Friday, February 29, 2008

Mr Brownie modelling a creation

by Pearl


Doesn't he look cuddly? I particularly like the belt loops.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Busy

Very busy here at the mo. Dani and I have just grabbed an hour to sit and make lists together – as we were in danger of running up against deadlines.

Lots of happy stuff going on here at the moment.

Pearlie made a beautiful dressing gown for one of her bears. I will blog a picture when I can find the camera…She had a fab time in the park on Tuesday afternoon – playing cops and robbers with a big gang of kids. She and I enjoyed a morning together – buying cakes at the bakers, doing some stuff about fractions in an MEP year 7 book, playing rummy and chatting. She’s enjoying a series of books that appear to be quite teenage.

Leo has made a network of ‘CCTV cameras’ around the house – including a control box and taping device in his room. He also had a wonderful time in the park on Tuesday, playing Primeval with some friends. He went to writing group, which P has decided to drop. A man came in (Leo couldn’t remember his name) to read them the beginning of a story (Leo can’t remember what it’s called) and encourage them to continue it themselves.

Here’s Leo’s story.

“He opened the door. He saw a red and black treasure chest. It was padlocked. He looked up and found a digging fork. He pulled it down and stuck a prong into the lock hole. It twisted, and fell to the ground with a clang. A light switched on in a bedroom. He had to be fast. He grabbed the chest and the lock, and closed the door behind him. Then he crept up the stairs and dived into his room. He jumped into bed and hid under the covers, about to open the chest. He pulled up the heavy lid and let it land on the blankets. He saw a bundle of cloth. He pulled a scrap off it and it began to unravvel. He saw a small furry stoat, whimpering in the moonlight. He promised the small animal he would bring it some of his supper the next day.”

Leo declared himself bored of sandwich lunches when he’s at Kids’ Club and we have tried to rise to the challenge. Yesterday he had gujerati carrot salad and sweetcorn risotto. Today, Dani got up early to make creamy potato salad.

Got to go to work now.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Not about the PM

The other day we were all sitting in a cafe in town. They were playing a selection of 1980s music. Pearlie asked us what this song was called and who it was by. We told her. She knew it must be old if we could identify it - so she asked when it was released and I said:

"About 1984, I think."

Look of confusion on P's face.

"But Gordon Brown wasn't Prime Minister then was he?"

I'll never listen to it in the same way again.

Monday, February 25, 2008

On the bus home from work...

you don't wish to be travelling with approx fifty students on their way to carnage uk. The only thing to be happy about is that I was not on the night bus with them travelling back to campus.

The stuff on their website about safety and knowing limits is total crap. I was travelling with students at 8pm, many of whom were already drunk. Most of the girls had ripped their t-shirts to expose as much flesh as possible - so they were freezing. Lots of them were swigging wine from the bottles (one bottle each!) or drinking super-strength lager. Oh, and they all had these charming t-shirts with a tick box for each venue visited and some for other exciting activities like 'three-way snog' or 'I spanked a school girl/boy'. The whole thing looked like one big invitation to a nasty night out - and possibly something much worse.

I don't wish to look like a prude - and I've done many a dodgy thing in my time. But events like this are money spinners for their organisers and play on the insecurities of young people who want to fit in. I really hate this sort of corporate crap that surrounds students these days.

Science and dancing and a bang on the head

On Sunday morning, Dani got the kids up and out to cross town to visit the Brighton Science Festival. They saw lots of cool stuff. Leo designed a chair and made a model of it out of paper. He also saw some silk worms, apparently. Not sure that Pearlie was as keen on the event.

I was at work in the afternoon and rushed into town on the bus afterwards, to meet the others for another bus east. We were headed to a seafront café a few miles along the coast, where a friend was having her eleventh birthday party. This was a lovely event - but sadly marred for us by Leo tripping over a skateboard while playing a chasing game in the dark outside. It was one of those horrid moments when you thought something was a bad idea (kids running about on uneven surface in very dark area) but didn’t say anything. He grazed his face (forehead and nose) and got wet and muddy as he fell into a puddle. He screamed and was very shaken. He told me this morning that he thought that all the water running down his face was blood and it was too dark for him to see. We cleaned him up and he sported a big, blue catering plaster on his forehead! He’d just eaten some chocolate birthday cake and he went very pale… Happily, a kind friend offered to drive me and Leo home. He perked up in the warm car but went very shaky again as I got him into bed. I think it was just exhaustion – as he is fine today. We’ve got the plasters off and none of the grazing is very deep at all.

Today, Pearlie has gone off to Kids’ Club, where a local environmentalist and campaigner is coming in to talk to the kids. She’s taken in a clipping from our local newspaper, of a letter by my mum. The grandmothers are opposing a development in their street, which eliminates a small green corridor beside the railway line. It is a horrible, money grabbing thing, cramming people onto this little scrap of land, down a steep slope. The access will be by means of a lift! The land has had slow worms, and other wildlife – though the developer seems to have slung a load of weed killer over the site now.

After Kids’ Club Pearlie’s off to visit the grandmothers. Leo is having a day at home – making comics and so on. He is a bit miffed to find that a ‘design a monster’ competition on the Primeval web site is only open to people over ten. I helped him do some maths in an MEP book this morning – something he’s quite keen on at the mo. I’m having a lazy time – until I have to go to work – as I can feel a migraine lurking. This is no surprise, really, as I had a huge adrenaline rush and swinging blood sugar yesterday night. We’re expecting Dani home from work any minute. She’s popped up to the post office to collect a parcel, which I hope is our new duvet set. Something very strange has happened to me recently – and I chose a duvet with embroidered flowers on it. I used to be much more into primary colours and plain things but this seems to be changing with age. If I start to like doilies I think it will be time to end it all…

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Flashing, splashing and stuffing our faces

Saturday 23rd February 2008

I had a brilliant time at a Flash Fiction course this morning. The woman running the course was a writer who was full of enthusiasm and she gave us exercises that brought out some wonderful stuff from many people in the group. I really love this ultra short fiction – not a word wasted. I am very inspired at the moment and hoping to keep up the energy. I did a university certificate course in creative writing about fourteen years ago – and then I did my MA (information management – for my job) and the kids came along. There was never a moment to be writing fiction and I didn’t know that I missed it – needed it. So, here’s a reminder to myself – if you feel bad you’re not writing!! I’m not sharing here, or elsewhere, because I like to think I might actually get something published one day…

I met up with Dani and the kids at the pool in town. We all went for a swim – which Leo declared to be heaven – all four of us swimming together. We popped into the library and then went to a cake and ice-cream shop for a treat. We ate lemon meringue pie, banofee pie, and ice-cream.

Now we’re watching Rosemary and Thyme – so time to go.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Weird week

It’s been a strange week here – as half term knocks out some of our group activities.

On Monday we had a slow morning. Pearlie tidied her room – uncovering her lovely purple rug from under all the stuff.

I took Leo over to the grandmothers’ house (stopping off myself for potato omelette and delicious cinnamon rice pudding!) Once Dani had finished at work – at lunchtime – she and Pearlie went to a friend’s house for tea and chat. I did some more emulsion painting in our bedroom, which is finally looking more yellow than green!

Leo arrived home with a cardboard box bed/car for his daemon (cuddly stoat). This included a pocket with mini copies of the Dark Materials books for his stoat to read.

Yesterday we spent some time tidying the living room. I’m also on a mission to get to the bottom of the mums’ laundry basket. Typically, the kids are having no trouble keeping up with their laundry, which is showing up our laziness!

I took the kids down to Squeezebox. They are working very hard on their new songs. One of them is Sunny Afternoon, by the Kinks, which has imprinted itself on my brain. Leo stayed on for a one to one session, which really helps him in the band. Pearlie had already gone off to the park with the rest of the band, so Leo and I went to join her there. It was the birthday of a home ed friend, so there were scones for sharing – yum! I was once again struck by how lucky we are here. Pearlie ran off with ten or twelve kids to play wild games in the bushes. Leo pottered about, on his own, and I chatted to people.

In the evening, we got our weekly shop delivered, from Ocado. We seem to be managing ok, so far, and I like the food! There seem to be more delivery slots on offer with them, and the booking is for a specific hour, rather than the two hour slot from Tesco. We made ourselves pizzas again. This is very popular here at the moment. We bought two mozzarellas to put on them, and some fresh herbs. Mind you, it just makes me realise what a terrible rip-off takeaway pizza is!

I did a bit more painting in our room. Pearlie requested the Brio (mostly fake Brio, actually!) train track down off a high shelf. She and Leo enjoyed playing with it over the next day or so.

On Wednesday, Dani and the kids went up to the Booth Museum, where they have a new display on Victorian taxidermy. But the best bit was when they asked about Stoats (for Leo) and got taken, by a curator, up into the museum store room – which is full of stuffed animals of all kinds. They were shown all sorts of fascinating/upsetting things – like a case full of humming birds. We’ve talked quite a lot since about how time changes what we see as pleasant or amusing.

We had a friend round in the evening and drank lots of tea and chatted.

On Thursday cousins S and D came round to play in the morning. This was happy and fun for three hours and the kids were just getting to the point of falling out when it was time for the play date to end, which was lucky!

Today, the kids and I went to the big home ed drop-in group. I took wool and lolly sticks to make God’s Eyes. This was remarkably popular! We had planned to go to the family swim this evening but the pool is closed for maintenance.

I’m feeling a bit below par – bunged up and my legs ache. It doesn’t seem to be turning into anything worse, thank goodness. Leo had a headache this morning but has been fine for the rest of the day.

So, that was our week.

Monday, February 18, 2008

At our house

Monday 18th February

Time for a bit of reflection here… How are we doing?

Leo is heading into a new obsession – His Dark Materials. He has read the first two books and is now about three chapters into The Amber Spyglass. He is carrying this everywhere in his rucksack – with his daemon (TC, his cuddly stoat), an old kids’ telescope that is actually broken, a plastic toy dagger (the subtle knife) and a compass (alethiometer) wrapped in flannels. As usual, he is very happy to be in the throes of all this.

He is also happily doing housework for cash at the moment. His washing up has come on a treat and he is always on top of his laundry.

Pearlie is enjoying lots of play with kids around her age, at the moment. She is also very into making notes about things – things she sees and hears. She spent a while writing down bus numbers as we went about the place (vehicle numbers, not route numbers) and is often to be found lagging behind as she writes something down in her notebook. As usual, she is very interested in current affairs, especially local things, and often tells me about things she has read in the local paper. She wants to play rummy most of the time. She is very grown up somehow. I can’t believe that eleven is approaching…

Dani is working on a big celtic knot bedspread for us. She loves knitting celtic knots. She’s also valiantly painting all the woodwork in our room, as I’m nervous of being around the paint.

I’m working on the walls in our room– a sunny yellow. I’m planning a new yellow duvet set and lampshade. We always buy those cheap paper ones – and never clean them. They dissolve in a mass of dust and scraps of brittle paper! I’m getting excited about a three hour caourse in flash fiction that I’m going on this coming weekend.

Work is busy for both of us – but we’re looking forward to some holidays this year. We’re off to St Ives next month. In April we’re doing an overnight in Bath – where we’re hoping to buy Pearlie a folding bike for birthday. There’s HESFES in the summer, and we might fit in some more camping too – depending on the weather. We’re not going abroad as we need to get some more work done in the house.

House jobs on the list are: new fuse box, new rendering on the front of the house and clearing out and re-insulating the loft. I don’t imagine we’ll get all these done this year.

The kids are spending some time making comical pictures this evening – cutting up newspapers. Drawing on/defacing newspapers and cutting them up has long been a favourite with P and L. I love it – it’s free!

I am happier with our weekly schedule of groups and commitments at the moment than I have been for a long time. I have realised that we need to be prepared for pretty much constant change round here – as the kids grow and change. I am always slow to recognise them changing. Why is this? You’d think I’d have realised by now that that is the one aspect of life with kids that you can guarantee!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Happy New Year

The kids and I popped in briefly at the local Chinese New Year celebration today – picked up some freebie paper dragons, ate some nice chow mein, saw some dragon dancing and impressive brush painting and listened to some singing and speeches.

We moved swiftly on to drop Pearlie off at a birthday party, where she had a lovely time involving games, sweets and birthday cake. Meanwhile, Leo and I had a pleasant little stroll through the nearby woods. There were signs of spring everywhere – blossom and buds on the trees, birds singing and building nests, snowdrops.
Leo saw a rabbit, and we also spotted some blue tits, a robin, a blackbird and lots of magpies. He constructed himself a ramp, to climb up on top of a fallen tree trunk and generally interacted with the woods delightfully.

From the bus stop on the way home, we saw a lovely view of Brighton, all the way over to another hill top, which happens to be where we were standing yesterday, looking at the view.


It’s a short walk from our house to the top of this hill, where there are allotments and this radio mast – anyone know what all these things are attached to it?

Other things we have been doing include:
  • Reading – Leo has finished The Subtle Knife and moved on to The Amber Spyglass. I finished reading him Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, and he has Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters all lined up for Allie to read to him when she’s finished her current book with Pearlie. Pearlie finished The Past, the Present and the Loud, Loud Girl and borrowed a Clarice Bean book from the library.
  • Entertaining a visiting friend – lovely evening catching up over a bottle of wine
  • Playing Rummy – Pearl’s current passion
  • Painting our room – very gradually, as there’s so much furniture in there
  • Thinking about the Bermuda Triangle – Leo is developing new theories about a third pole
  • Keeping an eye on the temperature – P. made a chart of temperature changes over a couple of hours this morning, measured using her treasured indoor/outdoor thermometer
  • Using public services – two visits to libraries and two to swimming pools in the last week
  • Watching quality programming on the BBC – Life in Cold Blood, Lark Rise to Candleford, and Ashes to Ashes – and lightweight brain candy on ITV3 – Rosemary and Thyme.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Assumptions

Last week, Dani and I went to an Ourstory (local lgbt history project) event. This involved bumping into people that we both knew many years ago – Dani more than me, really. Back in the days of Section 28, twenty years ago, Dani was a high profile local activist. She was massively involved in the campaign against the Section. That was how we met. Everyone knew who Dani was, even if they didn’t know her well. I was one of several admirers and it was strange to be there as the one she ended up with! It really took me back, to find myself in a room full of people greeting her with joy, while I waited for her. I honestly used to agree to dates at 10.45pm (after the meeting and in time for last orders!) and find out where she was by checking listings of meetings and benefits.


Anyway, what I wanted to blog was a bizarre comment that was made to Dani from a woman at the event. I didn’t know her but she knew Dani and knew that there were kids in the picture.

“How old are your kids now, Dani?”

“ten and seven”

“Oh, so they’re getting to be interesting people now then?”

“They’ve been interesting all along…”


In that moment I felt the great distance that parenthood has placed between much of the lesbian and gay scene and me. I still couldn’t live in a place that didn’t have a big gay community. I love to sit (as I did for a while this week) at the bus stop in St James’ Street and watch the boys and girls go by. I love it that my kids were petting some Chihuahuas there a while ago and their, mega-camp, owner told the kids that the dogs’ names were Hinge and Bracket and they were brother and sister, “like you two”, and he smiled at me. I love the flirtation opportunities in getting on every other bus in this city - flashing my annual pass at some capable dyke behind the wheel. I love it that I can go and buy a Valentine’s card in a gay shop – relaxed and easy. I love it that my children are so comfortable here – not by any means the only kids with gay parents – wherever we go. But, that little comment about children took my breath away.

If I could choose one word about parenthood, from day one, I think it would be interesting. Babies, toddlers, young children are fascinating people – like all people. The wonderful thing about our kids has been that I’ve been there every day and seen all those tiny changes. How can you explain to someone that first words are amazing, miraculous events that you value above almost any words at all? If they haven’t carried a flailing, raging child, who was aiming kicks at their belly, can they appreciate the all-consuming nature of a relationship with a child? I guess the truth is that the woman who made that remark has never had a close relationship with a baby or young child and she sees only the fleeting moments in the street – dropped bottles and runny noses. Maybe it does look like slog from the outside. But the ignorance did astound me somewhat. I guess we do all exist in our own realities and see other people’s lives through a mist of our own assumptions. I’m sure I do it too.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Stuff

Very quiet here this morning. Pearlie is in her room writing to a pen pal. Leo is reading The Subtle Knife beside me. There is an occasional sniff – the poor boy seems to be starting another cold.

Yesterday, Pearlie went to Kids’ Club and a visitor came to discuss the group’s input into a mosaic project to cover the toilet block where they meet. Pearlie worked with a friend on a design. I’m not entirely sure how it will be decided which design gets used. I imagine the artist will have a good idea of what is possible.

Leo and I were on tidy up duty which meant we had to go along for the last half hour and do some sweeping and washing up, and so on. We’d spent the rest of the morning at home and Leo had started on a painting on canvas. He was given the canvas for Christmas. He worked on it in stages, throughout the day, and here’s the finished article.





In the afternoon I went off to work.

Dani and Leo went to town to get some buttons for this lovely waistcoat that Dani has made for Leo – all her own design and everything. I think she’s very clever!





Pearlie went over to the grandmothers’ house, where she did some French, played cards and went out in their lovely back garden. She told me that she and my mum are making a French game together.

The weather is lovely again so we’re planning to get out into it at some point – between Squeezebox and writing group, I guess.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Weather, weekend, work

The weather has been so wonderful this weekend – but, sadly, I’ve been at work both days. I have managed to grab some time walking into work in the sunshine and even sitting basking a bit.

On Saturday I came downstairs to find Leo on the pc – with the remains of some independently created breakfast (apple and rice krispies) beside him. He told me he was planning a project on the Bermuda Triangle and had already found someone’s ‘research’ on the internet! He reserved a book from the library.

Dani took the kids into town, which was alive with buskers. They popped into the museum and then ate bagels for lunch. Pearl and Leo went to the theatre with cousins and grandmothers, to see Danny the Champion of the World. The kids said it was very good. Dani did some satinwood painting in our bedroom – something I’m trying to avoid since a hideous migraine in December. The smell of the paint was still strong at bedtime – so we slept on the living room floor.

Today the kids played with cousins all day. Dani went for a little walk nearby alone – as none of the kids wanted to go!

We had a conversation tonight about politics, belief and actions. This was prompted by the kids getting involved with the delivery of Labour Party literature, when they were round at their cousins’ house. Pearlie came up with some good arguments.

I keep meaning to mention that we are all enjoying Lark Rise to Candleford on TV on Sunday evenings. We also all watch Rosemary and Thyme on Saturday nights. That is a bit of a comedy take on the detective drama, but I can’t resist the sunshine, flowers and Felicity Kendal.

Dani splashed out on an Ocado shop tonight. She only spent as much as we normally do on a Tesco shop but we’ll have to see how much food that actually is!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Dragons and noodles and lucky

We had a grand time at home ed group. There was yummy veg and noodles to eat and people made dragons a bit. There was a chat about a possible new group option for Pearlie and other kids her age. I wonder sometimes how different it would be to be home edding somewhere without the big community. I don’t think it would suit Pearlie at all – she’d get lonely, I reckon.

When we got home Leo watched some TV and flopped about a bit. He’d been involved in some wild dodge-ball game in the sports hall at group. Pearlie went to the shop and bought some new chalks. Then she set about decorating the pavement – something she’s loved since about the age of three. The grandson of a neighbour was in the street and she brought him in for a bit. After he’d gone she said that he couldn’t seem to grasp the idea of home ed at all and kept asking her “HOW!” she learned things.

This evening we went to an RSPB road show, where the children demonstrated that they do, somehow, manage to learn things! They had their hands up pretty much non-stop to answer bird, and other wildlife, related questions. They were wonderfully lucky when the prizes were being drawn from all those who completed correct quiz sheets – and both won things. An added bonus was that the woman read out Pearl’s complete name correctly, first time, which is unheard of! We were also pleased to hear that there is going to be a Wildlife Explorers club opening up in our town. Mind you, some of the activities look like things we’ve already done to death here. But then again, the two bird boxes and one bat box languishing in the back porch have so far failed to attract any wildlife. Perhaps we should try actually putting them up in the garden.

Oh, and we sent off our form for HESFES tickets tonight. I have developed an unhealthy interest in camping equipment. Somehow, I like the idea of camping gadgets when their kitchen equivalents leave me cold – is this just me? Because we need to buy a new tent I am planning on a few other, select, purchases too. P and I spent some time ogling really tiny, but gorgeous looking, camping mats in a shop last week. One of our main sports when camping has become scoffing at the chairs, tables, beds, duvets and so on, of people who travel by car! There is a certain stoic pleasure to be had in squatting on the muddy ground in waterproof trousers when people all around have furniture. Well, let’s face it, there has to be some pleasure or you might start wondering why you were using your annual leave sitting in a muddy field at all…

Dani took the kids to Kids’ Club yesterday – and stayed as she was the rota parent. The play worker had brought in some clothes to use as costume. The kids put them on, imagined characters and acted out little scenes with each other. Dani played chess with someone who didn’t want to join in. Leo had a little wobble when someone backed into him and he fell into the sandpit. But things were resolved ok in the end.

Meanwhile, I was filling nasty looking cracks in the walls in our bedroom – prior to slapping on some sunny, yellow emulsion. I’m painting over a very bright green colour that Pearlie chose a couple of years ago. Sadly, it looks like it will need three coats to get rid of the green glow from beneath! I listened to my tape of Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads monologues. I love them. Then I embarked on a nice long Dorothy Sayers, which should tempt me back to work over the next few days. I know it inside out but love to listen to a story – even when I know who done it!

Pearlie had to pop out in the afternoon – to take a film to the chemist for developing. She decided to get a bus home and stayed on a stop longer than she intended. She really enjoys getting out and about under her own steam. When she got back my mum popped in and they talked about regular ER verbs a bit.

Leo is spending quite a lot of time on the internet these days – watching tv shows he’s missed, and browsing around various Golden Compass sites. He has made several alethiometers now. He carries one round in his rucksack whenever we go out.

Oh, according to a woman on TV just now, children love to be tested and the ‘developmental’ approach to young children’s learning has been responsible for terrible ‘delays’ in children’s learning in the past. Damn, she’s gone now and I don’t know who she was. Perhaps I don’t really care. Apparently they need serious teaching at an early age and then they’ll learn to read. That’d be all of them, no doubt. Because, of course, children are an alien species which share one personality and have one clear set of needs. Aaaaaargh! Perhaps I should tell Leo he really shouldn’t be able to read at all. Oh, yes and Pearlie, who was frantically muttering “B..A..T!” to her reception teacher when everyone was supposed to be chanting “buh, buh, buh” while the teacher pointed of a picture of a bat. Yes, they should have learned just when it suited other people – probably in the same half hour as everyone else in the class. And the following day everyone could be tested to check they’d learned – and everyone would pass – and then the job would be done. OK, so maybe I’m exaggerating, but honestly, these people get on my nerves with their loopy control freak stuff.

Anyway, Leo is now nearly at the end of the Subtle Knife. He is reading these Pullman books with little breaks from time to time when he gobbles up a quick Alistair Fury book. Pearlie is reading The Painted Garden, but is also spending loads of time doing number puzzles again at the mo – like sudoku and kakuro. She’s massively into rummy at the moment and plays against an invisible opponent in bed at night – as well as with anyone else who’s willing!

I made a big, fat chocolate cake last night. I also finished a surprise Mother’s Day gift I’ve been making for my mum.

Dani is spending a lot of time thinking about the local authority’s current consultation on their EOTAS policy. I’m feeling a bit dangerously angry about such things at the moment. A friend has been stopped twice in as many months by the truancy sweepers. They insisted in her name and address on both occasions – even though they were the same people! I hate the whole idea of the sweeps. And, frankly, if those people have to send out the police to catch kids back into their damn schools then that’s their problem and nothing to with home educators going about their legal business. Someone locally expressed her unwillingness to give her name and address and was threatened with being taken to the police station. It really does smack of harassment – especially if they are going to stop the same people repeatedly.

Kids are off somewhere being silent. I’d better go and get people roused as we’re off to home ed group where there is going to be some Chinese food and I’m showing people how to make little paper dragon puppets - in honour of Chinese New Year, of course.

Oh, and Pearlie came home from Woodcraft last night with a full list of all the Nestle owned brands. I was aware of most of them but not all. We had a good discussion about where we are buying our food. We do avoid Asda already, but I am increasingly feeling that Tesco is crap. Pearlie is keen on using the co-op more (as they support Woodcraft) but I don’t think they deliver. I like Ocado (of course!) but the prices would require a serious re-think of our food budget. All interesting to think about and discuss, anyway.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Some highlights and irritations

Monday

Leo finished a maths workbook and found there was a pull out game in the back. He took the (battleships sort of) game round and played it with my mum at the grandmothers’ house. I walked him over there and we told each other scary ghost/monster stories all the way. He got very caught up in a chilling tale with hideous creatures and his telling was wonderfully physical – involving leaping and bounding and so on.

Meanwhile, P was at Kids’ Club where she was colouring pictures of birds. Pearlie loves birds – never sure if I mention that on here! She spotted some blue tits today, which we watched for a bit.

In the afternoon, Dani and Pearlie had decided to go to the Magistrate’s Court to watch a case. Sadly, they weren’t allowed in, as P is under fourteen. Pearlie was understandably angry but they decided to go on a long bike ride instead – as it was sunny here. They rode along the seafront, deep into Hove, and back.

Tuesday

The weather on Tuesday was crap – every time we were outside it seemed to be raining on us. We had a lovely, lunchtime invite round to a local home ed friend’s house, where pancakes were in full swing.

Then we set off to Squeezebox, where the kids enjoyed a band session and then Leo had a one to one session too.

Pearlie had gone back to the pancake party for a bit, but there wasn’t time for Leo and me to make it there and back again before their writing group.

We met Pearlie on an agreed street corner and I dropped her and Leo off at writing group. It was really bucketing it down – so I ran to the nearest café and drank tea. Kids worked on pancake themed stories.

I was tired and grumpy in the evening, but managed to pull myself together enough to produce twelve pancakes for family consumption. Pearlie, in particular, loves pancakes, which she spreads with peanut butter. Leo loves the excuse to eat a lot of sugar and lemon!

Wednesday

Leo went to Kids’ Club, where he had a lovely session.

Pearlie and I played loads of rummy and drank tea. Then we had to rush back to Kids' Club as there was someone coming to sort out CRB forms. That is an administrative nightmare, somewhat like applying for a passport, but lots of people got sorted. Then there was a parents’ meeting to discuss things like fundraising and other admin.

This afternoon, Dani and Pearlie went to get haircuts. I am on leave for a couple of days and was intending to carack on with some decorating. But I fell asleep instead! While I dozed, Leo did some work on a comic, washed up the lunch dishes, swept the kitchen and bathroom floors and then did his laundry! I did rouse myself and clean out Bunny's house and tidy our bedroom in preparation for lots of decorating tomorrow.

Dani and I are off out tonight to an Ourstory event.

Finally, here are the pizzas we made for tea tonight. Pearlie’s was a plain tomato sauce, mozzarella and herb pizza, Leo’s had quorn ham and sweetcorn – and Dani and I had everything we could find in the fridge. This was a very quick, and tasty, tea as we used bought bases, but great for a mid-week treat.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Weekend and Wifeswap

Leo had a friend round on Saturday afternoon. He had a really lovely time. He and friend played for hours with Doctor Who figures and other toys, and friend showed Leo the delights of Primeval on DVD.

Pearlie and I went to town in search of a cardigan and new tights for her. We found a lovely dress too – she looks gorgeous in it. Dani gave me waist and inside leg measurements and Pearlie and I got her men’s trousers in M&S. It is very simple buying trousers like that. Sadly, I am too short and too curvy to wear men’s trousers. Dani and I both struggle with ever buying clothes at all and it was actual holes in garments that forced us to consider it this time! I couldn’t stand the idea of the whole changing room experience, so I went on the Lands’ End website clearance section and bought clothes there. They will hem them to my ridiculous inside leg measurement.

We got home to fresh baked bread rolls – yum.

In the evening, Dani and I found a tape of Capturing Mary, which we’d taped off the tv ages ago and lost! We were gripped and it reminded us both of real life situations, which kept us up late discussing youth, control, abuse and more.

I went to work on Sunday, where I was frantically trying to clear things a bit as I have some days off in this coming week.

Dani and the kids went down to the Pavilion, where it was free entry day. Sadly, the queue was so long they couldn’t face it, so they went to play at cousins’ house instead.

They had popped into the gift shop, where Leo bought himself a compass. It was rather cheap and bits have fallen off already. Leo wants a beautiful compass for his birthday – inspired by His Dark Materials, of course!

Pearlie is off to Kids’ Club today and Leo is having a slow morning. He’s having some trouble getting to sleep at night.

Oh, and last night Dani and I watched Wifeswap as there was a home edding family on it. I was, as usual, totally amazed that anyone would put themselves (never mind their children) through such an ordeal. No-one gets shown at their best and no-one ever seems to move very far from where they started. Interesting, though, as I have often thought that one of the situations where I would be tempted to encourage the children into school would be if we were living in a country where people spoke something other than English.

Right, off to feed the boy egg and get on with the day.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Catchily uppiting again

It’s been an up and down sort of week here. Things have felt a bit of an effort and a worry and so on. But, anyway, here’s a brief run down…

Monday

Dani didn’t mention that the kids and I made bird cakes at Kids’ Club. I was on the rota. Bird cakes are still in the fridge, where they’re not doing local birds any good at all!
D’s knitting group came in the evening and I sat around like a woman who doesn’t knit…

Tuesday

Kids had a Squeezebox session, where they are working on five (or is it six?) new songs at once. We popped up to the park, where I managed to make someone else’s child cry with a penguin biscuit. Leo had just got to happy playing with someone he often falls out with and then Pearlie wanted to go. Such is life! Then I took them both to their kids’ writing group. I have no real idea what happens there, as I go and sit in a café, but they seem to enjoy it. They write and read stuff aloud – much like an adult group – but I think they also play some wordy games. I drank tea and wrote lots myself.
I went to the last session in my writing course and shared a piece of work. I was encouraged to re-work it and try submitting it to a literary magazine. I’m sad the course is over but looking forward to a three hour session on flash fiction, which I’m doing in a few weeks.

Wednesday

Leo went to kids’ club and flitted in and out of a photography workshop. I think he knew he’d have a chance to do it on the Thursday so he chose to play outside quite a lot instead. Pearlie and I went to B&Q to get varnish and some lovely sparkly stickers. These are for decorating the loo seat. I bought a new seat recently (the old one having become hazardous to health and nerve wracking!) and P was sad that the new one is plain white. It won’t be for long.
I was at work for the afternoon and evening but Dani and the kids went to the library and had cousins round for tea.

Thursday

Both kids went to kids’ club for the photography workshop and really enjoyed it. P is very into photography at the moment but it has to be film – she isn’t interested in the digital camera.
My mum popped in in the afternoon to do some French with P. Leo worked on a new set of comics called The Robber.
Pearlie went to Woodies in the evening. This was apparently great and involved much hilarity.

Friday


The kids and I have spent today at home. Pearlie really wanted a friend to play with but didn’t manage to find anyone who was available to come round. We’ve played some games – rummy and Chinese chequers. We’ve discussed approaches to home ed, learning, life, emotions and behaviour. This led on to Gandhi, resistance, violence and religion. Now P is making a chocolate cake and L is painting a cloth bag with fabric paint.

Bits and bobs

Leo is doing lots of housework at the moment, particularly washing up.

Pearlie and I are reading Let the Circle be Unbroken. This is quite dense and complex. It has a lot in it about Roosevelt’s new deal and all that – and how it was experienced by the sharecroppers and small farmers in the southern states during the depression. This is all tied up with the politics of race and leads to lots of talking.

Leo and Dani are really loving Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. Last night, they were telling me and Pearlie all about how Dionysus was sewn into the thigh of Zeus when he was a foetus. Those Greek myths are weird!

We’re off swimming this evening, so I’d better go and pack up a bag.