Days out with kids: Brixworth Country Park, Northampton

This isn’t the first time we’ve been here, but as the girls totally loved their ‘grand day out’ (which was meant to be Brighton, but that’s another story), I felt compelled to share this little gem for anyone looking for a spontaneous free* day out.

Situated just outside of Northampton, Brixworth Country Park is free to use, with a choice of three walks, each one a different ability level/distance, so you can determine which route to take before you set off. The shortest route says to allow around 30 minutes, but it took us only 20 minutes. Continue reading

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Welcome to the crazy household

I feel like I’ve fallen out of cyberspace over the past few days – my activity on social networking is all but non-existent, bar a few automated posts. I don’t like sending them, but those that I do send I like to think will provide a decent amount of thought and inspiration for readers, and it’s the ‘likes’ and the re-tweets and the re-pins which tell me that even if I’m working behind the scenes, I’m still able to communicate with other social network users and can at least make an impression. 

So where have I been recently? There have been some health issues which appear to be sorting themselves out, but the biggest reason for my lack of activity has to be the new addition to our family, our new Springer puppy Charlie (Yes, ‘Charlie Chapman’. Has an interesting ring to it, don’t you think? Just be thankful that Charlie isn’t a baby boy because if my husband had his way, the poor child would be ridiculed for life. Fortunately for our offspring, she escaped this quirky and comical naming due to being born a girl and my refusal to allow her to be called Charlotte).

Both Charlie and my 1-and-a-1/2 year old have had me running round in rings after both of them. The wee spaniel was only 8 weeks when he arrived with us a week and a half ago and we are just about getting there with the toilet training. There is still the odd accident but with the help of Google and a training manual our neighbours very thoughtfully provided for us, we are beginning to establish a routine for Charlie. This, of course, has to be worked around our daughter’s routine as well, and if any of it gets messed up, the end result is a terrible tantrum and a boisterous pup. It’s no wonder I’m totally exhausted and tearing my hair out. Fortunately, things are starting to get a little easier as Charlie calms down and our toddler gets used to him being around; she’s beginning to realise it’s not such a good idea to dangle her comforter above his nose. 

Did I mention we have two cats as well? One of them is a sweet-natured ginger tom. I think he would be quite good pals with Charlie if it wasn’t for the fact that our other moggie – the ginger’s mother and an unpredictable naughty tortie – keeps hissing and spitting at Charlie and has attempted to swipe him a couple of times. As a result the poor puppy (who just wanted to make friends) now barks ferociously at both the cats.  Add to the mix a “young adult” (who turns thirteen this month) and you have a mental setup. I think my husband is beginning to unravel at the seams. I’m just about still sane. Thankfully it won’t always be like this. I’m already starting to see a change in Charlie as training is coming on in leaps and bounds. He knows ‘sit’, ‘stay’, ‘leave it’ and ‘watch me’. The last two need some work in the hope that he and the cats can live in harmony. We’re also working on ‘drop it’ – I don’t fancy wrestling a dog for the next few years each time I want to put my shoes on to take him out or having him slide around the house by his teeth on my trouser legs…

This is a totally new experience for all of us, having never owned a dog before. I knew it would be a lot of work but really didn’t appreciate how much. Charlie arrived sooner than anticipated too – after years of talking about getting a dog, my dear cunning husband brought him home after months of secret planning as an unexpected surprise! People aren’t kidding when they say it’s like having a baby in the house. Except I think a newborn baby would be easier, at least it would stay still!  

Do you have a dog? What training ‘fun’ have you encountered and what do you remember about the first few days?