Then to gather nuts is pleasant.
Hmm, I can see why that verse didn’t stick in my head 😆
October may not have brought us pheasants, but we did gather lots of (horse chest)nuts, which ended up being painted with poppies for our RAH Celebrating Remembrance art.
The boys had a sleepover with S and W at the beginning of the month, from which I picked them up on Monday in time to get to my BF peer support class, then we had the usual round of Monday afternoon rushing, with L’s gym, French with Deborah and boys and then back home for quick dinner and judo. Unfortunately the children’s latest night of the week is followed by the earliest morning, dashing across the county for K’s strings group and orchestra, which happen in the before-school slot on the wrong side of the wrong borough – ho hum! It does gain us a morning with Gina and co, when timings work, at least, as they did this time, which means J can have a piano lesson while the others tick a few boxes in English/Maths/French/whatever seems most useful at the time. Then L had violin (while the boys popped to the park with Sarah and Z, which is where most of the conker collecting happened), a brief play in the park for all of us and then back home for Rainbows and the boys’ gym session.
Wednesday was that rare thing, a free morning! We celebrated by doing a few normals and some music practice 😉 K had cello in the afternoon and both boys Cubs in the afternoon. Thursday was Tots, as ever, and on Friday Gina and co came over so we could spend some time on RAH artwork – we talked about conkers and the war effort, then did lots of painting (and also playing) conkers, but also apple printing (some beautiful poppies produced that way) and J and J spent a while fiddling with photos using the Camedia editing programme to see if we could get an effect of age; they settled on sepia in the end and chose a picture where E and L were playing conkers and both looked as if they could conceivably be in period costume. Printed onto sticky-backed photo paper and stuck onto canvas board this formed the centre of our art piece, with a wreath of poppy conkers round it. So far so good…
On Saturday we had hoped to be at the Battle of Hastings reenactment, but again it didn’t happen (maybe next year!). Instead the children had music school and then Bob took the girls to ballet while the boys and I got cooking and tidying, making room for two more children in their bedroom and a couple of Rainedrops adults in the annexe 🙂 Barbara and Chris, with impeccable timing, arrived just after Bob and the girls had got back and much chatting ensued 🙂 We were joined by Michelle and Marcus and spent a lovely evening catching up – it’s definitely been too long since we had a good chat like that (as evidenced by the fact that we stayed up far too late…) – thank you all for coming, and please come again soon!
Sunday started too late for church, realistically, so we had a leisurely morning instead, with a trip to the park for all those of us who didn’t have A Level maths to mark 😉 When Barbara and Chris left they took K with them, to go to an activity camp with B, and left us R. She fitted in beautifully, even to the extent of sleeping curled up in the big bed with J, L and A 😆 (Barbara – we did offer her a bed of her own, honest!) and clearly expected to be given work to do, so on Monday morning the girls played around with letters while J reluctantly did slightly more age-appropriate work and wound up his mother. I had been debating missing BF on Monday afternoon, but in the end decided it would be easier to go than to have work to catch up as well as homework to do. Fortunately the ladies in the creche didn’t seem to mind having R instead of K (although they were a little surprised that he seemed to have changed gender!) so I left the children with a small pile of work to do and went off to find out about problems with breastfeeding and the support available. And then we dashed about as usual, including taking R to judo, where she found the games good and the breakfall practice a little too scary, but had to be dissuaded from joining in the sparring 😆 with the added complication of having to leave Bob to it all because I had a continuing local preachers’ development session which I couldn’t miss because in a rash moment some months ago I offered to lead it. Since I had now almost completely lost my voice I had to change my plan rather quickly and find material written down somewhere so that others could read it out for discussion rather than me raising it initially. This page came to the rescue with enough material that I could just whisper the extra points I wanted raised and then leave it to others to discuss – it is the nature of local preacher meetings that there is rarely a shortage of people willing to discuss things 😉 It went well – in fact a little too well, as I’ve now been asked to do something similar at the general local preachers’ meeting in March…
Since we didn’t have K we didn’t have to get up early on Tuesday, and L was not feeling quite herself, so we laid abed until rather later than usual and then ambled over to Gina’s for J’s piano, French for all the girls, a bit of playtime in the garden and a bit of a whinge from me about J’s attitude recently 😳 Violin was good (yay for Christina may become my motto 😆 ) and then the girls had a snuggle on the settee with a video while J and I mended some fences and did a bit of work at last. It should have been Rainbows for L (her promise making session too) but we had decided earlier on to cancel as she was not feeling quite well and I think that was the right decision. If nothing else, it gives us another week to sort out uniform and find out what the promise is that she’s supposed to learn… Rainbows leader popped by in the evening with a catalogue for uniform and said she’d give us a copy of the promise (it’s now Sunday and no sign of it – ho hum), plus a goody bag and a very special events badge for L because she had been at Kentwell when lots of Rainbows visited 🙂 J had gym, which he always seems to enjoy more once he’s there than in the anticipation. He’s thinking that he might keep going until the end of term and then stop, which we have said is fine as long as he will do something else to keep fit in its place. If he and K were to both give up I think I would look at putting HE group swimming back in, as Tuesdays wouldn’t feel quite so tight again and the cost for three of them would be about the same as gym for two. Just J giving up would make little difference though, other than financially, I guess, as we’d still have to get K there and back.
Wednesday 13th was Latinetc, with dangerous chemicals 😯 courtesy of HH. Even the younger group looked at the effect of hydrochloric acid on different metals, with some spectacularly smelly and smoky results! We also galloped through chapter 4 of Minimus and Zoe did some pastel Hallowe’en pictures with anyone at a loose end, which was great. I think we need to plan again, though, to make sure everybody gets at least three sessions of something and makes the most of the morning. (A still misses Michelle’s story reading – she was overjoyed to see her on Saturday and kept bringing books and a hopeful smile…) No cello for K, since he was still busy doing exciting activity stuff, so although Gina still had to go Helen and Zoe were able to stay and chat for longer, and good-enough weather meant lots of playing in the field for the children 🙂
Wednesday evening was a bit of a finely crafted piece of timing, as J was at Cubs and Bob at home with R, L and A while I went out to collect J, E and S from E’s ballet. We got back just in time to swing by and pick up our J from Cubs, where they had been looking at fair trade, including sampling some tasty products 😉 and then brought everyone back home to finish off teas half-eaten before activities. Eventually all seven children were tucked up in the front room watching Madagascar, which was great until the closing titles woke everybody up enough to start dancing rather than dozing, at which point we sent everybody off to bed, leaving Gina’s three in sleeping bags in the front room ready for collection later. Gina arrived some time after 11 and had barely driven away when Barbara arrived, with K and B asleep in her car, so we were able to transfer them pretty much directly into pre-warmed, recently vacated sleeping bags in the front room and put the kettle on 🙂 Unfortunately for my sleep debt, Barbara had been hoping to catch news of the rescued miners and before we knew it we were hooked and watching the last few come up, which meant we just had to stay until the end… and then we got chatting… It wasn’t the earliest of nights, anyway!
Thursday was Tots, but also a rehearsal for the music school concert with the Britten Sinfonia, which meant that J, K and L had to be in one place at about the same time as I needed to be in another. Barbara saved the day by taking them for me and then going on to visit the Beans, while I just had to worry about getting A and myself to Tots, which turned out to be a Book Club session I had forgotten about, so there were a few slightly disappointed people waiting for the Js to join them and read The Importance of Being Earnest – ah well. Our original plan had been for Barbara to stay until Friday, so that the Beans could join us all for tea (and optimistically on both Barbara and J’s parts, boardgames) on Thursday, but in the event, despite the fact that we are neither mice nor men, she had to go back earlier than planned so the Beans had some morning and we had some afternoon, then Barbara, B and R left. A was rather upset at not having people here any more (she’s a hospitable little soul 🙂 ) so it was good that Chris and SB and then Helen and BB and finally all four of them at once were able to join us. Having met with success in making everybody work for their sushi supper on Saturday we decided that DIY pizza was the way to go this time, followed by some yummy desserts courtesy of Chris and Waitrose – thank you for another lovely evening; we really need to do this having people round thing more often!
Having decided at the last minute that a film on Friday was the way forward we were happy to get tickets for the NSFW showing of Ice Age 3, which was loud and a little on the scary side for A, but much enjoyed by all the children overall. Gina and co were there too, and we had tea and a chat with them afterwards then came home so that overtired crabby children could rest before the afternoon’s rehearsal and evening’s concert. Heavy traffic changed our later plans slightly, as there was clearly no point trying to get home in any of the gaps but luckily the room set aside for instruments, food etc was large and available so A and I stayed in there until Bob was able to join us in time for the parents’ performance of In C by Terry Riley. I have to admit, it was better than I had expected (especially having heard a rather scary version on youtube, which sounded awfully much like car alarms!) but it still isn’t something I would ever actively choose to listen of of my own accord! The children assure me that it was even better in the evening, with a few extra players and a bit more confidence 😉 The rest of the concert planned for the evening looked rather more promising to me, including several choral pieces and a performance by Dame Evelyn Glennie but it was by invitation only, and we weren’t invited 🙁 Still, the children got to hear most of it, as their performance was right at the end of the programme, and they were suitably impressed 🙂
Despite a late night, it was still music school again on Saturday morning. Bob did the drop off, and Baby Music with Anna, and then I picked them up and took them all to ballet, with work for the boys while the girls had their classes, so that Bob could get some jobs jobbed.
Today K threw things into disarray somewhat by managing to leave his fingers in the jamb while A closed the door, but we still made it to church more or less on time and they seemed to plump up again… He did a piano practice in the afternoon anyway, so they must have been better 😕 Bob sorted lunch, which gave me a chance to do some BF course work (still a bit more to do though) and then the afternoon had country dancing, which was fun (and I got to Strip the Willow, thanks to someone who didn’t want to dance with anybody she didn’t know, but did know me 🙂 ) and then a trip to the park which went on rather longer than planned, sucked in by sunshine and good company. By the time we got home Bob had dinner on the table and it was pretty much bedtime for children. And now I’m done it’s pretty much bedtime for me too 😉