For much of the year, a large part of every day is spent outside. The garden at Elswick House has been designed with children in mind. With hidden paths, secret dens and lots of bushes to hide behind, it is a small childs paradise. There is a large lawned area for running and an enormous sand pit, with a wide paved surround, ideal for sand castles, the whole edged with scented, but indestructable, lavender bushes and shrubs.
Exercise is essential for the growth of strong, healthy bodies, so we have a great variety of climbing equipment for the children to climb on, jump off, balance and crawl through. At the top of the garden is a climbing frame and a tree house, where the children can climb to pick apples from the tree. Close to the house is a large terrace for riding cars and bicycles. A colourful wendy house often features strongly in the children's role play; currently it is a thriving garden centre.
Pets play an important part in the daily life of the children. We have guinea pigs, which live an ideal life in a small paddock. We also have quail, a rescue hedgehog called Spike, who now roams freely with her baby, Prickle, and four chickens. At the present time, two of the hens are proudly showing off their baby chicks - three black and white ones and one fluffy yellow one. The children love helping to feed all the animals and, especially, collecting the eggs from the chickens and the quail.
For the last two summers we also had our very own pet emu, called Ernie. He was wonderful with the children and they loved him. Sadly Ernie is now fully grown and a bit too big to transport from his home in Lichfield. Nevertheless, when we are on our trips out in the minibus, we sometimes stop to say hello to him, and he still remembers us. Well, we like to think so anyway!