One of the best things about spring is that all our favourite places have started opening again. Good Friday saw Chiltern Open Air Museum opening their doors for the start of the 2016 season, with a Traditional Easter event running over the Easter weekend.
On arrival, we were given the choice of two Easter trails to choose from – Easter bunnies or Easter eggs. Jessica chose the Easter eggs and we headed off to find the ten different coloured eggs which were hidden in various buildings around the museum.
First though, we had to stop and say hello to the sheep. The girls are looking forward to seeing some lambs soon when they start arriving.
We found our first coloured egg in the Northolt Barn, before heading to the Nissan Hut to find the second one. The third was found in the Amersham Prefab – one of the girls’ favourite buildings in the museum. Sophie promptly made a beeline for the back bedroom where all the old-fashioned children’s toys are kept. I was quite impressed by how much she clearly remembered from our visits here last summer – there were quite a few moments when it was clear she knew exactly where she was going and what she would find.
The marble pinball game was what she was looking for in this case. Both the girls will happily spend ages rolling the marbles around the board. I do always have to check Sophie’s pockets though when we leave as she does quite like to try and take some away with her!
The next egg was found in Leagrave Cottage where there were two 18th-century-costumed re-enactors. The woman was making pease pottage and chicken curry – I have to admit I was quite surprised to find chicken curry on an 18th century menu but was informed that the spice trade was flourishing at the time and people would have occasionally made curry. It did make me chuckle to hear that it didn’t always agree with people, especially if they were more used to a diet of pease pottage – sounds like the after-effects of curry may not have changed too much in 300 years!
The tiny Henton Mission Room didn’t have any eggs for us to find, but there was a Good Friday service taking place which we stopped for, before heading to the Thame Vicarage Room for the next egg and another chance for the girls to play with the toys. Jessica quite enjoyed the cup and ball although discovered that getting the ball into the cup was not quite as easy as Mummy made it look!
There were lots of games outside on the village green and the girls enjoyed playing hoopla for a while – Sophie’s technique was mostly just placing the hoops over the sticks whereas Jessica just liked to throw the hoops wildly (and usually in a different direction all together!)
Egg no. 6 was found at the Harpenden Well Head followed by two more at the Arborfield Barn and the Iron Age House. We headed to the High Wycombe Toll House to find the next egg (and spotted one of the bunnies there too!) On the walk there, Sophie surprised me once again with her memory of previous visits. Back in the autumn, there had been a lot of muddy puddles on this particular path which she had enjoyed jumping in (and falling over in too!) The ground was fairly dry this time though but she stopped at the exact point where we’d found a huge puddle previously and pointed to the ground.
“Yay, muddy puddles!” she said, “I love muddy puddles!”
Thankfully, we did manage to find a couple of small muddy puddles further on so she could relive those happy memories (without falling over this time!)
There was another lady in costume at the toll house. I would have loved to hear more from her about the history of the toll house, but the girls were too restless and eager to get back outside and find the final egg which was located at the High Wycombe Furniture Factory near the tea shop.
Back at the entrance, we handed in our completed form and received some mini eggs in return which the girls enjoyed.
It was lovely to be back again, especially on such a gorgeous sunny day – we were able to shed the coats as it was so warm. The girls love the museum – they get to see the animals, play with toys in some of the buildings plus there is so much space for them to run around and explore. I love watching them together, running about hand-in-hand and just enjoying being out in the open air together. Hopefully there’ll be many more days like this over the coming months.