In fact, I think we need to go right back to 19th November – oops!

So, 19th November was Wed Ed, where HH led a fun Science session of chromatography using Smarties, in Art we finished our Degas sculptures by adding clothes, theBabs did some Maths with those who wanted to do it and we played various games, but sadly Em was away so there were no ensembles and no sax lesson. As usual Kfish, Lfish, Jfish and I had to disappear off early to get to choir, Italian and then choir again.

Thursday was an active day with Multisport, trombone, gym and judo.

On Friday we went to the Wild Place for conservation (orchard clearing and curry), then the usual violin, library, ARU music, choir…

Saturday music school for Lfish, Kfish and Afish, but this time not for L as he and Jfish were at a county music day. Lfish had gym and bonus extra gym (a teaching exam in need of gymnasts to teach!) while I had an Usborne stall at a Christmas fair. After that we went along to wwhat I think was the highlight of the month for the boys especially: BB’s Minecraft party! Lots of fun, chat, playing together, tasty food – and a very very late night spending time with friends 🙂

Sunday had no plans – a very rare occurrence just now! This meant we could be slightly cheeky and invite ourselves back to the Beans to continue the party with those who had stayed overnight. Bonus party 😀

On Monday the second session of XYZ featured games, cup cakes to be made and decorated, Christmas decorations sewn and no hurry to finish as no cello this time. In the afternoon I taught a French lesson, then Kfish and L went to football. Jfish had no English lesson because of Thanksgiving. Lfish had Guides.

On Tuesday the older children and I had a trip to London to the cartoon museum for a workshop on WWI posters, leaving Afish at home with Bob. We started by visiting their exhibition on Hogarth (the Rake’s Progress, the Harlot’s Progress etc – the first use of the cartoon strip format, with a new picture in the sequence every few months, engraved and printed to make them affordable), then moved on to the general and political cartoons section in preparation for looking at some political cartoons from WWI. The workshop itself was with a cartoonist and art teacher, who talked about how caricature works and then walked the children through drawing their own caricature of Kaiser William. After that he showed us several cartoons of soldiers, both German and British, at the Front and the children again had a chance to draw their own. The museum was also housing a temporary manga exhibition so we looked at that and then had plenty of time to sit and read cartoon books.
Since we were in the area anyway it seemed silly not to go to the British Museum to see their exhibits on Roman Britain. We went via the ancient Greek and Roman galleries, since both Kfish and SB wanted to see those, then on to admire in the flesh, as it were, many of the artefacts we’d seen in various documentaries on early British History – quite cool! I had hoped to also get to the British Library, which is open late on Tuesdays, but the children were tired and opted for an early train home instead.

On Wednesday I went to Littlefoot with my Usborne books again, while Bob worked from home with the children. Jfish had his grade 5 treble recorder exam in the afternoon, fortunately over in time for Italian, so we dropped the other boys at the library to work/read/have computer time there and then went on to choir with Lfish.

Thursday saw Bob off to London for work, while the rest of us had a quiet morning and then trombone, gym, cello and violin exam rehearsals and finally judo – so not such a quiet second half of the day!

Kfish and Afish’s postponed cello lesson was on Friday morning, so we left the others still working on Secret Santa gifts – lots of woodwork, sanding and measuring! In the afternoon the boys went to the library again (two trips in one week!) while Lfish had violin and Jfish took the train back to his old school for a Christmas show rehearsal. There was no county hub music session so after Lfish’s choir I took the girls and L home, leaving Bob to collect Kfish from choir and Jfish from the station.

Saturday music school is currently full of concert preparations. They’re going to be singing in a fairly big concert with a few other local music groups – even L, who has opted out of all other singing and choir possibilities with a horrified expression! Jfish and I went to man a stall at yet another Christmas fair (it’s that time of year!) in the morning, then Bob took Jfish and L home while Lfish and Kfish had a string orchestra afternoon and informal concert and Afish had a playdate with Z.

Sunday was one of the days which makes me wish I had managed to persuade L to do choir, so that he would be more involved in the social circle Kfish has there. The boys’ choir were singing Eucharist and Mattins and Afish had choir, while Lfish had a violin exam and then she and Jfish had a flute and recorder day, in hopes of reigniting Lfish’s love of flute (apparently it worked as she really enjoyed the day and wants to start playing more again with hopes of working her way on to piccolo!) and giving Jfish something to get his teeth into recorder-wise (which again worked; he discovered that Irish folk music is fun to play and also did some six-part ensemble playing which he found distinctly challenging and enjoyed a great deal). I dropped Bob and the choir contingent (including L who ended up going along to the services to hear Kfish’s choir in action) and then took Lfish (with Jfish as hanger-on) to her exam (9 o’clock on a Sunday morning!) and then on to the flute and recorder day, doubled back to go to Mattins, dropped Afish off at Z’s for another playdate and took everyone else home for a quick lunch before an afternoon of yet more Secret Santa gift making – and more driving for me as I collected Afish, dropped Z’s mum in the city centre and went on to pick up Lfish and Jfish. A triumph of logistical planning!

Music exam #3 of 4 on Monday with Kfish’s cello exam, followed by celebratory roller skating and soft play. This is a HE activity which happens monthly but we normally can’t get to as it’s quite far away and clashes with cello lessons. We decided an exam meant no need for a lesson on the same day and that fun with friends won out this time. It was good. Home in time for football, English and Guides.

Tuesday was a much-needed catch-up day, with a very late start and then lots of Secret Santa preparation and a little work. Afish had Brownies.

WedEd Science this time was on DNA, while Art was Klimt (golden period, tree of life), unfortunately Em was ill so again no ensembles and no sax (we hope to make up for this lack at Christmas camp, when Em will be there and two more friends are bringing saxes and want to do lots of playing together) so we played board games and computer games to fill the extra time, while Jfish and SB did some maths, dashed off as usual to choir, Italian, choir, leaving Afish and L to play for longer and have a lift back from the lovely Babs.

Thursday started with a cross-country drive to avoid standstill traffic on our usual route, which got us to the monthly History session very late. It was on medieval towns and the power of the guilds, so we have lots of information now to put into History folders a few hundred years in the future from the Romans we’re currently working on. Thursday timings are always a bit tight, so having been late for History we were also late for Multisport – in the hall this time due to wet ground underfoot – and again for trombone. Our local A road is starting to suffer the usual winter delays and problems so things will only get worse for the next few months, I fear. Home again and Afish had gym; L and Kfish judo. Meanwhile Jfish and I were on our way to the first performance of his old school Christmas show.

Friday Conservation was again work on clearing the orchard, with soup to eat. From there we went on to drop boys at the library, while Lfish had violin, Jfish caught a train to the station nearest Bob’s office in preparation for a lift to his old school for the Christmas show part 2, Lfish and Kfish had choir and then it was time for pizza! Kfish, L and Jfish had all been invited to a birthday party at a local pizza restaurant by E, a lad they know through music. In a masterful stroke of party organisation E’s mum had also booked a second table for parents and siblings so that we could be there but not there. Tesco vouchers came to the rescue in paying for our meal and we had a lovely time – but a late night! When we got home there was just time to put out clean shoes for St Nicholas, brush teeth and get to sleep as quickly as possible, ready for a music school earlyish start.

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