Our Life Under Lockdown

The big girls come falling in the door in a full on fit of excited giggles. It takes five minutes to calm them down enough to find out what adventure has befallen them on their daily walk. It turns out that whilst avoiding ‘the scary sheep who may chase us’ they had inadvertently walked a little close to a young family of pheasants. Mummy pheasant took objection to teenagers near her babies and decided to give chase. Not quite sure how to react to a fierce pheasant hissing and spitting at them the girls had ‘run for their lives!’

It is funny how the children seem to have a reason not to go out for their daily exercise. There is always one other thing to watch on the tv, one more level of the game to finish, something else to read or a need for food before they can possibly get out. Yet within 5 minutes of leaving the house the conversation flows, the humour is good, the mood is lifted, and they are loving it. They are making memories spending time together.

The daily exercise is not only necessary for raising the joy level in our house. With plenty of time to spare, after schoolwork is done, baking and cooking has become part of the routine, so the calories have to be worn off. All of the children take it in turns to try a new recipe each day, it is great to have the time to experiment and put the effort in to making homemade bread, pizza, garlic bread and anything with rhubarb are all favourites.

Although there have been challenges adapting to our new routine, we are certainly enjoying the fact that life is quieter and calmer.  We have got to grips with home schooling via online learning and socialising on zoom and are spending more time just being in each other’s company –  enjoying walking and talking together, sitting in the garden and enjoying the warmth of the sun,  playing board games, reading and catching up with things we never thought we had the time to do before.

We are all of course missing meeting up with and chatting with our friends and family face to face. We know that it is important to stay safe so whatever you are doing, and however you are spending your time, I hope you are keeping well. I look forward to seeing you soon, back at our lovely playgroup for more adventures.

Donna X

 

Springtime Lockdown 

My daughter reminded me that it’s a bank holiday on the 8th May to mark the 75th anniversary of VE day.  I said everyday feels like a bank holiday at the moment all except for the high level of anticipation and low level of traffic on the roads during this crisis. 

I have been taking advantage of the lovely weather that we have been given.  Staying away from people, by exploring the countryside and discovering new footpaths, feels like a strange thing to do but will become normal in time. I’ve possibly been trespassing when paths start like motorways and fizzle out into the odd footprint on the grass meaning I’ve had to skulk along walls and tree lines hoping to not get caught by the farmer.  I try to walk four miles a day to become less fixated on mealtimes and visits to the fridge; However, I am saving playgroup by eating my own body weight in crisps, with the excuse of collecting the packets! 

My bike has been dug out from the back of the shed and I have started to enjoy riding it, especially now the roads are empty. People I ride past have waved and said hello, which is a relief as some of the media suggests people resent cyclist passing by. Don’t believe all you read our lovely neighbours are even more happy to see people passing by at present. 

The garden is now looking tidy, which is a good job as someone in the village was filming the lock down with a drone.  My family went outside so we could all lie on the lawn to wave as it went past.  

My teenage daughters don’t get up very early, so mornings are my time, I like to get up so I can do some Iyengar yoga; This has introduced me to Zoom where I can join in with my usual yoga class members.  Yoga is very good for my body, as it gets rid of all the aches and pains that creep in whilst I’m in bed. Its amazing how much better you feel when you have done a headstand! After yoga I try to get my 14-year-old to do a Joe Wicks work out, we do it together, then I’ll have ago at Just Dance on the Wii with my 16-year-old. After this I need a lie down! Oh no, mustn’t forget the trampoline! Now I can lie down. 

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Thursday nights I bang my pan in the street with a wooden spoon for the NHS. They are doing a fantastic job. 

On Friday nights my husband and I have been volunteering to deliver cost price fish and chips around our village from the local pub to people who want a change from cooking. Its free to NHS workers. It makes a nice change to see people in the village, they seem pleased to see me but that may be the Fish and Chips I’m holding. 

My 16-year-old daughter has become a vegetarian, so we have been trying out some new recipes. The Lasagne was an experience. It took her 5 hours to make and was ready at 10pmWe were starving! – well worth the wait though! I made some red pepper hummus yesterday, can’t tell you how nice it was, much better than shop bought. 

My shopping trips have become a lot slicker as I like to swoop in, grab what’s needed and run out. It’s like Supermarket Sweep! I bring it home and have the troops ready with hot soapy water to wipe, wash and put it all away, whilst I have a cup of tea. 

The Forest school is looking glorious at the moment with a carpet of bluebells, I am missing our sessions with the children and I am looking forward to the end of the lockdown. 

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Stay safe, 

Pauline. 

My time in Lockdown

As a person who is normally remarkably busy, being forced to stop has been an incredibly unique and rare experience. The first couple of weeks of lockdown brought a lot of uncertainty and anxiety as I witnessed my routine and daily life change drastically overnight. Closing my business, no longer doing the tranquil and uplifting drive through the countryside every Friday morning to GEP, and the thought of not being able to see my family for a while was really testing.

I decided to think of all the things I would like to achieve during lockdown and use the time to reflect on what I have achieved so far and make time for things that make me happy!

Food

I quickly discovered that food is one of the ultimate things in life that makes me very happy! And I am sure this is something that everyone can relate to right now. I decided to gain the courage to learn more about foraging for wild food, which is something I have always wanted to learn more about, however have never truly dared to try. With the season producing such wonderful opportunities for this, it was quite easy to start. Here are a few simple, easy and novice recipes that I have tried if you would like to have a try yourself!

Dandelion Honey

DID YOU KNOW?
🌻Dandelions have been used for health benefits for many years! They help to reduce inflammation, stomach issues, cholesterol and blood pressure, and also help to rebalance your liver and kidney functions, helping to detoxify and cleanse the body!
🌻Every part of the dandelion; the petals, stem, root and leaves are edible and bursting with vitamins and nutrients!
🌻The bees use dandelions as one of the first source of food in the earlier months of the year, April and May time are the best times to pick Dandelions as the bees no longer rely on them as much.

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MAKING THE HONEY

You will need:
🌼Approx. 300 dandelions (kiddies you best get picking!)
🌼5 cups of sugar/1KG (we know this is a lot! Alternative recipe will follow)
🌼1 litre of water
🌼1 orange
🌼 1 lemon
🌼 Glass jar or a container to store it in.

Firstly pick your dandelions on your daily walk.

Rinse the dandelions to get the bugs out.

Boil the dandelions, water, and sliced up orange and lemon for approx 1 hour.

Drain all the juices in to a container and put to one side.

Set a cooking pot with your sugar in.

Add your juice and slowly boil for approx 3-6 hours. (This depends on your cooker, electric or gas, Charlotte’s took around 2.5 hours on a low heat gas)

Keep checking the consistency of your honey. You can do this by pouring a bit onto a plate, and running your finger along it. Honey thickens as it cools, so keep checking!

Once it is at the right consistency place in your container of choice to cool. Once cooled enjoy or give as a gift!

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT:

🌻 When picking dandelions think about where you are picking…farmers fields may have had pesticides sprayed, side of a road may have had a dog…spray so think wisely before you pick!

🌻Remember the liquid will get very hot! Please take care around young children.

Wild Garlic Garlic Bread

Wild garlic is everywhere at the moment and is very easy to spot, as it is very smelly! But very delicious!

I know that flour has been very spare recently, however if you manage to find a bread mix this is much easier to use and is more likely to be found.

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MAKING THE GARLIC BREAD

Forage some wild garlic on your daily walk.

Ensure it is washed thoroughly before use.

Chop up finely and place in a mixing bowl with your bread mix.

Follow the instructions of your bread mix and bake.

Alternatively, you could mix your finely chopped garlic in with some butter and spread onto baguette bread, then bake in the oven for 5-8 minutes. Both ideas are delicious! P.S. the photo bread was made on the campfire which is why it looks a bit charcoaled!

Nature

Lockdown life has truly highlighted to me why I love the outdoors so much, and it has been so nice to see more people enjoying and embracing the great outdoors. The woodland has always been a sanctuary for me, a place to take time out, and slow down life, which hasn’t changed during lockdown. I have really loved seeing stories about how families have been creative with their one outing a day, which gives me further confirmation that Forest Schools and what we do in Forest Schools is really good for our future generation.

Living close to the peaks has really helped, and I have enjoyed having little walks in the countryside in the lovely sun we have been getting!

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Family

Family and friends have always been something that is important to me. And being away from them has been difficult. I am very grateful for technology at this time, where we can stay connected through facetime and numerous “quiz nights” that I am guessing lots of other families have been doing too! It is times like these where we really appreciate the people most close to us, and I am also aware that not everyone has this privilege. I guess it gives us an insight into peoples lives who are unable to leave their homes due to illnesses, or do not have family or friends to see, and puts life into perspective.

Light at the end of the tunnel!

Lockdown has so far taught me that it is okay to slow down and rest, and you can still achieve what you wish, whilst looking after yourself. It has taught me to never take the people around you for granted and connecting with people is a wonderful thing. It has shown me that nature is the medicine for anything! Which is why I am a huge advocate for Forest Schools and getting children outdoors! Lastly it has confirmed to me why I do the job I do, because I love to be around people, and being with the little balls of fantastic energy we call children, because they bring so much joy, laughter and sunshine to our everyday lives, and having the opportunity to shape their experiences is something so precious.

So here’s to a few more weeks of lockdown, may we read books, connect with nature, reach out to the people who need, and stay safe, so that when we emerge and can truly reconnect, we can do so with appreciation, love and a deeper understanding of what life is all about.

Charlotte

 

 

 

 

Family time during lockdown

Family time during lockdown

I am sure I am not alone in feeling the strangeness, the uncertainty or the challenges the lockdown period has so far presented to us all. It almost feels like we are living in a time outside of time, a limbo period with no clear end in sight, and a time where we rely on technology like never before to connect us to our friends, family and colleagues. In our small family units, we have limited physical contact with the outside world. We deeply miss our normal lives and perhaps feel we will never again take for granted what we once did. Those everyday interactions we usually have with other people, so suddenly taken away from us. Life is far simpler, quieter and less busy now. And yet we are all surviving and perhaps some of us are even thriving.

For every cloud has a silver lining; The sun has shined almost continuously on my children and I, spring has sprung and is blossoming, we are immersed in our local landscape for the first time since my children were toddlers and we are appreciating the beauty of nature very close to home with fresh eyes, observing the wild flowers and the buds unfurling and seeing the bluebells and wood anemones turn from tiny splashes of colour through to magnificent carpets covering the woodland floor. This is only possible because we are able to stop, pause, see, enjoy and return again and again to the same local beauty spots.

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We have been given the gift of time, rare in our modern world where we usually hit the fast-forward button on a daily basis in order to get everything done. For me this involves taxying my children from one place to the next, to school or to their next scheduled activity, or to playdates and parties and special outings, all blurring into one. Now I can reflect and pause and really begin to appreciate nature around us. And perhaps most importantly, to truly appreciate my son and daughter, and my other loved ones.

So during the past five weeks of lockdown, we have walked endlessly in our local woods and fields, splashed in streams and made dams, identified wild flowers and made spring flower cards, scootered around our village, lit small camp fires and cooked supper on them on cool spring evenings, been on Easter egg hunts and watched films together, played board games and read together, written and told stories, baked and cooked and eaten in the garden and painted, crafted and drawn, observed ducklings hatching and swans, moorhens and mallards busy making their nests, preparing for their own new broods. I have got to grips with Zoom and Google classroom in order to enable my children to learn at home. And we are all learning together.

I have included in this post a number of photos, a flavour of this period. I also wanted to include the poem below, scribbled down one afternoon when out exploring the local woodland with my two children:

The pause button has been pressed
We are waiting, as if in slumber

Our lives reduced to the confines of our four walls, our immediate family, our garden and our local

woodland.
Yet there is beauty in simplicity
And in silence.
We grow used to a new routine,

Even as the days stretch out before us uncertain and so long,

We reach out and touch the world

Through the internet.

It is expansive and wondrous, this modern invention,

Enabling us to stay connected

To what is out there, waiting for our return.

One day we shall look back at this strange time of hibernation,
The words social isolation and distancing, Covid 19 and Corona only a memory then.
But they are ever present now, and their implications stand stark all around us.

My children draw rainbows, symbolizing hope, as we thank the universe for being healthy and alive:

We shall live through this crisis and walk stronger out the other side.

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Spring is one of my favourite times of year. I would love to share the beauty of nature at its youngest and most beautiful, emerging after such a wet winter, now so dry and bright and immensely green, with all the little ones I have grown to know and cherish at playgroup. To observe their playing in the woods, hear their laughter and join in their conversations and their singing. It is what I love the most about my job and why I have been working at GEPG now for six years.

We are all missing each other and so look forward to the day we can return to playgroup and meet each other in person again. Yet throughout this period, we must look on the bright side, we must stay safe and protect lives by staying at home. Paint rainbows with our children as a symbol of hope, knowing one day we shall again marvel at a real rainbow shining brightly in the sky, whilst splashing in puddles with a whole group of children, not just our own.

Caroline Greenwood

A Month of Sundays….

A Month of Sundays – Our experience of staying indoors

“What day is it mum?” A constant question in our house!! Felix thinks that every day feels like Sunday, and I suppose it does for my children. We are spending most of our day together, eating our meals together, spending quality time together and reflecting on our weeks. It has been a challenge at times, especially trying to balance school work with playgroup work whilst feeling under the weather. But I do feel like we have finally got into a rhythm and an understanding with each other, now that we are 4 weeks into social distancing.

We started our home schooling week, along with a million other people, with Joe Wickes and his PE sessions. I say we, I ate my breakfast and hid in the dining room whilst the children huffed and puffed next door!! I don’t know how he manages to do all his exercises and still talk as much as he does!! These half hour sessions were great for the children; it gave them a boost to start their day and burnt off some energy; the sessions also became the sign to the children that home schooling was about to start as we did them every day and started ‘proper’ work shortly after these.

The first week of home schooling really was a learning curve for all of us, I started the week trying to replicate school and the school timetable. But I soon realised that this didn’t suit me or the children. So, by the end of the week, we had relaxed more, played more and kept loosely to the timetable. My children do need routine; they don’t cope well without structure; so, having some idea of what was coming next and what we had planned for the day was helpful to them.

After burning off some energy, our home schooling started with some artwork, with rainbows! Both Sofia and Felix created their own version of a rainbow picture, we stuck them up at the windows at the front of our house. This such a lovely gentle start to ‘school work’ and the children loved it. They will stay up in our window until we all go back to school!

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One of our most favourite new discoveries was the author and illustrator, Rob Biddulph, his tutorials captured my children’s imagination and they produced some amazing artwork. We now have a well-stocked gallery wall in each bedroom and we are looking forward to watching these videos on YouTube when we get back into our home schooling again.

As well as utilizing a lot of free tutorials on YouTube, they are particularly enjoying the Chester Zoo enclosure videos, I also taught the children a few traditional games outside, we haven’t played hide and seek for such a long time as a family it has been a wonderful opportunity to revisit old games. The children also enjoyed hopscotch, rock painting, gardening and just the joy of being outside for a long time again (thank goodness for the weather!!)

It is not to say that this time has not been a challenge and the balance between work obligations and home schooling has been tricky at times; but I do think we all realise that this time is really unique and we all have to be flexible and patient with each other.

Although I have been more lax with the children’s screen time I have tried to shield them from the news and any serious conversations about what is happening in the wider world. I try to limit my use of social media and news coverage for my own mental and emotional wellbeing and I’m encouraging them to do the same.

As a family, we are recognizing that this time is a moment in history and something to remember and I want them to remember it for its positives and not the negatives. I want them to appreciate their health, their family, the sunshine and the small wins that can be achieved at home for free; and enjoy this time and see it as a gift for our family to reconnect and understand each other a little better. We are going to create a time capsule of this time so we can remember it in years to come, we have a little pack of worksheets that we are all going to complete and keep safe and open on Sofia’s birthday in 20 years’ time!

The poor dog doesn’t seem to understand why she can’t go on her weekly 4 hour walks off in the hills, she is constantly looking at the door for another walk! But the children are keeping her busy in the garden!!

We are managing to keep in contact with our friends virtually by video call and the HouseParty App! I’m not sure what we would have done without that connection! Particularly as Sofia turned 10 at the start of April, as well as Mother’s Day and Easter Sunday; being able to celebrate with people at least virtually seemed to make up for the lack of party for Sofia, that and the fact that I covered the house in balloons and banners! Our neighbours also created a WhatsApp group and I became a member of our local community group too, to help those that were self-isolating or vulnerable, another positive to come from this time is the bringing together of our friends and neighbours and encouraging a connection that wasn’t there before.

I think my lesson from this first month is to try and really enjoy this break from the norm, take advantage of this quality time with my family and cherish every moment. And when things do become challenging and overwhelming; talk to my friends, my family and neighbours; and let a celebrity take them for half an hour on YouTube whilst you have a cup of tea!!!

I am really missing the children and families from playgroup too; I imagine it’s difficult for them to understand what is going on and why they can’t go out and play anymore. I hope you are all doing ok and are managing. Sending lots of love and well wishes to you all, and my gratitude to all the key workers in our community. As the Queen said so brilliantly “we will meet again”

Karen x

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Sir William Hill Climb celebrates its 5th year

September 2015 saw the Tour of Britain pass through the beautiful Peak District. We were lucky enough to see the race as it passed through Grindleford and children from the local playgroup cheered as the riders zoomed over the bridge. Inspired by this momentous visit a group of local cyclists organised the first Sir William Hill Climb – a gruelling 1.77km ride which climbs 200m with an average gradient of 11%. The event has been run each September since that first year to raise funds for Grindleford and Eyam Playgroup.

The event has seen some great moments over the years. In 2016 the winner of the women’s race tackled the climb twice, unhappy with her first performance. While a more sedate ride was made by a couple on a tandem! 2017 saw the National Hill Climb Champion Adam Kenway take on the challenge, finishing in just 6:34 minutes and in 2018 we saw our fastest ever female finish, Hatti Archer completing the ride in just 8:05 minutes.

On Saturday 14th September we will celebrate the 5th year by combining with the Grindleford Goat to offer a day of cycling, with events for the whole family.

The day will start with the GOAT, a super friendly sportive event. Cyclists will be setting off throughout the morning on the 108km Billy ride, the 56km Nanny or the 15.3 km Kid which has been given a new look route this year.

There is also an exciting new Gruff Gravel Track for those who enjoy being off road and finding their own way round.The afternoon will see the younger members of the family showing off their cycling skills in our Track Stars event. Prizes for the fastest riders completing a timed circuit of a grass track with medals for everyone taking part.

In the evening The Sir William Hill Climb is there for all those keen for a challenge. Peakland Cycles will be there to sort out any last minute mechanical problems and are providing prizes for the 3 fastest men and women. There will also be prizes for fastest 50+ man and woman, fastest local man and woman as well as a prize for best effort. We would love to see you there taking part or cheering on the intrepid riders.

After all of that cycling excitement unwind at The Sir William Pub with live music and BBQ, a chance to reflect on your performance and rest tired legs.

The fabulous hill climb t-shirt will be on sale at both the Track Star event and at the climb, available in both children’s and adult sizes. We are extremely grateful to White’s Calver Spar for sponsoring the t-shirts.

There really is something for everyone and participants will be supporting the Grindleford Community shop and Grindleford and Eyam Playgroup.

For more information and details of how to sign up for any of these events please visit the website http://www.grindlefordgoat.co.uk.

Wine or water stall great success

I enjoy seeing the huge marquee going up on the field ready for the Grindleford show and look forward to seeing the wonderful local produce, especially the flowers and cakes!

But first there is work to be done organising  the playgroup wine or water stall.

Preparations start back in June as we reach out to local businesses for donations of wine for the stall. This year we were incredibly successful and we would like to thank all of the local businesses who supported us.

Derwentwater Arms, Calver                        Miners Arms, Eyam

Merchants Yard, Tideswell                           Majestic, Sheffield

Morrisons, Meadowhead                              Valley Engineering Co.

Special thanks must go to Tesco Abbeydale Road Community Champion who donated 8 bottles of wine for the stall.

With the wine sorted we had then to collect a huge number of entries, fill these with water and wrap the lot.

Fine weather saw a good number of visitors to the show and the stall proved very popular with a brisk trade in the mystery bottles.

Thank you to everyone who supported us on the day, we raised £168 and this will go towards new equipment for the playgroup.