We’ve been here since last Friday. It’s as lovely as ever. Yesterday we drove past the house we rented and then backed out of and it was very sad. We were all sad. I suppose it’s easy to feel sad in hindsight but the thought of leaving the school we’re at was a lot more sad than the house we didn’t live in. It was amazing though. We saw a hundred pheasants scatter as we drove up the dirt road. It was raining and there were at least twenty five cows sheltering in the barn by the house. They looked at us as we drove past them. And I wondered what the cats would have thought of the cows and the pheasants. And all that mud.

Kevin has been back at work since Monday and it’s been me and the girls up here. We’ve entertained ourselves nicely at the Cotswolds Farm Park – their favourite place. There are heritage sheep and cows and ducks and geese and donkeys and pigs. And tractors to ride, a woodland adventure course, swings, bouncy giant pillow things (that were de-flated for winter). And a shop we walk around and the girls want things and I just say no. No. No. No. No. But we are allowed ice cream in Stow-on-the-wold. While mum buys herself a nice new Barbour hat.

Today we went to Batsford Arboretum. It began as not such as success when Astrid fell in the mud and got covered in mud. She was very grumpy after that and Edith picked me red leaves from the tree. Not off the ground. I tell her not to but she doesn’t care what I say. She wants to pick the leaves from the tree. And I am given a lovely bunch of red leaves. They didn’t make it home with us though. I wonder where they went!

Astrid is in a grumpy mood for a long time and then Edith finds piles upon piles upon piles of Autumn leaves and she throws them up over her head and I take photos. Astrid slowly looks around and ever so slowly decides to join in. The trip to the Arboretum isn’t wasted after all! We play throw the wet leaves on people and everybody laughs and runs around throwing leaves. I chase them with my camera and Astrid plays chase the photographer with wet muddy leaves. Then we decide it’s time to head home, but not before we accidentally walk in circles back past the beautiful deer herd we saw on the way in when we went the muddy way that wasn’t marked on the map.

It’s getting cold and we decide to head home for everybody to get changed into dry clothes and I can wash their warm coats for tomorrow’s adventure.