Sunday, 24 December 2017

December 2 (other stuff)

Of course there was other stuff that went on too....

Ian tried for the record for the most number of countries visited in one month (he failed due once he realised that Birmingham is considered the same country). In Rotterdam and Amsterdam he was rewarded with proper snow.

In Paris he was rewarded by his colleague going to the local cheese shop for us a providing a whole bag of carefully chosen cheeses for us!

Thea had cello concert. She decided to play a viola piece for her solo(!), and very nice it sounded too.

In fact they all sounded amazing. There was not one child who didn't adjust their tuning as they played (in a positive direction!), and the general tone was incredible. They all were very happy and played us all Jingle Bells. Thea hadn't played it before and did a great job at keeping up by playing by ear and watching Laura (the teacher)'s fingers!

Nathaniel spent most of December writing comics based on the computer game Terraria. One of his friends owns it, but Nathaniel and his other friends have only played it once or twice, so their comics have covered a fascinating array of ideas about what the game might be about!
This is the draft - the eventual comic was much more detailed (with much worse spelling!).

Saturday, 23 December 2017

December 1 (Christmassy things)

Then advent started!

And so the advent calendar encouraged us to do Christmassy things like eating breakfast by candlelight!

Then the great card making started,

followed by much making and munching of mince pies.

Nathaniel's choir did their concert in the Minster Chapter House which was lovely! They make a wonderful noise (they are coached by the amazing Director of Music at the Minster School), and had a room full of parents and tourists absolutely captivated. They were a little surprised to have to provide an encore (apparently that has never happened before), and Alison had to explain to some of them what is was before they decided en masse what they would sing again! It was so sweet!

The next week, instead of a rehearsal, the choir had family carols at the school. We all brought tasty things to share and spent the morning singing carols (with accompaniment by the assistant organist who plays for the choir), with all the descants! Unsurprisingly, the families of the kids are quite enthusiastic singers as well and the noise we made was rather impressive! It was a very fun morning! Here is Han being happy outside the school:

I spent a happy morning in the church crypt making Christingles:

And then it was the school Christingle service. Thea was thrilled to represent her class in the telling of the Christmas story. She got to sit on the "stage" and read her line using a microphone.

Then they all got to terrify the teachers by lighting 178 Christingles and singing to them!

So despite school finishing on the day before Christmas Eve's Eve, we were suitably Christmassy!

Sunday, 3 December 2017

November 2

And now it seems like we are constantly running around to things, but yet not doing much!

We went to the dentist and Thea's first wobbly tooth was encouraged out. She was very proud!

There was a training day at school and we were too sleepy to do anything exciting so we vegged at home playing minecraft, watching Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure and covering the kitchen with bits of cut sugar and tissue paper while we did random Christmas crafts. They look better with the sun coming through them!

We celebrated Dylan's birthday by Dorothea and F learning to play scrabble and then playing it competitively for 3 hours!

Ian went off to hack a train which he enjoyed.

The rest of us went off to the Grand Northern Suzuki Play-until-you-drop. We got the train to Dewsbury, enjoyed a merry walk through the deserted streets to the rather amazing Civic Hall and then spent all day doing the "Gala Concert" and the "Graduation Concert" and the "Northern Playtogether". The kids were amazing and managed not only to stay awake for the whole thing, but to play their instruments for the whole thing, sit politely for the whole thing, and, most importantly, seemed to enjoy the whole thing!

There may be more pictures coming.....

And then suddenly it was December and so it must be time to decorate scooters for some random school event (it was slightly unclear as to why we were doing this)...

....and have fun at the Christmas Fair. We ran the candy cane fishing stall which involved much painting of giant candy cane signs and wrapping of "fishing rods" in electrical tape to make them look fancy. Many thanks to two grandparents who spent hours cutting out card christmas trees for the craft table. You'll be disappointed to hear that it was a total flop - no-one wanted to make christmas tree sun catchers!

But the candy cane fishing was busy all night and sold out of candy canes!

In the midst of this it snowed properly and we had a good 2 cm of snow on the ground for almost 2 hours! The things we get excited about..... This is when it started.

It's all good fun really!

Monday, 20 November 2017

November 1

It's already got to that stage of the year where everyone has to carry a diary around so that they know what they are doing next, and if we get to the end of the week having eaten and slept on a regular basis, we feel like we have achieved something!

This week Nathaniel played for the school in a hockey tournament. His team played four matches against other local primaries, won 2 and drew 2. That almost got them into the final, but not quite. But they were pleased with how they played and everyone had fun.

Thea's birthday was started by a trip to go rollerblading with some friends. Some of them found it very difficult, but everyone managed to have fun, even if they had some very bruised bottoms!

Thea skated rings around everyone, and even Nathaniel looked reasonably accomplished.

Then we came home and ate cake, which was most delicious.

Also this week, Class 4 visited the Minster and I went too. It's fun taking them places as they are all extremely well behaved and so you spend the whole time having philosophical discussions with them! One child asked me what it was that the archbishop did that meant that he deserved to sit in the cathedra!

This is them enjoying the rose window and lamenting the lack of York roses.
Then it was Thea's birthday for real. Thank you for all her presents - she is greatly enjoying them!

 It was Children in Need day, so she got to go to school in pretty much anything she wanted. She chose her fancy dress, walking boots and a crown which she made herself which said "I am 6" in glitter around it. It was mighty fine.

Today we took a cold walk by the White Horse and along Sutton Bank. There was ice in the puddles and frost on north facing slopes. Brrrrrrr.

To be honest, the chidren didn't want to walk at all. They wanted to make dens. So we walked a little and then gave up and took residence in a tree.

Fortunately the view was good (and unphotographable with just a phone!)

Monday, 6 November 2017

October 3

Dorothea has been learning the ocarina at school which has resulted in lots of ocarina playing at home and me wishing that I'd bought a slightly better quality one! It's a little tuneless!

Hockey is still going strong and Thea has won the trophy for general greatness for 4 out of the 6 sessions they have attended! She's pretty pleased with herself, and she has every right to be - she is like a little ginger whirlwind on the pitch.

Nathaniel has been promoted to the under 10s which he is enjoying as the hockey is a bit more challenging and much faster. They are closer to his height! This term he does triple hockey on a Friday - he has school PE during the day where they are playing hockey, followed by after-school hockey club, followed by City of York hockey club in the evening! It's crazy but he is enjoying it.

By request of the children, we returned to the Nidd Gorge in much chillier conditions for a longer walk with friends.

There was lots of scampering and enjoying of the increased water levels and interesting mushrooms to be found.

Then we had a well-deserved half term. We scampered down south and I indulged my love of Time Team on the box and at Wittenham Clumps. I don't ever get bored of here! There's something very satisfying about trudging around ancient hill forts that have been occupied since the glaciers retreated, even if they aren't quite as deserted as I'd like them to be.

We ventured off to London to enjoy the new Chiltern Trains line via Bicester Village (we didn't bother to get off the train!)

The kids constructed complex routes through the tube to get us to South Kensington and we had a go at the Science Museum.

To be honest, it didn't impress us as much as it had done last time. The space exhibition was a bit in-your-face and hard to concentrate on. The maths exhibit had no maths in it! But the kids enjoyed playing on one of the computers in the materials zone.

We decamped to the Natural History Museum to see the whale and then to check out the earth history zone. Despite it being too busy to move, both kids loved this and poured over displays about volcanoes. We went in the earthquake simulator three times (and pondered the contents of the Japanese grocery cartons) and spent ages completing detailed quizzes on what to do during an earthquake. We are simply going to have to return during term time.

In the end, it was simply being in London that excited everyone, so we went on a tube tour of interesting architecture (buildings and plants). We viewed the Shard from several places and then found ourselves coffee and cake to warm up.

Then we did the same with Oxford, but back to front. We gallantly had a go at admiring the new Westgate Centre and showing it to Barnaby Bear (the class 1 mascot who was was along for the ride)...

...but in the end we had more fun doing the mouse trail in the Pitt Rivers Museum and searching out interesting rocks in the Oxford Natural History Museum.

We returned to the north for some good old-fashioned holiday slouching including building dens and setting fire to stuff in the garden.

We celebrated Guy Fawkes sailing-club-style with a bonfire of clippings so massive that it took a great deal of hard to work to get it all burnt evenly.

The challenge was very much enjoyed by all!

Then we had a great day celebrating a friend's birthday at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. We couldn't have had a more beautiful day.