Sunday, 27 March 2011

Save Clarke Hall!

Those of you in the Wakefield area may know of Clarke Hall, an educational museum on Aberford Road.
It is a Grade II listed building. Built in 1680, it was the family home of Benjamin and Priscilla Clarke and their children. It was very fashionably decorated and the gardens were stocked with medicinal and culinary herbs. Saved from demolition in 1914, it has been used as an educational and living history museum since the 1960's. Primarily reserved for use by school groups it is also open to the public for special open day events, family activities and guided tours by costumed guides.

(The contributor of the photo of Clarke Hall is Mike Kirby. The photo is copyrighted but also licensed for further reuse.)

I went to one of it's open days about three years ago. My husband was working away and I was on my own so I wandered down there a couple of weekends before Christmas. It was one of the most interesting places I've ever been! It really was a most enjoyable few hours. I explored the house, watching costumed re-enacters. I made a Christmas wreath and one of those oranges that you stick cloves in and tie a ribbon around (don't know if they have a specific name??!). Then everyone sang Christmas carols in front of an open fireplace and finished off with mince pies and mulled wine.
I seem to recall that my younger sister went on a school trip there and thoroughly enjoyed it. I have also read that school groups have travelled as far afield as Redcar and Portsmouth to experience the unique living history it provides.

Now it's likely that it will be a victim of the current cut-backs. The grant funding it has been receiving has been withdrawn, as of April 2011, I understand. As it costs £300,000 per year to run, it is going to be very difficult to find the money elsewhere.

I will be very sad to see Clarke Hall close and really hope that more funding can be secured. I was looking forward to going to more open days now Lucinda is getting older as I know she would love it. It would be such a shame to lose something so historically important as well as the loss of a unique educational experience for not only local school children but also those further afield.

There is a Facebook page dedicated to saving Clarke Hall museum. Here is the link:!/pages/Save-Clarke-Hall-Museum/113665132042910?sk=info

Here is the Wakefield Council website page for Clarke Hall:

There is a rating and comments box at the bottom of the Wakefield Council page. If you would like to see Clarke Hall saved, please rate it 5 stars and leave a relevant comment!

Please Save Clarke Hall!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Co-sleeping - for National Bed Month

March is National Bed Month in the UK. I thought I would take this opportunity to share my experiences of co-sleeping.
Lucinda started out in a moses basket by the side of my bed. She has always been a sleepy baby, to be honest, and is infact in the middle of her three hour afternoon nap at the age of 2 years and almost 3 months! But, as a young baby, after her night feed she would not entertain the idea of going back in her moses basket. So, rather than disturb the hubby with numerous attempts of putting her down, I just laid her beside me in bed. As Aleksander Orlov the Meerkat would say... "Simples"!
Hubby went to work away when she was 5 months old and, as she had then outgrown the moses basket and her big cot wouldn't fit in my bedroom, she just slept in his place in our bed. It really did make life so much easier as around that time she was coming out of the 4 month growth spurt (marathon more like!) waking countless times for feeds. It really is preferable to have your baby there next to you instead of having to wander around the house in the dark seven times a night.
I didn't know anything about the research at the time, I just did what came instinctively to me. I'm glad my mothering instinct led me to what is, ultimately, the most natural way to sleep with our babies. When babies are at arms reach to their mothers, their heartbeat and body temperature are regulated. They also don't sleep as deeply and neither does the mother. Infact, studies have shown that mothers and babies who sleep together go in and out of light sleep and deep sleep at almost exactly the same time, so in tune which each other that they are. This means that a mother will not sleep through her baby's need for feeding and often wakes just moments before the baby and is ready to feed straight away. I experienced that often and remember thinking how clever it was!
So when you see baby animals snuggled up with their mother, all cosy, warm and content - Remember... Humans are mammals too!
Sensible precautions must be taken while co-sleeping.
Never sleep with your baby on a sofa, a water bed or a memory foam mattress.
Avoid bed-sharing if you or your partner have been drinking or smoking or are on medication that makes you drowsy.
Make sure the baby cannot fall off the bed - or fall down a gap between bed and wall, etc.
More information can be found in the NHS leaflet on co-sleeping, I believe!

Thursday, 3 March 2011

"Part of Me"

My name is Emma and I am Lucinda's Mummy. I thought that "Part of Me" was a relevant title for this blog. Lucinda is a little extension of myself and I'm sure she feels the same way. We are very much in tune with each other and work best when we are together. So, of course, I do not feel like I can blog without her also being involved!

I hope you enjoy reading about our thoughts and experiences.

Emma & Lucinda. xxx