The End of Summer

Well! The summer whizzed by. There it was, gone. And now LittleBit is at high school, getting the school bus all by herself. She's absolutely loving it. I am getting used to it. Slowly!

I was off on the last day of her summer holidays, and although the car was in the garage, we still managed to get out and about. I put the bike rack on the car before we took the car to the garage, and then we cycled round a few parks, had some lunch (and an ice cream milk shake at espositos), met LittleBit's Y6 friends at Inflata Nation (no photos from then on because LittleBit banned me), had some tea (subway), and then cycled to cricket, in the rain. Luckily, the rain stayed at intermittent drizzle and we managed, and then, after cricket training, we cycled home - in record time! The cycle home was primarily flat, and we were losing the light, so, although we have lights on the bikes, the canal we cycle along is absolutely heaving with midges by dusk, and we were being bitten, again. The whole day of cycling was only 11 miles in total, although with all the exercise we did at each stop, it felt a lot more! I even managed to cycle back to the garage to retrieve the car after walking her to the school bus stop the next morning!

And this was after we cycled the Monsal Trail the week before! I didn't actually think I was going to make it to Buxton, from Bakewell (uphill all the way), but I did, just. And then we had ice cream and cycled back to Bakewell much, much faster, before going to The Ram's Head in Disley for tea. It's a bit of a trek, so we don't go very often, but it has special memories for us, as we stopped there on the way to our honeymoon, so it's nice to go back and visit occasionally.

I  expect we'll be cycling less as the seasons change, I am very definitely a fair weather cyclist, but we'll try to get out on dry weekend days! There's a few cycle routes nearer to us than the Monsal Trail (although we managed it there and back with cycling and meals in a day this time, so could go again), but Beloved would like to cycle the Wirral Way, which I have walked before, and LittleBit wants to try Formby, although I'm not entirely convinced that's for the cycling.

Around the zoo! We also managed one last ride on the Monorail, which is being dismantled (with no plans to replace it with anything in the 15 year plan) we managed to sit right at the front and we're glad we did. We only went for the afternoon, so not as long, or as far, as other trips have been, but we did manage to glimpse a red panda (though not the new born cubs), the owls and got a great shot of the lioness!

We spent a morning shopping in Chester, before school started, picking up last minute things, new pencil case, new bag, tights... and needed some lunch, but we didn't want to go to the same places we usually go, so we had a look on the tastecard app to see where we could get a discount and found a lovely restaurant called Fiesta Havana, they do offer a tapas menu, which I was sorely tempted to try, but in the end we just had a main course each and then some churros, because churros. Not only was the service excellent, but the food was fabulous. I had the xim xim which was like a creamier satay, and it had cray fish in! I loved it, and have tried to make it at home since. Honestly, my version needs some work, but it was not a bad first attempt! No photos, because we were far too hungry! Definitely worth a visit if you're in Chester and looking for somewhere to eat!

As an end of season treat, the cricket club organised a day out for the juniors, to Manley Mere, where the kids (and coaches, and some parents) took part in an adventure trail, before going on the water adventure park. The day started overcast, but the sun soon put in an appearance and everyone had an absolute ball! We've said we'd take LittleBit and some of her friends again in future, they got on so well, and were so supportive of each other going round! And the chips at the cafe are pretty decent too! It took most of the day to do both, but taking home a worn out and happy child, is never a bad thing! If you haven't given it a go, it's mostly suitable for adults too (especially on the water) and it's very reasonably priced. The centre offers some other activities, including paddle boarding, kayaking, and open water swimming too. They even had a kids duathlon going on whilst we were there, which looked interesting, but LittleBit wasn't keen on early morning open water swimming when I mentioned it to her, she is quite fond of the heated indoor pool at Kingsway! I'd definitely recommend Manley Mere for a day out though.

I haven't finished the Summer Reading Challenge for book club yet, I'm still working my way through the pile! I'm currently reading Pym by Mat Johnson, which is my book set on a different continent. I'm slightly under halfway through it and it's, weird. I'm enjoying it, but the plot is not quite what I had expected! The premise (without giving too much away) is that the Protagonist is a Literature Professor at a university, who is supposed to specialise in African American Literature, but has a thing for Poe, and also collects rare manuscripts. He acquires a manuscript shortly after being fired, written by a character in a supposedly fictitious novel by Poe, which makes Chris, the Protagonist, believe that it was, in fact, a true story, and so, he engages his cousin and some other people to crew a mission to Antartica to try and investigate if there is any truth to the story, at the same time as harvesting ice from the ice caps to bottle, ship back to the US and sell as pure water... As you do. I don't want to do spoilers, because it's interesting, and to be honest, nothing has been fully explained at the point I'm up to yet, so I'd probably get it totally wrong. It's interesting looking at Poe's writing through this book too. I haven't read much Poe, although I think I have an omnibus of his collected works on kindle I have been putting off, his descriptions of non-white characters, if the portrayal is true in this book, does sound scandalous. Is that really how people thought back then? If only for that reason, this is a fascinating read, although the plot, whilst not quite what I expected, is engaging.

And, as we're now firmly in September, I'm starting this year's NaNo-Prep. I've blogged about this, in-depth, previously, but with 6 weeks to go, this is the time to plan if you fancy having a go this year. You can follow this link to the NaNoWriMo Website if you'd like to learn more about it sooner, but I'll blog more about this next time!


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