Emma’s birthday this year was spread over more than a week. Due to half term and the Bank Holiday, she had her party a week early. We switched back to home as the venue this year as, although it was a bit crowded at times with fifteen children, there are more options for amusing them. Despite the forecast, the weather was kind to us and we were able to send them out in to the garden to run off some energy half way through.
Beforehand, Christine had the bright idea that I should offer up my services with the face painting kit that Emma had been given before Christmas. Suffice is to say this kept me occupied for most of the duration of the party. Most of the girls followed Emma’s lead with a bunny face (there was a general animal theme to the party) with the odd cat and mouse to provide some variety. The boys followed Duncan’s lead as a bat only they required fangs and dripping blood to go with theirs! That is all except one who quietly asked if he could have a bunny face…
For the birthday weekend itself, a combination of Christine and the forecast of sunshine eventually persuaded me that we should make the effort to go camping down on the Isle of Purbeck. After a bad start failing to find camping gas and sitting in long queues of traffic we eventually arrived at our chosen (on the way there) destination of Downshay Farm. This provided no-frills camping with great views (albeit on a gradient). We were there in enough time to make a trip to the beach at Studland Bay before dinner (just enough gas left).
On the great day, Emma opened the selection of presents that we’d brought with us, many of which were well suited for another trip to the beach. This time we made the short walk down the hill and took the steam train to Swanage. Once there, Emma enjoyed an ice cream, Punch and Judy and the fun fair on a delightfully sunny day. Christine couldn’t quite manage a whole day at the beach so we returned to the campsite before heading in to Corfe Castle for dinner out (no gas left).
On the Monday we packed up our tent (dry for once) and decided to stop at Kingston Lacy on the way home. It was a shame that the play areas were closed due to wind damage in the surrounding woodland but the children still found plenty to amuse them in the extensive grounds and even enjoyed the tour of the house thanks to the teddy hunting that had been laid on. After a much swifter journey than on the way down, we eventually made it back home for Emma to open yet more presents. Plenty to keep her busy for the rest of half term!