Sunday, 30 July 2017

July 2

So at last the end of term arrived. And there was much rejoicing.

It was pretty sad saying goodbye to Mr Knowles who has been an ideal headteacher, but we are told that the new (mystery) head, who'll be starting in January (Miss Bennett is in charge until then), will be as keen on all the good bits that Mr K was good at.

Thea is tired, but proud of herself for completing her first year.

If we were at all interested in what the DfE thinks children should achieve in class reception, then we'd be incredibly proud of what her report said. As it is, we think she is just the most amazing, inventive, generous, adventurous, intelligent, hard working, thoughtful, determined, imaginative and emotionally mature little person!

We celebrated the end of term with pizza in front of the first Harry Potter film,

And now the holidays are well underway.

Ian has been working hard in Siracasa,

And we've been doing some serious playing and appreciating of the british summer weather! Day one involved children disappearing into some woods while their parents sheltered from the rain and walked briskly to keep warm.

Day two involved more running in different woods with different friends,

while I found down-wind positions behind trees to enjoy my book and coffee in relative dry.

And then they cooked.

We had mexican food with friends last night (and a very late night!), and today we hit the river. There was quite a lot of river (see previous comments on the rain levels), and one of the jetties was totally submerged, necessitating a group effort in launching the boats into the current (!) one at a time, with the smallest crews already in position.

But the wind was brisk and all children had lots of fun whizzing around. I was ballast for N which meant I could attempt to take photos of everyone.

Monday, 24 July 2017


Um, yes, we're okay. We've just been a bit over-programmed.

But this week......

We had more fun avoiding the general public at Moorlands. We hid from natives in the rhododendron bushes and were generally stealthy. We decided that the rhododendron flower skeletons were poisonous spiders. And it was fun.

There was a cello concert and Thea played Wake Up, Shake Up (known as Allegro by the violins and cellos). She played wonderfully and impressed everyone with her ability to fudge a note and to pick up with the piano instantly with no pause - if the audience hadn't had allegro flowing through their veins, they would never have known that she'd made a mistake!

We had the school summer fair with the theme of Harry Potter. We ran a potions stall where you could make your own sparkly slime to take home. There are no photos because from the point that the gates opened we had a queue of a minimum of 15 kids. Fortunately, they were all entertained by playing with the left overs and once we had taught them how to blow bubbles with it, the queue was quite enjoyable!

We made about 80 lots of slime and when I first properly looked up, most of the dock was deserted - the tables taken back into the church, the gazebos down and the litter all picked up. It was manic! But so much fun!

Like all good families, we made a replica of a ancient Egyptian house for Class 3's Egyptian museum. Nathaniel has really enjoyed this topic (so maybe the Ashmolean won't be so frowned upon next time!), and had very clear plans for his exhibit. Fortunately, I had been paying close attention to the Great British Pottery Throwdown, so we had the skills at hand to build a clay house with relative ease. According to his teacher, he is the first person to ever bring a house to the class museum!

The kids have been on their whole-school-trip to Newby Hall today, and then we've only got 2 days left of term. Thank goodness!

Monday, 27 March 2017

March 3

Despite a sudden downpour, we had a great afternoon of branch drums and sardines at Moorlands. We avoided the Sunday bimblers on the paths and headed deep into the rhododendrons to make percussion instruments out of the bare branches.

Ian returned from Paris and so we celebrated his birthday.

The hockey obsession continued as we invested in four sticks and balls. Every evening is now hockey evening and I've had to learn all the different moves and lots of different techniques!

And the practice seems to have paid off as Nathaniel was awarded the trophy for great wonderfulness at hockey at the club on Friday. He was soooooo pleased with himself.

Grandpa Beard came to stay and we destroyed things. Thea now tells me that this is her favourite sort of gardening - she tells me that cutting and chopping things is better than planting bulbs.

The first summer-den building of the season:

And he brought the best presents - new dragon suits! Thank you Granny Janni, they love them (and Thea didn't change all weekend!)

Monday, 20 March 2017

March 2

It's all been so busy! This week has been dominated by zooming around York to go to fun stuff. Firstly, as part of National Science Week (do you remember the days when this meant that I was at work until 9pm escorting thousands of kids around the university?), we headed up to the AstroCampus for a workshop on shooting stars. Some really good students told us loads about meteors and meteoroids and meteorites (ask Thea - she'll explain), and then we played with fun stuff. The kids enjoyed the ball-bearings-into-flour-and-cocoa experiment (and we got some good crater-ray formations).
And they both had great fun with the pressurised air rockets, having made their own rockets from paper.

But the highlight for me was getting to play with the big telescopes (they've got more since we were there), and the clouds clearing so that we could get a good look at the Orion nenula. We also discovered that Nathaniel isn't quiet or shy when it comes to talking to students about space - he was happily chatting away to them about star nurseries and Betelgeuse and star mapping software. Nathaniel the extrovert - who'd have thunk it?!
For Thea, it was a fun week as she became Thea-Three-Cellos-Graham. She's starting to grow out of her 1/16 size, so we headed to Koplins to look for a 1/10. But in their wisdom, they also sent us away with a 1/8 to try as well. So this week she has been playing them all!

And surprisingly, the 1/8 is the winner. It looks pretty massive, but she is playing in tune and making a decent tone, so it'll do us.

This Friday was history day at school. They've spent the week on all sorts of fun activities with each class having a different historical period to focus on. Thea has been studying the Romans and went to the Yorkshire Museum and the Holgate windmill. Nathaniel has been studying WW2 and went on a scary trip to Eden Camp and .... the Holgate windmill. For the finale, they were all invited to come to school dessed appropriately, as a Roman soldier and an evacuee. There was limited interest in preparing costumes until Thursday evening at which point the three of us knocked up two rather fine outfits including a tunic from a pillowcase and a gas mask case.
This is Thea's fierce soldier face.
There were some amazing costumes, especially Mr Thompson's Henry VIII. Here is the photo of them all (yep - that's the whole school).

And no week would be complete without a picture of my view while I read my book while Nathaniel was at his choir rehearsal.

Monday, 13 March 2017


Ahh, yes, the blog. I remember that. I'm not entirely sure what has been happening since September which has prevented us from updating it, but I'm sure that it was all encompassing and rewarding (not rewatching the whole of the Gilmore Girls from beginning to end). I'll try to recap a bit, but let's face it, I'm unlikely to manage it!

So I'll start simply - with last week. Wasn't exciting, but when was this blog ever exciting?!

There was much business over the weekend where we managed to fit in a choir rehearsal, a group recorder lesson and spring cleaning the school playground. N managed a good hour of pressure washing the desking in the nature area before I took him off to choir with a rather mud - splattered face!

Afterwards, he was desperate to come back and take over from D whose group cello lesson had been cancelled, so she had had a whole morning of pressure washing! N and Ian proceeded to grafitti the playground under the watchful eye of the headmaster!

I made trips to the tip with a car full of tree prunings and was back in time to take N to recorder after which the kids sprung around the Dean's Garden in a most photogenic manner.

Next day the kids were taken off to the beach by some insane kind friends, so we were left with a day to ourselves! We used it well. First to the sailing club for more spring cleaning....

...and then to hang out in a very 2005 style with J and V and R. We ate food, drank tea, read the newspaper and had great fun making increasingly strong coffee with Jim's fancy coffee creation device.

Very rock'n'roll.

On Wednesday, the Barbarellas sung for a storytelling event as part of International Women's Day. I was very proud of my rendition of a American civil war housewife who dies dramatically half way through a song. And I only forgot the words once!

Then, for complicated reasons, we ended up opening up West Bank Park in the sun at 7am on Thursday morning. It was heavenly! Almost sufficiently so to make me want to be an early bird (rather than some sort of comatose pigeon). We had a quick romp with friends around the pond to look at the frog spawn and throw sticks around before breakfast.

On Friday, D was awarded the weekly trophy at hockey. Might well have been something to do with the fact that she spent the whole session running at top speed with a grin as wide as her face! She definitely deserves an award for enthusiasm!

And the next weekend was full up with my playing in a string group all saturday morning - we had great fun playing the Albinoni Adagio for strings and organ with an organ sound on a poncy keyboard which sounded like Count Duckula! And more choir for N and parties to attend for D (this week it was ten-pin bowling. My idea of hell!). And it was all rounded off by a one-man play about an orphan (Tommy Foggo) and his adventures in the deep with his cello. Yes. Really. And it was presented in one end of a bike shop.

It could only happen in York.

Monday, 26 September 2016


Nathaniel had a great birthday. Thank you so much for all his cards and presents. Preparations looked like this:

 And the morning looked like this:

Nathaniel wasn't too impressed that he had to go to school, but we had a birthday tea in the evening.
And then a party on the Sunday. Fortunately all the kids had attended one of these events before and were prepared for the madness! Nathaniel had asked for a planet party, and so we did our best to create some planet games. We were very proud of this year's treasure hunt. As well as the laminated maps (all praise to Catherine H who drew these a few years back) with some clue locations marked, there was also compass work and  clues to solve which included breaking codes using keys distrbuted across the team's medallions. There was no way that the younger sisters were going to get left behind - their keys were essential!

Then there was the space bear hunt - everyone's favourite.

This year's entitirely random craft was decorating polystyrene stars. Not very Steiner this year!

And then cake. Planet cake of course.

A fine day.