Our HE group met up in a park where there were free entertainments laid on by the council. These summer entertainments are good fun. They have a bouncy castle, some arty activities and sporty stuff too. They also have a small 'stage' area and kids are invited up to sing a song or tell a joke. Pearl got up to tell two jokes – which she did with great confidence and style. We were impressed with her guts.
We had local cousins around to play. Lots of friendly games, drawing and a quick play in the park. Pearl spent ages on the computer before her cousins arrived. She was typing out morse code in many colours for her cousins, so they could communicate in secret. She told us this week that she is currently most interested in codes and ciphers. This is an interest that comes and goes for Pearl, but at the moment she is certainly gripped.
Pearl had a friend round for the afternoon – which was apparently a lot of fun. I took Leo to the cinema to see the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory film. He was gripped from start to finish. I liked the way Johnny Depp played Wonka but was annoyed that they'd mucked about with the ending. Dani had a fun time clearing out the kitchen cupboards!
We picked the cherries on our Morello tree and found we had about 12lbs of fruit! My mum helped us make jam with 6lbs of the fruit and we gave her the rest. The kids helped a fair bit with weighing and stoning fruit.
Dani was at work all day. I took the kids to B&Q to buy supplies for making a ramp for our guinea pigs. This is a long story but basically the little ramp inside their hutch is way too steep and scary for our big piggies. Leo and Pearl loved B&Q and I treated them to signs for their bedroom doors ('No food and drink to be consumed in this area' and 'Staff only'!) and we staggered home laden with stuff and considerably poorer.
In the afternoon we went up to the park to find the free entertainment again. Pearl bounced a bit and Leo played a lovely game where he created a nest of baby crocodiles in the roots of large tree.
In the evening (and indeed late into the night!) Dani and I made a ramp for the piggies. This was a major task for us as neither of us is very handy but we were very impressed with the finished article. The GPs took a while to get used to it, but they are using it happily now.
We spent most of Saturday sorting out stuff we wanted to sell, and cleaning up old bikes and toys. In the evening we gave the GPs their first bath. Pity we didn't get any photos of that but we had our hands full of wet furry beasties. The pigs were remarkably calm about the whole thing and they looked very sleek afterwards.
Sunday was our local community festival. We live in a very vibrant and tight-knit community of a few streets and this annual event is always fun. Dani and Pearl took part in the parade, while Leo and I worked our stall. The parade was a wonderful Brighton mix. The local church plays a part and the statue of the Virgin was carried by two men (one in leather and one in a kilt), a local samba band was playing, many kids had homemade hats, two people were on stilts, etc!
The kids love this community day in much the same way that they enjoy Pride – both celebrations of our lives in this wonderful city, with all its wonderful people. I could say a lot more about this stuff, and how important it is to us as a family, especially in response to Jane's comment about the naff and embarrassing nature of our t-shirts at Pride, but I'm too tired tonight.
We had a very successful day – sold lots of things we didn't need and Pearl was very brave about letting things go. She didn't part with many things of her own, and was pretty unhappy about the things the rest of us decided to sell, but she was comforted by the thought that they went to people nearby. She was also motivated by our promise to split the proceeds four ways. The kids spent a lot of pocket money on the other stalls and Leo went off 'shopping' alone for the first time, managing the whole thing himself.
Today we went off to Kew gardens for a family get-together (D's parents, D's sister and partner, their two kids, and two Aussie relatives of D's). We were pretty shattered but had a lovely day anyway. I battled a migraine that threatened for a while but the kids never stopped. Kew has so many beautiful trees and the kids love having the chance to just run for long distances without encountering a road. There was an exhibition of glass sculptures around Kew – they looked wonderful in the temperate house, like exotic plants.
So, that's all I can manage tonight – must try to blog more often.