Sensational Butterflies at the Natural History Museum

“Let’s take the Tiny Overlord to the butterfly exhibit at the Natural History Museum”, he said. “Baby? Museum? London? Butterflies?!”, I stuttered. “The Tiny Overlord will love it”, said the Aussie. “Hmm…” I sceptically replied.

But with that our little family of three (myself, the Aussie and the 7 month old Tiny Overlord) headed off on the train to London to go to the world renowned Natural History Museum.

The Natural History Museum, London

The Natural History Museum, London

The beautiful Natural History Museum. The Sensational Butterflies exhibit is in the marquee on the lawn, however, we also had a sneaky peak at the diplodocus skeleton and the Earth Story while the little one snoozed in the sling.

Beautiful butterflies

The butterflies were beautiful and exotic. Not like anything I had ever seen in the UK before.

'owl' markings on the underside of butterfly wings

Though I was as equally fascinated by the stunning markings on the underside of their wings, coloured to help camouflage.

lemon tree

I was also rather taken by this lemon. I am easily pleased.

baby looking at butterflies

And what did the the Tiny Overlord think? Well, he was fascinated, genuinely and utterly fascinated – watching them land, take off and fly around the tent or just calmly observed them simply flutter their wings.

I’m not sure if this is a common occurrence in early motherhood, but I am sometimes hesitant to take the little guy to new and unusual places. Despite the fact that, if I am honest, I really don’t enjoy baby orientated events. Am I worried that he won’t enjoy it? Am I worried what other people might think if he cries? I couldn’t say for certain. But every time we do take a ‘brave’ step, we all have a wonderful time and I wonder why I do not step out of my comfort zone more often and find something that we all find stimulating and enjoyable?

It is really important to us to get the Tiny Overlord engaging with the outside world. I know it is very easy and ‘natural’ to want to keep our babies inside and safe. But even at such a young age he already seems to love nature and being outside. Seeing the world through his eyes is wonderful too, imagine what it must be like to see your first butterfly? Getting him outside I have little problem with, taking him to inside places I often need a little more convincing. However, Seeds and Stitches recently did a post about taking babies to art exhibitions. They also shared links to the fascinating Culture Babies in Manchester and the very interesting Kids in Museums initiative.

Buoyed by our weekend’s success, I am certainly going to try to think out of the [toy] box of places to take the tiny one. I just need to have a little more faith in all of us.

 

Journey to the source of the Thames

Extremely dedicated readers of my blogging efforts, in their various guises, will know about my long held desire to walk the entire length of the River Thames. All 184 miles of the Thames Path National Trail. I have a bit of an emotional attachment to the Thames. From my birthplace to where we currently live, it seems to be rather omnipresent. And I find it rather romantic. The Thames is a city shaper, a town builder, a tidal port and a babbling brook. And I want to see it all. However, my efforts to do this have been thwarted by various natural acts, namely, flooding and, err, pregnancy. So rather than attempting to walk it all in one go, I’ve resolved to take a slightly more piecemeal approach to conquering Thames.

Thankfully the Aussie is a man that fully understands, or at least patiently tolerates, my rambling flights of fancy. Recently he sprung upon me a surprise trip to Gloucestershire and the three of us (myself, the Aussie and the Tiny Overlord) headed off to the depths of the Cotswolds in search of start of my favourite river.

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All of a sudden our local train station has got rather glitzy. What would Brunel think?

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The only way to travel*

*This is about the second time I have travelled first class in my life. My one word verdict? Roomy.

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It never ceases to amaze me how many different landscapes a river can travel through. This rather ditchy stream is the Thames!

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The sign that marks the source. And now marks a rather special occasion in our little family’s life.

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This is the rather weird and wonderful abandoned Thames and Severn Canal. Which once, as the name suggests, linked the upper River Severn to the upper reaches of the River Thames. I assume it was abandoned after Mr Brunel’s railway, above, was opened.

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This is the entry to the 2 mile long Sapperton Tunnel, that lead the canal through the hills of the Cotswolds.

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And if you are ever in the area we heartily recommend the lovely Tunnel House Inn, close to the entry to the Sapperton Tunnel. Good food, cosy fires, fine beers. Everything you would want from a country pub.

So that was the start of the Thames. And in a rather romantic way, the start of the Thames now also marks the start of something special for us now too. As the Aussie asked me to marry him there. Of course, I said yes.

 

The Aussie’s Birthday: The Kennet & Avon Canal (Reading to Newbury)

Special occasions deserve special days out, and despite recent flooding, on the Aussie birthday we decided to explore the canal path to Newbury – me on the mountain bike, the Aussie on his cross-ready Karate Monkey. Despite the mud under wheel, we were rewarded with beautiful bright blue autumn skies. Though what the good people in the pub thought of the state of my long suffering saddle bag, I’ll never know…

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