Monday, 5 May 2008

A visit to the Gruffalo's Cave

Since January we have been reading The Gruffalo by Julia Donalson and Axel Scheffler, to my children age 2 + and 3+. The Gruffalo is my son's favorite animal/ monster. Most recently my daughter has also been listening to Peter Pan at Nursery school, which has led to much talk about and pretending to be pirates in our house. If you visit us just before bath time, around 7pm, you are most likely to hear me shout 'bath time' followed by either 'pirates are coming' or 'here comes the Gruffalo'. Both are quite effective in getting my children to move upstairs towards the bathroom or their bedrooms.
After many readings, much pretence and some enactments of the Gruffalo story , I thought it would be good, in the way that some Geography teachers do, to have a trip to a Gruffalo Cave. For all you nursery teachers out there, I know that most Gruffalos live in Swedish forests but did you know?...
There is word of one living in a deep dark cave in a remote cove on the NE coast of Scotland, between Auchmithy and Arbroath. Dont ask me how he got there or how long he has been there. Perhaps he swam ashore after his ship was wrecked in a storm on the rocks, or sunk by pirates?
This is the story of our trip to the Gruffalo's Cave. We walked down into Seton Den through a dark forest until we could see the sea. We climbed down a steep grassy slope to Carlingheugh Bay and on to the beach. We searched in the sand and in the pools of sea water at low tide for signs of the Gruffalo. We looked for his cave in the red sandstone cliffs on the north side of the bay.
We searched and searched, we clambered and climbed until we saw two huge caves in the cliffs, quite close to the water.
After eating our sandwhiches and checking our torches we decided to see if the Gruffalo was home. We went into the cave with Louise in the lead, walking carefully so as not to trip in the dark and asking in soft polite voices: 'Hello Mr Gruffalo, can we come in... we are friendly and nice'. We asked several times but never saw the Gruffalo. We think he may have left by the back door but we do not know for sure! louise shone the torch everwhere but there was no sign of him. So went back towards the light and climbed out of the big dark cave into the bright sunshine. We went to look for crabs in the rocky pools instead. Lucas who liked climbing on the sandstone boulders more than Louise, discovered he was more scared of seaweed than the Gruffalo or the dark cave. Louise was scared of nothing except not wearing pink!

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