But we spent the last few days hastily tying up the summer holidays. Last Sunday we had a family outing to an impressive municipal pool complex in Cedar Park, northwest of Austin. It had what I believe is called a "drop slide" and a 3m diving/jumping platform. Fred loved it, and it was a great spot in 100F temperatures.
|Veteran's Memorial Park Pool|
We also continued a five- or six-year tradition of a summer mural, though without Lucy and Jessica's full attention, I had to step in and help Fred finish it yesterday.
|Just the ground to finish|
As you can see, this year's theme was a prehistoric scene complete with a Liopleuradon and apocalyptic meteorite. Last year they made a space mural and the year before was - I believe - a kind of carnival or fun fair. This all started in the three summers I was at nursing school - well before Fred was born. While I was in class or working shifts, the girls had a variety of babysitters in the month of August, and the murals became an absorbing project, which took up the best part of a week. Jessica pointed out on Sunday that their favorite part was adding glitter to the whole thing once it was finished. Fred is not bothered about that but did enjoy painting blood dripping off the Tyrannosaurus's teeth.
Less successful, sadly, was our attempt to resurrect another tradition from past years, which we have referred to as Adalia's Place. Adalia was a retired steeplechaser (horse) that I shared for a year or so after Jessica started school. She was stabled out on the edge of the North Downs, in Great Bookham, Surrey, very near a lovely stately home called Polesden Lacey. And here she is:
|Adalia in 2000, with Jessica mounted and Lucy walking|
And here is a much nicer picture of Polesden Lacey itself.
|Polesden Lacy, courtesy of the National Trust|
|Views of Ranmore Common, behind Polesden Lacey|
But as I mentioned in an earlier post, we have really Adapted this summer and are not complaining about the heat, and so we set out after much discussion, for the Walter E. Long metropolitan park, east of Austin. It has a lake and a nice picnic area, and Jessica has run cross-country races there several times and assured us there was acceptable grass, which is an issue in central Texas in August.
|A view of Walter E Long park that avoids the power plant!|
The lake was very clean and there were only a few families there with us. We found a shady spot and ate our lunch and kept Lulu from running off and bothering the fishermen. But after 15 minutes of playing catch with Fred, we were melting, our end of the lake was thick with reeds, and our picnic sheet (blankets are too hot) was slowly being taken over by ants. I can't identify fire ants but MOST ants in Texas seem to bite in my experience.
So we packed up after at most an hour and consoled Fred, who was crying because we were all so wimpy, with sno-cones from Snow Beach. Perhaps we could reschedule our Adalia picnic for January...