Spent the usual 3 days at Jason, Sam and Jacks' house. The weather was wonderful and made a change from the rubbish we've had in Ireland. It's so lovely when Jack and Sam come and pick me up from the airport. Jack's always so pleased to see me and chats non-stop in the car. We did a bit of a shop fest, visiting Lakeside, a huge shopping mall, where we had great fun but didn't spend much! Jack loves the escalators so we upped and downed quite a bit.
A trip to Ikea finished us off. Jack decided to stay in the nursery there but lasted about 5 minutes! We had afternoon tea, then finally headed home.
Jason had taken Wednesday afternoon off work so that we could all go out together. Jack had 'school' in the morning, so we picked him up en mass and headed to a fruit farm which also has a play area and sandpit outside. Jack slept all the way there but the bloomin' place was closed. It wasn't supposed to be, but it was. We headed to another fruit farm nearer home and that was open thankfully. We picked up our basket from a couple in an old caravan. The chap had about 2 teeth, a real old character! I took a photo of them which I'll post.
The Odd Couple
Lovely old broken crates
Grumpy Jack puts a raspberry in the basket
After all our anticipation, Jack was fairly grumpy as all between the raspberries were thistles which kept prickling his little legs. We did manage to fill a punnet though then headed for the strawberries. Sadly, there were hardly any left so we cheated and bought some from the little shop at the entrance. We also bought some cherries and dried fruit with seeds. We munched away at all this lovely fruit on our way to Nowton Park, a fabulous 200 acres of gorgeous Suffolk countryside that had been landscaped in typical Victorian style.
First stop was the ice-cream shop. We then walked almost the perimeter of the park, which we hadn't done before. It's a beautiful place with fantastic trees, meadows, a lime tree avenue, totem pole, folly and other delights. The huge house in the grounds used to be owned by the Oakes family but now accommodates overseas students. It has wonderfully ornate chimney pots.
Wonderful Chimney Pots
We also came across a wooden panda sitting by some bamboo and a folly. Most fun was the Maze, planted in 1992 in the shape of a stylised oak tree to commemorate the Oakes family. Jason and Jack set off in one direction and Sam and I in another. The 2 'Js' reached the centre first and after a struggle, we caught up with them. We did get a bit lost getting to the outside, and finally popped through a hole in the hedge that some other 'lost' travellers
must have made before us!
Jack on the wooden Panda
Family Green walking round Nowton Park
Jack was brilliant as usual and enjoyed the walk immensely. We decided as it was late, to call and get fish and chips for a treat. They were much enjoyed around the dining table back home.
On Thursday Jason had to work so Sam, Jack and I headed to Bury St Edmunds as it was so lovely and sunny, for a picnic in the Abbey Gardens. The flowers there were stunning and the park was full. We called at M & S for supplies and Nero for a coffee to take with us. We found a shady spot and had a lovely time eating, laughing and watching Jack running around in his socks and loving his picnic and the weather. There are some birds in cages in the gardens, so we inspected those, Jack had a go on the merry-go-round then it was time for ice-cream. We headed home after a poke around the shops. I diverted into a big craft shop and managed to spend a bit.
Gran (me) and Jack, Abbey Gardens, Bury St Edmunds
Jack running and having fun
Jack on the merry-go-round
Back home and Jason joined us in the garden. He showed me some of his Shotokan Karate moves. He's becoming quite fit again and has lost 2 stone in weight. He also won the Adult Kumite championship in a competition the previous Sunday. As a relative novice, he's done incredibly well.
We had great fun in the garden. Jack just loves it outside and waters plants, dead heads them and generally busies himself with all sorts of little projects. He looked wonderful, naked but for a pair of wellies!
I had a great time. Jack is growing so fast, I'm glad I've been able to visit him often so I haven't missed much of his development. Hi speech is amazing for his age and he is so loving. Mustn't go on!
It was good to see Jim and Buster back in Ireland. Buster seems to have grown at a ridiculous rate. His legs are so long now. We've had a great couple of days mostly in the garden as it's been so hot and sunny.
Jim bought some lavender plants, 9 in all, which he planted on the fairy hill today. I spent yesterday clearing the place for them. I have been weeding the parking area again and tonight I had another little bonfire to keep the flies away.
Jim has decided to make a new path round the meadow, much wider than the old one and not so far down the bottom. He strimmed most of it yesterday and tried to mow it with the sit on mower this afternoon. Oops, a bit ambitious as he got it stuck. Between us we pushed and pulled it out. Buster just loves going up to the meadow and charges in and out of the long grass. Sandy and BlackJack usually come too and they all play great games while we work.
Jim made a summer fruits crumble for pud tonight with our raspberries, black and redcurrants and gooseberries. It was gorgeous. We'd also had our lettuce leaves for the main meal with cheese and cooked chicken and our own potatoes. This is the life.
I'd better stop there or this will be like War & Peace.
Jack the Naked Gardener
Chair waiting to be mended at J & Sams
Jack putting his spade away at the end of the day