Sunday, 17 June 2018

Kid-free weekend

Saturday morning, around 10am, I dropped off Small and Smallest at ‘Maccas’ (cub leader) for their weekend away camping.  Two leaders, two cars, two canoes and six kids all went off to the leaders camp ground next to a river for some camping, hiking and canoeing.  Smallest was very excited as it was his first ever camping expedition.  We did get a message from Small who said they had bites a plenty and hadn’t slept much.  It WAS very hot last night.

Huffle and I packed up a lunch in the cool box and set off to Hamilton (West past Toronto for about one and a half hours).  We drove to the Royal Botanical Gardens (our map took us to the University and the wrong place but we got there in the end).

The Royal Botanical Gardens is set out in a strange manner in that there are five different gardens all separate from each other and you have to drive from one to the other.   We started in the new Rose Garden which wasn’t actually properly finished yet.  There were lots of roses but interplanted with perennials.  It was an extremely hot day and we didn’t walk around as much as we could have.  We went inside the Mediterranean House which was incredibly humid but some huge plants including bananas, cannas, cactus, figs etc.  We couldn’t stay in there too long.

I realise I posted the same picture twice.  Should be a lovely white peony instead.

Our next garden was Laking Gardens which had beds full of Iris’ and Peonies. We were disappointed that the flowers weren’t deadheaded as it made it look a little scruffy (however after speaking to Grandad we realised it was probably left to go to seed so they could be collected, which is really the whole point of a botanical garden).   We had a nice sit in the shade under a pergola and went off to the next garden which was the Rock Garden.

This was our favourite and was created in an old Gravel Pit in 1920’s.  The paths took us through some beautifully planted borders and around and up to a wonderful view of the whole garden.  We went into a strange building that housed a huge moving mini railway with village with a working storm’.  It was quite random but the man working the train was British.  The Rock Garden had a water feature meandering through it and it was coloured a really dark reddy/purple colour which made the reflections stand out really well.  It had $20m invested in it 2 years ago.  You could tell.

Our last garden The Arboretum, was the one Huffle wanted to see most but when we arrived it was really just a park filled with trees.  Slightly disappointing and yet nicely calming and quiet.  We sat under a tree, had a snack and drink and just relaxed and enjoyed the solitude (plus two old planes).

Huffle drove us to Guelph (45 minutes away through old country farmland).  Guelph is a University City with a lovely Basilica, a river which reminded us of Oxford or Stratford.  We parked and walked to the river where we indulged in a too-big ice cream and scared away the geese!

Once we were fully sugared up, we walked up the hill to the Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate.  It was reminiscent of The Nore Dame in Paris.  Huffle and I have seen many churches, basilicas and duomos around Europe and Canada.  This was a nice one but we couldn’t get inside.  There was supposed to be a service and athough we could hear music, we couldn’t get in to sing along!

Avoiding the local revellers and hobos, we drove to a restaurant where I had my first beer for 54 days (since I got back from England) and a falafel bowl and a pea And prosciutto Risotto.  Very nice.

We drove home to our air conditioned quiet child free house, watched tv with a cup of tea and went to bed.  We slept well.  Our boys did not sleep well apparently.  One of their fellow campers was not wanting to sleep and cried lots!   Both boys had lots of bites.  Huffle counted over 50 on Small’s back.

When the Leader dropped the kids at home, he said it was a pleasure wing with hem and they were lovely well behaved boys.  We know that anyway but it’s always good to hear it from others.  They had a fabulous time but were very tired.  After an ice cream, Smallest went in a hot bath and Small went in the pool with Huffle and I to cool off.

This evening we watched Bake Off with a leftover dinner.  Smallest fell asleep twice and we sent the kids off to bed early.

Watching the sprinkler on the veg garden  

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