Down At The Waterfall

We took advantage of the beautiful weather by visiting Lumb Falls near Hebden Bridge yesterday. G has grown quite a bit since our last trip there, but she's still not really big enough to take for a proper dip in the swimming hole. And even if she could stand the chilly water, I'm not sure how I'd get her down the bank to the water's edge and back up again. This was especially true yesterday, when we had the whole place to ourselves.

Well, almost. On the rocky and somewhat treacherous path leading down to the falls, I spotted these two toads enjoying themselves in the grass. They didn't seem particularly impressed as I crouched over them, pointed my phone in their general election, and did my best Attenborough-esque whisper to explain to G what was going on. "Ribbet ribbet" she offered in return, which was more than the toads managed. Hardly surprising in the circumstances.

When we got to the falls, evidently it was time for a picnic. It later transpired that drinking all the water I'd brought was not the best idea, because I then had to scramble back up the aforementioned path to the car carrying G, who decided she didn't fancy walking anywhere in this heat, no thank you very much. As I strapped her back into the car, she looked mournfully at her empty water cup and said "water?" approximately 386 times before I could reach the nearest shop.

I've been told that Lumb Falls is often packed on weekends and during the school holidays, but I've only ever seen it almost deserted. Yorkshire doesn't always look like this. But when it does, it's worth capturing it for posterity.

Perhaps if it had been sunny more often, the Bronte sisters, so famously associated with Haworth just up the road, might have written a bit less about the windswept moors and a bit more about sun-dappled waters. Or maybe they just couldn't be bothered with the rocky path.

Chocolate Ice Cream

Ever since G was little I've often taken her for an ice cream. This used to be so I could have a little treat while giving her a bottle of milk, but eventually she graduated onto having an ice cream of her own.

Knowing how fickle toddlers can be over their food, I've always got her a vanilla cone, because I know she likes it and will finish it without having a tantrum and throwing it somewhere. But on Friday, I decided to let her pick for herself. "Brown one!" she said, pointing at the tub of chocolate. So she had her first ever chocolate ice cream (I got a vanilla one myself, just in case she changed her mind halfway through, but unsurprisingly this didn't prove necessary).

Given Mrs J's fondness for chocolate, this could be the beginning of a long relationship for G. A momentous day, indeed. The next step will be chocolate sauce.

Too Big For The Swings

I've been working a lot in the last few weeks, so today felt like my first normal day at home with G for quite a while. There are obviously lots of things I'd been waiting for the opportunity to do, but I couldn't really bring any of them to mind this morning, so I settled for taking G into Uppermill to visit the playground.

It's still a bit far for G to walk, so I decided to take the car. "Playground!" she said excitedly as I pulled into the car park nearby. This turned into anguished cries of "plaaaay-grooound!" as I turned around and left the car park, because there weren't any spaces. After going round the block, I returned and found someone just leaving. The happy "playground!" returned. Such are the emotional highs and lows of being a toddler.

As I pushed her on the swings she's used since she was a baby, I noticed that G's feet now just scrape the floor as she goes back and forth. She's now 2'11'' which doesn't seem particularly tall, but clearly it's too tall for the baby swings. Time to upgrade to the ones used by the big boys and girls.

Red Jersey

Mrs J is Welsh, and G has an extremely Welsh-sounding name, largely due to a Welsh branch of my family on my grandfather's side. So when the rugby's on, there's only ever going to be one nation for G to support. With Scotland suffering another Six Nations season without winning any matches whatsoever, it would probably count as cruel and unusual punishment to force her to cheer for her dad's team anyway.

So G was in her red shirt as Wales beat France to win the Grand Slam yesterday. Not that she had much idea of what was going on, although she did manage to spot that some of the people running around on the TV were wearing the same colour as she was.

This could also prove useful when introducing G to rugby league. Given that she was born in Salford, G should have a natural inclination to prefer the northern code. And with Salford playing in red, she could even get away with wearing the same jersey to support both teams. Might save us a few quid in replica kits too. Told you I was Scottish.


G has been in nursery a lot lately, because I've been working most days. For the time being Friday is the only day of the week I've got at home with her, which makes quite a change from most of the last two-and-a-half years. In fact, it's become such an uncommon event, I was at a bit of a loss this afternoon as to what to do with her.

She seemed keen to go outside for a walk, so we ended up going to a nearby footbridge over the Leeds to Manchester railway, to wait for a train or two. G recognised the train tracks instantly, but seemed confused by the lack of any actual trains. I tried to entertain her by informing her that the building we could see in the distance was the old Saddleworth Station, closed in 1968 as part of the Beeching cuts, but perhaps unsurprisingly that didn't hold her attention.

Thankfully, it was about then that a train finally came into view. "Hello train!" G shouted, as it rattled towards us. Then "bye bye train!" as it disappeared in the other direction. She seemed perplexed that it didn't make a "choo choo" noise though. Perhaps I should update my sound effects next time we've got her train set out.

Eye Drops

G has had conjunctivitis before, and this week she got a bit of it again. I spotted on Thursday that she had a red eye, and I got more suspicious on Friday morning when she slept for a full hour-and-a-half past her typical 7:15am wake-up (this has only been the usual time since she moved into a proper bed, I can no longer get away with leaving her in her cot until she dozes off for another hour, but that's another story).

Eventually she toddled in to my room, hiding behind her hair and with her arms out for a hug. Her right eye was full of the familiar yellowy gunk, so I called the local surgery. The nurse was happy enough to put a prescription behind the counter for us so I didn't even need to see a doctor when we got along there later in the morning. That was the good news. That bad news was that it was for the dreaded eye drops.

I remember hating having eye drops when I was little, and I can confirm that G likes the whole experience even less. Applying said drops to a writhing toddler is really a two-man job, but I've now developed a technique which is just about successful most of the time.

It involves putting G on her back across my knees, pinning her arms down with my left arm, while my right hand hovers vaguely over her eyes with the bottle. The drops don't have to go right into the eye. Seeing as she's got them tightly shut anyway, the inside of the bridge of the nose is ok, because they then trickle in when she eventually opens them. Well, more or less.

One day I'll film it so I can release an instructional video on YouTube. I wouldn't put us both through it every time but, you know, the drops really do work.