Friday, 26 February 2016

Half term hellidays

How can a week in term-time fly by so quickly, but a week of school holiday last an eternity?

This week back in "normality" has gone in a flash, but half-term last week felt like forever. I don't know why. It's not like my daughter was particularly bad company. Or that we were short of things to do. Alas, there was no exciting travel to go on, but thanks to living in a family friendly city, our days were full, and the telly kept to a minimum. But nonetheless the days were definitely twice as long as a normal day.

Anyway, because successful bloggers do top tens, here are our top ten February half-term in Yorkshire activities:

1. The Jorvik Viking Festival

As well as lots of bearded men wandering around dressed in scratchy blankets, the encampments on Coppergate and Parliament Street gave kids the chance to watch knitting, try on helmets, take selfies in front of longboats, and see stuffed and live animals. There was also a craft tent where you could make badges and T shirts and jewellery, although not for free. However, you could play some weird hybrid of chess and battleships, colour in a picture and stamp your name in runes without handing over any of their Viking coins.

Longboat and half a Viking

My favourite sheep ever

2. The Sign Was Back!

"Welcome To York, Where The Men Are Hunky And The Chocolate Chunky". It's a generational thing. A massive Yorkie bar on a board outside York station, only visible from the left-hand side of the northbound train. Then Aviva decided to advertise there instead and life was never the same again. But to celebrate Yorkie's 40th birthday, York Chocolate Story decided to resurrect the sign in Kings Square. It was a bit of a let-down. It wasn't even 3D. And it instantly cost me a Yorkie bar, since my daughter didn't know what one was. But the sign was back!

She obscured the lie

Still looking for those hunky men, after all these years.

3. Museums And Art Galleries

Museums always say that they have special half-term activities on for all the family. But - let's face it - these are mostly boxes of crayons left out on tables. With a paper template and scissors. And the grown-ups end up doing it all. We (or rather I) made some puppets at the city Art Gallery and an Edwardian donkey at the Castle Museum. Are you impressed?

4. Snowdrop Planting at Beningbrough Hall.

Despite the fact Arctic winds were blowing, we helped Beningbrough plant 300,000 snowdrops to celebrate its 300th birthday, all along its ha-ha walk. If they hadn't offered us free parkin and hot apple juice afterwards, I'd have said they were having the last laugh, ha ha. After a brisk run-around in the play area it was time to catch the cafe's last cup of tea of the day.

5. Swimming.

We managed to catch the pool not too full in school holidays, possibly because they were colouring the water pink. The management thought it would be fun, but it just made parents suspicious. "Who's bleeding?" "Who wee-ed?" "Is it safe?" Anyway, our visit coincided with that of not one but two school friends so that meant instant entertainment for the girl and an easier hour for me (even if I still got wet). Result - until my electronic locker key failed on exit. We then had a long wait, dripping and cold in the changing room, until a pool attendant reunited us with our towels and clothes.

6. Playdates

These are good when they are at other people's houses, less good when it's your gaff getting trashed.

7. A trip to the seaside

Off to Scarborough, where it hailed. We took shelter in the arcades (we won a Bassett's Fruit Salad!) and the Clock Cafe, which hasn't changed in fifty years and gives a free bucket & spade to kids who order fish fingers.

8. Snow

And the next day, after all that hail, there was proper snow in York. Hurrah! Or a thick layer of encrusted ice at least. You could just about make a snowball. But it was exciting for this generation of kids growing up with global warming.

9. A trip to Leeds.

Always keen to use our Family and Friends Railcard, we went to Leeds to see a show. We met Daddy for lunch in a shopping centre and then went to see The Bear at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. It was based on the Raymond Briggs book. It was lovely. The polar bear did a poo. My daughter laughed. Then it went back to the North Pole to have a baby. My daughter cried.

10. Mums Night Out

A necessary part of any school holiday. A mummy friend talked me into going to a burlesque show. Only it wasn't so much burlesque as sordid striptease. With only women's wobbly bits on display. The ukulele band in the first part of the evening had lured us into a false sense of security. We left choking on Johnson's Baby Powder.

The grand pink uke of York

And only four weeks til Easter. Arse.

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