Pass the parcel!

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We’ve just returned from a two-week overseas trip to Venice and Istria in Croatia. It was a big family affair organised by my step-father, Charles in celebration of his 70th birthday. There were 22 of us including kids and babies! I was slightly apprehensive to travel with a 7 month old, but my fears were completely unfounded. It was an absolute joy to have Livia with us, made all the more special by the fact that she could spend some real quality time with her grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins and her sister Ashley. The kids had an absolute ball and Livia was happy to be dragged along wherever we went. She explored new food and the joys of gelato; discovered her little boy-cousins Tom, Ollie and Alexander; and seemed to love being passed from one adult to another, especially her granny Sussie, her aunty Hannia and her cousin Sibella. She turned 8 months old towards the end of the trip and since we’ve got home her development curve has just skyrocketed! It’s such a joy to watch.

One of the hardest things for me living on the farm is the fact that my closest family don’t live 5 minutes’ drive away, as they have done for most of my post-university life. It is so important to me that Livia has a good relationship with all of her grandparents, aunties, uncles and cousins and that she should feel totally comfortable and relaxed in their company. The kind of family time we just spent together is invaluable to cement these relationships and I’m incredibly grateful for it. Here are some of the photos showing what a trooper she was and how much my precious little girl is loved by everyone. A very big thank you to Charles for bringing us all together in such special places and facilitating some very happy family memories. xx

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Boys and their Toys

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There is something about a farm that completely captures the imagination of little boys. The open space, the animals, and especially the equipment. Tractors, trucks, front-end loaders, combine harvesters and excavators! Their little eyes light up and they cannot help but get completely over-excited at the prospect of leaving their plastic toys at home and getting a ride on the real thing with their hero, farmer Quentin. Three-year old Dylan, one of Quentin’s little worshipper’s came to visit us this weekend. Apart from following Coco around the whole time, his one mission was to ride on the digger. And ride he did.

Happy as can be – Dylan on the excavator with Quentin.

Fixing the dam wall.

This is fun!

The digger has a mesmerising, therapeutic quality. Quentin says an hour in the cockpit moving soil is like three hours in therapy, only better. In stressful times on the farm he will sometimes disappear for an hour to go and dig. I think he loves it just as much as the little boys!

Quentin in therapy.

Big boys can hitch a ride too – James learning the ropes.

Another little admirer is our nephew Alexander (4.5). He visited the farm in August and only had eyes for his hero, Quentin. Much to his glee he got to ride in the combine harvester while the maize was being harvested. One has to visit Vastrap during harvest season to have this special privilege.

Alexander climbing up the combine harvester.

The face says it all.

Striking a pose on the tractor.

Little girls also like hitching a ride, but their excitement is not nearly as complete as the boys. They don’t eat, sleep and dream about big machines. If pressed, I’m sure they would rather be home playing make-believe games about princesses and faeries. At least that’s what the little girls we know like to do!

Ashley and Emma on the tractor with Alexander.

Sophia looking cool on the excavator.

Farming is a muddy business!