It’s been a rather strange week for me. For some reason, I have struggled to locate which day I’m in – every day! So, here’s what happened. I think.
On Wednesday Leo went to Kids’ Club, where they played some kind of quiz game with a tank in which you sat to answer questions. When you got one wrong you got a bucket of shredded paper flung over you. I wasn’t too sure how that would go down but Leo seemed to have enjoyed it! Just hope everyone else did.
While he was there, Pearlie and I popped to get some guinea pig supplies. Then we did a bit of an MEP maths book. P has said she’d like to know that she could handle all the maths that school kids of her age would be doing. So we’re doing these books together, fairly regularly at the mo. They’re actually year seven stuff, I think. She’s also doing some written French that my mum sets for her. Last week she did some answering questions, in French, with answers in French – using the correct forms of verbs that she’s looked at with mum. And she likes to do French word searches, which my mum is expert at devising.
In the afternoon, I went off to work and the kids and Dani went to the library. Pearlie picked up a Jacqueline Wilson called Girls Out Late, which she seems to have finished already. Leo borrowed several books in the Explorers Wanted series, which he is really enjoying. Once again, an interest (in this case, Indiana Jones) is leading Leo to all kinds of interesting stuff.
I went to the dentist on Thursday morning. I got a face full of Novocaine and a filling. Went on to work and tried not to dribble in a meeting. In the evening, I was filled with flossing enthusiasm (do other people get that after a dentist visit?) and managed to break a bit of floss between two tightly packed teeth. It took a lot of prodding and poking to get it out and I have a sore and swollen gum now! Hardly the aim when you’re trying to look after your damn gums...
Pearl and Dani joined Jessops online service, where you can mail in photos for them to print. They got some credit as new members and P is going to pick up some prints on Saturday, I think. She’s planning to enter some competitions.
Leo was at Kids’ Club again where they did some kind of Olympics. He won a bronze medal for discus (two plates stuck together) but later managed to chuck it in the bush where it got stuck.
In the afternoon, Pearlie went to a group of home ed kids who are aged ten to thirteenish, where they are designing their own board games. P has come up with a really good idea and is making more bits next week.
Dani and Leo spent some time at home that afternoon, looking at archaeological treasures on the internet (Indiana inspired again). They also secured a bird box in our little morello cherry tree (probably a bit late for this year, but Leo has been inspired by Springwatch and we have a clutch of these home-made animal boxes sitting in the porch!) and chilled a bit.
Pearlie went to Woodcraft in the evening and Leo and Dani had to go too because it was a parents’ meeting. Leo took his portable DVD player and watched Ice Age2. Pearlie had a good Woodcraft session, making a film about why the community centre should have better access for disabled people. They came home via the chippy, which was good timing for me as I arrived home from work as they got in.
Friday started slowly for me. I slept badly as I was disturbed by tooth dreams. These make a change from the fire dreams I’ve been having lately. I bought a new battery for the smoke alarm today, which I think I had been vaguely worrying about. I did stir when Dani got up for work but must have nodded off again. Pearlie woke me up at 9.30am and we watched some morning news together, while we had breakfast. Leo slept until 10.15am but then appeared fully dressed (as is his wont) and sat and read silently for half an hour.
When everyone had breakfasted and properly woken, we went to town. We bought Leo a really fine Indiana Jones inspired hat, which he is thrilled with. The kids bought sweets in a cool, little shop with jars and unusual penny stuff. We ate lunch at Bagelman, where we can each get a feast for under £2. We looked for something new for P to wear at the gig, but failed to find anything she liked.
In the afternoon I blitzed the living room a bit, while the kids pottered. Pearlie read First News and did the crossword. Leo did his laundry and hung it on an airer in his bedroom. I deposited all the toys, books and assorted debris from the living room on his bedroom floor and he tried to put it all away. He did a good job and there are just a few things left to do. He was watching TV as he did this, so it was slow going.
I pottered about tidying and Pearlie watched Gavin and Stacey on i-player. She was watching with headphones on but I was reminded of the dialogue as I caught sight of certain scenes and I laughed just from remembering! Pearlie went off to her room to do some sketching and I attempted to follow the plot of a Poirot while hoovering the sofa and chairs. I really hate the hoover we’ve got at the moment as it lacks enthusiasm compared to the Dyson we used to have. Mind you, it all looks much better so it must do something!
Dani came home with chocolate for everyone because I’d phoned her to let her know I would be in need after all the hoovering. Then she assembled pizzas for everyone and we ate those and chatted.
Pearlie spent some time on Google Earth, looking at places we’ve been and places we haven’t. I think that must have reminded her of her game Map Detectives Urban Mystery because she then played that for a bit.
Leo had his hat on all evening and, at some point, he added his sunglasses. I have no idea how he could see to draw but he did and made a map. Dani said that he looked like something from the Blues Brothers and so Pearlie googled to see what that was and spent some time on YouTube listening to music.
I took Leo up to bed and we read some more of Treasure Island. Ooh, it’s a rip-roaring adventure and I never read it as a kid. Dani and Pearl have finished A Strong and Willing Girl (which was mine as a kid) and have started A Hundred Million Francs. Here's what Phillip Pullman says about that book:"a novel called A Hundred Million Francs, by the French author Paul Berna. It was a good story, about a bunch of children in a dingy suburb of Paris who find a lot of money which has been hidden by some thieves, and all kinds of adventures follow.
The point about that book for me was that on page 34, there was a drawing of some of the kids defying the crooks, and I fell in love with the girl in the drawing. She was a tough-looking, very French sort of character, with a leather jacket and socks rolled down to her ankles and blonde hair and black eyes, and altogether I thought she was the girl for me.
I wouldn't be at all surprised - in fact, now I think about it, it's obvious - to find that the girl on page 34 of A Hundred Million Francs is the girl who four decades later turned up in my own book Northern Lights, or The Golden Compass, where she was called Lyra."
He says it here and what is weird is that I remember that girl too - when I was about ten.
I have to work tomorrow and I think Dani and the kids will try to take it quite easy as the gig is in the evening! On Sunday, I’ve got a treat - a one day workshop on Magic Realism. I’ve done a course with the teacher before, which was good, so I’m hoping it’ll inspire me to write more of that kind of stuff.
Oh, and I have crawled back onto Facebook, after stropping away in a moral huff a few months ago. I was keen to find an old friend from university days and thought she might be there. Once back, I remembered what I liked about it! But, I’m trying to be disciplined and not waste time on there. I’ve already had a great catch-up with a friend, so it can be really good. We shall see.