Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Friday, September 19, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
We have decided to set up a new blog for airing opinions and it is likely that this will have a home ed slant. So, do join us at Reflections in the Greenhouse.
Thanks to all for reading over the years!
Monday, August 25, 2008
and we have been a tad busy since. We went to two different parties yesterday and didn’t get home from the second until nearly midnight. The kids slept in this morning and we haven’t managed to make it further than the corner shop. I have just made some cheese scones for tea and I anticipate a quiet evening. We have managed to unpack P’s bags and I helped her tidy her room. Leo and I have done a bit of work on reading music. He has been playing from memory so far. We also dug out an old video of a BBC adaptation of Five Children and It, which was lovely.
Pearlie had a great time at camp. She got her Folk name, which is just for others in the Folk to know, apparently. She did kayaking, played a wide game, stayed up very late and so on. She also did various craft things and made a lovely clay face. I am so impressed with the way she looks after herself at camp (though she has a lovely group leader there too). She set up a line to dry her stuff (though the rain foiled that!) and told us she’d worn her Dani-made wool socks for campfire times, to keep her feet warm. It is a lovely feeling to see her growing up and having such fun without us. But it’s still wonderful to have her home!
Friday was our last day without P and I took Leo for a brief swim at the local pool. I’m not that much fun for playing with in the pool. I can’t even dive to the bottom. I blame this on my own, which is very buoyant... But Leo swam some lengths with me - using his own special stroke. He moves each limb in turn and is quite uninterested in learning a more orthodox stroke.
Dani is knitting Pearlie a beautiful rainbow cardigan. P is very much into rainbow things at the moment – and colour generally. She made a gorgeous tie-dye t-shirt at camp.
Right, we have a nice week ahead. Dani will be taking the kids on a day trip to visit cousins D and S, who are staying at a fairly local caravan park. Pearlie has a one day girls’ football day to go to as well. I am hoping to get a bit of writing time – editing some stories to submit to competitions. Leo has suddenly become very fond of moths (a creature I am a bit silly about!) and is reading books, printing pictures off the internet and seeking live specimens around the house. I will not shudder...
Thursday, August 21, 2008
On Monday Leo went across town to play at a friend’s house and had a fine time. I went to work for a few hours and then on to my writing group. Dani bought some lovely buttons for a creation.
Tuesday was busy. Dani was at work all day. I took Leo into town where his writing group was holding a workshop at an art gallery. The children were encouraged to lie underneath the beautiful exhibit and then write something. Leo wrote a lovely piece but he doesn’t want me to blog it. We had a quick lunch at Spud-u-Like where Leo was appalled at the suggested “Kids’ Meal” – “Half a potato!” – and devoured a spud with cottage cheese. Then he went to Squeezebox for a band session and an individual lesson. We went to the park for a play afterwards. Leo played with a little posse of kids who are a few years younger than him.
On Wednesday Leo and I did some of a maths book we’ve had in the drawer this year. We haven’t done much of it but it’s all much easier for him than it was six months ago. That magic thing called growing up, I guess. I went to work for the afternoon and Dani and Leo went out to ride their bikes for a bit. But the weather was unreliable, as it has been all week.
Today we all (me, D and Leo) went to Lewes where there was a tour of an archaeological dig that is happening near the library. They had some finds on display and we got to see the site. We all thought it was good. I learned how they decide where to dig when they are looking at the stripped site. I had no idea really – just thought they dug a hopeful hole! Then we headed back to Brighton for some cake and bought a board game we really can’t afford but have been wondering about for years! We’re saving it for when Pearlie gets home.
Pearlie is having a fine time. It is very strange here without her but as long as she’s having fun then that’s what matters.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
P is off at Woodcraft camp, so we’re just three this week.
I’m sure I’m missing all sorts of stuff that’s been happening here, so let’s see if I can do a catch-up.
Leo is mostly making field guides to faerie creatures. I can’t post you any pictures owing to the unfortunate departure of the camera. They are very lovely. He works on them for days, if not weeks, at a time and they include many pictures. He draws the pictures with pencil or thin black pen and then paints in the colour using his sketchers pocket box. This little paint box was a present for his seventh birthday, from wise friends. We can buy little colour blocks to replace as they get used up. Because they are real paints, as opposed to kiddy paints, the colours are very rich and they blend well. Yesterday he got a reservation notification from the library so we rushed down to pick up The Care and Feeding of Sprites, which has inspired a whole new burst of art. He also presses flowers and includes them in the field guides, as examples of sprite clothing, and so on.
Pearlie has been spending a lot of time pottering about. She met a friend to go shopping in town and got herself a new skirt and hair band. She went to a one day event at the museum, on pom pom and tassle making. I think this was quite good fun, if not exactly exciting! They were a bit reluctant to let her go at the end. I had, rather stupidly, not thought to give her a note telling the people that she was fine to leave by herself. It is rather silly really as she is eleven and would have to travel across town if she were to go to secondary school. She sorted out nearly all of her packing for camp and managed the inevitable wobbles very well. One of her main pre-occupations at the mo is humour, as well as current affairs. She watches Mock the Week, often several times, so she can get all the jokes and references. I was amused the other day when P wanted to check the meaning of satire with us. We were slightly questioning of her definition and so I checked what our Collins dictionary had to say. Its definition matched hers far better than ours... She also watches a lot of videos on YouTube.
We all enjoyed having cousin D around for a week and we managed to fit in some park trips where P, L and cousin D played involved games in the bushes. Leo and cousin D also made some superhero comics together. At the end of the week we went to see cousin S perform in the show at the end of her drama week. This was over two hours - twenty five pieces - in a hot hall. But it was great and we were very proud of cousin S.
Dani is knitting away on a gift for some people. I cannot say more! She is also paying close attention to the CME consultation – far more than I can bear to. We’ve both completed some funding application for Kids’ Club, so fingers crossed for us please.
I have been watching lots of the Olympics. I know that some people are not doing that as a protest against the Chinese regime. But I can’t really see how that will help... So, I’m indulging myself with women’s diving and so on. You will understand that I do not have an athletic bone in my body and have virtually no interest in all team sports. But I can appreciate spectacle, even if I think it is probably a bad idea to train children up as top athletes from infancy. I have also been writing and pulling up bindweed in the garden. The first of those was great – I got a story finished today. Pulling up bindweed was horrid but necessary as we have neighbours who care about their gardens. We used to garden but seem to have just forgotten that in recent years.
Dani, Leo and I seem to be having a rather gluttonous weekend here. Yesterday I made a veg lasagne – layers of home-made cheese sauce, red lentil, courgette and tomato sauce, and lots of yummy mature cheddar on top. Dani made a spiced apple crumble and custard. This afternoon I made a chocolate sponge cake – to eat while lying on the sofa watching gymnastics.
Leo and Dani went across town to a bike riding park today. They came home tired but happy.
Oh yes, and I should mention that one side-effect of watching the Olympics has been an increased interest, on Leo’s part, in countries, continents and world affairs. I made a flippant remark that a gymnast from North Korea was possibly looking terrified because her family’s welfare might depend on her performance. This led to conversation about repressive regimes. Leo spent some time with the globe this morning, finding the locations of participating countries.
Oh yes, and a bit about books. We have been reading Leo more books from the children’s classics set he owns. He and Dani had a go at the Prisoner of Zenda, which was quite hard going. I am reading him The Phoenix and the Carpet. This led to a conversation about racism the other night. I loved reading Pearlie The Growing Summer by Noel Streatfeild, which was mine when I was about her age. She and Dani are now reading Tolpuddle Boy, which P says is a bit patronising. The kids are reading various things to themselves. I think P has taken a Morpurgo away to camp and Leo is rather into Barnaby Grimes. Dani recently finished The Book Thief, as recommended by Girl One. I’m having a pause from the delights of Patrick Gale to read a Carol O’Connell that my mum has leant me.
Right, off to eat more food. P phoned today and I was glad to hear that she was neither cold nor hungry – always my main worries if she is away. Mind you, she had several packs of biscuits and a woolly hat in her luggage, so she should be fine!
Friday, August 15, 2008
This will have to be a quick catchup as *the sun is currently shining* and I want to get children to the park before it decides to rain again.
We’ve been having a busy week here. Having cousin D with us has been lovely and yesterday we did a grand day out with my mum. The party was: Dani, me, my mum, Pearl, Leo , cousin B (8) and cousin D(6). The weather was unreliable so we abandoned the rough plan to go to the wetlands place at Arundel and settled on the Science Museum. It seemed that half the population of the south, plus many tourists from all over the world, had decided on the same!
Travel was fine but perhaps presented particular challenges as we had three small people who are all beyond being grabbed by the hand on the crowded tube, but still perfectly able to distract each other and wander slightly. There was a fair bit of sneaky adult holding of rucksack straps and hoods!
Once we were in the museum, we ate an early lunch and went up to the launchpad. We hadn’t seen this since it had all been expanded and relocated. The children fell on the Big Machine with determination and put in a long session there. Then we all explored and enjoyed magnets and hearing things through our teeth and other such things. There was a minor falling out at one point, during which poor L decided that I had probably abandoned him! I was, in fact, pursuing cousin D through the crowd to a corner where he was being cross. It was so busy that the noise levels alone made it quite a challenging environment. My mum hadn’t been to the Science Museum for about thirty years, so she was rather stunned by all the exciting stuff to do.
After the boys had played various games in the In Future gallery (on those big table things...) and Pearlie had mislaid herself in Marine Engineering, we took a break for a cup of tea and other drinks. Then Dani and Pearl went off for some quiet time together looking at the maths bit and then wandering off to a bookshop, while my mum and I (and my brother who had appeared after work) went to the IMAX with the boys, to see a 3D movie about prehistoric sea creatures. The boys loved it and my mum coped admirably with the strange visual experience. Having had one cataract done and then some treatment for post-op swelling, she is in a rather strange state at the mo. It’s looking like the other eye will be treated by Christmas, which should be good.
After a quick stop off with pocket money at the gift shop, we headed for Victoria. Pearlie in the lead and she managed to grab us eight free seats on the train, so we got to sit, which was a relief. The children got hysterical with laughter while playing, “I went to the shops...” and everyone finished off the remains of the picnic food. We found a bus back to our part of town and got in at about 7.30pm. That was quite a long day for everyone as we’d set off at 9am, so perhaps it’s no surprise that we’re tired today. I had to wake Leo before cousin D arrived and it took a lot!
I seem to have a bit of a cold, which is irritating. I feel like I could sleep all day. Instead, I have two boys this morning and then we’re off to see cousin S (10) perform in her end of week show. She’s been in a drama workshop all week. Reaching for the painkillers to cut through the sinus headache...
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Right, washing up...
Monday, August 11, 2008
We had a full-on trip to our beach hut yesterday with five kids (all the Brighton cousins), three adults and big waves. Sadly, I seem to have lost the camera... It is either in the beach hut, or on the beach. Well, actually, of course, it isn’t on the beach now as the tide will have taken it. In which case it could be anywhere between here and France, I guess.
The beach was wonderfully wild. The kids didn’t really paddle as much as run shrieking from the waves. Pearlie would have liked to swim but she felt she needed an adult to go in with her and none of us had swimming gear. I do love to swim in the sea but only on hot days and it certainly wasn’t hot. The air was quite chilly and it rained a bit here and there.
After the kids were all blasted enough by the wind we went along to the play area and paddling pool, where they played sardines and other games. We huddled and drank tea and so on. We kept thinking that it would soon be time to go but actually stayed about five hours or so. Two buses home and the kids were really quite over-excited and tired by then...
We’re entertaining cousin D (6) this week. He’s with us instead of going to a summer playscheme. Somehow I feel the need to call the children and offer to set out all the painting materials.