Saturday, June 25, 2005

Home sweet home

We are back from our holiday. Had a lovely time. Can't possibly blog everything, but here are some pics, roughly in chronological order.

We went first to the Isles of Scilly. We'd never been there before, and all had a great time. We travelled down to Penzance on the sleeper train and flew to the islands by helicopter - so the journey was pretty exciting for a start.

View from the Garrison, on St Marys 

There was lichen everywhere - evidence of the pure air 

We saw seals! 

and puffins, too!

We had a lovely time on Old Town beach 

We found Harold Wilson in the graveyard 

This horse came over when it saw we had a camera 

There were lots of sparrows and thrushes, all very bold 

At Tresco there were gum trees, 

loads of these cabbage-like things 

a fantastic fountain, 

based on these fantastic plants, 

and plenty of amazing flowers 

We spent lots of time on beaches 

Leo did lots of this

On St Martins, we had a beach all to ourselves! 

We even went in the sea 

We spent a week on the islands, then flew back to Cornwall for a week in St. Ives, in the same wonderful flat we stayed in last year.

We had terrific weather for the whole holiday, so we spent most of the second week on the beach as well.

P. in mid-air on Porthminster Beach 

Leo created a sand man, inspired by the Michael Morpurgo book 

We managed just the one outing, to St Michael's Mount.

More beautiful gardens at St. Michael's Mount 

Launching an attack on Marazion 

Our journey home was less enjoyable, but we made it in the end, and are already back into the swing of home. Very tired - need another holiday now!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

We're off!

Last update before we set off on our holiday tomorrow. The kids and I are meeting Allie from work at the station, then going up to London to get the sleeper from Paddington to Penzance. Then by helicopter to the Isles of Scilly for a week, and back to the mainland for a second week in St. Ives. We're all very excited.


I was at work all day, and L. went to Allie's mum for his usual weekly visit. A. and P. played at the Level, where P. did lots of climbing and they ate chips. Later, she did a lot of maths from a Letts workbook.

In the evening I went to my knitting group, and finished off my latest project. I have been mending a knitted patchwork blanket made for me by my grandmother when I was little. Some of the patches had started to come unravelled, so I made new ones, unpicked the stitching of the blanket and sewed them in.

The finished blanket. The yellow and white panels are mine, and I reclaimed yarn for a couple of other new ones. 

Detail of the patchwork panels 

I never knew my grandmother – she lived in Australia, and my parents had left there when I was 15 months old and settled in England. My dad's not much of a one for family stories, but from what little I know of her I think she was a remarkable woman. She was educated at the village school – when my dad went there it had about twelve pupils altogether. She stayed on to help out and later became the teacher at the school. She raised seven children, all extraordinary people in their own ways. She taught my dad to knit, and he taught me. I'm very proud and happy to have restored her blanket.

My plan now, inspired by this, is to knit some Penrose tiles. Here's a page with some more about Penrose tilings, if you're interested.


A. was at work all day, and the delivery we were waiting for arrived nice and early, so we went to the park. P. and L. played beautifully together, stalking squirrels, chasing pigeons, climbing trees, swinging,


kicking a ball about, and befriending a man who was sweeping up leaves with a motorised broom. Leo found a stick and proclaimed it to be the only living member of a species of monkey that had been thought extinct. He was most offended when he left it on a swing and a woman moved it so she and her little girl could use the swing!

After a little rest at home, we went to Capoeira, for a good session, and dashed home to watch the programmes we'd taped on Discovery Kids.

Leo had bruised a finger in the park and it swelled up quite badly in the evening, so that he couldn't draw. Undaunted, he cut a piece of paper into an interesting shape and… "Voila! An alien spaceship." He played with it for quite a while.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Just hanging around

P. has been doing a lot of this lately.

She's training for the olympics or something.

HE group was in another park today. A bit more crowded than we're used to (inset days and school outings), but all very pleasant for us and our kids, I think.

Home for a bit of knitting and vegging out, before P. and I went to Woodcraft Folk and L had a lovely time at his cousin B's house.

We thought all our caterpillars were dead yesterday, but now we think at least some of them are pupating. We're handing them over to some friends tomorrow – I hope there's a happy ending.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Knitting in

We've been very busy, trying to get ready for our holiday while doing all our usual stuff. Randomly in the last few days we have:

  • Spent pocket money in the toyshop. Another Sylvanian pony and a megablocks megazord.
  • Watched hours and hours of Discovery Kids.
  • Popped out to the park for an hour between the two showings of Mystery Hunters (!) P. climbed to the top of the climbing poles lots of times. L. and I played with boom bats and we all played football on a steep slope.
  • Planted tomatoes in a growbag and potatoes in buckets (I did that while the kids were watching telly, so it's not really HE, but never mind).
  • Played at the Level with cousins. P. did monkey bars and dangled about a lot. L. did some great climbing too.
  • Dropped in at the big knit in at the art college with the same cousins, where we bumped into Peri and family and some other HE friends, and all had a nice time. P. was inspired to do a good amount of knitting by the big wool and small needles available there, and is still doing it in bed!
  • Done quite a lot of packing
  • Invented a secret language with cousin S (P).
  • Done lots of drawing, writing and reading, and forging £100 notes (L)

We've probably done other things too, but I'm a bit too frazzled to think of them now. Will try to blog again before we go.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

A picnic for my sister and some more stuff


We had family picnic on Monday in honour of my sister, Mim. Monday was the twentieth anniversary of the day she died. She was twenty years old, and in her second year at university. She was knocked off her bike and was not wearing a helmet. Her skull was fractured and her brain injuries killed her two days later. I was fourteen at the time, my brothers seventeen and twenty one.

My mum and her partner, dad and his wife, my two brothers and their partners and children, and the four of us met in the park that was opposite where we lived as children, and where a tree is planted in memory of Mim. We brought photos and ate food that Mim particularly liked. The food idea was Pearl's and it was an inspired one. We all remembered different things (although there was something of a glut of quavers and twiglets!) and it made the event special.

The picnic was lovely, though the weather was pretty changeable. The kids played and climbed trees and the adults reminisced and chatted generally. It was not a sad occasion but somehow a fitting one – just a moment to remember. It was also a moment to acknowledge the fact that we still feel the gap in our family. But the children are all so wonderful and full of the energy of right now that they stopped it feeling too sad, or too stuck in the past.

There's a lot more I could say but I don't want to ramble on.


The weather perked up and we went with my mum, my brother and niece and nephew S and D (7 and 3) to our beach hut in Hove. It was a truly beautiful day to be on the beach – not hot but bright and breezy. The kids played on the beach making sand constructions and filling holes with sea water over and over again! When we'd had enough we went along to the play area and the kids climbed on the frames and ate lollies.

In the evening it was our HE group parents' meeting at our house. Pearl and Leo were thrilled by the arrival of their friend O from the group. The meeting ran on until nearly eleven and the children were all happily curled up together on a duvet on our bedroom floor watching late night Power Rangers!


The kids have been predictably tired today so have pottered at home. This morning we did a quick experiment with an old bottle of fizzy lemonade, which has been lurking in the cupboard, and some raisins. You drop the raisins in the lemonade and they sink. As the bubbles form on the raisins they whiz up to the surface, and then they sink again. This was surprisingly satisfying. Leo decided to try it with his favourite stone and we discussed why this didn't work. Pearl just raised her eyebrows at me as he plopped his stone into the glass – which was very forebearing! He said:
"Hmm. This doesn't work. The stone's too… heavy?"

This afternoon D took them around the corner to the chemist where they bought bandages and a pedometer. The kids used the bandages to play hospitals today. This was going on when I got home and seemed to involve making medicine with soap, water and pasta shapes. Various concoctions are sitting on the bathroom window sill.

Dani and pearl made bread rolls this afternoon but Leo wouldn't wash his hands so he didn't join in! Given the amount of time his fingers spend up his nose I'm quite glad Dani held firm on that one.

Anyway, loads to do so I'd better leave it there.