A Summer of sport – final

The last Guest post this summer from the lovely Peta at minvra

All good things must come to an end…

…and the end of summer is in sight. My ‘summer of sport’ blogs are also coming to an end, sooner than you think, actually, as I have no sport for you this week. This family is camping!

So in the greater range of camping experiences, what we are doing right now is ‘glamping’. Nearby we have a ‘washing up station’ – complete with sink and hot water (in the afternoon on a sunny day and before it runs out), showers – hot water and better than the ‘London-standard’ water pressure, and a toilet. The toilet, however, is firmly in the ‘camping’ category.

Running off energy and increased appetites are the two most common virtues that come to mind when I think of the great outdoors; camping, by extension, provides much, much more of the same. Opportunities for exciting, hands-on learning activities are in abundant supply out here so I have taken advantage by building on the recent Nature Detectives weekly challenges with Miss and Master. We have been checking out all the new leaves, flowers and berries (shapes, textures, colours) and the how’s and why’s of attracting birds, bees or butterflies (pollen, nectar, food). Sleeping in a tent provides an endless supply of ‘what noise is that?’ subjects, and living out of doors has expanded our bi-daily comparison of ‘morning’ and ‘bedtime’ to include most other parts of the day.

Messy play is practically a foregone conclusion; even the cleanest of parents must accept that no child will go un-muddied while camping. With my significant lean to the ‘neat freak’ side, I am endeavouring to strike a sensible balance between allowing Miss and Master to play uninhibited by my tendencies and ensuring a sufficient stash of spare clothes in the event of a summer downpour at a later point in the camping trip.

So far, so good. It is bank holiday Sunday night at 10 o’clock as I write this blog and I am tired. Very tired. Miss is all rugged up and sleeping soundly – Miss is shattered from days of playing chase with her brother, jumping in muddy puddles (God bless the British summer), naming & feeding farm animals, collecting stones on the beach and all the childish excitement that is Misses first camping trip. Master is, true to form, still fighting sleep (despite an equally active first camp).

Even with the messy clothes, the muddy shoes, the grubby faces (I confess, Mama was too tired for bucket baths tonight), I have a weary, contented smile on my face. I say to you, Summer, “Thanks for coming; it has been grand!”

A big thank you to those of you who have been following my summer of sport guest blogs and I do hope you have enjoyed them; although I am afraid that this is another case of a good thing coming to an end. The good news is that if you are interested in reading more you can visit and follow my regular blog: minrva

Thanks so much for your “Summer of sport” posts this summer Peta. I’ve learnt about a lot about what sporting facilities and events are on in the area.  Thank you!

A Summer of sport VII: “Born to be wild…”

Another fab guest post from Peta at http://minrva.blogspot.co.uk/:

“Born to be wild…”

Last week’s summer of sport subject (ballet) was perhaps a little feminine, although, ballet is not just for Misses. All the same, it is for the sake of fairness that this week is a (stereotypically) masculine sport. But then motor sport is not just for Masters either.

As a young Miss I always wanted to drive, I was forever asking questions about road signs, (what they mean, why they are where they are etc), and every time we went to the farm I recalling whining (a lot) that I wanted to take the ‘Suzie’ out for a ‘spin’ (read: drive the Suzuki utility vehicle). It never mattered to me that my length-challenged legs were far from pedal-reaching proportions, nor that my driving skills were not fully manual-car capable, (Dad would let me sit on his lap and ‘drive’ our automatic car along the untarred lane-way between home and Grandma and Grandpop’s house). I simply just wanted to drive.

My sister, on the other hand, took jazz ballet classes.

The precursor to this driving fascination was probably the dodgem cars I loved to drive at a local theme park of my childhood. But they never went fast enough and it was a stretch to wear the seatbelt and still be able to reach the steering wheel and pedals. The, as I grew older, the track was predictably boring and I was increasingly frustrated with folks always getting in my way. On the farm, however, I only needed to worry about Kangaroos; not for fear of hurting them, it was a fear of them hurting me – which would promptly put an end to taking the Suzie out for a spin (those kangaroos really are brutal).

By the age of 12 or 13 I was adept at reversing the cars off the front garden grass onto the driveway, down the slope, onto the road, along the gutter and around the corner to the garages at the back of our odd-shaped corner block. Next, I would either reverse parallel park on the forecourt or park in the garage. All of this was done, of course, after washing Mum’s, Dad’s and then Nan’s cars. This is also precisely the same way that my father learnt to drive.

Alas, we have no family farm nearby, so it will be dodgem cars and go-karts for my Miss and Master. And I doubt they will sit still long enough to watch the Belgian F1 Grand Prix with Papa this Sunday (25 August). Mind, Master is named after a late legend of the Formula 1 (F1) scene, so perhaps go-karts might be a winner? He would certainly not be the first Briton to get into F1 this way…

Back to my old form, here are some local(-ish) go-kart providers, if you like to “Getcha motor runnin’…”

  • Chineham: The nearest and newest, having opened 27 July 2013, is Absolutely Karting Basingstoke, Wade Road, RG24 8LJ (near Great Binfields Road intersection)
  • Reading: Premier Karting (RG5 4SZ) and Teamworks Reading (RG30 1JT).
  • Andover: Thruxton (SP11 8PW)

A Summer of Sport VI: Ballet

Another lovely guest post from Peta at http://minrva.blogspot.co.uk/:

I have never studied, practiced or performed ballet, but I do so enjoy watching it!

In fact, I am writing this while on my way home from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, where I relished the exquisite elegance of the famous Bolshoi, performing Jewels. Tonight, however, was not my first Russian-ballet experience; that was some years ago in Russia at one of those ‘tourist shows’ – The Nutcracker, in April… As my mum would say, they were “not much chop” (utterly rubbish).

After being completely enthralled in a truly breath-taking performance (Diamonds, in part, was a succession of solo performances showing off the most amazing, and I imagine, incredibly difficult sequences), one can be left feeling awe inspired, and then perhaps a little dismayed (I am more a terre than chassé). But fear not, ever the silver lining sort of Mama, I am thinking about what it takes to be a Bolshoi ballerina, what lessons can I learn from this, and what lessons can ballet teach my Miss and Master? Here are just a couple of things I have learnt…

Discipline. Ballet, to me, is as much about strict discipline as it is about splendorous dancing. But before exercises at the barre and breaking out the tutu, one must learn the (many) ballet terms and positions. Being instilled with the discipline to master the theory before moving on to the practice is an admirable character trait that would do anyone well in life.

Fortitude. Great physical strength will only get you so far – there are many good ballet dancers. It takes more than this to rise to the ranks of principal ballet dancers. Anyone following the news will know that the Bolshoi have been, in recent times, plagued by scandal. But after reading a number of articles, both as scandals broke and more recently, I get a feeling of the underlying, immense confidence and inner strength of these Bolshoi dancers. It is more than the stereotypical patriotism for mother Russia – these dancers exhibit fortitude in their every move.

Determination. I think of this as having the determination to reach the end goal, (or perhaps a stubbornness to accept anything less). Even the highest ranked dancers are required at morning practice with the ballet troupe. Determination to keep attending, keep dancing, keep practicing is a must. Dance, fall down, stand up. Dance, err, correct. Dance, fall down, stand up. Dance, err, correct. Need I say more?

Coordination. Whether or not you appreciate (or even like) ballet, I challenge anyone to view a professional performance and fail to be in awe of the poise with which ballerinas carry themselves about the stage, exhibiting nonchalant awareness of their fellow performers and seemingly conducting the orchestra with every move. Imagine the resulting harmony if every person in every household and business regularly performed with such effortless coordination?

Ballet schools?

Unlike previous summer of sport blogs, I haven’t a clue about what might make a good ballet school and so there are no links today, (although please feel free to pass on any personal recommendations via comments.)

If you have never been to the ballet before, I urge you to go and watch a performance of The Nutcracker this Christmas. With all the bright colours and fun music children will love it (age guide is 5 years or older).

I hope ballet teaches my Miss and Master that some achievements are not ‘quick wins’ that are so amply available these days, but with discipline, fortitude, determination and coordination, anything is possible.

A summer of sport V: Horse Racing

Another fab guest post from Peta at http://minrva.blogspot.co.uk/:

Horsing about

Glorious Goodwood is done and dusted for another year, and, although I was unaware of much press, I have had horses on my mind this week.

Many of us who are local to north Hampshire probably have, or have had horses in our lives; there are plenty of horses here. As a young Miss, however, my first one-to one encounter was during a school camp, and it was a Shetland pony. I did not actually ride a horse until I was in my 20s. My Miss, on the other hand, loves horses. Every morning I hear of horse dreams and Miss always wants to see our local farm shop horses (who seem to have been replaced by cows in the last few weeks; lucky Miss also likes cows).

Horses and horse racing have always been in the peripheral of my life; the childhood trotting track visits, my first horse riding experience as an adult (that horse was a “dud”, I rode goats in Egypt that were stronger, faster and far more responsive), and I have attended the odd major event race day (the “glam-up” sort). Even so, I had thought that horses and horse racing were mostly for ‘horse people’, but this is simply untrue. The entire family can enjoy this sport, together or separately, it is really just a matter of getting organised in advance and checking out what’s on…

The British Horse Society is the United Kingdom’s largest equestrian charity and has a huge range of horse and horse riding information, such as what to consider when you are learning to ride and a search tool to find your local training centres.

Love the Races is less about your riding and more about your enjoyment of the multitude of spectating opportunities; you will find plenty of great ideas and helpful information here. Try “8 things to do at the races” and “Young Hooves” club for Miss/Master, and “new to racing” if you are, ahem, new to racing. Otherwise, if you fancy a fun day out at the races use the What’s on tool to filter your event search by race course, event type and time of day.

These are just a couple of future meets that stood out to me:

•   17 August @ Newbury (RG14 7NZ):  Ladies Day, followed by Party in the Paddock starring Meatloaf!

•   26 October @ Newbury (RG14 7NZ): Armed Forces Day

•   26 November @ Wincanton (BA9 8BJ): Christmas Fair in aid of Help for Heroes & Children’s Charities

What have I missed?? Please share any local horse related events and activities via comments!

Related Posts

A summer of sport I

A summer of sport II

A summer of sport III

A summer of Sport IV

A summer of sport III: Golf

Enjoy Peta’s Guest Post for this week! For more details about Peta’s blog click HERE.

Gentlemen Only Ladies Forbidden.

The Open Championship 2013 has been played and the Claret Jug has been held aloft (congratulations Mr Mickelson). So what’s next?

I was always a bit of a Daddy’s girl and whatever Daddy did, I did. My Daddy liked to play golf; I liked to play golf. So it is strange that over the years I have not played often. To place some of the blame elsewhere, I have struggled to find someone to play golf with. You see, there are not many women folk out there that play golf – least, not many that are within my friendship circles. And now my friendship circles invariably include Misses and Masters. Is this a further hindrance to my golf?

No. In a word. Golf is no longer confined to the business deal making, (male) suit-wearing (stereotyped) population the world over. Golf is for everyone.

I have often heard golf described as a ‘perfectly good way to ruin a lovely morning walk’. Golf does not have to be that way (entirely). Make the walk more efficient and play golf with your family. Family time, exercise, fresh air and practising your skills (because, as any golfer will tell you, this game is one you will never perfect).

We are fortunate to have a plethora of golf courses in north Hampshire and many of these advertise junior lessons, Basingstoke Golf Centre (RG22 6PG) and Dummer Golf Club (RG25 2AD) are just two such courses.

Has The Open fanned a spark of interest? Maybe golf was not previously on your radar? Perhaps you are unsure if you will even like golf? Well, what if you could give golf a try for little or not cost?

I have just the thing! Get Into Golf are running taster sessions all up and down the country. Try Thursday 1 August at Bishopswood Golf Club (RG26 4AT) or Wednesday 7 August in Eastrop Park (Basingstoke), or check www.getintogolf.org for further venues and dates.

Pleasant putting, folks!