Chatsworth & Us = New Best Friends

chatsworth After retuning to live in Chesterfield we signed up to be friends of Chatsworth which essentially means we give them a chunk of money and they let us wander around their gardens, farm and adventure playground for a year. We’ve already had our money’s worth so it’s a bargain really.

It’s one of Maisie’s favourite places to go on a nice day, not least because she likes the Guinea Pig petting hour. Kids are allowed in and given a towel to put over their legs before being randomly assigned a guinea pig to sit on their lap and be stroked. Maisie keeps being given a black one which she has called ‘Maisie’. She grown quite attached to it and was slightly disappointed when we went last time and she was given a brown one.

I’d rather have a bowl of coco-pops, Mummy

That’s right, Maisie and Lois have discovered Coco Pops. It took me a bit longer to acheive that, no wait, they didn’t invent them until the 80s I think. Hmmmm. Not sure. Anyway, they lurve em and fair play to them – the chocolately milk which occurs is very slurpable. Unfortunately, coco pops make a bit of a mess. Lois likes to get chocolate milk in the folds of her neck which dry and form dark brown dirt lines for the rest of the day.

Garlics and Leeks

Lisa is growing garlic and leeks. I’ve never done this before. They seem to be coming along quite nicely. I’m a lazy summer gardener. I like things that just grow themselves really and assumed both of these would take some maintenance.


halloween Maisie came back from nursery on friday having won their fancy dress competition. She was nominated as best-dressed person (the award title was more glamorous than that). Couldn’t help but feel a little pride on hearing this news. And that’s it – the bar has been set pretty high now – I’m expecting awesome A-level results.

Sludge comes to our road

Last week I  left the house to walk to the train station to find that in the darkness I could see what looked like large amounts of sludge creeping down our road. They’ve been doing some roadworks the last few months (it was only meant to last 6 weeks but they keep messing things up and having to fix their mistakes) and the roads around our house are not looking in good shape. Anyway I texted Lisa who later replied “Oh, it looks like the road’s exploded again’ in a matter-of-fact way that amused me. The road has indeed on more than one occasion been raised due to burst water pipes or something. It looks very much like something from Ghostbusters. This time however mountains of sand have been added into the equation. We are considering writing a letter of complain as we are starting to walk the sludge into the house but we’re not really the complaining types. But maybe we should be? I dunno.

Video game based wild west shennanigans

I’m playing a new video game – Red Dead Redemption. It was purchased purely on the strength of reviews. So far, I’m loving it. It is set in the Wild West and you can roam freely about on foot or on your horse (or even on a wagon!). The scenery is pretty breathtaking and the continual soundtrack is very authentic – just like watching a Cowboys film. Not seen any Indians yet although I have jumped onto a moving train and walked along its roof which was a nice experience.

You are supposed to go around doing good, favours for people etc. However, you can be a bad boy and go around shooting random people and animals (chickens, dogs, deer, racoons etc.) which is fun for a while but you get a bounty on your head and people come and try and hunt you down. This is also fun and you can see how long you can do bad deeds before getting brought down. I holed myself up in a house to test this out very much like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid.

Another thing which is good about this game is Maisie can watch (providing I resist the temptation to shoot stuff) and marvel at the horses, cattle and general wildlife. Lisa also seems to be quite tolerant of this one as it doesn’t involve ‘incessant shooting noises and explosions’. The game features some very fine voice acting, although I think the main dude sounds very much like Bill Clinton, which actually adds to my enjoyment. It’s like a parallel Universe. What if Bill had taken a different path in life? No politics. No sign of Monica Lewinsky out in the desert so far. Just a regular guy doing nice stuff for folk with a little bloodthirsty vengeance thrown in for good measure.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the game is having horse-mounted gun battles out in the wilderness. Taking a foe down off of his horse mid gallop with a well placed shotgun or rifle shot is satisfying as hell. Then circling back, getting off your stead and rummaging through his pockets – priceless.

Some of the quests I have been involved in so far have required me to herd pesky cattle, rescue a man tied up and being held hostage at a campsite, picking some flowers,  protecting some crops from being eaten my rabbits overnight and mounting an offensive out in a gully against a band of vagabonds.

Great fun! I feel this a title you could get completely lost in. And probably will...

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