More March

Sat 13th – Music School, then science festival – lots of chemistry (Bob) – and helping at church sale (Katy)

Sun 14th – church then fantastic afternoon at Upware: press printing (like lino printing but with polystyrene tiles), clay fossil imprint tiles, watercolour painting (still life), badge making, mask making, pebble painting, mosaic making, owl pellet dissection, treasure trail (ending with planting a sunflower seed).
Then dropped K off for a sleepover with his friend S 🙂

Mon 15th – girls danced in the morning then we collected K and went to chemistry lecture by Peter Wothers on Fire and Flame – excellent stuff,with lots of bangs and pops 🙂 We were early so sat right at the front, where K and L proceeded to answer so many questions (very politely, with hands up first) that Dr W. came over at the end to congratulate them 😆 Came back via playground and got home just in time for L to get to gym.

Tues 16th – music workshop – really very good – working through different types of instruments and how they produce their sound, with help from Pythagorus and some fun practical illustrations. Looked at different lengths/sizes of brass instruments and then string instruments and how length of string compares to pitch so double or half lengths sound good together. All joined in with voices, hands, feet etc to make a rainstorm soundscape, then given straws to play as reeds for an impromptu concert at the end 🙂 Afterwards went to see Imaginary at Maths dept – excellent video but hands-on stuff not so good when so many little ones wanting to join in! Rushed off to violin, but teacher didn’t arrive – turned out later she’d phoned us at home to cancel as she couldn’t drive, but of course we weren’t there. Must give her my mobile number! K had gymnastics – so nice not to have the huge rush of two lots of gym one after the other!

Wed 17th – thought about doing lots of science stuff, but decided to have a day at home instead, doing normals and gardening 🙂 Oh, and we scoured local town looking for things J had requested for his birthday. Baby Music and cello but no Cubs for K due to a weekend event he wasn’t going to anyway.

Thurs 18th – Tots plus Philosophy, first time in new building and it seemed to work well. Last Philosophy for a while though, and quite possibly the last at all unless there is more demand, which is a shame because those who do it are really enjoying it and getting lots out of it. Realised I had forgotten my purse so couldn’t go into town as planned without coming home first. Almost couldn’t be bothered and then decided we might as well, especially as still had to find J’s bits and pieces and bigger city a better bet. Quick lunch then back into car and back to city, via a very quaint display of molecules modelled at x2 million! The creator was there (retired professor) along with his wife, who was very taken with the children and kindly took us round the exhibition at child level rather than post degree level. It was helpful just to get a rough idea of scale, since the children have talked about molecules with Helen but the scale is very hard to get. She told us that she finds it quite mind-blowing herself – the model of E Coli is about 2 metres long, and opened up so that you can see all the protein molecules etc at work inside. Apparently the professor has been working on it for about 15 years and has had to change it several times as more and more was discovered during that time – she thought he should have kept each of the models so you could see the progression but he only wanted to have the most accurate one. There are 10000000 (that’s ten million!) E Coli in one cc of poo, she said, and then all these things inside each of the E Coli – that got the children’s attention! I think their favourite bit, though, was when she took them into her workspace (I think she does lymphatic drainage, as far as I could gather) and showed them first her collection of stars (hanging form the ceiling to give patients something to look at while she works on them) and then her amazing collection of eggs, which includes ones she has decorated herself (natural dyes with leaves to make patterns) and others she has bought or been given. One was a goose egg which had been carved so intricately it looked like filigree, another could be opened up to hold a small gift… we were all spellbound 🙂
Then we carried on into the centre, parked in an expensive short term car park because I couldn’t be bothered to walk 😳 (and figured the free events we were going to made up for paying for parking 😉 ) and popped to a shop I hoped would have stuff for J – and it did 😀 It also had a shop assistant who had been HE and an owner who thoroughly approved of us going against the system – it’s that kind of shop 😆 We finished up at the Arch and Anth Assembling Bodies exhibition which was pretty much the same as last year. I found that disappointing, but K and L wandered round rediscovering old friends and spotting things they had forgotten or missed last time. The ceramic hugs were there again, and also the Vox Theremin (?) which unfortunately freaked A out to such an extent that we had to go to the far side of the room to get away from it, and even then she kept asking to leave. We cut our visit short, therefore, which made the parking cheaper than I had feared 😉 K and L want to make body maps now – note to self in case I forget that!

Fri 19th – Quiet day at home, making up and posting a parcel for J, baking, normals, rest and relax…

Sat 20th – tightly scheduled day! Started with Music School, but only 2 out of 3 sessions, so that we could get to the Whipple for Sounds like Science. Billed as 5+ I found this very disappointing, as it was basically lots of straws and plasticine put out for the children to make panpipes, with no scientific explanation at all and no other input than a sheet saying you needed to block off one end with plasticine, cut the straws to different lengths and stick them to a piece of plastic. After the workshop we had done on Tues K and L at least knew to try making each straw twice or half as long as the one next to it, so we made it work for us as a science thing, but for such a good museum it was a disappointing activity 🙁 At least the Whipple itself is always worth a look, and they had helpful students showing how to make and use zootropes too, which K particularly enjoyed as he got one for Christmas which was not a design they had there, so he was able to discuss how his works and how it’s different to the ones they had on show.
Then we dashed off to the Maths dept for some hands-on puzzles and games, lunch in the car on the way. All three children enjoyed doing things at their own level, although I barely saw L because she did a great job of just attaching herself to any family with a more or less appropriately aged girl in it and having a lovely chatty time with them 😆 Having planned to meet up with the Babs and co at the Whipple, but ended up arriving just as they were leaving, we managed it again at Maths, since they arrived just as we were leaving, but we had to get K and L to a singing workshop…
I dropped Bob, K and L off to register and headed back to the Maths stuff, where I found Beans, Hollands and eventually also the Babs. I do like the Maths Dept cafe 😀
After a couple of hours of workshopping K and L’s group had a concert for us to watch, which was very good – apart from times when audience participation was required and we discovered that we were sitting just in front of a couple of loud operatic mothers 🙄 Even after the choirmistress had quite pointedly said that we would need to sing quietly so that the children we were there to hear weren’t drowned out the aforementioned mothers seemed to be unable not to show off their lovely voices; as a consequence I have no idea what that piece sounded like other than the part our section of the audience was singing 🙁 Glare. Grump. Anyway, the children had had lots of fun, and L now wants to join the girls choir as soon as she is old enough (8) which might even be feasible as that’s only a twice weekly commitment, unlike the boys’ choir J was interested in which demanded 3 and then 4 times a week and which K has decided sounds like too much because he wants to do lots of other things too 😉
Concert over and certificates given out we made our way to the Astronomy open evening, where we met up with a few people we knew and the children did varying amounts of craft, learning, running around like loons and so forth. A enjoyed the light bucket display (ping pong balls, a cup, a bucket and a paddling pool – the possibilities are endless!) and we all had our pictures taken with a thermal camera 8)

Sun 21st – church, Wandlebury, Rainedrops 😀