Enjoying The Garden At This Time Of Year*

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*This Is A Collaborative Post*

'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need' Cicero

Well, yesterday was the warmest February day on record in the UK apparently with temperatures reaching more than 20'C in parts of Wales. I certainly made the most of the opportunity as I shall again today, as I enjoyed a relaxing cup of tea in the garden. Blue skies and an array of birds tweeting their tunes as the Daffodils, some yet to blossom fully, stand tall and proud, nature's way of letting us know Spring is finally on it's way and it was a soothing experience; a much needed moment of relaxation, ah, you just can't beat peace and quiet sometimes.

It did not last long. The blissful tranquility suddenly shattered somewhat by the excited, gleeful shouts of my two young nephews, ages four and nine. There faces alight with excitement at the prospect of being able to play out in the garden properly for the first time this year. I was then gently encouraged to finish my brew 'as quick as possible' and instructed by the youngest that it was now time to play!

 'Yessir', I replied. Not wanting to find myself the victim of a toddler sized beat down, it's remarkable when they attack just how chimp like they become, hanging off arms and legs and swinging whichever remaining free limb they have in my direction. On which note, I am curious to know why they seem to have an unerring ability to catch me off guard with a well timed drop kick to the crown jewels, or a sudden short sharp head-butt when you think they are after a kiss, as far as I am aware, there are no Glaswegian genes there.

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Blue Skies, Clean Air And A Rugby Ball

The game the boys fancied playing was Rugby, which is perfectly fine with me, particularly at this time of year with the Six Nations Championship on; it's rugby fever in our households at the moment. After the disappointment of seeing England lose against Wales at the weekend, it was nice to have an opportunity to play a bit of rugby in the garden in the sunshine for a couple of hours. We did various passing games, and tackling and running with the ball and kicking, and in a day and age where so many kids seem to be as pre-occupied as their parents with phones, video games and anything involving a screen. I cherish the fact that I get to do plenty of outdoors stuff with my nephews.

It is so important in terms of their overall development in my opinion, the leaps and bounds each one makes over time is pretty astounding at times. Being rugby and sports mad, I can see they are both developing in various areas from hand eye coordination, spatial awareness, confidence, accuracy, throwing, kicking, control, balance and understanding. The eldest at 9 in now shooting up, one of the biggest in his year,broad shouldered and big chested, he is strong as an ox and heavy set, yet he has speed, which I never ever had. He won three races on his last sports day, who knows, maybe an openside flanker in the making like his uncle.

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Don't Be Too Rough". The Constantly Repeated Words To The Four Year Old

The youngest at four can pick up a nine kilogram dumbbell and hold it with two hands, and he can walk some way carrying it at chest height. A fact I learned one day when I turned around to enquire as to his whereabouts having gone to get him a drink only to find him standing in the corner of the room, holding it aloft and saying inquisitively, “what's this?”. The Kettle bell has since been bolted down, as has anything else which could possibly cause himself a ruptured spleen. He can catch a full size rugby ball when thrown from within 6 or 7 feet fairly easily, as well as being able to take a pop pass at good speed, he also shares the fast gene with his brother, and has a natural sidestep man-oeuvre he has learned or taught himself via running in the garden.

He likes to start at the top of the driveway with the ball tucked under one arm, then he races down the drive and at the last minute adds a lovely curve to miss the shed on his right hand side by an inch or so. At this point due to the speed he is travelling at and with little room for error; he then has to power off on his left foot to then avoid being consumed by a very large prickly hedge on the immediate left and he finishes by touching down on the grass at the back of the garden. He has very good balance when he runs and it is brilliant to see them both outside playing together, having tremendous fun, and all for the cost of a ball!

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Time Spent In The Garden Is Time Well Spent

Don't think Granddad will be too impressed by a little bit of the damage done to some of his lawn and areas used for our kicking practice, but most of the daffodils survived relatively intact. That said, with the onset of Spring he will no doubt be heading to the garden center in the coming weeks and stocking up on all kinds of bulbs, seeds, fauna and flora as well as topsoil and fertilizers. In a couple of months it will probably look a lot different and much more colorful and vibrant.

The boys love spending time working in the garden, raking leaves or planting seed,  analyzing bugs and creatures, and putting flowers, petals, daisies and such under their microscopes and magnifying glasses. Like all kids, they are full of questions about everything and it's brilliant to be able to get a bit of unexpectedly good weather (for February) and to enjoy our 'tiny' little corner of the world a bit more!

Long may the glorious weather continue and I hope you all get an opportunity here and there to enjoy some of it while we can. The simplest things in life are often the most important.

*Written by Michael David

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