On Saturday L sang in the choir for a wedding, which kept her busy for most of the day. I was busy too, preparing for book-selling, storytelling and mask-making at a local shopping centre on Sunday and Monday. A and I tried out different ways of making masks and worked out which stories would lend themselves well to a variety of age groups as well as providing suitable ideas for masks. For everyone else it was a fairly normal pottering kind of day.

L came with me on Sunday and we sold £80 of Usborne books as well as helping about 60 children to make masks, we think – possibly more. We used The Sun and the Wind and Hide and Seek Kittens as our main sources of inspiration, with Animal Stories and Egyptian Times as alternatives for those who wanted more ideas. Bob will need to blog about what the rest of them did, as I wasn’t here!

Monday was another day of Usborne. The girls came with me and Bob dropped us all off so that we wouldn’t have to worry about parking. This time we were sharing the space with a large stall selling olives, baklava, fudge and Turkish delight, which meant that not everybody got as far as us (we were hidden behind their stall and it was rather a distraction!) but we still made lots of masks, told lots of stories and sold, sadly, rather fewer books – the commission from which the girls spent on olives and baklava 😉 The two men running the stall were lovely and told the girls that everything was half-price for them so they got good value for their money! Apparently the olives were the nicest they’d ever tasted so they made a card and a rosette to say so and when they presented them the men gave them a large handful of chocolate pebbles each as well, along with some caramelised almonds and cashews for me. So it was a good day, really, if not very profitable. Meanwhile J and H had a lie-in and then got on with some work from their list – I hope. In practice I suspect J spent much of the time programming or playing on the computer, while H spent lots of it watching vidoes of people trampolining; we got back to a rather worried J saying that H was determined to learn how to do a back flip on the trampoline like L does. L pointed out that she does gym moves on the trampoline that she has already learned at gym and needs to practise, but H was not deterred so we gave him some sensible warnings about broken necks and being taught properly first and promised to arrange a lesson soon.

As it happened, we found out at very short notice that there was a holiday trampolining session nearby the very next day, so we were able to make good that promise very quickly 🙂 No backflips yet, though, as H needs to learn the basics of tuck jumps, straddle jumps, seat drops and front drops first – as do the girls since trampolining for gym is not the same as trampolining proper.
That morning we had had a frustrating trip to swimming lessons, where we arrived to find that the pool was closed due to a child being sick in it, then a very long drive home thanks to an accident on the A14 closing one lane. I could have done without all of that, as I somehow managed to injure my foot over the weekend and was struggling to weight-bear at all, leave along to drive for so long. The boys had another lie-in and then caught up on Chemistry ready for WedEd. Some Maths may have happened too…

WedEd was small and select this week. SB was away with cadets and we were only two families to start with, so just six children rather than our usual 10+. H and J started by stripping batteries into their component parts ready for a future session while the other children played in the garden, then H, J and C played the Bean Game while BB, L and A experimented with passing a current through copper sulphate solution to see what happened and explain why. I had brought both Maths games and some Shakespeare stuff to do, but so many other impromptu things were happening that we never got round to those activities. The chemistry groups swapped, people experimented with creating currents (not electrical this time!) in the pool, we had pasta, strawberries, cake… SB came back, more games were played, there was much party planning and costume discussing and before we knew it it was time to come home and eat tea!

Thursday was one of those days which didn’t work out as planned. Bob had a train to catch to get to one airport so he could fly to Dinard to collect K, then the two of them were to fly back from Dinard to a different airport, then catch another train to a station near enough for us to collect them. Meanwhile the girls had swimming lessons in the morning and in the afternoon there was a teen meet in a park near the pool which ended in good time for us to get to band, which should in turn end in good time for us to drive to the station and collect Bob and K. My plan was for the boys to take some work to do while the girls swam, then to have a packed lunch either at the park or before going there, eat enough to keep us going for tea before band, then do the station pick-up and come home for a proper tea. I’m not sure whether I’m a mouse or a man, but it certainly went awry!
J wanted to see old friends again at the park, but also wanted to do diabolo and wasn’t sure the weather would be good enough. He prefers to have something to concentrate on in large groups, so he doesn’t get overwhelmed by too many people. H was keen at first, despite the relatively early start it would necessitate, but then we realised that this was because he thought that they would be playing on the Wii at Gina’s while the girls swam, when in fact Gina would also be at swimming and her J away. Once he realised we were planning an early start and some work he decided he didn’t want to go at all, so the boys had another lie-in while I took the girls then we came back and watched a film in the afternoon instead. It’s a shame to have missed what sounds like a busy park meet, but H and J will see most of the same teens once Multisport starts again, so I guess it will work out okay. We also got the spare room as ready as we could for K’s return, so that he would have somewhere to sleep and a place to put his things, at least, and then made and ate a hasty tea before leaving for band.
J has started H off on the basics of baritone-playing, but at band he got his own individual lesson from a band member, a rather lovely and very patient older gentleman. The junior band is starting to sound really good now and A is part of that too, although she misses her individual lessons as she really enjoyed those. J on tuba makes a big difference to the overall sound (I can see why they wanted him to play it!) and L is getting used to having trombone solos 🙂
Bob and K, meanwhile, were delayed in France and then delayed again in England, so at the time we thought we might be collecting them from the station they were only just getting to the (very long and slow) queue for passport control. This meant we had time to pop to the supermarket for food and then drive down to collect them from the airport (argh! to airports where you can’t stop anywhere even remotely nearby without paying a minimum charge!) but it also meant a much later night all round than planned. It’s very good to have K back though 😀

Today we all made it up in time to get the girls to swimming and I booked an archery class for the boys at the same time. That ended just in time for them all to do aquazorbing, where we were joined by the Beans too – lots of fun!
Home again for lunch (veeeery slow traffic though, so a late lunch) and K is now catching up all his emails while J practises diabolo and H, L and A try out the various Mario games which have just arrived for the Wii.

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