Party in the FIeld

I spent some chunks of Friday holed away with a laptop and an order of service, hammering a sermon into shape ready for preaching on Sunday, but as far as I could tell all the children were busy having a lovely time and Bob was getting some chatting and cake-eating done 🙂
L and especially 6 enjoyed spending time with M and doing horsey things, while K noodled on a piano which wasn’t as sad as ours and played with J quite happily. It was lovely to have some quite settling in time, with small numbers of friends to ourselves before things expanded as other families arrived – not that it isn’t lovely to be part of a big group too, but somehow I think the transition is easier when you’re there at the beginning, and for A especially (and me too, if I’m honest) a big group all at once can be a bit overwhelming; easier to adjust in incremental stages 😉
J’s band stuff apparently went well, if rather damply (lots of videos and photos on the National Methodist Youth Brass Band facebook page) and we had occasional texts from him to reassure us that he was still alive – and awake despite late nights!
Unfortunately we had to leave just as the party really started to get going, managing to stay until all but one family had arrived, but then needing to get home in time for last minute service arrangements meant our departure could not be delayed any longer, so we missed seeing Jax and co 🙁 Just as well we had gone then, though, as it turned out, since my emails about arrangements had gone astray and the church steward was starting to worry and work out alternatives in case I was unable to make it.
We left J up in Uppermill, where he was also to be involved in leading worship, so our Sunday turned out to be a day of relying on other people to shuttle the children from one place to another for us! We dropped all four younger ones with choir friends, who took L and 6 to Eucharist, collected them and took A to choir, collected her and fed all four, handed the girls over to us (A complete with bowl of ice-cream to finish in the car) so we could get A to gym and topped off their kindness by taking K and his cello to NCO rehearsal so all we needed to do was collect them later. Meanwhile other friends were collecting J from band, taking him back to the party and keeping him overnight ready to be returned to us on Monday. All Bob and I had to do was make our way to church for the service, which felt very odd sans enfants!

On your marks

Thursday was a Gina day, but we were so far behind in preparing to go away for an early weekend that Bob took the girls and K and I stayed at home to get on with jobs.
They picked J up after school and then came back here, where we loaded the car up and finally managed to leave. The journey was long but fairly uneventful – traffic slow but not overly heavy – and we made it to Uppermill and found the church which was to be J’s home for the next few days, as he joined the National Methodist Youth Brass Band for the Whit Friday marches, with added reunion concert and a couple of services.
J safely delivered, with his trombone, lyre, two mutes, sleeping bag, uniform and all other necessities, we went on from there to the Off The Path Party in the Field, where we were the first to arrive. It’s always lovely to spend time with good friends 😀


After such a busy Tuesday it was time for a morning at home and we made the most of it by sleeping in and starting late. Normals happened, plus ‘cello lessons for K and A, delayed from yesterday, then choir (girls in yet another new place – St Edward’s – which was beautiful. A had Rainbows, which she loves.

Science Alive!

On Tuesday K’s friend B was going to go to Science ALive, partly on our recommendation. His mum very kindly offered to take any of ours who wanted to go, and even to drop J off at school on the way past. Accordingly, A, K and 6 went along with them, leaving L with me as she had a writing workshop booked.
Their theme was light and sound, and they each made various things to find out about how light and sound work: a kaleidoscope or a periscope, a spectroscope, a spinner (elastic band stretched across a piece of card which made sound when whirled around on the end of a string) and a buzzer (lolly sticks with paper between to buzz when blown) which they proudly showed me when they got home. Apparently it was a good day 🙂
L also had a good day: she was enthused by the workshop and enjoyed a full violin lesson, using 6’s time as well as her own 😉
J had a slightly less day, although a detention rather than cricket club did at least mean he was finished at just the right time to be collected by those returning from Science…
They even got back (just) in time for gym and Brownies – bonus!

Synagogue and scootering

Recently there have been visits arranged by members of our local HE group to different places of worship. Unfortunately we’ve not been able to make most of them, so i was very pleased when one came up that we cold do, to a synagogue which was not the one the children and I visited last year. Unfortunately we had been told that younger siblings would not be allowed to attend and that the minimum age was seven, which meant that neither A nor S could go in, and therefore I could not either. Since I trust my children to behave without me this was not a problem for them, but it was disappointing for me and means I can’t now tell you what happened there. I might see if I can get the children to blog what they remember though 😉
What was particularly frustrating was that when we dropped the older ones off A, s and I were invited in by the speaker, only to be warned off by the HE organiser in a way which frightened the children enough that they didn’t dare take up the invitation, so we sat in the foyer and played I Spy instead.
Lots ofscootering on the way back to the car and by the time we got there everyone was starving so we grabbed a packet of biscuits to share and made our way back for toast whilst watching Animal Heroes – I was assured it was educational enough to merit watching and actually it was quite good 🙂
Home for music practices and such, while Bob collected J since he was out for a coffee afternoon anyway – sounds very civilised but in fact a group of ex-colleagues meeting fortnightly to see how the job-hunting is going.

Quiet weekend

Saturday was music school, which all four children who go are enjoying (and J would like to be enjoying, he says): Sing Up! then Rockin’ Rhythms (three different levels: 6 goes with A and does Sol-Fa with songs and basic note theory, L is working through a theory book and K is on past papers) and ensemble to finish (K on ‘cello, L on violin, 6 and A on the laptop, usually watching a film – Brave this week).

Meanwhile I took J to school then went to Tesco and used their wifi to carry on reading (online, because I couldn’t get it from the library and wasn’t prepared to buy it) Midnight’s Children for parents’ book group. I didn’t finish it (interestingly, nor had most of the other parents) and I’m not sure I shall be able to summon up the enthusiasm to do so, much as I hate to leave a book unfinished. Each individual section is very interesting and easy to read, but it meanders about so much that once the page is turned I have barely any recollection of what I’ve just read. I’ve sat through sermons like that too: each part makes sense but the whole is somehow totally unmemorable and has no thread to hold it together.

The children finished watching Brave in the afternoon, as well as fitting in some trampoline time – the weather this week has been so uncertain that they’ve snatched a few minutes whenever they can.

Sunday was similarly peaceful. Nobody had choir in the morning, and although we were tempted to go along to Eucharist anyway, to see Roly Bain, going to our usual Methodist church meant an extra hour in bed which everyone appreciated 😉

The afternoon was spent bike riding, once 6 had been able to have a chat with her sister, and then the girls had Evensong.

Conservation, colours, classics and choir

Conservation was earlier than usual this week, so Bob took K when he took J in and they went straight on to conservation – only to start worrying when nobody else turned up until well after the advertised time. I remember when I lived in Cherbourg being told about the “petit quart d’heure cherbourgeois” which meant that everything started late because people were laid-back about time-keeping. It seems to be a HE trait too 😉
Those of us still at home did the usual sort of jobs: Maths, music, some English, finishing off the May lapbooks… Suma delivery arrived and was partially sorted, setting aside Michelle’s items and putting away ours. We had lunch and cleared the table ready for Latin, then did a few more jobs. I think the weather must have been good and the chance to play irresistible 😉
Eventually K arrived back, brought by Michelle and C, and we got stuck straight into some German, learning the colours, then playing a game with them to help them stick and finally setting up a worksheet to be finished for next time. It was good to actually get a proper German session in 🙂
Latin was finishing off chapter 11, so only one more chapter to go now. We started by feeding back the research that had been done since last time into what a groma is and how it is used. The plan had been to make and use one last Friday, but we’ll save that for another time now – I think it needs a full day, really, and there’s lots of stuff we can do around the edges, using Roman measurements and comparing them with what we use today: Maths, Classics and DT all wrapped up into one 😀
Unfortunately we had to cut the session a bit short to get the girls to choir – and remembered at the last minute that we had suma to hand over. We still would have just about made it on time had there not been an accident on the other carriageway which apparently necessitated everyone going our way slowing down to have a good look *sigh*
Dropped off the girls, parked, walked to library, met up with J, walked back to choir, met up with girls, waited for Bob (delayed by the same rubberneckers), sent girls and J home with him, ate tea, sat and sewed while K sang and then finally made it home with just enough energy to collapse into bed. No dancing again 🙁 One of these days the opportunity and the energy will coincide 😉

A day of music and sport

Thursday was unexpectedly free for Gina (SATS) so we went over for music lessons (flute and piano for L, piano for 6 and K) and then on to multisport. A decided she was not well enough to come so stayed at home with Bob and got lots of sleep. She’s been really under the weather the last few weeks, but with no specific anything: a day of rash which quickly faded, a day of mild fever, a sore throat, glands raised for a day or two and so forth – never really enough to do anything about but never quite shaken off either. Hopefully a few quiet days will see it off for good.
After multisport we took L’s flute back to the shop for a speedy repair – a screw had come out but was quickly replaced. I do like nice long warranties 😉
Back home for a bit of violin practice (L) and trampolining (the rest) then music practice for the others while L did gym and I went to collect J from school, feed him and return him in time for the lower school concert. It was very good. The one thing I think the others would most appreciate if they were to go to J’s school is the music – there are so many opportunities there and it’s very hard to replicate that in HE without ending up driving everywhere all the time.

Recovery day!

Quiet Tuesday – sleeping late and catching up. 6 had her first language assessment by phone. Her English is definitely improving, but is still very limited, both in speaking and in understanding (although it can take a few minutes sometimes to realise that things have not been understood, as smiles are quick and good will abounds; we have to remember to double-check and rephrase to make sure). It occurs to me, too, that we as a family do relatively little writing, so might need to make a conscious effort to do more while 6 is here; probably not a bad idea in any case, as both K and L could do with more sustained writing practice.
Music lessons came and went. Christina was very pleased with 6’s progress and has given her several more tunes to work on, which has made her very happy 🙂 L has started to play some of the teacher parts too, so it sounds rather nice, especially when K joins in with the bass part on his ‘cello. I bought some books of beginner ‘cello and violin duets at the last holiday orchestra – I think I might see if A and 6 can tackle them together over the next few weeks.
J had a meeting at school in the evening to discuss the French exchange he’s doing at the end of term, so Bob went to that (I was far too tired to risk driving so far) and I did the gym and Brownies run. Brown Owl said that when L is at Kentwell 6 would be very welcome to go along by herself, if she’d like to; she was complimented on how lovely she is and how well she joins in with everything. Very nice to get compliments on “my” children, even when they’re only borrowed 😉