Thursday, June 26, 2014


Last Thursday, Raf graduated from preschool! They kindly waited for us to get back from our trip and we were so glad that they did. I dropped Raf off at school at 3 so he could practice for the ceremony, and all of his old friends came over to hug him, letting him know how much they'd missed him. It was very sweet!

Rich, Charlie, and I returned at 4 with some soy ice-cream with us so Raf could join in with the ice-cream party that followed. It was a really sweet afternoon. The children sang familiar songs and all the children went up to collect their 'diploma' and a little book. Jacob, a little boy in the class who is battling cancer, was the official helper. 

Next to his bestie, Rowan.

And Cole!

I managed to catch a quick photo of the boys together before we headed in for ice-cream.

A final hug for Row (including a bared bottom!)

And then we headed to OOB for some chips and took them to Camp Ellis where we enjoyed an hour on the beach, eating chips, playing in the sand, and then Raf ran into the freezing water.

it was cold! We're now gearing up for kindergarten... It's so very cliched, but I have no idea how he's already heading to school!

Final Days...

A final post about our trip, and oddly Blogger has scrambled all my pics up in the process of uploading them.  We had such a brilliant time in Devon. We were so lucky that the sun shined the entire time, and indeed it was outright hot. We spend our entire time at the beach or park, meeting with old friends and family. On the Thursday I met up with my old BFF Sam and her 4 year old daughter, Masie. We spent the entire time at the very cool park at Teignmouth as the kids ran around having a super, lovely time. We stayed with my sister, Bex, and Raf had a fabulous time with Archie (almost 6). They got on so well. 

That evening all of my sisters and the boys' cousins met in Teignmouth for chips and more playing. I also got to meet up with dear friends who I hadn't seen in 20 years! Crazy! 3 old school friends, Cath and her kids (who actually live in Singapore but they happened to be visiting) and Nikki and Ruth. Really lovely to catch up.

On Saturday we all headed to Coombe Cellars, a pub on the river down the road from where we used to live, and in fact a place where I think all of us have worked (including Rich when we were home for the summer as undergrads).

Here's Freya outside the pub...

The crazy cousins.

After some over-priced lunch, we headed out for a walk into nearby fields. I used to walk these fields with Melissa and our dog Bonnie. It's breath-taking.

And we managed to get everyone together for a final photo.

Friday night park-fun...

Fun Aunt!

And a lovely time at Bex's. The boys had a blast.

The cuties slept together in my sister's room. Bless Bex, she is 36 weeks pregnant!

Cousin fun...

Friend fun...

Cousin fun...

Friend fun...

Beautiful Teignmouth.

We headed back to Cheltenham that evening and then to the airport Sunday morning, very early. The flight back home was interesting - and sort of stressful as we were boarded for 2 hours before the plane even took off. Charlie slept for most of that time, which meant that he basically used his sleep quota before we left. Gah. He fell asleep 20 mins before we landed.... despite me trying to keep him awake. It meant that he was on fire for the bus trip back to Portland and of course was flat out in the car as soon as he was in his car seat.

But so worth it. Almost a month away and we left very tempted to return for good. We will see!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Childhood Home

I was lucky enough to grown up in a beautiful part of England in a little village called Combeinteignhead. We lived overlooking the river, in a bungalow which my dad half-built. The house has long since been heavily renovated,  but the surroundings are exactly as they were. Steps led  down to the beach area, and while the pictures here are of the River Teign with its tide well-out, you can see how breathtaking it all is.  

The steps led directly to this part of the river's beach. There used to be many other boats moored, and I wonder where they've gone. 

The fields in the backdrop used to be full of lambs with a pug farm along the way. This is why I became a vegetarian as a young girl - I just couldn't fathom eating those lovely animals.

The new owners of the house completely changed the steps to the beach, but you can get a sense of how it used to be for us.

And this is my special tree.. I used to climb through the hedge, on to this tree, and then would clamber down to the beach. Dad tied many a rope swing to the branches and I have to believe that this is actually some of the original rope.

Showing the boys so many special places.

I used to have my own little rowing boat. I was probably around 7, and without a life jacket(!) - I'd row across the river, pretending I was George from the Famous Five books. I showed Raf my favourite rock where i'd tie up the boat (when the tied was in) and have a lounge about. Dad would keep an eye out on me from the garden, and one of his proudest moments of me was a man saying to him, 'your son is a very good rower'!!

it's much prettier with the tide in, but across the river you can spy Haytor.

My favourite rocks.

My lovely childhood tree.

Recreating my childhood!

Playing in the little stream.

Archbrook bridge.

The little carpark where I'd often park my car.. and where I once found a dead body! Memories, memories.