Saturdays eh?

furie's picture

 Madame_Furie is currently doing a college course (GCSE in pedantry I think) and had work to do for it. So on Thursday I said I'd take the kids into town and get them out of her way for a few hours.

On Friday, Madame_Furie took the kids into town, which completely ruined my plans So, Saturday rolls up, and I have to do something with the minor_furies.

Maxi-Minor_Furie is a morning person, so at 07:30 he's badgering to read some crap book about sparkly fish. I like reading books to kids, but they have to be interesting and fun to read. The sparkly fish book is neither.

It does have two pages of stickers though (stickers of sparkly fish). Using a distraction technique (every parent needs to learn good distraction techniques to get out of doing things they don't want to do) I managed to get away with hiding the sparkly fish book.

However, it took the promise of putting the stickers somewhere. Maxi-Minor_furie had a great idea - let's stick them on the bath. I quite like the idea, but it'd look naff to be honest... Like, naff with no effort naff (I like naff, but it takes a lot of effort to get naff just right). So I suggest that maybe it would look batter if we had an under sea scene on the bath and put the stickers onto that.

Yep, that's a goer!

Now, I need to distract from this too (I don't really fancy having to paint the bath) so I promise Maxi-Minor_Furie a trip out to "walk in the woods".

He hates walking, but he likes to think he likes it, so we leave the bathroom, stickers are put to the side and we get ready to head out to the "woods". That was easy - no need to paint the bath, which is good as I'm crap at painting, and even worse when being assisted by a four year old...

So we drag Minor_Furie from his teenage pit, and head off to Cannock Chase. It's an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) between Stafford and Cannock - touching on Rugely and Hednesford. It formed the most Easterly edge of Sherwood Forest (that place Robin Hood used to hang out) and is full of trees, deer and Iron Age settlements/mines. You just need to know where to look. 

I headed up to Seven Springs, my favourite part of the Chase. I just wanted to go for a bit of a walk and a muck about. It was snowy on the chase, and despite the bare trees, looked lovely:

Cannock Chase

We walked about half a mile, then maxi-minor_Furie remembered he hates walking, so we headed back to the car park. We stopped on the way though to have a play in the snow.

Snow onthe Chase

We followed tracks (dog) and pretended we were hunting them, then we made out own foot and hand tracks. Had a brief snow/ice ball fight and made snowmen we knocked down by chucking snow/ice balls at. Both kids are relatively happy. They'd prefer to be in front of a Playstation, but sod it :)

Maxi-Minor_Furie in the snow

I imagine Maxi-Minor_Furie wants to go home here.


Despite the way he looks, Minor_Furie is actually enjoying himself :)

The walk was shorter than I wanted, so I thought I'd make a bit of an adventure of it to extend the morning trip. When Tolkien was writing Lord Of The Rings, he spent a lot of time at Great Heywood. It's a village about half a mile from where we were.

He allegedly spent his days walking through this area of the chase and it was the inspiration for his Elf area - Lothlorien. Oddly, I used to come up here when I was younger to do weapons practice. A lot of the people who came to play "hitty sticks" commented that the place reminded them of what they imagined Lothlorien to look like. This is many years before it became common knowledge Tolkien had been here.

There's a particular "glade" I always loved (I buried a few pets up there, including "Furie"). It's surrounded by pines now, but the glade is surrounded by very old Beech trees. It's on top of a hill and you'd never expect to find somewhere so peaceful and calm so close to roads, railways, etc.

I can't imagine how glorious it must have been with oaks, eldar and elms in Tolkien's day.

Up to the Glade

This is the path up to the glade, you can just see the Beech trees through the pines. It's a steep walk up, with lots of brambles, ferns and fallen branches to "adventure" across.

Maxi-Minor_Furie and a stick.

Maxi-Minor_Furie is happy as he's found a stick!

The trees look really barren, and the place is a little haunting in the winter.

Cool tree

Possibly the coolest tree there.

Now, I don't know if I approve of this or not, but the trees have all been graffitied. If it was vandalism, or simply marker pens - I'd think it nasty. This was different though:


I don't agree with it, but it IS cool

If you carry on across the glade, you can head down towards the old Iron age iron mines, and eventually you pass through a replanted oak forest and hit the "Stepping Stones" a well used picnic spot (bit commercial for me ;) ).

Pathway down

Head this way for further adventures. We've had enough though and are heading home :)

View across the Chase

There's a nice view through the trees across Cannock Chase.

Well, it was good fun heading out and having an hour pratting around in the woods. Got me out of reading that dreadful sparkly fish book and painting the bath anyway!

So, we got in, and Madame_Furie was working. Maxi-Minor_Furie immediately wanted to know if we'd made the under sea scene on the bath yet, and if he could put the stickers on. Ho hum.

Time to get the paints out then, and encourage Maxi-Minor_furie to try and do it neatly. He painted the large expanses, I painted "the details". It's worth pointing out here we only had ELC poster paints, thick brushes and no artistic talents

Still, he loves it and is very proud of it

Proud of the bath

Next Saturday? I'm staying in bed!

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