We had a much anticipated day out on Friday to the Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s reserve at Brockholes. At the beginning of the summer, I read out their program of Wild Families events to Seth, many of which were based around a selection of Julia Donaldson’s books and asked him to choose. He snubbed the likes of the Gruffalo and Stick Man in favour of Superworm. I booked and paid in advance – £4 each for Seth, Daddy and I, Rory went free.
We took a picnic and we managed to throw down our lunch before the heavens opened and we took cover in the visitors centre.
Superworm was disappointing. The children (of varying ages) were asked to sit on the carpet while the staff member proceeded to read out the story. Unfortunately, it was a rowdy bunch of 25+ kids. Fingers on lips won’t work on a crowd like that, especially when you first have to get yourself heard over the parents talking amongst themselves. The poor woman didn’t have a chance! She did an interactive true or false game of worm facts, then back on the carpet for a ‘puppet show’ (or a worm poking out of a compost bin.) It was informative – showing the materials you can and can’t put on a compost heap – however, once again the staff member struggled to take control.
Next, the bug hunt. No one could hear the instructions. We set off anyway in persistent rain. I’ve googled it and it appears that it was Ranulph Fiennes who said, “There is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing”. That was me. Canvas shoes. Epic fail! We did all have waterproofs, but Rory was non too impressed to be trawled about in his baby carrier in the rain. We caught two slugs, a snail, some kind of larvae and a worm (which disappeared so we think the slug ate it.)
We headed back to the base- where bug trays and spoons lay strewn on the ground so we could only guess that people had shipped off home. Once they opened up the room, I sent Daddy off with Rory to get a coffee, while I helped Seth make planters out of newspapers and toilet roll tubes, and superworms from pipe cleaners and googly eyes. This crafting was probably the most enjoyable part of the session, apart from the fact that I had to do it with exceptionally soggy feet.
You can’t predict the weather and I did say we’d return and do our own bug hunt on a better day as I’m sure we would enjoy it. But with the exception of a drop-in craft activity, I won’t be pre-booking us on an organised session again. The group was far too big for sitting on a carpet for a story, and for the one staff member to lead. But hey, not all Mummy’s bright ideas can be good ones and I do take some consolation that the car parking charges and money made from these events goes to the conservation of the site. It is a lovely place. Despite the proximity of the M6 and the constant hum of traffic, Rory and I were lucky enough to see a deer close up when we visited in the Spring. I do recommend it for a day out.
As we left, an overly keen Grandma was trying to find some direction as to what to do with the frog she had caught! Let’s hope it hopped off and found its freedom.