On Tuesday 24th August we went to visit Bob’s sister. The children were very excited, especially K who gets on particularly well with his cousin C 🙂 We had a lovely day there, with Pippa demonstrating some of her favourite Pampered Chef products for me (she is an agent, and having seen some of the gadgets and chatted to her about what she does I am very tempted to start doing it myself!) and the children playing together in the garden while we played in the kitchen 🙂
We had to come back earlier than we would have liked, because I was giving blood (okay, except for having to change arms because the nurse couldn’t find a suitable vein; even on the second arm it took a while – ho hum) but at least it meant we avoided our usual problem of getting halfway home and having to stop for something to eat because it is just too far away to fit nicely in a day without. In the evening we phoned my dad so the children could all sing him Happy Birthday, and got the bonus of a long chat with my sister, who happened to be visiting 😀

Wednesday and Thursday were at home, trying to keep a few normals going. We read about Dali and then the children each chose a picture they liked to either copy directly or have a go at that style. They did some Mathletics. J and I did some Latin, trying to catch up to where we should be in Galore Park (halfway through chapter 3) rather than where we are (halfway through chapter 2). K and L did lots of reading, much of it to A 🙂 We sorted through their various drawers and passed things down, on or into storage as appropriate. We discovered the game of Hive we had bought for J before he went to France and played lots of games of that. And so on…

On Friday we set off for Framlingham Castle to meet up with Jax and co for a day of Time Travelling. When we got there we realised that the Time Travellers that day were in fact the Heuristics, which pleased the children mightily. We had about half an hour before their first show, so decided to go up on the walls, with a Horrible Histories style audio guide, which again pleased the children mightily! That took slightly longer than we had, really, so we missed the beginning of the show, but still managed to park ourselves near the front with a good view of what was going on. The talk, on Medieval inventions, was the same as we had seen at the Festival of History, but then we had had to leave early, whereas this time we had arrived late, so it all worked out nicely really 😉 Jax and co arrived a little later, and the children all chatted and played together nicely. When they decided to go up on the walls L asked if she could join them, which just left me with J and K playing board games and A wanting to explore. Soon it was time for castle building, which attracted an enormous number of children, so that it looked as though some (including Small) were going to miss out on putting pieces in place. Fortunately this was made good by careful allocation of pieces next time round, so everyone got a go at something. Having built the castle they were given peg-doll defenders to put into place, and then mangonels with little wooden balls to knock it all down again 😆 Then everybody got to collect the balls up (A’s favourite part of the whole day!) and replace the defenders ready to knock it all down again.
After three quarters of an hour or so of playing time (which the children used to the full 🙂 ) it was time for another talk, this time on Medieval medicine. It was very well done and absolutely hilarious – especially for the children, but with a little edge of mischief for the adults too :norty: The rain which had seemed to be threatening in the morning held off, which meant that we never did get to explore inside – we’ll just have to go back! – but we did get to have a lovely wander round the dry ditch, with the children running and climbing and generally having a whale of a time while Jax and I walked somewhat more sedately behind and chatted. It was a lovely day – thank you Jax 🙂

Saturday 28th was Astronomy Club for the boys, and L chose to go along too, which meant Bob and A had to sit in the parents’ creche. It was about heroes of astronomy and apparently lots of fun. Then they went into town and hired a trombone for J, who is hoping to squeeze lessons into Saturday music school (he has an offer of teaching, if they can make the timing work).

For some reason I spent Sunday feeling completely shattered – not ill, just exhausted and pretty much unable to do anything. Simply loading the washing machine was enough to wipe me out for half an hour or so. Bob took the children to church, leaving me in bed, with brief forays out to do minor jobs. I could probably have forced myself to get up and about, if I’m honest, but I had a rotten headache and was aware that when I do force myself it means things tend to linger even longer, which would not have been good for the end of the week we had planned. It didn’t help when I discovered that the top airing cupboard was full of damp linen from the leaky roof we had been hoping was cured. It had obviously been leaking just above a rafter then the water running through the timbers to the airing cupboard and soaking into all the bedlinen kept there. The bottom layer of stuff was musty as well, from damp wooden slats which had obviously been that way for some time, while we were thinking it was okay because the patch on the ceiling beneath was staying dry. We really need that roof to stay sound for a few more years, so I’m hoping this will be relatively easily dealt with, but it’s frustrating that we can’t see where the leak is coming from because it’s not a drip, just a slow seep. Fortunately it was a dry and blowy day so I managed to get all the affected linen and towels hot-washed and dried. Unfortunately there’s nowhere really to put them if we can’t trust the airing cupboard!

Despite trying to get lots of rest on Sunday I spent Monday with a migraine, while the children tiptoed round and tried to be helpful. We did do some normals, but then retired to bed with books and all snuggled up together, J helping me out with the reading when I just couldn’t do it any more. Bob did tea when he got home, so I didn’t have to worry about that either (I’m very lucky in my menfolk, on the whole 😉 ) – still working on the basis that I didn’t want to start the week tired, knowing that I was going to end it with a long day and lots of driving.

On Tuesday we set off nice and early for Peterborough, where we wanted to go to the Museum for a Medieval exhibition, complete with living history re-enactors. We also signed up for a children’s tour of the town, thinking it was likely to be quite busy as they only happen once a week in holiday time. We spent the first half of the morning looking round the exhibition space, which was very well laid-out and J, K and L all enjoyed very much, but A found too dark and scary. It was only the hunt for mice, with the promise of a sweetie prize, which kept A in there at all, whereas I think the others could happily have stayed for longer, especially once we had found the game of medieval life and the clothes and hats to try on. J and K did trails there too, then afterwards we went upstairs to look at the rest of the museum so that L could do the trail she had chosen. We spent most of the time playing Roman games – it’s a fantastic museum for hands-on interactive stuff, especially things to suit younger children – and then J’s stomach started to rumble and we all agreed it was time for lunch so headed into the Queensgate centre to find somewhere to sit and eat. Then we mooched round a few shops and returned to the museum in time for our tour. It turned out that we were the only ones booked onto the tour, so we had a costumed guide all to ourselves as we walked the streets of Peterborough learning a few of the more gruesome (a la Horrible Histories, rather than Hammer Horror!) bits of its history. It was good – and K now wants to go back and do the night-time Ghost Walk, but I’m not sure we’re ready for that yet!

Wednesday was Latinetc, our first one of the new academic year, I guess. Zoe couldn’t make it, but Merry brought S as well as her girls, so we were able to work in pretty much our normal groups. It was odd not to have Michelle and C, but Merry did sterling work with the pasta and got almost as flummoxed by the kettle as Michelle 🙂 We did a Classics-heavy session this week, with GP Latin and Minimus chapter 2, some music theory and a bit of music practical too, and then lots of mosaic making, using eggshells on coloured sugar paper. S and L worked together and produced a rather stunning opus sectile while BB’s turtle was also most impressive. J and J both chose to do Mario figures (I think) but it was only when it was almost too late to do anything about it that we realised Gina’s J hadn’t glued his pieces down as he went – and then the wind blew his paper over and it was too late 🙁 F produced a modern take on mosaic, with a very textured piece, while K tells me he and M need to finish theirs next week…

Thursday was the first Thursday in September, which meant Tots again, although we had no idea who might be there – and a very good idea of who wouldn’t, so we took work with us to do if nobody turned up, and nobody did. Ah well. Day five of nagging headache so quite a relief really 😉 We spent a fair bit of the afternoon shopping and preparing lots of packed food for our epic day on Friday, which deserves a blog post all of its own, even if I just end up copying and pasting from flickr!

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