Kfish decided last year that he would like to do an exchange like Jfish’s with En Famille, as long as he didn’t have to go to school. I think his decision was brought on by loving our visit to 6’s family in Brittany, where he fell in love with countryside, lifestyle and people. Given the slim chances of finding a home educating family in France we talked about it a lot and he gradually worked up to the point where he thought a three month stay, with a short time in school, might work. Then we went to the En Famille meeting and he came out of that announcing that actually it all sounded fine and he’d like to do the full six months please – so here we are.
Unfortunately the lad Kfish has been paired with was unable to do the hosting first, which for many reasons (mostly to do with Kentwell or music) was our preferred order, so we will need to do some juggling around and some sweet talking of music course directors, but the match seems a very good one so we went ahead anyway. When we mentioned holiday orchestra at the end of August, Kfish’s new French brother L was very keen to come along and take part so we continued our game of musical beds, aided by Jfish being away on a NMYBB tour, and welcomed him and (briefly) his mum on 20th August. So, now we are seven – well, for a day or two we were eight, when L’s mum was here and again when Jfish returned before J left – and it’s a good number when you have a seven seater car to fill 😉
L arrived on a Wednesday (Jfish was in Devon and the rest of us in Wales with my sister so Bob did the airport run while we dashed across the country to cook dinner and restore order to the house) so we planned to keep him busy but not too much so for the first few days. On Thursday we had a slow start, played a few games (notably Akumulate) and then went to a workshop on Victorian papercutting – an activity we hoped would involve little enough English to be easy for him to follow. We finished the day off with a film. In fact, there have been rather a lot of films so far – the cinema’s kids club showings being a fun and not too costly trip out which we used on Friday and again on Monday too. On Saturday we went to Kentwell Hall for the day so that J could see what 6 got up to last year and L could see what we spend a fair chunk of our summer doing. We’re hoping that at least some of us will return and take part at Michaelmas, and it would be great if L were to come with us and learn some hands-on History in the most interactive way possible!
Sunday was church in the morning and then an afternoon of punting for Bob, J, L, Kfish, Lfish and Afish, while I drove across the country to collect Jfish who was apparently too badly broken by ten days (and very late nights) of trombone playing to manage trains 🙄
After the Monday morning cinema trip Jfish gave L a crash course in recorder for the holiday orchestra folk for fun session, where the teacher had decreed no saxophones – enough for L to make a decent noise but decide that he would rather do percussion or voice. In honour of J’s last night with us we had takeaway pizza and hot chocolate fudge brownie and then attempted an early night ready for a prompt start and holiday orchestra in the morning. Ha!
So now here I am, sitting in the foyer at holiday orchestra with jazz coming at me from one side, strings from another and the occasional snatch of voices from the choir at the far end. L and Lfish started the day with folk for fun, Jfish with recorders, Kfish with choir and Afish with training strings, then they moved on to intermediate band (L), advanced Gamelan (Kfish and Lfish), a Prime Brass workshop (Jfish) and folk for fun (Afish) while I was a parent helper in choir – and was told parent helpers have to sing too; it was fun 🙂 Afish is now in her last session for the day, choir, while Lfish and Kfish are in strings, Jfish in band and L in a jazz workshop. Soon Afish and I will be playing games while the others are in orchestra and folk group then we’ll head home and see how much energy everyone has left…

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