Half-term Halloween Fun At Strumpshaw Fen In Norfolk.

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Did you know owls eat their prey whole and then cough up the bits of bone and fur as pellets? Hope you aren’t eating your breakfast! It’s just one of the slightly gory but interesting facts we discovered while following the Halloween trail at the RSPB’s Strumpshaw Fen Reserve.

Freya was hooked before we even entered the woodland when the words “you need to collect six stamps” were mentioned but the self-guided nature trail included loads of fun activities, including the chance to make a boggart (a mischievous goblin-like entity).

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Here’s our attempt at a boggart.

As if that wasn’t enough, completing all the challenges earns a small trick or treat prize at the end.

We’ve been to several events at the reserve and always enjoy them. I think this one was even more fun for Freya because she went in her Halloween costume (and wellies).

What I loved is that it takes you into the beautiful woodland, which had been decked out with pumpkins and lanterns, and is a great way to get young children (and adults) to interact with nature. It was also a lovely day and the light made everything look just that little bit more magical.

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If you’re looking for a half-term activity in Norfolk this week, it comes highly recommended.

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Please click here to go to the Strumpshaw website where all the dates and times, plus prices are listed.

 

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Leaving On A Jet Plane, Again.

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“I miss your brother,” Freya commented about an hour after we dropped him back at his hotel. 

He had flown to Holland from the US on business and had popped over to Norwich for two days on his way back. We’d had a lovely time with him but, knowing it will be a while before we see him again, I was certainly feeling a bit maudlin.

“I miss him too,” I said.

“It would be good if he could live in Norwich.”

“It would,” I agreed, although I know that’s not going to happen. His life (and family) is there.

“We could see him all the time.”

“Yes, maybe.”

“You could do things with him.”

“I could. We all could.”

“And now he’s gone.”

“Now he’s gone,” I agreed.

Then, with typical five year old aplomb, she shrugged her shoulders and said: “Circle of life, I guess.”

Not quite, little one, but it certainly made me chuckle.

~

You’d think I’d be used to him leaving by now. He has lived in the states for many years. At first there was no FaceTime and phone calls were still expensive so we really only caught up when I went over to visit each year, pre-Freya.

If it was just me – and not my parents too –  he would pick me up from Dulles International and, in a bid to stave off jet lag, we would drive to the local Barnes and Noble, in whatever neighbourhood he was living, and I’d look at pretty journals (you couldn’t get them over here then), browse the books and enjoy a hot chocolate at a certain coffee shop chain (also not over here then).

If you know me, you know I’m addicted to peppermint hot chocolate from that very chain (now practically everywhere) but I’ll let you into a secret; at least part of the reason I always like going there is because it reminds me of him. It’s the little things.

I’m lucky in that although he is gone, he isn’t gone. I can still email him, send him quotes from Ferris Bueller and get a response (no one else in the family gets that film) and see him via FaceTime. He has always been an amazing brother and I know if I needed him he would drop everything and come but I think I’ve almost got used to not needing him, as sad as that sounds. It’s just easier.

I was thinking about what Freya said later that night and maybe the five-year-old approach has some merit. While it’s not quite the ‘circle of life’ it is certainly ‘life’. There’s nothing to be done about it, I can’t make him stay – and wouldn’t want to as I know he wouldn’t be happy – so we just need to make the most of it while he is here and the best of it while he’s not.

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Do you have relatives who live abroad? How do you cope with missing them?

My Sunday Photo – September 16th, 2018.

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If this is the last butterfly I get to photograph this year, I don’t think I’ll be too disappointed. The comma, with its jagged wings and wonderful orange colouring, is one of my favourites. Also, I got to see a swallowtail for the first time in May so any butterfly beyond that was just a bonus.

My brother popped in yesterday, in between a business trip to Holland and returning to the US where he lives. We decided to go to Strumpshaw Fen to get him some fresh air before he is stuck on planes again.

Luckily it was a beautiful, warm day – and lots of little friends, along with the comma, were out to play.

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I was also rather in love with the light in general, without wanting to sound too pretentious. Autumnal, would you say?

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As always, I’ve joined in with Darren’s brilliant My Sunday Photo linky. Please click on the camera below to see what other people have submitted. It’s always worth it.

Also, if you have five minutes, please pop back tomorrow when I’ve got another Behind The Book post, this time featuring the wonderful writer and blogger, Lucy Mitchell. Just in case you missed the return of the series last week, following my summer break, here’s a link to my interview with Richard Balls.

Wishing you a lovely week.

Photalife