November 2012

This year's half term holiday extended into November so we start with some more photos from our trip to Derbyshire.
The coutryside around Matlock Bath is a combination of rolling hills and sheer cliffs. One day, we headed up to take a closer look at Riber Castle which stands on a hilltop overlooking the town of Matlock. The walk up was pretty steep and slippy at times but the views were very pleasant.

Unfortunately, the castle itself was undergoing major renovations so all we saw when we got close to it was security fencing and piles of building materials. Fortunately, our disappointment was short-lived as just a few metres beyond the castle down a small country lane, Matthew spotted a rope swing that someone had set up but tucked up into the branches of the tree so as not to get in the way of passing cars. He was first to try it out and then Emily had a turn. Nicholas waited patiently and by the time his turn came, the swing had already been wound up quite a bit ready for him to spin. Take a look - and watch out for nervous Granny stepping in when it starts going a bit too fast...

Nicholas Spins

Our walk took us all the way down into Matlock where the kids got a chance to play at the playground together before finishing the loop back down to Matlock Bath.

Next day we went back to Alton Towers for the third time in the week. The first time had been to enjoy the indoor waterpark, the second to enjoy the theme park rides and this visit was all about the fireworks - reputed to be amongst the best displays in the UK. The place was heaving and rides which we'd pretty much walked straight on without queuing earlier in the week now had 20 or 30 minutes waits. Instead of standing around getting cold we did something that hardly any visitors to Alton Towers ever bother with - we explored the gardens.

It was all really quite pretty - and incredible really how they've built all the rides up right around the outside of this area yet it somehow remains an oasis of calm.

Of course, we couldn't while away the whole afternoon in the gardens. Fortunately, some of the rides still had pretty small queues - in particular the wet rides - so we wrapped up well and made the most of it...

As darkness approached, we settled down for a nice hot meal and then found ourselves a nice spot to watch the display. For more than 20 minutes, we enjoyed a spectacular combination of laser show and fireworks set to various pop and rock hits. This video captures the grand finale when the music reverted to the Alton Towers Theme Music of Grieg's In the Hall of the Mountain King ...

Alton Towers Fireworks

Back to school then, and several opportunities to dress up. Firstly, here's Cassandra as a Victorian girl - part of this terms topic work...

... and then Matthew as a zookeeper. This was for a class assembly in which the kids all had to dress up as whatever they'd like to be when they grow up. They sang a few songs and made a few jokes at the expense of the teachers. This was their finale...

Matthew School Assembly