Fast Break

How to Make Sure That Your Kids Are Getting Enough Exercise

Your kids may have a great time during their PE lessons. But, you also want to make sure that they are getting enough exercise out of the school playground. Encouraging an active lifestyle is vital to your children. You want to them to grow up with an active love of sports. No one wants to sit their children in front of the television for hours. What is more, children that are more active sleep better at night. It’s a win-win situation all round.

Encouraging sports is an excellent way to make sure that your kids are kept active. This can be difficult to achieve. The key is to make sport fun. Let’s take a look at some ways that you can encourage your children to take up sport and get much-needed exercise.

Fast BreakThis image has been sourced via Jason Devaun

1.    Make Sports Fun

Children often view sport as boring. They think that running around the field is dull. To be honest, they wouldn’t be that wrong. Making sport fun is one the best things that you can do to ensure that they are getting enough exercise. Nature walks are a great way to ensure that your kids are getting fresh air and exercise. Swimming is the best form of exercise. What child doesn’t like splashing around in the pool? Making sport as fun as possible is the key to getting them to exercise more.

2.    Sports as a Family Pursuit

Pursuing sports as a family venture is important. After all, you need to practice what you preach. You should encourage your children to be more active. By doing this, you need to lead an active lifestyle. If you do not, your kids won’t be interested in this pursuit. Family bike rides, fun runs and badminton all require more than one person. Team sports like rounders can be played in the local field or park. You don’t have to spend a fortune to ensure that your kids are getting exercise regularly. But, you do need to make sure that you are completing any sporting activities as a family.

3.    Kids Clubs and Other Ventures

Kid’s clubs are great for encouraging an active lifestyle. The professionals will be able to make sure that your kids are getting all of the right kinds of exercise. What is more, they will know all of the tips and tricks to encourage and motivate them. They will make new friends in the process, which will establish to support your children even more. Being around their peers and enjoying active pursuits is the best way to make sure that they are getting enough exercise. Make sure that you seek out the right insurance. Sports Cover Direct specialise in kids sporting insurance. This can prove to be an advantage if they are undertaking more wild pursuits.

4.    Make a Schedule

Children need down time too. So, it may be advisable to have a schedule of sporting events that they partake in throughout the week. Make sure that they have rest days. They need to be kids too. Playing with their toys is as important as exercise. Give them a few nights off a week to relax and be a kid.

6 Clever Questions To Ask An Estate Agent When Viewing A Property For Sale

6 Clever Questions To Ask An Estate Agent When Viewing A Property For SaleViewing and buying property for sale in Devon or anywhere for that matter can be compared to a psychological game of poke.  There are high stakes at risk and huge rewards for the seller/estate agent to avoid inconvenient facts and bluff during negotiations.  The great thing is though, that all estate agents, like the team at Strutt & Parker, legally have to tell you the truth.  Therefore, the most important thing you need to know is the right questions to ask, in the following article we look at 6 of these.

Why Is The Property For Sale?

Although they don’t have to answer this question, they may hint at the seller’s circumstances.  It could be that the owner is desperate to sell, because they have to move for work.  This tells you they might be willing to accept lower than the asking price.

What Would You Want To Know About the House If You Were Buying It?

One of the biggest fears when buying is that you may be missing something hugely negative about it that other people seem to know about.  It is a good idea therefore to ask the estate agent if they were in your shoes, would they buy or is there something that would put them off?  If you still feel you are not getting the full story, you could ask neighbours or local shop owners what they think.

What Is Included In The Sale?

This is an important question as you need to know if things like greenhouses and sheds are included in the price or is the owner taking them when they move.  You also need to find out if all the fittings and fixtures are also included in the price, because if they aren’t you will have to buy your own.  Basically, make sure you know exactly what you are getting for the asking price, before signing anything.

How Long Has It Been Up For Sale?

Asking this question will give you an indication about how desperate the seller might be at this point.  If you find out the house has been on the market for longer than 3 months you could ask the estate agent why they think it has not sold yet.  It could be an indication that the property is overpriced or just that there are problems with it that other people have wised up to.

How Long Have The Sellers Lived In The Property?

If they have not lived there very long before putting the house up for sale, it is wise to find out why.  It could be that they have had disputes with the neighbours or just that the neighbours are too loud.

Has The Property Changed Hands Many Times?

If the property has changed hands repeatedly in a short amount of time, it could be an indication that there is something seriously wrong with it.  You could ask the estate agent for details of previous owners to see if you could contact them and ask them directly why they moved out after such a short period of time.

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Top Tips For A Happy Family Lifestyle

If you have children and a young family then, it won’t always be the idyllic scene you imagine. There are some real-life struggles that come with being a parent. You will already know all about the troubles having a family can cause. You might pray for an easy life. Most parents do. Finding a balance in your family home is the best way to ensure that everybody is happy. When a family gets on well, it can be a beautiful thing. Remember, you should never be at war with your family. Your family are there to love and protect you when times get hard. Here are some top tips for a happy family home.

Always create a routine

When your children are small, it is vital that you create a stable routine for them. Children thrive on routine, and they will become more stable if they know what to expect in the home environment. The fact that you are reading this already means that you care about your children’s welfare. Make sure that you follow a pattern that suits your lifestyle. For example, having meals at the same time each day will mean your children know when to sit down and have family time. You don’t have to make the routine rigid, but you can ensure that the routine works for everybody.

Respect is more than just a word

You may want to be a cool, young parent, but will your children respect that? Remember, you are a parent first and a friend second. You can’t be your children’s best friend. Trying to act their age will make your children think you are a pushover. You need to assert your authority with your children and ensure that they know who is in charge. You can relax and have fun with your children, just don’t let things go too far.

Create a happy home environment

Your home is the base of your family. Everything that happens in your family life happens at home. It is the place where your daughter will cry after a break-up and where your children will first learn to speak. As such, you need to create a happy, stable home for your family. Find a house that is large enough for your family. You will never be happy if you are living in each other’s pockets. The key to a stable home is space, so that when you do come together you enjoy some quality time. Look at Frank Innes homes on sale, where you can find some spacious properties. Make sure that your children have individual bedrooms where they can relax.

Set the rules and keep to them

Rules are the groundwork of any happy family. Without rules, how will your children know right from wrong? Set boundaries and rules for your children from an early age. Doing so will help your children in later life. In the real world we all have to stick to plenty of laws and rules, so it is good that your children will get into that routine early. Sit down with your children and explain what they can and can’t do. Make sure you explain why your children can’t do certain things, as this will help them to understand why you have given them rules.

Have some fun together as a family

Bonding with your family will make everybody feel happier and closer in the household. Take a trip together or just have a night in watching movies. Make sure that you enjoy your children’s early years as when you blink they will be over forever. Take the time to laugh with your children and have fun. A good family home is full of laughter, not conflict.

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Keeping Your Children Safe on Facebook

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Can we, as parents, ever truly know what our kids are doing on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, or Twitter, or any of the countless other social media sites currently out there? I had a really interesting week just before school broke up, as both a teacher and a parent, and thought I’d share my findings with other parents. I set my year 11 class a group discussion task on the advantages and disadvantages of social media sites, and wow, I learned a lot!

I’m hoping this article with be useful to other parents and guardians who, like me, are totally not “down with the kids” when it comes to the wonders of social networking.

Do You Know Whether Your Child Actually Has a Facebook Account?

According to my pupils, it seems loads of kids open Facebook accounts without their parents’ even knowing about it. In actual fact, every group of pupils I listened to had at least one member amongst them who admitted they’d opened an account without letting their parents know.

Technically, the minimum age for setting up a Facebook account is 13, but it is, apparently, commonplace for children in primary school to have their own accounts. Although you’d be forgiven for assuming your 11 year old doesn’t have an account, this may not, in actual fact be the case, so don’t dismiss this idea just because they haven’t yet started secondary school.

Should you ask your child outright whether they have a Facebook account? To be honest, having spoken to the year 11 kids, it seems many children don’t tell their parents they have opened a Facebook account merely because they just don’t think parents know, worry or care about Facebook, so see telling them as pointless. This kind of suggests kids would be open about having an account if asked!

If, however, you doubt your child will admit to having an account for whatever reason, you can check the search history on the computer(s) they use. Although it’s fairly simple to delete a computer’s history, it’s unlikely your child (or children) will remember to do this every time they use the computer (if they’re trying to hide what they’re looking at online),especially if they use it regularly.

There is No Minimum Age On Facebook

The minimum age to have a Facebook account is supposed to be 13, but no proof of age is required to create an account.

Consequently, if someone under the age of 13 wants to open an account, they simply need to change the year of their birth when setting up the account – it’s as easy as that!

A point I found interesting during the discussion was that the majority of pupils strongly believe Facebook isn’t suitable for younger people, believing that pupils should at least be in secondary school before they create an account.

Most year 11 pupils believed the newsfeeds that appear on Facebook walls are unacceptable for younger users to view, with these including videos and images. It wasn’t pornography the year 11 pupils were referring to, but, for example, images of extreme violence and terrorism from the news that apparently pop up without any rhyme or reason, and Facebook do not remove quickly despite user requests to block such material.

Another reason the year 11 pupils believed children shouldn’t have Facebook accounts at a young age is because of their immaturity when it comes to deciding what they should and shouldn’t share with the world. Although this is arguably the most obvious point, it was interesting to hear the older pupils recognising this. Some pupils admitted they felt “mortified” reading back over the posts they’d added when younger, and wished they’d opened their accounts a little older.

The Troublesome Privacy Settings

It is possible to make your Facebook account “private”, and it is possible, in theory, to control how open and public you wish your picture and comments to be.

However, the personalisation you make to these privacy settings is far from permanent.

Whenever Facebook chooses to “update” or “reset” itself (which they have total control over, although this can be without warning and as regularly as they wish), all the privacy settings of every account are reset too, amending them back to the original, minimal privacy setting.

When opening an account a tutorial on privacy settings is available, but it’s fairly easy to not notice this is the excitement of opening and personalising your account, so make sure you keep an eye out for it!

The best piece of advice I can give is to make sure you regularly check up on your privacy settings – once a week wouldn’t be too many times!

The Horrendous Problem of Cyber-Bullying

It is blatantly obvious that bullying has adapted with the times, and in its newest form is cyber-bullying. Cyber-bullying is the given term for any type of bullying that takes place in the form of emails, text messages or comments or messages on social media sites.

Cyber-bullying is a disgusting, evolved type of bullying, but, luckily, with this form of bullying there is the benefit that anything and everything typed, even when deleted, on any type of social networking site is never completely deleted, and can always be retrieved by higher powers. Subsequently, evidence can always be complied against the cyber-bully, so their crime (which cyber-bullying actually is) can be easier to prove.

Cyber-bullying can be really difficult to spot. Traditional indications that a child may be suffering from being bullied can include mood swings, depression, appetite change, withdrawal and reluctance to attend school, or even go outside anywhere. Additional to these, with regards to cyber-bullying, keep a look out as well for jumpiness, anxiety or nervous responses when their phone beeps.

This post was written by Becky Stretton, author of the parenting blog, Green Duo. Visit her blog to read all about Becky, her husband Steve, their new baby daughter Phoebe-Rae and all their adventures in their green, eco-friendly household.

 

 

 

Three Beautiful Destinations for This Year’s Family Holidays

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Family holidays are always something to look forward to, especially when you have had most of the year spent with work and family obligations. But, with so many destinations to choose from, even coming up with a list of top destinations for the whole family to enjoy can be quite a daunting task. Luckily, this travel guide contains a few words of advice to help you choose your next holiday destination.

If you plan on a getaway around the European continent, here are the top three places you should bring your family to according to Baby Friendly Boltholes – all of which are guaranteed to give you and your loved ones the best holiday to enjoy:

Crete

Although a separate island, Crete’s topography is actually defined by high mountain ranges from east to west, thus lavishing it with valleys, plateaus, caves and gorges. If the entire family is not keen on going on hikes in any of these areas, the beach also provides a great place to wind down for those who love the water. For families who love culture and the arts, Crete provides a wonderful educational retreat through the Palace of Knossos or the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion. Other archaeological, historical and art museums and monasteries also dot the island, so the chance to learn new things is just right around the corner.

Majorca

Otherwise known as Mallorca, this European destination in Spain has been a hit among tourists since the 1950s. In fact, many artists and academics have been attracted into visiting and living on the island mostly because of the beaches and the warm weather. Families wishing to spend their holidays on the island can choose from a plethora of fun-filled activities offered by the place, such as the beach, other water activities, hiking, cycling, golfing and sailing, among many others. If the family wishes to take on more extreme adventures, rock climbing and nature tripping can easily be done in various parts in Majorca.

Cyprus

Another beautiful destination for that most-coveted holiday is an island in the Mediterranean Sea called Cyprus. While the country has been affected by the financial crisis that hit Europe in 2012, it does not stop attracting tourists to its beautiful place. Among the many attractions that continue to drive tourists into the island include its long, picturesque coastlines as well as archaeological and antique sites that provide a great place of learning for families. Trail walks also abound the small island of Cyprus, and for those who cannot just go without the city comforts, the island also offers many opportunities for dining and socialization in its numerous bars and restaurants. By the way, Cyprus offers a temperate climate to its visitors, so it makes it enjoyable to stay in the beaches during the summers and to ski some slopes during the winter season.

Whether you take your family to Greece, Spain or the Mediterranean islands, you can rest assured that each of these beautiful European getaways could provide you and your loved ones with the best holiday ever. Whether you go to the beach, hike up the mountains, ski the slopes or simply enjoy the cultural heritage, there is always something wonderful waiting for you and your family in these eye-catching destinations.

Ways that Your Kids can Improve Your Home’s Security

Ways that Your Kids can Improve Your HomeYou want to keep a safe home, but not just for yourself. Your kids are the most important thing in your life and you want to keep them safe more than anything in the world. Part of keeping your kids safe means keeping the home that you provide for them as safe as it can possibly be. You may feel stressed, thinking that all of this responsibility is falling on you, but you might be able to look for help in some unexpected places.

If you are looking to make your home safer for your kids, why don’t you let your kids help you make a safer home? There are a lot of activities and improvements that your kids can make that will not only make the house safer for them, but can improve the safety of the home for everyone in it. Here are some ways that your kids can help you improve your home’s security.

Help them learn to use the home security system

Having a home security system is the best way to keep your home as safe as possible at all times. ADT Home Security will ensure that even though you might not be at home to keep an eye on your kids, someone is still watching over them. Make sure that your kids thoroughly understand the home security system. They need to understand why it’s there, what it does and how it can be used in case of an emergency. Give your kids regular drills so they know how to use the system at all times.

Give them duties to do each day to ensure home safety

You want your kids to do little chores around the house anyways, so why not let them keep your home safe while they do their chores? Give your kids a list of things to do each day. For example, before they leave the house they should turn off and unplug all their electronics and set the home security system. You can also have them help you prevent other security hazards, like cleaning out the air vents and the laundry lint trap. These chores may seem like too much work, but if they understand the consequences they will be more willing to help.

Put them to work outside

If your kids need to burn some energy, give them a little work to do outside. Don’t worry, it’s nothing too serious, just normal house care that needs to be done in order to keep your home safe. Have them maintain the lawn and hedges, preventing any hiding spots for potential predators. You can have them clean the gutters to avoid build up that could damage your home.

Give each child a spare key if they are going to be outside the home without you

If your kids every leave the home, they should have a spare key. Relying on a neighbor to let them in can be tricky and leaving a spare key under the front door mat is never a good idea, because that’s the first place that predators look. Instead, let them have their own keys so they can come and go easily.

Image: http://paintermommy.com/mommys-little-helper-what-to-teach-your-kids-about-home-security-why

How To Plan The Perfect Christening

How To Plan The Perfect Christening

Congratulations! Your new bundle of joy has finally arrived, and you are ready to introduce your precious one to God’s family and kingdom, by having him or her christened. Your baby’s christening is truly a momentous once-in-a-lifetime event that welcomes him or her into Christianity. Furthermore, it is an important day for you, as a parent, as well as your chosen godparents, as you will be pledging your commitment to the moral and spiritual upbringing of your child. Of course, at the end of this religious ceremony, you will be celebrating a blissful party with your family and friends to commemorate this special occasion.

Do you want to make your child’s christening perfect and unforgettable? If your answer is yes, then take note of the insightful tips shared below from Little Doves (http://www.littledoves.co.uk/). For sure, these tips can help you make this important occasion fun and enjoyable for the people involved.

Contact your church

Reach out to the church where you want to commend your little one’s christening. Afterwards, make the necessary arrangements for your child’s baptism, and ask what are the requirements needed for this special occasion. For the most part, churches would require the child’s parents and godparents to attend a class about christening. If your church requires this special class, schedule it a day prior to the scheduled baptism. Moreover, don’t forget to create a list of records and documents that are required by the church from the godparents and parents.

Deliver the requirements

Gather all the documents needed for the baptism, and deliver them to your church, as soon as you can.

Pick a day for your baby’s baptism

Choose a date that gives you enough time to plan the entire event, and fulfill all the requirements that your church needs.  Before you start planning with the other aspects of the event, secure your preferred date with your church.

Send out invites

A few weeks prior to the christening, send out invitations to the godparents as well as your friends and family. That way, you are giving your guests an ample amount of time to prepare or alter their schedule for this special event.

Reception area

Do you want to have a big celebration or a small gathering of friends or family? Decide the type of reception you want, so you can decide whether to celebrate it in a rental hall, restaurant on in your own home. Likewise, find out how many people are coming to your child’s baptism.

Food preparation

If you are planning to celebrate it at home, enlist the services of a trusted caterer, or ask your family and friends to help you prepare the dishes for the reception. Also, don’t forget to buy a cake that is big enough to feed everyone in the party.

Decorate your reception area

Embellish your reception area with white as your main color in your theme or color scheme. If your child is a charming little boy, use boyish colors like light blue, silver and sapphire. But, if your baby happens to be a pretty girl, try to add feminine colors, such as pink and gold. In addition, set up streamers, balloons, centerpieces, and table linens that are in a variety of your preferred colors.

Favors

Last, but not the least, buy favors and use them as giveaways to your guests. Picture frames and ceramic crosses with your baby’s crosses make perfect favors for this event.

 

 

 

 

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Planning Your Retirement

Most people think only about the costs and other calculations when they think about their retirement. They spread various files and spreadsheets around them and crack their investment portfolios, punching the calculators for results. The concern about money is quite understandable. There are so many financial obligations to deal with – starting from loans to medical expenses. So, have you ever thought about what you are going to do after banking away all that money?

Chalking Out Your Location

It is important to plan where you want to live, because most of the other things revolve around the place you stay. Most people decide to leave the busy cities behind and retire to the peace of the country sides. Whether you are looking to get a quaint little cottage in Dover or a stay in a residential care home in Crawley like Ashton Leigh Residential Care Home; it is up your spirit of adventure, and the type of neighbourhood you want to live in.

If you plan to stay with your family, choose a place where the rest of your family can continue carry on their lives. If your children have left the UK or stay far away, consider picking a neighbourhood with a few other retired people, for good company.

Other Considerations

Most people do not think about their lifestyle after they retirement, they only plan about supporting their lifestyle. What financial security are you planning for, without deciding what you want to do in the first place? Your retirement should be fulfilling, it is the time you get to kick off your work shoes, sit back and relax! So where are you going to do that?

By now you would have realised that your retirement is not all about the money in your pockets. Retirement income is a top priority, but so it the life that you are going to live thereafter. After all, the transition from working all day to sitting back in your lounge chair is not going to be all that easy. So, it all comes down to how you are going to make the best of your retired years.

Things That You Can Do For Yourself

  1. Have a sense purpose for yourself. Make a ‘bucket list’ of the things you want to do, the ones that you could never do when you were working. Like taking up a light sport, joining the neighbourhood book club, maybe even fishing with your grandson at St Ives, Cornwall.
  1. Did you ever find the time to travel? Your retirement years are the best chance that you would get. Save up for trips, visit friends and relatives in other countries. You could even join a senior citizen travelling club, to make new friends with whom you can travel.
  1. Keep fit mentally and physically. Irrespective the place you stay in, be it a plush apartment in Manchester or a simple care home in West Sussex, you need to be active. Go for walks or join a yoga centre. You will be amazed about how rejuvenating it can be.

So, give your live some sort of structure. That does not mean a rigorous schedule; just ensure you have a heading every day.

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Brilliant Tips for Throwing an Amazing Child’s Party

The kids have begged for a party, and you have relented. We have all done it from time to time. You are probably feeling a sense of regret, but cannot go back on your word. After all, how do you throw a brilliant children’s party? With adults, you can play them with booze to make sure that they have a good time. With kids, it is an entirely different ball game. Throwing a children’s party need not be difficult. In fact, there are some great things that you can do to make sure it goes without a hitch.

Sweets, Galore

Kids love sweets. The thought of children rampaging through your home hyped up on sugar can be a little daunting. However, there are some thoughtful ways that you can make sure that your little one has the best time at their party. Candy buffets and sweet treats are proving to be very popular. What is more, kids love it. Opt for wholesale candy to ensure that you don’t have to spend a fortune. You can put small sweet bags to put in their wares. You will be considered the coolest parent ever.

Fun Times

Instead of playing the plethora of cheesy games, try to introduce new games that the kids will love. Classics such as Bulldog and Tag are a great way to encourage team spirit. You can even invest in cheap; plastic winner’s badges to award the winning team. This is a great, and unusual, way to make sure all of the kids within your midst have a lot of fun. Avoid spin the bottle at all costs! Pass the parcel can be considered somewhat old hat. Keep the entertainment light and make sure that the kids have plenty of fun.

The Venue

If you don’t mind having a load of children in your home, you can host a party in your house. If your garden is big enough you can put up a marquee or gazebo to keep the little ones dry. You can add simple adornments of bunting and balloons to dress up the venue. However, if the thought of turning your home into a playground is not for you, you can hire local community halls to host the bash. You won’t have to worry about the cleaning up too. It’s a win-win situation all round.

Hire Entertainment

For a children’s party with an edge, why not hire a professional entertainment act? Clowns, magicians and children’s bands are all fantastic ways of making sure that your kids have an amazing time. You could even hire a DJ, for older children. The world is your oyster. You are only limited by your creativity. You don’t have to worry about a thing. Furthermore, you can rest in the knowledge of knowing that everything is taken care of. What more could you want from a party? No cheesy games and heap of happy kids. That’s the dream right there.

You don’t have to spend a fortune to make sure that your child has an amazing birthday. What is more, with these tips, you will guarantee that they have a brilliant day.

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Image Source: Flickr

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The Benefits Of Country Life For Your Family

There is much to say about making a move to the country. City life suits many people, but those with young children often dream about moving to a place of peace and relative safety. It isn’t only the children that will benefit from a better quality of life; adults who suffer from stress and anxiety could find peace in their new haven. One of the main treatments for anxiety based mental health problems is relaxation. How can you fail to relax in the beautiful British countryside?

If you are still in any doubt, read on. Here are just some of the benefits of country life for your family.

Air Quality

People who suffer from asthma and other conditions that are affected by pollution will benefit immediately from the fresh air away from the cities. The concentration of vehicles in densely populated areas is a significant problem because of the emissions from the engines. I don’t need to argue this point too much because it is obvious; fresh air is better for you than engine fumes. If the estate agents in Ripon in North Yorkshire have some country homes on their books, relief could be within your grasp.

Safety

You may feel inclined to afford the children more freedom than you would if you were surrounded by busy roads. If you are lucky enough to have fields at the bottom of your garden, they will enjoy exploring them without the risk of getting hit by a car.

Exercise

You are more likely to go for a walk in a beautiful setting than you would in a crowded town. There is much to see and do in the countryside. Perhaps you will find a local stream to dip your toes in, or a woodland where the children can build a den.

Pets

If you love dogs, you can have as many as you want to when you have thousands of acres on which to walk them. The noise, pollution, and crowded towns sometimes make it difficult to own a dog. An animal in the countryside is usually much happier than one in a centre of population.

Wildlife

Your kids can learn all about the flora and fauna in our fair isle. There are hundreds of little creatures for them to track down, so they are never at a loss for something to do. Maybe you could turn it into a family activity and build a hide to sit and watch the animals as they move about. You will see foxes and squirrels, but if you are lucky, you may see some badgers.

Dark Sky

If you are away from light pollution, you will see more stars in the sky than your ever have before. If you are lucky in a town, you will make out about fifty stars at night, but in the country you will see more than you could count in your lifetime. Buy some binoculars or a telescope to see the universe at its best. It could be the start of a lifelong passion.

I think a survey would show that given the choice, many people would move to the country. It is good for mind and body. I hope you make it there one day; we all deserve some peace and quiet.

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Rodney Campbell