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Baby giraffes, bribery and bunting

Posted by Dawn Isaac on 02 Feb 2011 at 10:04 PM


“I’ve got a baby giraffe!”

“My snow leopards are in danger!”

“The elephants are bored with their paddling pool!”

These are all phrases which have rung around our kitchen table over the last month.  Don’t worry, I have not changed our strict pet policy (“one cat is enough, we will consider a guinea pig when you’re 10 and NOT before, and absolutely NO dogs), but our children have become somewhat enamoured with Roar – an interactive CBBC game where you set up and run a wildlife park.

It is of course terribly educational, breeds responsibility but really, my love of Roar is entirely related to its pre-school bribery potential, which works something like this…

“You can play on Roar but only after you have had breakfast, put on your uniform and brushed your teeth.” Or even “If you don’t stop squashing your brother’s head I will let your lions STARVE!”

Such is the attraction of this game that I’ve barely had to raise my voice before 8.30am for a number of weeks.

Sadly, two recent developments have left me needing another pre-school distraction. Firstly, Archie, who, at two and a half is becoming scarily obsessed with all things technical, managed to reset his sister’s wildlife park and wipe out the entire 25,000 points she had amassed (which, of course, she took incredibly well) and secondly the site has, for the last two days simply said “Oops!  We're sorry but we're having a couple of technical problems with Roar at the moment. We're working really hard to get these fixed as soon as possible. In the meantime, please feel free to have a tantrum of such volume that the neighbours will call social services” (or something along those lines).

I am, of course, attempting to distract the children with matters horticultural. At the moment this involves a post breakfast ‘check on the bulbs’. Last year, even by my usual standards, I’ve been a little over the top with bulb purchases.  However, this is now paying dividends.  In the bleakest time of the year, there seem to be shoots everywhere.

We planted up about 40 containers of bulbs which sounds ridiculous although, in my defence, many of the pots are small.  Pint-sized containers work particularly well with small, early bulbs such as muscari, crocus, species tulips and early dwarf narcissi.  Partly this is to do with scale but also, from a practical standpoint small pots are more susceptible to drying out which can become a problem here from April onwards.

The other bonus with small pots is they can be brought in to stand on sunny windowsills and give the children something to check on daily.  So far we have daffodil shoots bursting from three pots, crocus appearing on top of some wellies and a basketful of muscari nearing full bloom.

And to set it all off, I have even strung up some homemade bunting*.

OK, so I’ll admit it probably isn’t in the same ballpark as getting a new baby panda but, for now, it will have to do.


*I shall not be putting this lot in the washing machine.  Never let it be said I don’t learn from my mistakes.


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