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Our Month – January 

This month we have caught the third evolution of all the starter Pokemon, we went to the beach. We had a brilliant New Years days and started very festive. Fun walks and beach walks. Family have came round, from cousins to grandparents. I launched the Hockey Journal and Sawyer began his hockey Journey. Despite a lot of fun we are glad to see the back of January because we have been ill throughout it especially Sawyer who has been in hospital because of high Blood Sugars. Looking forward for the month of Love though, see what trouble we can get into.

Berg

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Worden Park

One of our favourite parks to visit is Worden Park in Leyland.

There is so much to do, long walks, huge fields and a giant park. We took a picnic and had a walk and a play on the park. It is home to a hedge maze that despite looking easy had us running around for a while. This time we found that there was a miniature railway with a train that we could ride. I was a brilliant day and because of the good weather we had a good day with lots a fun pictures for a gallery.

Daddy the “Big Meanie”

This week I’m a big meanie because we went to a petting farm where there were rabbits. My oldest daughter had been asking the owners some questions and found out that the particular rabbit she was holding was for sale.

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She was very insistent that she was going to get this rabbit by the end of the week.

I stuck to my guns and she didn’t get the rabbit.

I do sound like a big meanie I know and really I was, but this is the story why I will never again own a rabbit.

Once upon a time we bought a rabbit. We were a young new couple with our first and only baby girl.

What we didn’t know as we brought it home from the animal shelter was that it was pregnant.

We put it in its single hutch and went to bed, dreaming of our little girl being able to play in the grass with her new friend, just like on teletubbies (seems along time ago now doesn’t it).

When we came down the next day there were 8 new born rabbits in the hutch.

We were so excited. We named them all and got them out in the front room to play with them. They would all hop around and our new baby girl would giggle and grab as they came near. It was idealic.

But our first problem was where to put them. We couldn’t afford a hutch straight away so they grew up all in the same hutch until a month later. The space inside gradually getting more and more cramped. Even with two hutches there wasn’t enough room and soon our problems grew.

They tore up the garden and made burrows everywhere. One was so deep that it went into next door. And they would hide and not come out until we flushed them out with water. Even so we were going to get even more in trouble.

Always think where sayings come from. The one me and Mrs Berg had overlooked was “breed like rabbits”. This saying came to pass because, as we were about to discover, rabbits breed with anything, anytime, anywhere. Soon we didn’t just have the 9 rabbits anymore but at the most count (and this is a real number) we had 42!!!

Now we were overrun and without being able to sex them quick enough there was no way to separate them into boys and girls.

Ultimately we had to make a decision to make. There was a petting zoo near Horwich in Bolton that received 39 baby rabbits one day. That was a lot to take in and we were extremely grateful. We kept the original 9 rabbits. And split them into 3 hutches and hoped that they would not breed again before we could get to the vet.

However that is sadly not where the story ends.

A few weeks after we awoke to massacre. Our hutch was broken, the door torn off. A litter of rabbits lay dead across the garden.

My heart sank as I took in what I saw. Around 5 bodies were recovered from the garden. They looked like they died of shock. 1 of the babies was missing. The big mother of all the rabbits was also missing, we never saw it again.

We genuinely couldn’t work out if a fox had got in and took away the big one and the baby in the night. Chasing the others to death. Or if more sinisterly they had been stolen by a human. Whichever the monster, we were devastated.

Only 3 survived. 2 girls and one boy. Sooty, Daz and Cole. They had hid in one of the tunnels and emerged to tears of joy later in the day.

We sadly buried the other rabbits but a week later we had to reopen the grave and add Cole to the earth. He was half ate by a fox also.

By this point I had really had a heartbreaking experience with rabbits. Luckily the last two lead a happy and fulfilled life with us until only a year or so ago. It was a nightly ritual to catch them and I thought “feed the rabbits” was Mrs Berg’s catchphrase at one point.

They were very good pets and when they finally joined their brothers and sisters. As a family we are loyal to our pets and they quickly become family, I will never forget the ones we lost.

It is for this reason I will not have any more rabbits and I will have to be a big meanie for a while longer.

Reflections From Me

Tiger food

For Christmas instead of buying a present each per person we ask that people get us a family ticket to somewhere, Gulliver’s World, The Wild Boar park, something like that. In this case Mrs Bergs Father had bought us tickets to Chester Zoo.

As a family we love Zoos. We love nature in general and there is such a vast array of animals that we are all winners. We even managed to bring some hired help in the form of my parents.

To top it off it was a gorgeous sunny day, most of the animals was out. All except the tigers, my favourite, who seemed content to hide up in their treetop hideaway a good distance away from the zoom of my camera.

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That aside we had a brilliant time. Until disaster struck. We were on our way out, the wardens had been calling time and been ushering people to the exits and we had begun trailing back to the entrance.

A final check of everything revealled that Catty my younger sons favourite stuffed toy had been lost. After a debate it was decided that Catty must have been left at the picnic table, right at the other side of the park.

I did what any other devoted father would do. I made my way accross the 20 minute (at least) trek over the far side of the Zoo. I knew I didn’t have time so I jogged lightly, anxious that the lost toy may get picked up or moved.

Past the elephants, over the big bridge with the cheetahs underneath, past the seemingly empty tiger cage. I laughed as the Lion jogged along with me as I passed.

The Zoo was empty of people by the time I got to the picnic table. I checked on and under the table, around the park, on the slide my son had been playing on. But there was no luck Catty wasn’t here.

I tried to call my mum to tell her the bad news, but after a day of taking pictures my battery was lucky to be on one percent and as my signal finally caught, it ran out.

Sadly I began to pick my way back to the entrance. But without a soul in sight it took on an eery tone. The light faded too and I was tired and in honest a little freaked out.

I walked onward, and as I passed the tiger enclosure I looked up at the treetops to get a final view.

Suddenly I stopped. There in full view looking at me was a ginormous tiger. It was sat calm, watching me only 3-4 feet away at most. I moved my hand for my phone but remembered I had no battery.

I was suddenly aware that there was no-one else around.

Time stood still.

When my cats at home are playing I can see when they are playing with something they adopt a stalk pose, ready to stike, and you play a game when you hold your hand out and try to move it away in time.

Frozen in his gaze, I realised the tiger was giving me the same pose.
Frozen in his gaze, it felt like there was no cage between us. I was genuinely frightened. I could sense the power that the tiger had. Those moments felt like hours.

Then, the tiger pounced. In all his glory he leapt forward, teeth bared, claws posed and he bounced off the metal cage, roaring loudly.

My heart leapt and jumped back, shaking with excitement.

Had the cage not been there I doubt there was much I could have done to prevent myself becoming tiger food.

I smiled as the tiger wandered off into his cage. I had shared something that no-one in the park that day had experienced. A one to one with the mighty jungle predator.

I ran back to the entrance elated.

Thanks to my noble efforts as a father, I had been given a unique look at my favourite animal.

To round the day off, Catty was in the bottom of the pram the whole time. So my son went home happy too.

Rock Ornaments

Last weekends adventure was a crafty one. We decided to liven our garden up with some rock ornaments. Of course as easy as it is to buy them where would be the fun in that.

As it was a nice day we decided that the best thing to do would be to actually collect the rocks and paint them ourselves. Ha ha we do after all have a free labour force in our 4 children (tempted to go into global production already). So off we all went to Edisford Bridge a local river where people take picnics and paddle and fish in the river.

After a short walk we arrived near the waters edge and began looking for medium size smooth round rocks. Normally all of the kids have to collect rocks and sticks and leaves and anything else they can stuff in there pockets. Especially the boys. Soon we had a good stack piled up in the bottom of our pushchair. This left them to throw stones eagerly into the river. There were also times when they tried to paddle in the still waters, socks and all.

The only thing to remember, especially if you got the pram down to the waters edge, is that you do have to get the pram back up, including the large stones you filled it with. Just saying. In case, like me, you didn’t consider this. Ha ha. My back will recover.

The kids had there dose of fun and adventure by the river, they got to lazily wander home through the field and park. Soon it would be time to put part two of the plan into action.

Once home we emptied the rocks out onto the kitchen table, picked and shared out the best ones and got to work. We had given the kids a selection of acrylic paints to use at will. We had a few ideas that we wanted to try, like we wanted a badger as our 6 year olds nickname is badger. Mrs Berg had an idea of a frog on a Lilly pad. In general, and as it was our first attempt we kept it simple. Bees, butterfly’s and just general colouring.

It was a fun activity that we could allow the kids a fairly free reign to paint and create as they wanted, we then allowed them to dry and tidied up all the mess. A mix of outdoor fun with a creative playtime kept them occupied all day. And we got our free garden ornaments.

Just to finish them off we covered and recovered in glue once dry, to protect them from the elements.

Now we have memories that we can place in the garden to liven it up for the summer and the kids feel like they have contributed.

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