acepuppets

Archive for the ‘Summer Holidays’ Category


We are so lucky to live in the Cartmel Peninsula in the North West of England.  The area is populated with beautiful little towns that have their own characters and treasures.

Cartmel

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Source: Visit Cumbria

Cartmel is considered to be one of the best places to live in the country and boasts; a race track, riding stable, Michelin Stared L’enclume,  a magnificent priory and of course the world famous Sticky Toffee Pudding.  There are also many wonderful pubs to eat in, a brewery, artisan bakery and cheese maker and many lovely little shops that sell beautiful gifts.  The town is  protected by the watchful eye of the medieval priory that dates back to 667 AD.  The town successfully embraces the modern world without removing the medieval element of the town.  Chris Evans (BBC 2) describes it as a, ‘Thimble full of diamonds’.  and many more people are continuing to discover the secret that locals already knew – how wonderful Cartmel is.

Cark in Cartmel

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Source: Ian Taylor

Cark is very reminiscent of 1950’s Britain with the river Eea at its core.  It has a railway station, hairdressers, two pubs, artisan bakers, garden centre, access to the estuary, a small business park and of course the pièce de résistance – Holker Hall.  Cark was originally an industrial town built round a watermill that was used in the production of cotton.  The river is much smaller than it used to be but the high tides restores the river to its original height and makes the estuary look like a magical place.  The estuary is a place of scientific interest and school children come from all over the north west to conduct surveys of the river.  Annually scientists come to study the plants and animals in the estuary.

Holker Hall

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Source: Visit Cumbria

Holker Hall is a magnificent stately home with beautiful gardens.  It is owned ny the Cavendish family, who own lots of property and land all over the Cartmel and Furness area.  Houses owned by the Cavendish’s are painted a special blue colour which distinguishes them from privately owned houses. Many events are run at the Hall including the famous Garden Festival.  You can buy local produce from their farm shop, enjoy a high class meal and of course look around the hall itself.

Haverthwaite and Backbarrow

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Source: Steam Railway Lines

Haverthwaite and Backbarrow are separated by the A590 and were possibly Viking settlements.  Haverthwaite is home to the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway which takes you directly to lake Windermere where you can go on a lake cruise, visit the Aquarium of the lakes or enjoy a top notch cream tea at the Lakeside Hotel.  Over the course of the year the railway hold children’s events such as, ‘Thomas Weekend’, and ‘Witches and Wizards’.

Playdale Playgrounds and Lakeland Motor Museum

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Source: Playdale Playgrounds

In Haverthwaite itself Playdale Playgrounds designs and builds playground equipment which is exported all over the world – they have even won awards for exporting.  This timber yard turned playground equipment manufacturer has made play magical for children all over the country.  If you are into cars and yummy food then the Lakeland Motor Museum is the place for you.

Flookburgh

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Source: Sky Dive North West

 

Flookburgh is a small village dominated by the local fishing trade, it is believed that its name originates from the word, ‘Flukes’, a flat fish found in the area.  Some of the houses even advertise that they sell potted shrimps.  The square bustles with a sandwich shop, convenience store, chemist, pub, hairdressers and village hall.  Down a long straight road, known locally as the, Mile Road, you can find Willow Water, the factory where Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding is now produced, Duckys Park Farm,  the Haven Lakeland Holiday Park and Cark Airfield which is home to mega car boot sales, Sky Dive North West and the annual Steam Gathering.

Allithwaite

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Source: Cumbria Wildlife Trust

Allithwaite is a small village between Flookburgh and Grange, it is near to Humphrey Head, which is a limestone outcrop looking out onto Morecambe Bay.  According to folk law, the last wolf in England met a grizzly end after being chased to the end of the cliff with men wielding spears.  There is a street in Allithwaite called Greendales which may or may not be a reference to Postman Pat.  You can enjoy drinks and food in the local pub called The Pheasant and children can enjoy the well maintained playground near to the school.  The church and the school over look the rolling countryside.

Grange Over Sands

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Source: Wordsworth Country

Grange over Sands may have started off as a storage place of grain by the Cartmel monks.  It became a fishing village then a popular Edwardian tourist attraction which boomed during the Victorian era.  Before the River Kent was redirected, Grange was really a beach and ferries operated to jetties leading to the promenade.  The prom is well maintained by volunteers and hosts Prom Art during the summer months.  The railway station is at the end of the prom near to the ornamental gardens.  It has always been traditional to wave at the train going past as you walk along the prom.

Grange Lido

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Source: Bodian

At the far end of the prom is a dilapidated lido that was very popular up until the 80’s where it became difficult to maintain and now looks like a ghost of its former self.  Grange is a cornucopia of gift shops, hardware stores, cafes and pubs.  It is often referred to as, Heaven’s waiting room’, due to the high density of old people’s homes.  However these days there seems to be a resurgence in younger members of the community.  There are a large number of hairdressers and beauty salons in the town and the area in general.  Grange is home to magnificent hotels such as, The Cumbria Grand and the Nether wood.

There are many more wonderful things that I could tell you about my local area but I am at nearly 1000 words already.  You are welcome to come and see for yourself the wonderful Cartmel Peninsula.

 

 

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This year nature seems to have provided us with a bountiful supply of mud.  Whether we have liked it or not country dwellers have been forced to contend with muddy feet and huge puddles on a daily basis.  Children have found having impromptu mud baths fun and washing machines have been working double shifts during this constant wet season.  If we think that sending our little darlings to school will prevent them from getting dirty then we are going to be disappointed.

Mud kitchens are all the rage in schools now, whether a DIY plucky Governor version or bought one, your children will spend some of their school day in mud kitchens.  This article from Playdale Playgrounds explains why mud kitchens are such great fun. At home children can pester Mum and Dad for old utensils, cupboards and buckets so that they can enjoy the glory of mud.  As with all aspects of play, a mud kitchen provides a rich learning experience that we just assumed was mucking about.

If learning objectives and opportunities are what floats your boat then this chart produced by blogger Worms Eye View applies EYFS Learning Opportunities to playing in mud kitchens.

Learning opportunities sheet Outdoor Kitchen

All children can enjoy playing in mud kitchens, as the activity provides learning experiences for children of all abilities.  Aspiring artists and those who like to touch and feel the world have wonderful opportunities to explore texture, consistency and the possibility of shaping mud.  Scientists will totally enjoy experimenting with water quantities and soil types. All children enjoy copying their home life and a kitchen environment is where a lot of the action happens.

Learning objectives aside playing with mud and soil is really pleasurable.  I remember my mud kitchen in the corner of the garden, consisting of an old pan, buckets and a sieve.  One very warm summer holidays 35 years ago was spent sieving dry mud to make a sandy dust – I can’t remember the expensive activities we did that year but playing in my mud kitchen is firmly fixed in my mind.

To make lasting memories kit your kids up with clothes that can withstand mud and frequent washing, old spoons and pans. These are the ingredients of happy childhood memories.


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The summer holidays provoke a mixture of reactions from parents, some embrace the time with their children and others dread the constant need to provide entertainment.  Without a doubt the summer holidays is expensive and even if you cut down spending to a minimum, if you are living in poverty it can still be too expensive.  Children still require feeding and tend to develop an insatiable appetite because they are outside a lot.  If you are a family that has relied on free school dinners to ensure that your children get the food they need the impact of the holidays on your food budget can be catastrophic. Yes there are food banks but the sheer humiliation of having to go to one is enough to reduce families self esteem to zero.   Just recently the very astute SNP MP Mhari Black quite rightly pointed out that “Food banks are not part of the welfare state, they are a symbol that the welfare state is failing” (New Statesman) whatever your political leanings are, you do have to agree that she has made a very valid point.

It is becoming more apparent that the establishment is making every effort to undermine families who have to rely on benefits to survive and the broadcasting companies seem to be in cahoots by producing belittling reality benefits programmes.  The shocking thing is how remarkably easy it is to go from a comfortable lifestyle to poverty simply through redundancy or ill health.  We are all part of the system and we are all at its mercy – maybe not today or tomorrow but sometime we will be, when we are most vulnerable. Getting out of the poverty trap seems to be like trying to climb out of a greasy pit and being pushed back in again once you see daylight.  People are having to apply for jobs in any sector of the workforce and can apply for hundreds of jobs just to be perpetually rejected.  Common sense tells us that it would be better if the Job Centre provided career guidance and directed people to apply for jobs they could be good at and enjoy rather than reduce self esteem to nothing and increase debilitating mental health problems.

Although the welfare of children is taken into account the emotional impact really is not, children suffer in every single possible way due to family poverty.  In April 2013 Caroline Hoggarth, headteacher of Greengate Infants School in Barrow, wrote an extensive report on poverty in the Furness area.  As Lead Commissioner of, ‘The Furness Poverty Commission‘, she lead a high calibre team on researching poverty in this area of Cumbria.  The research found that poverty is increasing and the impact on the town as a whole will continue the awful devastation caused by redundancy and lack of jobs.  The report includes quotes from people who had answered the questions and shows that they never aspired to be in the position they were in, it just either crept upon them or they were born into that lifestyle.

Living in poverty can be devastating for children as it deprives them of everything that is necessary to develop into rounded and confident adults.  When children go to school they are expected to spend their time learning and eventually applying what they have learnt to everyday life, in a perfect world this really does happen and a child does absorb themselves in their lessons.  However children who face the harsh truth of poverty and dysfunction are too distressed and tired to deal with learning, imagine trying to feel enthusiastic about capital letters if you have spent all night hungry, cold, listening to arguing  and feeling self concious because you haven’t had a bath.  The Furness Poverty Commission Report states. ‘The head of a junior school reported several children ‘unprepared for school- tired, hungry, struggling with emotional tensions at home. This dramatically affects their ability to learn’. A school adviser reported ‘the stress of family poverty seriously affects children’s ability to learn and to form supportive social relationships in school’

Every summer holiday children are uprooted from a routine that generally ensures that they are safe and teachers are making sure that they are well, they are receiving free school dinners and they are not alone.  As soon as they leave the school gate with their term’s work in their carrier bags they are at the mercy of their family circumstances.  For many they will enjoy days out, time with family and learning new exciting skills like how to swing as high as a bird.  Others will spend their holiday hungry, tired, lost and facing the reality of their situation.  Children are very much affected by their circumstances and suffering the effects of poverty and deprivation in your formative years can leave an emotional and educational scar that may never heal.