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!


Gill said...

Very impressed with P's independence, and L's artwork sounds intriguing.

Mock the week is one of Zara's favourite programmes too. I haven't seen it yet. Must get around to looking at it, to see why it's so popular! I do like Armstrong and Miller though - I keep watching their sketches on YouTube.

Hmm.. what does satire mean.. Gotta love those questions! ;-) They totally throw me every time. I'm trying to think how I'd define it before I look it up. Oh yes, I wasn't far off. What did you say it was, then?

Re: Olympics: "So, I’m indulging myself with women’s diving and so on." ROFL! And simultaneous choc cake! Can just picture you.. I'm not watching not because of politics but because it's sport, which just seems pretty pointless to me, but each to their own :-) Its inescapable presence on the TV has led to some interest in other countries here as well though, so it obviously has some uses!

Lasagne sounds very yummy. I never think to put courgette in, or even to buy courgettes - which is silly because I love them.

Allie said...

Hi Gill,

I can't quite remember the details of our differences in definition. I think that P emphasised the fact that you must point out features of the object of satire and we put more emphasis on attack as a form of humour.

We get given freshly picked courgettes from the grandmothers' allotment. At the moment we have a lovely patty pan squash waiting to be eaten too. We eat a lot of courgettes because Leo loves them. Sadly, both the kids dislike green peppers, which I love. I know I should just put them in and let people pick them out but it is far more satisfying when people just eat the food you make them and don't dissect it, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

ooh I have to check out that youtube of armstrong and miller, Gill, I don't know who they are but they sound funny!

I've only just become aware that the olympics have started.

Me too - impressed with P's independance and sureness. Reading about how P is always inspires me to support Meadow to be outgoing.

EF x

Roslyn said...

I'm hooked as always to the olympics.

Leo's guide sounds wonderful!

I'm very into Patrick Gale atm. He juts ticks so many interesting boxes.