Music school has a long half-term break this term, so we had the luxury of a late start, then Kfish, L, Afish and I headed off to Cambridge for the Castle Hill open day, leaving Lfish with Bob so she oculd get to gym in the afternoon – she’s missed or will miss so many this term that we have to make sure she gets to the ones she can!
We parked near Castle Street Methodist church and popped in for a chat with old friends. It’s their centenary so the newly refurbished building was all open for viewing – it’s looking lovely 🙂
Then we went across the road to Castle Mound, where we found another old friend, Marion Leeper was about to begin a storytelling session, so the boys ran up the mound a couple of times and then we settled down on picnic rugs to hear some of the stories of Cambridge’s past.
There was an ideal climbing tree, so after another foray up the mound to imagine how it might have looked with a wooden fort on top (the first castle was built there in 1068 but the Romans had used it before then too so it has a long history) the children all did some climbing. I had promised that we would go on to the Biology day at Hills Road Sixth form college afterwards and our parking was about to run out, so we went quickly to the cold war bunker where Kfish gave L a whistlestop tour before dashing back to our car, only to sit in hideous traffic most of the way across the city 🙁
We managed to park nearby and decided to go to the zoobus first, as it was by the entrance and was the number one thing on Kfish’s list. Having looked at various insects and reptiles downstairs we mounted to the upper level, where the boys both handled a small constrictor, while Afish watched in horror and was just about inveigled by a very friendly assistant into touching the snake’s scales with the very tips of her fingers…
Inside the main building we were spoilt for choice, but since we were also a little short of time (the information we had read online said the day finished at 18:00 but it turned out that 4pm was the actual end time) we just chose the nearest hall as a start point. We each had a go at drawing a star whilst looking in a mirror – vertical lines are fairly easy; horizontal ones ridiculously hard! The children also played various games and did various challenges, such as matching up plants with items made from them, then we moved into the next hall where they did some more hands-on activities. They each had a go with a pipette, then tried the challenge of dispensing exactly 1g of water three times in a row. They made up slides and looked at them under a microscope, experimented with the waterproofness of leaves, counted the rings on slices of tree, played a game to do with the immune system and organs in the body and generally had fun.
On the way home we popped to Castle Street again, to meet up with Bob and Lfish, climb the castle mound again and chat more with old friends.
Then we came home for tea and a film – a relaxing end to a busy but pleasant day 🙂

Sunday was bookended for me by Eucharist with Kfish and Evensong with Lfish. The Evensong was particularly lovely, with an anthem by Byrd for four voices which was performed by the girls and adults. Meanwhile Bob took the others to our local church in the morning and we all spent the beginning of the afternoon having a general tidy-up and housework session, which I then continued alongside cooking dinner while Bob took the children to Wood Green to fall in love with the animals 😉