Blood and tears

L had a dentist’s appointment today so stayed at home with Bob; 6 opted to do the same, so I left a pile of resources and a list of ideas for them to use as a basis for the day. Carrot cake was made 😀 Bob may have to tell you the rest, but it all sounded nicely productive.
Meanwhile K, A, J and I set off for the station, only to discover that Bob still had J’s season ticket (having renewed it at the weekend). Buying a ticket meant missing the normal train and hanging around for the late one, which J hates as it means he has to run at the other end – mind you, if he hated it that much you’d think he’d get up and out more reliably 😉
We spent the day with E and S, doing normal HE type pottering. E was very tired and droppy, while A was tired and grumpy, so it was a nothing much kind of day, really. We looked at some Sir Cumference videos on youtube over lunch 🙂 and I cut out the guard for E’s kirtle, pinned it into place and then somehow got carried away and sewed it on too (it still needs catching up/hemming though). I also managed, while the children played outside, to finish putting together the layers of 6’s bodice, so that when we got home I could cut the skirts to fit (and have now just spent the evening hemming the first couple of sections; my fingers hurt too much to carry on tonight though – lightweight!). Reading happened, piano happened, French happened (with E, at least), a little bit of maths happened (can we count Sir Cumference for that too?) and the children collaborated on Sumdog and Gridclub for a while too – then we realised that there was blood on the carpet, looking rather gruesome. Everybody checked for wounds and we realised A’s blister, which had been covered with a plaster, had come uncovered whilst trampolining and had obviously split; blood was dripping down her heel. I chased everybody out (A, S and K to do jobs in the conservatory, E upstairs to do some English) so I could attempt a clean-up – pale carpet and blood not a good combination!
Careful planning around a swimming lesson came to naught as the lesson was cancelled, but since J’s after-school activity was also cancelled that meant we could collect him and get home sooner than expected, which was a definite bonus. Unpleasant drive home though, with a “discussion” about J’s DT project, which he was meant to have gone to teacher about last week, but still hasn’t (he missed the final lesson, so hasn’t completed it and needs to arrange a time to do that, preferably before the projects are marked and he gets into trouble for not having completed it). As usual, it is everybody’s fault but his *sigh*
Then we got home and I had another unpleasant discussion, with L this time, who had not done the grade 2 music theory paper I had asked her to do as a priority and then decided she was utterly unable to do it, and so of course became utterly unable to do it 🙄 Lots of tears and wails and sobs, some shouting (blush) and eventually she got her head down and gave it a proper go. After tea she had a look through the grade 3 one and was surprised to find how much of it she could do, or thought she would be able to do. It’s amazing what a difference attitude makes!
K, after some persuasion, did a short ‘cello practice, as did A. J did some homework, but not as much as I’d have hoped, given extra time tonight and less tomorrow. Ho hum. I found a 1000 first words in English book for 6 and went through the first double page of that with her – lots of pronunciation practice and also a discussion of English versus American English words, as the book had “faucet” and “closet” which we changed to “tap” and “wardrobe”.
Skirt pieces now cut out and first one hemmed. I need my fingers to toughen up!

A stitch in time

Normally our Sundays are filled with church commitments, whether choir, preaching or simply going along to a service, Sunday school an so forth. This week was no exception: K had eucharist and A had a choir rehearsal. The rest of us, however, were unusually free so Bob took those who needed to go to church, J elected to stay at home and catch up on sleep and homework and I took 6 and L to a costume making day at Kentwell, or rather upstairs in the pub at the end of the drive at Kentwell. Since 6 should still be here when we’re being Tudor she will need suitable attire and a costume day is a good way to kickstart the process. We also needed to try the finery L will be borrowing, as we knew it was likely to require lengthening (4 or 5 inches, as it turns out!) and Thomasine had very kindly made a pattern for J’s hose for me so I wanted to collect that too. We gave a lift to another future Kentwellie, so left a little earlier than we might have done, but at least that meant Bob and the others could get up and out too.
6 is exceedingly ticklish, we discovered, as Bess attempted to pin and then mark a toile 🙂 Eventually it was done though, and we decided to head off home straight after lunch, rather than sticking around to get on with sewing as well. This was partly because space was limited and partly because my energy levels currently are very low; I can manage a few hours of real activity a day but then have to recoup – not easily done in a busy room full of chatty people wielding scissors, irons and needles 😉
We got back theoretically in time for the St George’s Day parade, from which L had already excused herself for costume stuff and which A then decided to miss because of a sore foot – a nasty blister. Instead, the children all opted for trampolining and general decompression. Karine from EFI phoned in the evening, to check how things were going: all well so far, but I need to think of things to get 6 talking a bit more. I think as her confidence grows this will get better (and in fact today she has spoken much more already, as well as doing some reading aloud and pronunciation practice with me) and I hope we will be able to give her the confidence she needs.


A little over a week ago we were approached by EFI to ask if we would be able to host a girl who had already completed the hosting leg of her exchange but was struggling with her stay abroad. Since EFI was something we had discussed for L (K very definitely not keen; L considering it) but knew we could not afford at the moment, thanks to Bob’s job (or lack of job) situation, it seemed a good opportunity to gently stick a toe back in the water. Most of all, though, we felt sad that any child was unhappy, and worried for her parents – it is hard enough to deal with a child being away for so long when you are confident they are being cared for, but to know they are unhappy would be incredibly hard 🙁
Things moved fairly quickly after that, and exactly a week after we had agreed that we felt able to take her 6 arrived, brought to us by her mum G. The girls and I went to the station to meet them and had one of those lovely moments of recognition as they arrived: big smiles exchanged and waves of friendliness before we even knew for sure that it was them. In fact, we caught a glimpse of a mother and daughter and found ourselves hoping it was them 🙂
G and I chatted pretty much all the way home; the girls were a little more reticent, hampered by language and by shyness, although they had all been very excited about meeting. It was late when we had eaten and by the time bedtime happened they had their second wind and were all rather hyper, so settling down took a while – all very good-natured though.
The following morning Bob took J to catch his train and G caught the same one, leaving the rest of us to have a lie-in and recover from the late night. Eventually we had a gentle start to the day, with breakfast and then some fun inventing, making and then playing tiddlywinks-based maths games, with breaks for trampolining when brains started to get overloaded. Then we got out a science kit and worked with magnets for a bit, adding in Geomags and some general play after a while. After lunch we went to the park, where A took 6 round and round as part of some long, involved game I didn’t quite follow 🙂 She is quite smitten!
It was hot and sunny, so the lure of ice lollies persuaded them back home, where a film was chosen (Finding Nemo) and then it was time to take L to gym. 6 and A came too, and we played games and read stories when we weren’t watching the gymnastics.
A more sensible bedtime set us all up for a trip to Duxford the next day, leaving too late for J to get his train but with plenty of time to drive him to school and get back to wait in the car park for others to arrive. Maths in the car was finished just in time to join our group, then we stood in the cold wind until the last stragglers (working on Home Educator time 😉 ) arrived and we could go in.
Concorde was our first stop, where we were lucky enough to find a guide who told us all about the plane we were in (it never actually took passengers but was one of the test planes and full of equipment, some of which was removed in order to put seats in to show what the passenger-carrying version looked like) and also that there were Lotus F1 cars test driving on the track that day 🙂
We spent an hour or so in the hands-on section of the Airspace, waiting for M and C, who then texted to say they were running late, so we went outside for some fresh air and a snack, with the bonus of watching the F1 cars (away in the distance – an accident last year has meant increased precautions this year) and a Spitfire which took off and then proceeded to give a mini aeronautical display. The play area has been improved since we were last there and proved to be lots of fun – A would happily have spent most of her time there, I think!
Once M, M and C had arrived we had fun playing follow-my-leader, each thinking the other was somewhere else, until we finally caught up with them right at the far end, having visited the rather cool Historic Duxford hut on the way. We ate lunch (in the sun outside at first, then in the foyer as a heavy shower drove us inside) while M scoped out the displays to see if they were suitable for young and impressionable eyes. It seemed they were, so we went in and found out about life in Normandy during the war, then peeped into Monty’s various caravans – including the luxury of a bath! We all tried on hats and felt the weight of backpacks, and decided we weren’t tough enough to be soldiers, then moved on to the big hanger with its impressive display of American aircraft. Here M flexed her Friend of Duxford muscles and managed to negotiate use of a private room, complete with water cooler, for a Latin lesson – but I had managed to bring the wrong pile of books so we were short of things to look at and in any case the water cooler seemed to exert an irresistible draw, so we did what we could (half a chapter so not too shabby really) and then gave German a try, with rather less success, since the game M was playing with A was so overwhelmingly exciting 😉 Ah well, we tried!
By now it was time to head off for choir, especially as we were still at the wrong end of a large site and wanted ideally to arrive with enough time to ask about 6 joining in. Fortunately the traffic was not too bad, Sam was amenable and 6 was soon standing with L in the choir stalls. Both girls were picked out for music theory, where the (Canadian) teacher thought she would be kind and do 6’s lesson in French (she knows better now though 😉 ) and it seemed to go well. Bob collected them (and J) and took them home for baths and early nights while K and I stayed on for boys’ choir.
Today started early for J and me – off to school. I woke the girls up before we left and was rewarded with bleary eyed hugs from L and A and a bright beaming smile from 6; evidence so far suggests she’s better at mornings than we are 😉 Apparently music school was fun (singing, then theory/games, then orchestra – so 6 and A watched a film on Bob’s laptop) and was followed by lunch and more trampolining, plus the rest of the film. Lots of stories and chatting made for a pleasant evening – and now it’s all quiet and time for me to go to bed too!