Lfish had gymnastics, and 7 people descending on my parents would have stretched their ability to put up people, so K and Lfish stayed at home while I took everyone else to my parents. The drive up was long but uneventful, nice food, then bed.
I pulled the children way from the TV, and I drove us plus Dad to Alderley Edge (the hill, not the village). Dad knows a lot about it, including the links to the Weirdstone of Brisingamen. He knows the author, and pointed out places that are mentioned in the books. It was a lovely walk in the woods, with bonus history (bronze age onwards), literary links, scrambling over a simple but very good mini-adventure playground made from logs, and searching for treasure. The treasure was little bits of ore left over from the mining – azurite (blue), malachite (green) and cobalt (surprisingly, black). The view from Stormy Point was, as ever, fantastic. Ice creams when we got back to the car park, from the regular van – Dad’s friendly with the owner and gets a discount!
Back home, more lovely food, then out to Widnes. Dad has a radio-controlled battleship, and knows where there’s a boating lake in Widnes. The battleship was not as fast and flashy as a radio-controlled speedboat a father and son were playing with, but still excellent fun and I think the ducks put up with it. Afish and Mum played on some swings while us blokes took turns – fortunately we didn’t need to use the wellies or boat hook that Dad had brought just in case.
We went on to Catalyst, which is a Chemistry-themed science museum. It was small and poorly lit, but a good place for a couple of hours. The favourite exhibit seemed to be the large column of viscous liquid that you could pump air bubbles into. You could create different sizes of bubbles, and big ones rose faster than small ones, so you could get bubbles to engulf each other. There was also a fairly decent playground outside – Mum stayed with the children there while Dad took me to see a bit of local and family history. Our ancestors used to run barges on the Mersey, and near the museum is a post from a barge that used to hold the rudder. It was about 10 feet tall, so it was easy to imagine how vast the barges were – they were the juggernauts of their day.
On Sunday we stayed at my parents’ home – TV and then helping in the garden. This was joining in the battle against leaves, harvesting tomatoes, admiring the pond and waterfall and generally mooching about. Afish spotted an interesting stripey-shelled snail on a bucket, and then impressed Dad by recognising the herbs he was growing (the results of spending time at Kentwell talking to the right people).
More lovely food, then we hit the road. K had borrowed some story CDs from the library, and we got through most of Einstein’s Underpants and How They Saved the World. It was daft and good.