Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Scary fish

Yesterday we managed to catch the glorious sunshine. Hubby was working so J, S, N and I headed over to RHS Wisley to meet up with my sister-in-law and her children E and L.  We had packed a picnic and were planning a bit of a walk around and a lunchtime stop to play and eat.

While we waited a few minutes for my SIL to arrive, I took this picture of J.  Doesn't she look lovely among the flowers :)

My SIL is not a member of RHS so I was going to admit her as my guest and we would pay for my eldest, J, to get in along with her cousins who are 10 and 8.  What a surprise when we got to the gate.  "Children are free of charge in school holidays" the lady informed me.  I could have fallen over backwards!  In these days where nearly every place cashes in on school holidays by upping prices and/or cutting back on activities offered, here is a beautiful area that is making families welcome.  Much appreciated I can tell you in the tough times we are having. It made me realise again what an excellent choice I had made by becoming a member of RHS :)

I picked up a guide and a couple of I-Spy books for the children - which I highly recommend.  The books are packed with things to find as you walk around the garden. Not only does this include flowers and plants but also birds, insects and even activities being undertaken by the groundspeople such as mowing or raking.  Somewhat to my surprise, these little books were a huge hit with the gang.

S was a bit concerned about the ducklings.  You may recall that last time we visited Wisley, there was a mother duck and her very cute ducklings waddling around that caused untold terror to S and N.  Of course, S was therefore quite worried they would be around still.  I assured her that the ducklings were now more likely full grown ducks so fear not.

N was having a good toddle around on her reins (always handy in crowds) and the pushchair was being used primarily as a carrier of bags, cardigans and picnic.

The first thing that caught the attention of the gang were the fish.  They were popping up out of the water much to N's amusement. In fact, trying to get her to leave this area was hard work!  She was only encouraged away by the offer of being able to stand on a little bridge and look at the fish at even closer range.  As you can see, it was very popular with all the children (I was on pushchair guarding duty).


We carried on our walk (many shouts of excitement were being raised as things in the I-Spy books were spotted) up towards the glasshouse.  It was at this point that S said she was hungry, followed swiftly by "So am I" from the others.  C and I decided to opt to go straight for the picnic near the pagoda so off we went.

Blankets laid out, food at the ready and the picnic was eaten.  Very nice too it was sitting in the sunshine. Lots of families with children around and quite a few 'new mums' by the look of it.  There was croquet going on, balls and frisbies everywhere (including ours).  It is nice that RHS do not allow scooters as whilst S really enjoys going on hers, dodging them with small people and pushchairs can be hard work so at least all the paths were easily negotiable.  Food over with and the children decided to play.  The bigger ones went off to play hide and seek, with S and N enjoying 'hiding' under this tree.


The only problem with N is that although she is 19 months old, she could give Usain Bolt a run for his money (pardon the pun) in the sprinting stakes.  One second she's next to you and the next across the field.  Running in a long dress is not my strong point but I did have to sprint after her a few times.  I bet the Olympics could make a new sport of that!

S came racing back with L informing me that "There's a heron mummy!" over near the water.  Apparently this was a very scary bird and she was absolutely not going to go anywhere near the lake again. Oh dear, that's where we are off to next.  I'll just keep quiet then.

A good hour of play was had and then we decided to move off.  Here is where it all went wrong for S.  She had enjoyed watching the fish from the bridge but a little way from here was a lovely spot where you could feed the fish and they almost came out of the water!


Suddenly, S decided fish were very scary.  She did not like the way they were moving trying to get back into the lake and certainly did not want to be splashed by them.  Aren't kids strange?!  In the garden she can run around soaked to the skin being splashed by us or N and yet a fish flicks its tail and she's in bits.  Go figure.  She hid behind the bench while we watched the fish being fed.  When someone in the crowd that had gathered there said the heron was just around the corner, she cried.  I honestly don't know what to say about that.  My 3 1/2 year old is scared of fish, ducklings and a heron, to name but a few things (the list gets bigger by the day!).  I'm putting it down to a 'phase' as us parents tend to do.


N, on the other hand, had to be held tightly by her reins.  No way was she going to hold hands with me with all this excitement going on.  She was shouting "Fish!" all the time. I'm not sure if she was more interested in the fish or the food that was being thrown though ;-)

We carried on a bit and spotted people eating ice cream. Ahhh...there was a cafe nearby and it was warm so it had to be ice cream all round.  I have to say it was extremely yummy and the single scoop was huge! 


An elderly couple stopped and smiled saying "That is almost as big as her. She won't eat all that will she?". I laughed and assured them she would have a good go.  She ate everything but the cone!

We headed off to the wild garden to have a final walk around before we had to part company.  We didn't get very far.  There was a large tree that had real climbing potential and, naturally, the gang went straight for it.


You may think that this was a pretty large tree to climb but let me assure you, whatever J can do, S and N can do too!  Here is N illustrating that no ropes were used or required :)

 

After about 30 minutes, C and I tried to urge the gang on to another area.  We made it as far as the other side of the path where this 'wicker' sculptures were.  Can you imagine my horror when the bigger ones started to swing off of them? I could imagine the headlines "Family barred for life from RHS due to destruction of sculptures".  The shame of it.  After a frantic "Get off you lot" from C and I, it was pointed out to us by J that they had solid metal bars inside of them and were not likely to break.  Phew.  The headlines faded away.


This whole area reminded me of something out of 'Alice in Wonderland'. I'm not really sure why but it seemed kind of Mad Hatter to me.  We first saw this some time ago when we were geocaching around Wisley as the public footpath cuts through the gardens and we spotted this as we went past.


Having spent a few minutes here, we made a vain attempt to carry on the walk but were thwarted by the gang all heading back to the original 'climbing tree' which is where we stayed for the rest of the time until we left.


A lovely day out for us all.  The gang were totally exhausted when we left and I, for one, had N fast asleep before we'd left the car park and S not far off.  I think even J was a bit tired out.

Can't wait for the sun to shine again and we'll be back to explore more of this wonderful garden.

(All comments are my own and I have not been sponsored or asked to write this article - we just love this place!)

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Whoosh...that was the Olympic Women Cyclists then

I suddenly felt the urge to be a part of the Olympics.  Having not even attempted to get any tickets due to the thought of us all going up to London in the crowds and trying to keep N entertained during any events, I was resigned to watching what I wanted on TV.  Hubby and I watched the opening ceremony (which I thought was brilliant by the way) and suddenly we felt more involved.

Of course, I then thought about what was happening in our area.  The cycling road races!  Yesterday we were busy with other things but today I decided we were going to watch.

Hubby was working so I made a picnic lunch for myself, J, S and N and we headed out.  The weather was sunny early on but looking a little cloudier so I packed the jackets for the little ones.  Glad I did!  As I loaded everyone in the car, N shouted as she did not have a flag to wave, only S had one. A quick race to the PC and print of Union Jacks and a bit of cane from a plant and I'd made one. Blue Peter eat your heart out! 

We parked well away and headed off to get a geocache first.  Well, you just have to take the opportunity don't you ;-)  A quick find and swap of travel bugs and we started to walk down to West Byfleet to watch the riders come past.

As we got halfway down the road, we heard the thunder and the heavens opened.  Umbrellas up, hoods up and cover N who was in her pushchair.  This final action was not met with joy.  N decided to into total meltdown. She dislikes the pushchair rain cover with a passion and as I had velcro'd it on at the front, she decided to try and escape out of the small peep hole. She pulled it, she kicked it and stuck her foot out and was trying her hardest to escape, screaming all the time.  Oh dear.  At least we'll have a clear space around us ;-)  I tried to placate her with food but she was having none of it. She tried to throw dolly out. This is serious!  Nothing for it but march on in the rain and sort her out once we get there.  Two minutes later, she's asleep.  What a relief.

We rounded the corner to spot quite a crowd, including some with step ladders!  Thinking it was packed, we wondered if the little ones would see but then realised that these people had just gathered at the corner and the rest of the roads were almost clear. We found a spot under a tree and sheltered, all a bit soggy though.  The rain started to let up.

We had half an hour to wait so I decided we'd picnic whilst we waited.  S was already waving her flag :)  I also had a chat to another lady standing next to me.  J was bored.  She couldn't understand why we'd come to this.  None of us like cycling particularly but I explained it's just something nice to be involved with especially as it's on our doorstep.  


A group gathered the other side of N's pushchair and one of them bumped it waking her up.  She started to cry but was soothed with the removal of the rain cover and a cheese sandwich.  She also wanted her flag which was a bit wet.  Oh dear...


Suddenly we heard sirens.  The police were coming past on their motorcycles with lights going and waving to the crowd. One stood up on his motorbike waving away.  What a fantastic atmosphere.  The helicopter was heard coming overhead, then the shouts went up down the road from us and the cyclists appeared.  




It happened so quickly - they were heading towards us, in front, past, round the bend and gone.  Over in seconds.  The group was very tightly packed.  

All over and we headed back to the car, settling into it as the heavens opened for a second time.

Do you know, I really enjoyed my little part of the Olympics :)

Monday, 23 July 2012

Geocaching around a Blacksmith

Blacksmith
S is at a school fun day today so we decided to get out before it became too hot and grab a few odd caches around the Send area.  The sun was already getting quite hot at 10am so I am sure the weather men will be correct today that it's going to be a scorcher!

Our first cache was Just Another? which we had tried before but unfortunately it had gone missing. Seeing as it had been replaced, we headed off there first.

A look around and it was spotted quickly but how to get it?  I tried to reach it but my arms weren't long enough.  I therefore delegated the job of collection and replacement to hubby and he did the retrieve whilst I sat on his legs to stop him toppling over :)  A definite favourite point from me for this one.  N was in her pushchair chattering away and eating puffs whilst this went on.

Off we went to the next one which was at Send Evangelical Church.  Another quick find along the towpath and we decided to carry on our walk and collect one we had not found on our last walk here.  The path was a little overgrown in places and trying to negotiate a 3 wheel pushchair around the natural groove to avoid stinger nettles was challenging at times.  We did see this lovely duck with her ducklings though which N quacked at and was fascinated by.

We arrived at the cache we couldn't find last time - Something in the Wey #1 - and whilst I searched one area, hubby did another and he made the find. This was probably the only place we didn't look last time.  Oh well, at least the cache was in hand without the office workers getting concerned about our weird behaviour this time ;-)

We went for a walk back along the road past some houses that we didn't even realise were down here.  It is nice to find secluded places.  Heading back into Send itself, we decided to get a couple of ice lollies (for me and N) and go off to do the Blacksmith.  This is a statue that has appeared in Send and currently looks very pretty with all the flowers behind it as you can see in the top picture.  I perched on the fence around it and started to eat my lolly deciding where I would look first.  Decision made, I hopped over the fence and found it in the first place I looked. Log was full so I did an 'initial' sign and popped it back. The rating for this one is due to the fact that you are overlooked pretty much everywhere and on a main road but I think our stealth paid off.  
We're just innocently eating lollies
Off we trotted up the road and round the corner to collect Fallen Birch.  I think this was a self-explantory one.  We found the footpath and had a walk down it peering into peoples back gardens as we went :)  We got to the area and as hubby stepped in to start the search, a very large adder slid away.  I'm not scared of snakes but it did make me think about how much I put my hand into holes in the woodland.  We used a stick after that!  We had a prod around but the GPS had now settled saying we should be a few metres back from  where we had come.  I wandered back as hubby spotted the cache by another fallen one.  In fact, it seemed this area was full of them!  Quick sign and we were off.

We walked along the back of the cemetery and suddenly N shouted out "Teddy" and we wondered for a second what she had seen then realised we must be walking past the section for babies and children :(  It was so sad to see the pictures of the little ones and the pretty flowers, spinners and toys all around.  Made us both immediately say how lucky we were.

Back onto the road and we found the footpath across the way to go to 3 Trees of Ivy.  The fields to one side of us were a stunning green against the blue sky.  Now, I dislike ivy at the best of times as it makes my eyes itch in seconds so I had a cursory glance when we arrived before hubby went in to try and make the find.  There were two sets together and the GPS/compass was bouncing between the two of them.  He spent 10 minutes or so looking and then we called it a day.  Ivy is not our favourite caching hiding place.


Following the path we went back past another cache we had found a few days ago and on to the park where we stopped to give N a swing, before heading back to the car and home after another 3 hours walk in the glorious sunshine.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Wellies in a tree?

S loving the ammo boxes
Yep, you guessed it. We were out geocaching again today.


We decided to go off to a new area to do a bit of a ring I had spotted on the map.  When we are out for a few hours, we always aim for a little route as the girls do not want to be in and out of the car constantly so we are having to now start venturing a little further afield.


We parked up at Squires Garden Centre and were trying to be discreet at the far end of the car park putting our wellies on and sorting the pram and girls out. I looked around and we were being watched by just about every member of their staff who were having some kind of open air meeting.  We really do have to practice our stealth!


Feeling kind of guilty that we would be leaving our car there, we thought a good ploy would be to show the girls some of the animals in the pet shop part first.  It seems that it was taken over some 5 years ago and now all they had were a couple of hamsters and a rabbit. Oh well.  We went next door to look at the fish and left deciding we were going to buy the girls a small round tank soon and get some fish for home so at least our cheeky parking will amount to a sale for them shortly ;-)

Off we then headed onto the pavement and down a pathway across a field for our first cache, Suggestion Box.  A quick find by hubby who waded through the tall nettles, not noticing the part that had been trodden down about 5' further on.  Go that man!  We had now it a bit of a 'path' which lead to a rutted track but at least it was easier on N's teeth!

Nice path for a while
Around the side of the fields to our next cache, Red October.  The name gave us an idea of what it may be near as we'd seen the film some years ago.  The hint said not to get wet and we soon spotted where it would be hiding.  The only thing I had to work out was how to get it out.  Suddenly I noticed a piece of the fence was slightly larger than the rest so slid it through.  A very nice key TB inside so we took it to continue it's travels.  Sandwiches were out at this point already.  We do like to snack and walk :)


The hunt for Red October
Off between the fields to the next one, Troll.  The CO has placed these caches very much with children in mind so they were all nice, relatively easy finds.  We got to this little bridge but hubby decided to check under as there seemed to be a bit of barbed wire about. Spot on and another log signed. 


Troll
It was pretty muddy going down the path here but we were wellied-up so no problem for us.  However, we were beginning to notice horse flies around.  We had to be quite vigilant with ourselves and the girls as hubby and I both noticed them sitting on us a few times.  I'm sure we'll both have a few itchy bites by tonight.  N was in her pushchair shouting "Shooo!" to any flies or butterflies that came near her. She then shouted to walk so S volunteered to 'look after her' :)  What a lovely big sister.


Come on sis
We seemed to have to walk onto a piece of 'Private' land for a while here which was a little confusing. A gate was open but clearly marked but to the side of it was a well trodden path that took you to the area you needed to be. I think that people were using this as a short-cut through, rather than walking to the very end of the field and doubling back on themselves.  We decided to do the same. It was only about 150m to the proper bridleway so we bumped through the puddles whilst N tried to splash in each one.  We then headed up another path between two fields. The thistles were so colourful at the field edges.



To our right we saw this amazing tree which was completely dead but still standing. It looked quite haunting there.

We walked around this next field and headed off to Ankle Corner.  Not sure why the name really.  Did look on the map and it doesn't look much like an ankle to me. Perhaps it's a Goblin's ankle - all distorted ;-)  It certainly was an area the horse flies liked and we were being landed on constantly so we made this as quick as we could.  Another lovely find for S.  We do enjoy coming across ammo boxes.  However, this one was quite wet inside so we emptied the water out and gave it a bit of a dry off.  As you can see, S was enjoying choosing her swap item.  

Choosing her swap from Ankle Corner
We looked up and N had shaken the straps on her pushchair and was almost climbing out of the top!  Cheeky miss. We popped her safety rucksack on and off we toddled with us for the rest of the walk.


Around we went to Feed the Birds which was back on a nice, wide piece of footway.  Unfortunately by the time we reached the cache we had eaten all of our sandwiches so they just had a few puffs thrown in the  general direction ;-)  Another lovely ammo box but this time it was dry and full of goodies.  S found this one with daddy and collected it all on her own. She had a good look inside and found another swap whilst I signed the log.  A muggle on a bicycle was heading our way so we just waited and exchanged 'good afternoon's as he went past.  He smiled. I'm sure he knew exactly what we were up to.

Feed the Birds
Hubby spotted a lovely big tree ahead and there seemed to be something hanging on a branch. As we approached we saw it was a pair of wellies tied together and thrown over it as you can see.  Not sure who would abandon their wellies here and what other shoes did they have that were better for walking along in? Would we find jeans, socks and shirt further along and spot a streaker running through the fields?  Who knew.
Wellie Tree
We walked on past a farm house and set of buildings that were quite busy with vans and cars.  This roadway was taking us back to the main road but first we were going to pick up Not Saburac.  S and I had a hunt back and forth at GZ and then decided to let hubby have a look. Of course he walked straight up to it.  S did the retrieve though.
Not Saburac
This area has an interesting story as the CO explains "Although the television series Catweazle was filmed in this area in the 70's, the water tower you can see just over the fence/through the hedge is not Catweazle's lair.  He did visit the property twice before moving to a similar tower in East Clandon".  You could just see the water pump through the fence.  I remember the programme well :)




We popped out onto the main road again and headed back towards our car on the footpath. We don't enjoy walking along roads like this with the girls as it's quite a fast area with bends and hills.    However, over to our left was West Horsley Church with an appropriate micro cache.  The church, founded c1030, is believed to have the head of Sir Walter Raleigh buried here with his three grandchildren in the Nicholas vault.  

S has a total fascination of churches and wants to go inside each one.  What she also wants is to sit down and have a drink and a cake.  This is due to the fact that we visited a local one at Christmas last year and they have a little cafe area off the main church so she assumes they all do now (maybe the vicars are missing a trick here?!).  Sadly the church wasn't open much to her disappointment but the cache we did find quickly.


We crossed back over and headed back to our car.  The walk had taken us around 2 1/2 hours which was really nice.  We went into the garden centre cafe and had a drink and piece of cake. I am getting used to not seeing any change from £10 for such things now ;-)

Both girls asleep in the car on the way home.  I think we will be having a quiet night tonight after their baths and bedtime :)

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Extreme Chalking (cycling helmet not included)

We love being outdoors.  The girls love drawing.  So, what better than being outdoors and drawing!

It was being around a friends some months ago that I first saw she had a little piece of chalk on her patio that the kids seemed to love playing with and making squiggles on the concrete.  Of course this was no problem because along comes the rain and washes it all away (this was during the hosepipe ban of course).

I had a look around and decided to buy some chalks for my girls.  Bearing in mind their ages (13, 3 and 18m) I opted for big chalks for younger hands to hold better.  We found some by a company called "Be Creative" by Economy of Brighton and sold through Amazon.  We are now on our second pot!

They are great chalks in nice bright colours and you get 20 sticks for your money.  You have to remember to put them back in the pot every day due to our fabulous British summer weather of course ;-)  That or you end up with a lot of mush that you happen to tread into the dining room carpet when you don't notice it stuck to your shoe. Who would do something so silly....?


The girls love it. They create all sorts of pictures and hopscotch.  They colour in our patio, the chalk board we have put outdoors and also the chalk wall of the climbing frame.  Of course it doesn't stop there though. They also colour in the slide, walls of climbing frame, table, scooter, bicycle...you get the idea.  Fortunately a quick hose down or a spot of rain and they have a blank canvas to start again.


Of course you should realise that chalking can be an extreme sport so it is best to wear a cycling helmet when doing this (as you can see being demonstrated here by N) ;-)

If you have kiddies and they love scribbling on anything and everything, I recommend some outdoor chalks to keep your walls nice and clean inside :)

This review is my own thoughts and I was not sent any chalks - they are mine already!

Friday, 13 July 2012

Under bridge, over bridge, dangling free

Having found out that our eyes were indeed playing up yesterday, we decided to head out and see if we could grab a couple more caches today. Of course this was also another date I needed on my 365/366 days of caching challenges ;-)

We drove over to Send and parked down a road opposite the footpath to the first cache on the River Wey. I say footpath, it was more of a gully between the fields where the single front wheel of the pushchair stuck in and the back wheels were about 5" up on the bank at either side.  N didn't mind this precarious position at all though.  I should mention that, yet again, we had a flat tyre on one side, no inner tube with us and even pumping it up it went back down in seconds.  So, it was going to be a one-sided, 3-wheeled pushchair shove today then (no, we weren't about to go back home).

The girls had sandals on and I was in flipflops. Perhaps we should have re-thought our attire but it was warm and they only got very muddy feet.  Fortunately they washed them off by jumping in every puddle too. Yes, baths tonight!

First cache we came to was exactly where a fisherman had just set up.  We tentatively headed in his direction hoping that it wouldn't be right next to him.  As the clue was magnetic and he was fishing at the end of the only bridge to be seen for a while, it wasn't looking hopeful.  S was very keen to find some caches today so we stopped at GZ and said good morning to him.  We had a chat to S about fishing and what he was up to whilst hubby had a peer around. He spotted the cache and said shall we go for it?  I said to the fisherman that we were geocaching so please excuse us rummaging around.  He laughed and said no problem as hubby got the cache (Something in the Wey #4) in hand.  He was quite interested in it as we signed and replaced it.  S was so excited that I think her enthusiasm rubbed off :)  It turned out it was his birthday and he was heading up to the pub we were aiming for later.  We wished him a happy birthday and left.

We went past a fabulous house on the right that we're waiting for the Lottery win for again.  Just past this was Something in the Wey #3 which S found all on her own :)


As we got a little further up heading towards a lock that was completely open. We could only assume this was a type of flood control as there was clearly no need for a lock here.  Across the way we could see an enormous house with all sorts of white statues in the garden. S said she would like a garden that big :)

We walked up to The New Inn pub and sat outside in the sunshine having a drink and some crisps before embarking on our next part of the area.  I went and retrieved the car as well.

Full of crisps and sandwiches, we went over the bridge and down the next private road heading towards our next cache.  The CO had said that there was a bridge that had been marked down as dangerous that we needed to cross to get there but I had looked this up on Google Maps and said to hubby that there seemed to be houses down the other end of the lane so it couldn't be that bad. It was. If I lived there I would be demanding a new bridge built for my use.  The wood of the actual bridge was absolutely rotten and it bounced as we went across!  It seemed now to be made completely out of old MDF sheets (as you can see).  I certainly would be reluctant to drive a car across but actually, two did whilst we were there.


We headed up the lane to the bridge where Just Another? was.  We read some of the logs. The GPS homed in on GZ and we set about searching for the cache, taking turns to look after the girls, who were busy having their 'picnic' wedged into a gate at the end of the bridge.


Between hubby and I we leaned over, we dangled over, we climbed down and crawled underneath (hoping no cars would come along as this wasn't a good bridge either!).  We balanced on girders sticking out of the water and looked around trees.  We read you needed long arms to reach it. We read it helped if you were 6'5" to get it. We even read that you need to dangle with two children sitting on your legs.  We were up for this one but there was one problem. We couldn't find the damn cache!  We must have stayed there 30 minutes and each checked each others ground. Nothing.  What a disappointment.  The girls had been so good playing and singing and it wasn't fair to carry on so we posted a DNF and left. I emailed the owner to ask for a clue as we will be back to get this one as it sounded so much fun from reading the logs.


Back we went until we reached another bridge across the Wey. Hubby and S took this one and N and I went back up the road and we met back outside the pub.  

Off we went down the footpath this time heading off for a small bit of park/wetland area near some new houses to find A Walk on the Wild Side which is placed in another area we never knew existed.  Off we went around this area which, yet again, had cows in it and was pretty full of...well, you can guess. We were grateful for the raised walkway!  We got to GZ and began to search. Nothing came to light.  A quick check of previous logs and another last found on 6th June (does no-one much bother with Send?).  We were in the right area (according to the clue) but nothing but cow poo was around.  Oh dear, another DNF.  Never mind.  We went out a different exit which involved hubby first carrying S across and then helping me lift the pushchair over numerous pats.  Unfortunately, hubby was wearing boots so had no thought for me in flipflops.  Eugh....another puddle sought.


Off we headed coming in a different way to Something in the Wey #2 to try again.  I had emailed the CO yesterday about the soggy cache we found and mentioned to him about not finding these. He had checked last night and they were in place.  So, right side of the very steep bridge (as you can see), we started to hunt.  Hubby had a look around and said nope, it's not there.  I ventured into the area (again, we were being careful as the water was either side behind the shrubs) and found it instantly. See, you can't trust a 'man search'. I really should know better as my husband can be as blind about things at home.  You know, the insisting that his jumper/ jeans/shoes are not there and when I look, they are right in front of you ;-)


S enjoyed going up on the bridge with daddy and watching a narrow boat go under.


A nice walk back to the car as a few spots of rain started to fall.  We made it back before the heavens opened. Another nice 3 1/2 hours outside today. We will all sleep well this evening.