Monday, 23 June 2014

Ullswater

The last few Ullswaters have been rainy and cold and so we were due a sunny one. This year's sailing club hootenanny was warm and lovely! We hadn't taken a boat, because we have been just a little busy, and weren't entirely sure that we were going to go at all, as both kids are exhausted, but the weather (and our love for the sailing club!), persuaded us that we must go. The journey didn't start well - having left after school, we ran into traffic and had to take a detour all the way down Wensleydale. It was very picturesquew and we enjoyed spotting all the yellow bikes (le tour will go down there in a few weeks. And we got to travel up a very fine bit of M6 with mountains on either side.

We did all the standard things - chose entertaining places for our tent, played in the playground and amused ourselves putting up the gazebo.

The next day was sunny and warm again and we headed down to the lake and didn't move! Ian and I both got a sail in the topper which was entirely pleasant. I think I got the better slot - there was just enough breeze to poddle gently along with a few minutes of proper hiking, and a few quiet moments to admire the view. And the view was pretty ace. The visibility was really good and so you could see fells peeking out between fells even further than normal, and the hummocky terrain of the hills that fall into Ullswater was properly lit so that it looked like it might be constantly pulsating and had just been frozen in the second you looked at them.

The kids just played in and out of the water all day.

In the evening, we had our usual mass barbeque and we sent the kids off to collect wood for later on. Will (not a child!) found some rather large logs so Nathaniel got to do some sawing as well.

There was much playing. Steve, Steve and Hugh played a long game of travelling boules all around the campsite, narrowly missing the rocket launching done by Nathaniel, Thea and Megan.

As usual, a highlight of the weekend was getting to spend time with the sailing club people. Nathaniel is now big enough to really enjoy chatting with the adults, and became very fond of Will, the nephew of Steve, who has started to appear annually with his converted AA van (which we all covet!). Steve Hogg let Nathaniel drive the safety boat right across the lake to the sailing club on the opposite bank, and gave him really clear instructions on how to bring it into dock.

It was June 21st and we definitely got the most of the light! When I went to bed at 11:30, the sky was still bright enough to see without torches even in the shadows.

The next day saw more of the same - paddle in the lake, play with sand, have fun, and that was that - Ullwater 2014 completed.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Mining

Ian brought back some rather funky solar powered lights from his trip to Berlin (to hang out with Michael Bloomberg!), and this morning Nathaniel decided that they were ideal for use in a mine. So he built a mine.

The setup included a winch to send down the collection basket, and the kids then mined blocks and duplo which were sorted into gold, iron, green (homage to Mikey's old house maybe?) and diamonds. We did have a canary, but there were some issues with it's mortality, and so we updated to gas detectors.

Fortunately there was enough minable material for a load to be surreptitiously replaced into the far end of the mine, so this game went on for hours!

Saturday, 7 June 2014

This week

It's been a gentle week, I'd say that it was the calm before the storm, but considering how hectic May was, I think it's more like the eye of the storm. Here's some of what happened:

- I had a trip to London to pay homage to baby Molly (and chat with Hannah!), and managed to fit in supper with Nim and Higlary, and a fun morning to myself mooching round Borough Market (and making purchases that will only fuel the kids' love of spanish cured meat), and then Tate Modern.

I may have spent more time in the bookshop than in the galleries!

- I decided that just running increasingly long distances was getting a little silly, and bemused Thea by taking her up and down the hill to the Moor as fast as I could. She scooted, I ran. Except I went fast on the way up and she went fast on the way down. All very silly!

- The rain eventually stopped and Nathaniel recreated a PE lesson for me and Thea, teaching us tennis skills. It was actually rather fun!

- Ian and I rehearsed for our show at the Theatre Royal in a couple of weeks, and Ian (who is joining in with the storytelling), has been learning lines frantically!

- It's my favourite time of the year to be on the Moor - the butter cups are everywhere, so Dorothea and I have done much scooting! We collected elderflowers and put them in for campagning, but they got left too long and started to go mouldy! We're hoping for a bit of sun tomorrow so that we can try again.

- School has restarted again, and so has exhaustion, which sometimes leads to quiet snacks in the sun. They sat on the trampoline and read. I lay on a rug and read. And we all ate tasty ice lollies made from French cherry sirop!

- And a little boy who has worked hard in preparation for his music concert (in which he will play two different recorders!), sucessfully negotiated cupcakes.

Next week it all kicks off again......

Friday, 6 June 2014

Scholastic achievements

Last week Nathaniel was named "Star of the Week" for his class and Thea and I went to assembly to help celebrate.

He was crowned the first ever "Punctuation Prince" which baffles him entirely. My indoctrination has led him to believe that if he doesn't punctuate his work accurately, it will not be understandable, and therefore he hasn't appreciated that there is an option for him not to do so! Poor kid.

We haven't seen the piece of work to which this accolade pertains, so instead I present Nathaniel's efforts for The Big Write. Every few weeks the whole school shares a writing session where they all write on the same subject. Except the reception class have until now participated in a big talk. A few weeks ago, they were deemed suitably competant to join in with the writing (though on a more tedious subject), and this is what Nathaniel produced on the subject of "My favourite thing to do".

(lic/lighc = like, pailing = playing, and my absolute favourite, bomfighus = bonfires)

This piece follows a theme which has appeared in other work that I have espied on the classroom walls:

You don't necessarily have to acheive academically to become Star of the Week. Last time it was awarded to Nathaniel, it was due to his Police Submarine which he constructed in the yard behind their classroom using all the furniture. I throughly believe he was awarded this a)so that he'd take it apart and b)to persaude him that good things do happen when he leaves the lego corner!

Monday, 26 May 2014

What Ian did

What do you choose - an easy life, or being exhausted but having done interesting things? Hope you chose the latter.....

Siracusa

The old ampitheatre. They didn't bother visiting the more modern one - after all who needs to see a perfectly preserved Roman ampitheatre?!

Talinn

Modes of transport have featured highly in the requests for photos.

San Sebastian

Well, obviously not in San Sebastian, but on that trip.

All hail Ebay....

.....the bringer of things that you'd never have been able to get otherwise!

Monday, 19 May 2014

Sleningford Bliss

We had put dates in the diary for camping long before weather forecasts became available for any given weekend, and as previously mentioned, this didn't always produce an ideal result. However, this weekend the gods smiled upon us. Two whole days of 21 degrees in the sun in a campsite on the river. Perfect.

No seriously, it was perfect!

Sleningford is 45 minutes from York (so travel was easy-peasy), on a bend in the River Ure. The campsite is on an island complete with beaches and slow rapids and rocks to climb on and so on. On Saturday morning, we set up the wood burning stove on the beach, and here we stayed.

Bruce played hunter-gathered and got out fly fishing kit, providing brown trout for breakfast.

The kids paddled and dug and splashed to their hearts content.

We read and chatted and drunk tea (and wine and whiskey), and in the afternoon braved the water for some swimming. It wasn't as cold as Ian's face suggests, but the current was pretty strong, and it was definitely hard work.

And there's not much more to say than that. We hardly moved from our pitch by the beach except for a little treasure hunting, and nothing exciting happened apart from relaxed fun. There was general happiness!