at our church fair, outside our house and anywhere else he could think of.  He has been happily occupied researching this idea all week so I’m expecting to see a business plan any time soon.

Morden Hall 6

Before we left, we headed back to the National Trust area because Rabbit’s compost and seeds had been spilt, and luckily she was just in time to plant some more.  This time Owl and Monkey decided they would have a go, and planted some rocket and courgette seeds.  Owl and Rabbit also wrote and drew on paper leaves the things they liked most about Morden Hall Park.  All four children also had a go at archery, which was right next to the National Trust area.  It was quite expensive, but the kind of thing I don’t mind paying for.  I know they really enjoy it so we try to do it whenever the opportunity arises, which isn’t very often.  So although it had been a little difficult at times, we ended the afternoon on a high.  It was by this time cool and pleasant, the crowds had diminished and it was hard to tear them away.  We managed by telling them we would go and buy ice cream and cones at the Co-op on the way home, because the ice creams at the fair were £3 each.  We spent less money and the children got two ice creams each instead of one, so they were happy!

Morden Hall 7

I love Morden Hall Park and we will definitely go back soon, but I think it will probably be even more fun on a normal day when we can explore more and spend less.  However, the children have of course asked to go back to the May Fayre next year!  We probably will, but I will be warning them in advance about exactly what they can and can’t do.  And if it is a hot day, I will take more water!  It was a good event, with a lot of interesting stalls and activities, but it would be so much better without the fairground stuff.  So how about it, lovely National Trust people?  If you are reading this (and I will be tweeting you the link in a minute!) then please consider cutting out the commercial side of it and just leaving the good stuff in.  If so, I would happily pay the £15 entrance fee, and have some money left to spend in the National Trust shop at the end of the day!

Our Bank Holiday Weekend

Last Friday, after a morning of violin lessons and Musicbox, we had a quiet afternoon at home, mostly spent in the garden.  Rabbit wanted me to watch her doing “gymnastics” on the climbing frame, and we had a lovely time together while the boys were otherwise occupied.  Then Tiddler came and joined in and they played together for a while.  I really enjoyed spending time with them outside, making the most of the sunshine (which has since disappeared) and the garden (which is a bit of a mess but has some nice bits).  There is blossom on the pear tree.

pear blossom

There may or may not be pears.  Probably not, but for now it is doing a good job of making the garden look better.  There is also blossom on both the apple trees (much bigger and more established than the pear tree) and they look amazing, but I haven’t photographed them yet.  After climbing and hanging from monkey bars for a while, the little ones wanted me to push them on the swings so we did that for a while, and then we decided to dig and weed the vegetable patch.  This is a very small raised bed which has been abandoned since last summer, and it was completely overgrown with weeds.  I should have taken a proper “before” picture but it didn’t occur to me until about half way through.  Anyway, after about 45 minutes of really hard work by me and Rabbit (and some “help” from Tiddler) it looked like this.


We carried on for another 45 minutes, and more or less cleared it but hadn’t got all the roots out when we had to abandon the project because daddy had arrived with pizza for supper.  The children asked for angel delight for pudding, and of course it had to be in the Tuff Spot so we had an impromptu messy play session.  I made some strawberry angel delight and quickly found a few other things for them to play with/ eat: oats, rice pops, raisins and icing sugar.  They had a wonderful messy time, while we sat in the garden drinking wine and getting in the bank holiday mood.

messy pudding 2a    messy pudding 2b

Saturday was mostly spent on children’s activities (dramabuds, choir and playing at home), housework, more digging and weeding, and also sorting out some of our clutter which has been sitting in a life-laundry style tent in our garden for ages.  We decided that bank holiday weekend was a good time to deal with it properly, as we’d had enough of looking at the tent taking up space in the garden.  On Sunday, daddy took the children to church while I did yet more housework, and we did another stint of clutter sorting after lunch.  Rabbit, Tiddler and I planted some pumpkin seeds in the vegetable patch.

veg patch

So this is our “after” photo for now, though I hope to be able to add photos of pumpkins growing in due course!  We then went round to Granny’s house, where our friends from 3 kids and a gluestick joined us.  The children played, the mummies supervised, and the daddies attempted to sort out tools, clutter and cars(!) in Granny’s garage.  I think the sorting was only moderately productive, but the children had a lovely time and we had the first barbecue of the season.

On Monday, we had planned to go to Morden Hall Park, but I decided we couldn’t go until the tent was down, as I was starting to think it would become a permanent fixture in our garden.  So we had a final push and sorted out the rest of the stuff, setting aside some to give away or sell, returning a few useful items to the house, and making a satisfyingly huge pile of stuff to go to the dump.  Once we had done this, it was lunch time, so we abandoned our picnic plans and had lunch in the garden.  Three glasses of wine later (in my case as I was not driving), we did actually manage to get the children rounded up and out to Morden Hall.  I will blog this separately, as I am going to try and make the most of our National Trust membership this year, and write individual blog posts about each place that we visit.  We have signed up to the 50 things campaign which has just been relaunched, and I am determined to do more with it than we did last year.

So that was our Bank Holiday, busy and productive, but also fun, though not exactly restful.  I feel like I need a holiday to recover!