Cheetahs In My Shoes

living with the imaginary menagerie and all that it entails


Chris Hoy Drinks Milk

The Cheetah Keeper and his sister (who now wishes to be referred to as The Sealion Keeper – because that’s what she wants to be when she grows up) have been inspired by the Olympics beyond my wildest imaginations.  So have I – Mrs unsporty, last at everything, look at a gym and pick up an injury Me has been transported to a world of goosebumps, tears and shouting at the TV.  I am proud to have been to the Ladies Football in Coventry and admit to a small merchandise purchasing spree (or six).  I’m loving it and can’t wait until the Paralympics start.

The Cheetah Keeper has established himself as Sir Chris Hoy’s biggest fan – oh, and Bradley Wiggins.  To the extent on the holiday trip to the barber he requested his hair was cut with Bradley Wiggins sideburns.  The barber duly obliged – with a large grin.

The Cheetah Keeper also has a bit of a record as a fussy eater.  I can understand his reluctance to try new foods links to his history of reflux but that’s pretty much gone now and he still stubborn when it comes to things like rice.  He’s never been a great fan of milk to drink either – until now.  Chris Hoy has been plastered on the side of the buses driving past work for months now – with a big milk smile.  Chris Hoy drinks milk – the Cheetah Keeper drinks it now by the mug full.  He’s also now prepared to eat/try any foodstuff with an Olympic/Paralympic logo on the wrapper or the Union flag on it – the boy has eaten mushrooms and our longest standing battle, potatoes, willingly.   For this alone, Team GB all require a sainthood.

Oh, and it’s got him writing – out of choice.

I could go on and on – instead I’ll leave you with our Garden Triathlon – I think it says it all:


See It, Snap It, Love It – Nature

Nature – what a theme!  The Cheetah Keeper and his Sister love going out to ‘do’ nature.  This generally means a walk somewhere slightly off the beaten track (ie a footpath!) and looking for stuff.   They’re quite happy looking for slugs, snails, ladybird, flowers, birds etc  They’re dab hands at spotting herons, rabbits and pheasants and are pretty knowledgeable (for 5 and 7 year olds) on garden birds.

As part of my role as Tawny Owl at our local Brownies, I’m boringly keen on getting the girls outside and exploring their surroundings – even if it is only around the car-park of the church.  There’s been so much rain that any time outside is welcomed by them – especially if there is a chance to run around shrieking!  Last week we were outside and I had my camera to get some ‘Brownies have fun’ shots.  The church car-park has some beautiful planting – including these stunning delphiniums that were surrounded by bees – so I changed from ‘sports’ setting to my beloved macro shots!  This was my favourite shot – the bee is just about to land, the wings are still going so fast they’re a blur – but you can see the joints in the legs and the detail in the flower.  I saw, I snapped, I love.


See It, Snap It, Love It – Candid

OK, I admit it, I googled ‘candid’ (or ‘gooooooooooooooooogled’ as it’s known in this house).   I needed to find an unposed picture when the person pictured wasn’t really aware I was taking the photos.  I knew what it meant really but didn’t want to make a fool of myself!

It’s be bit tricky for the children not be aware that I have the camera – it’s with me more and more.   However, they’re relatively easy to take unposed photos of because of just that fact – they’re so used to be snapping away and want to be off doing their own thing.

This weekend we went out to ‘do some nature’ as part of the Cheetah Keeper’s Sister’s “Out and About” Brownie badge.  She’d missed the walk when the rest of the Brownies did it having had a particularly long, boring and painful afternoon at the hospital.  It broke my heart when she said she didn’t want to come to Brownies because she was too tired and just wanted to go to sleep.  It’s not a decision that you would want any 7 year old to have to make.  Anyway, the distinct advantage of your mum being Tawny Owl was that I’d planned the whole thing and we could go on the walk anytime we wanted.  So, we donned our ‘appropriate clothing’, grabbed the cameras, her carefully annotated Goooooooooooooogle map and set out.

The Ver Valley walk is lovely – especially in the sunshine and we had a fabulous time ‘doing nature’.  We ended up on a playing field on the way home – some of which is being left to grow as pollinator meadow with grasses now taller than the children.  The Red Kite was up circling and as I am still on a mission to get a decent photo of it (now ‘them’ – how exciting!) the Cheetah Keeper (and the Cheetahs for that matter) were off exploring.  And then he just decided to do this, because he could (and didn’t realise I could change the camera settings that fast!).


Friday Photos – Open Farms Day

Last Sunday was Open Farms Day and we have the good fortune to have Annables Farm pretty much on our doorstep.  The children were a little apprehensive but once the bit on their website was found that advertised the fact that Brownie Badge clauses could be completed the Cheetah Keeper’s Sister turned into Little Miss Enthusiastic and was even heard to mutter that our trip out had been better than going to the zoo!

One of the boundaries of this farm is the M1 motorway – would you have guessed?

We were one of many families enjoying this local day – the children had a brilliant time and want to know when it will be open again – that’s the sign of a good day out I reckon.


Water Pistol Science

We do love a good ‘speriment’ in this house.  Neither child can say “experiment” particularly well but it’s not about what you say, it’s about what you do.

We’ve been without our car this weekend (long story, long bill…) so we’ve stayed at home.  Dashed were my ideas of spontaneous trips to the seaside, mooching around the zoo or getting a decent amount of food shopping done.  Instead we’ve stayed put – which was probably a good idea because the Cheetah Keeper and his Sister are exhausted.  Despite sunshine and plenty of fresh air, the Cheetah Keeper’s Sister is an interesting shade of ghostly and was asking to go to bed at 5.45pm.  The Cheetah Keeper has been well, erm, testing a few boundaries and then had a nosebleed at 4.45am this morning.  She’s now at school missing one orthotic insole for her that mysteriously disappeared this morning (in the quest to be allowed to wear the sandals that don’t fit) and I could see the clot in his nose just waiting to explode… nice.

Anyway, back to the point.  We used our weekend at home, some buckets of water (warmed nicely by the sun!) and our water pistols to do some experiments – namely how much effort and water you need to push an assortment of balls from stationary down the garden.  It was a really fun way of looking at forces and what difference the level to which the balls were inflated made a difference.

We also made targets with small balls on top of flower pots to work out how far away they could be and still shoot the ball off – with their water pistols obviously.  There aren’t any pictures of this as I was in the firing line!

Here’s our gallery of summery science in the garden:


Dirt is Good (every picture tells a story…)

Last year we abandoned one of our vegetable beds in favour of (?!) it becoming the Cheetah Keeper’s “Building Site”.  He spent hours building worm houses and access points for the Banana People to get under the house.  Obviously.

This year shows no sign of us getting our growing patch back and despite it being a tad chilly this weekend (do I win a prize for understatement or stating the bleedin’ obvious?) the Cheetah Keeper and his Sister have staunchly refused the offer of a warm(ish) house, preferring to hurtle around the garden doing “stuff”.  Most of it involving mud.

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I really don’t need to tag all these pictures and caption them – you know what’s happening.  And yes, it did go everywhere, and yes the sink is full of mud, and yes Vanish is an essential washing ingredient, and yes, they had a fantastic time!


Saturday Is Caption Day! – The Spacehopper One

Suffice to say, the situation went down hill…

Giddy up!

You know the drill…what would your caption be?

Now hop (geddit???) to Mammasaurus blog and see what else needs your captioning skills this week