Living Arrows 44/52

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth

Kahlil Gibran

My first Living Arrows picture of BattleKid isn’t a great one but I couldn’t resist snapping it. He had just gotten into bed earlier this week and decided he wanted to sleep with his Ireland teddy bear that Nana brought him back in September. He looked so much like one of his cousins in the picture!

living arrows - BattleKid with Ireland teddy

This weekend gone we drove 4 hours north to a town called Lousa near Coimbra in Northern Portugal so BattleKid could have his first ever lesson on a motorbike. The night we arrived we had a walk around the castle and discovered autumn does indeed visit Portugal! 

living arrows - BattleKid at Lousa castle in Portugal living arrows - BattleKid in Portuguese autumnal leaves

On Saturday morning BattleKid was introduced to an Oset 12 electric trials motorbike by Filipe Paiva of Trial Motor. Filipe is the Portuguese Trials Team Captain and runs an academy school at his gorgeous place in Lousa. We stayed in their B&B which we will definitely be revisiting at some stage! BattleKid had a great time on the bike, and most importantly, listened to the instructions from Filipe. I think Father Christmas might be bringing one for Christmas if he can get his hands on one. The boy’s introduction to the world of motorbikes has begun.

living arrows - BattleKid's first motorbike lesson with TrialMotor in Portugal

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Living Arrows 38/52

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth

Kahlil Gibran

I had been thinking we haven’t been up to much since we got back from our USA holiday but then I remembered we did something great at the weekend. We went to the World Superbike Race in Portimao at the weekend. The track is only a little over an hour away from us here in Portugal and the weekend paddock and stand tickets were cheap as chips.

BattleDad and I have been to the Isle of Man TT twice before but this was our first WSB meet. It was also someone’s first big motorbike race meet. We brought him to Aberdare Races last year but WSB is on a whole other level. He wasn’t sure of the noise at first but soon got into it. And he even got a picture with the Yamaha pit girls, although he doesn’t look overly fussed does he!

We are thrilled that we have a race track so close to us here in Portugal. Just another advantage to add to the list. All we need now is for a MotoGP race to be sceduled for Portimao and we’ll be as happy as Larry. That said, Jerez is only two hours away!

living arrows - BattleKid with the Yamaha pit girls at Portimao living arrows - An excited BattleKid at WSB at Portimao

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Aberdare Bike Races – BattleKid’s First Motorbike Race Meet

On Saturday 30th July this year we went to Aberdare Bike Races. Now BattleDad and I have been quite a number of years ago on a Sunday afternoon and it was really good. We quite enjoyed it and, as it was our first race meet before we went to the TT for the first time, it gave us a good idea of what to expect when going to the Isle of Man. We decided to take BattleKid this year because he is two and a half years of age, motorbike mad and we thought this year would be a good time to take him to see whether or not he would enjoy it.aberdare bike races

We decided to go early in the morning in case BattleKid didn’t enjoy it, as there are still times that he gets a little uneasy when BattleDad starts up his own bike. If he did enjoy it we could stay until lunchtime and still be back in time for BattleKid’s nap at the afternoon, if he didn’t then we could leave early enough. We arrived about 9:30 in the morning and made our way through the gates into the park.

We had booked our tickets online which was really handy. When you first go into the park, if there are bikes going around the track, you need to wait by the gates until the bikes have completed their laps. Only then do the Marshalls let you through into the middle of Aberdare Park where spectators are allowed and where the merchandise stands and food stalls are located.

We waited with everybody else by the gates until the bikes had completed their practice laps and this gave us a chance to see how BattleKid would take to the noise. Lolo was over visiting us from Ireland so he took him up into his arms and made a game of the bikes going around. By doing this, not only did BattleKid get really excited but it calmed any nerves he had. He did get a little fright when one of the bikes backfired but he soon got over it.

Once the bikes had finished their laps, the Marshalls opened the gates and let us through, and the first thing we hit was the playground. BattleKid had an absolute ball going up and down the slides, having fun on the swings as well, all while the bikes were doing their practice laps. The morning session is practice session and race laps are in the afternoon.aberdare park races

After a couple more goes on the swings we decided to make our way to the merchandise stands because BattleDad wanted to see a friend of his who would be on the Institute of Advanced Motorists stand. Unfortunately his friend wasn’t there yet but this gave us a chance to check out some of the clothes stands. I picked up a lovely Honda jacket for him for next year.

We also had time for BattleKid to have his first ever carousel ride on his own. He had a very serious face on him going around. After that we took another walk around the stands, stopping by the quad bikes track for the two boys to have a ride together. I think it was more for BattleDad than BattleKid, if we’re being honest!

BattleKid had a very serious face on him again as he and BattleDad were going around the track. It was quite funny looking at his little serious face with the very big helmet they had put on his head but they both seem to enjoy it.

After that we had another little wander around before walking around the lake and stopping by the side of the barriers to watch some more of the bikes doing their practice rounds. BattleKid had been getting a bit tired before this. However once we got to the side of the barriers he got a second wind and started really enjoying watching the bikes going round and round doing their laps. We watched a few more rounds of practice before we decided to head for home.aberdare park races

aberdare park races

aberdare park races

 

Although we didn’t spend too long at Aberdare Bike Races this year, it was a good introduction for BattleKid and he seemed to really enjoy it as did Mum, Dad and Lolo. We will definitely be taking him back next year when we will probably spend most of the day there as he won’t need his nap. Going to Aberdare Bike Races this year gives us a good idea that BattleKid will enjoy motor racing in the flesh. He enjoys watching the TT and MotoGP on the TV but seeing bikes up close and personal is a different story. This year’s visit to Aberdare Races also gets us excited for when we finally get ferry tickets for the Isle of Man TT, which we haven’t managed to do this year! One year soon we’ll get ferry tickets! They are the hardest part of trying to attend the TT.

Aberdare Bike Races are held on an 0.9 mile demanding circuit which winds it’s way through the trees in the local town park. First raced in 1950, it has seen not only local racers participate but also TT stars such as Ian Lougher and John McGuinness. This year it cost £12 per adult for a single day pass, or £23 for a full weekend adult pass. Under 13’s went free when accompanied by a full paying adult and children between 13 and 16 years of age cost £5 for a day pass.

There are numerous food stalls, plenty of merchandise stands and some fairground-type attractions for kids. There is no car parking at the park, although there is some limited space for bikes at the entrance. There are car parks in the town, less than half a mile away and you might be lucky to find some street parking around the park.aberdare park races

So if you are a biking family and plan to visit South Wales in July, I’d recommend you visit when Aberdare Bike Races are on. We’ll definitely be attending again next year. I also recorded a little vlog of our visit to the races this year which you can view below.

Thanks for reading.

Cath x

*We were not asked to write this post.

 

What TV does your toddler watch?

BattleKid is 23 months old and hasn’t really paid too much attention to TV at all until a few months ago. If it happened to be on he might look at what was on the screen for a minute or two and then he would carry on what he was doing. He used to watch BBC Breakfast in our bed during morning bop time but aside from that he hadn’t really ever shown much interest in television. Apart from one thing.

In June BattleDad and I were watching the highlights of this year’s Isle of Man TT and everything suddenly changed. BattleKid stopped dead in his tracks, forgot what he was doing, backed in to sit with us and watched it for 20 minutes before getting bored. That had never happened before. 2015-06-23 14.45.01We thought it might be a once off but the next time we had a MotoGP race on he stopped playing and sat down with us to watch almost a full race!

IMG_20150531_144425
Watching our idol Valentino Rossi do a post-match interview!

Since then he has become motorbike mad and is always asking for bikes on the TV in the sitting room where we tend to watch motor racing on a Sunday. So much so we’ve taken to recording BSB and WSB races too for weekends when MotoGP isn’t on. You’ll often hear a little “oh no” as someone crashes or runs off the track from a small person in the room. It’s very cute. We always knew we’d have some influence over motorbikes in BattleKid’s life but never imagined he’d take to them as passionately as he had at such a young age!

Aside from motorbike racing he hasn’t bothered with anything else. Not Doc McStuffins (on of my favourites of modern kids tv), not Disney films, not even Cbeebies. That is until his Nan sent him George during the summer and he discovered, by accident, that George is also on the TV, talking and doing things. 2015-07-30 18.12.10Now he’ll happily sit in our snug room or lie on our bed to watch an episode of Curious George, or “Jorge”, often with his own George firmly planted by his side.

It’s quite sweet to see him get excited when George appears on the TV and also funny how everything goes quiet once the opening credits stop and the episode begins.

I’m actually grateful that he doesn’t watch more TV at this young age and that he’s more interested in playing with his bikes and cars than sitting in front of the TV for hours on end. I’m sure it won’t last forever and that TV will probably become a battle ground over number of allowed viewing hours. But for now I’m happy that he catches the odd episode of Curious George here and a motorbike race there.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to reliving my childhood on the sofa under the blanket with popcorn when BattleKid becomes interested in movies. The Disney classics are on our shelves ready for those days ahead. Until them I’m happy with what he chooses to watch and how much.

What TV programmes do your toddlers watch, if any?