Monday, 29 June 2009

Italian Chapel - Orkney

This is the Chapel built by Italian POWs during the second world war, read more about it here.

Skara Brae - Orkney

Here are some pictures taken at Skara Brae - a neolithic village, fascinating place. You can read more about it here.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Midsummer in Orkney

We had a lovely trip over to Orkney this weekend, with my Mum and my Aunt (up visiting from Shepperton). As you can see from the photos - the weather was amazing, we were so lucky!
We did the guided coach tour, which was great as a taster, but I'd love to go back and stay on one of the islands for a few days.

We had a little time on this gorgeous beach - just enough
for a paddle and a wander (and a dance if you are A!).

Visited the Ring_of_Brodgar - an ancient stone circle.
Better (prof) pics here if you're interested

It felt very appropriate to be here on the summer solstice

More to come....

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Strawberry scones

It was this kind of day today:

just had to be done!

A brought up the fact that its nearly a year since she came out of school and we started HEing. She talked about how happy she is with the way its going, and said that even if I could afford to put her back to the Steiner school (which she liked) she would choose to stick with HE now. It made me feel so happy, and confirmed that we did the right thing last year :0)

After visiting one of our favourite local shops today, A decided that she wanted to design some posters and flyers for the shop. She became very enthused with her great idea, and went back (on her own) to talk to the ladies who run the place. She came back home, encouraged by the woman's response, with a few more ideas and has been designing her flyer all afternoon. Its great to see her so absorbed in something she came up with completely by herself, with very little input from me. I'm also really pleased to see her going off into town by herself to do things - to talk to the shop owners, to get some photocopying done - as this shows a real growth in confidence for her.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Herb garden

This is our new project - I am going to try really really hard not to kill them (which is what I usually do with anything green!).
After a trip to B&Q and Homebase with my gardening expert friend, we came home (via friend's garden) with a couple of bags of compost and these:

we planted them all (following friend's detailed instructions) :
and found them a nice shady bit:
And we shall now (hopefully!) watch them grow, and use them in our dinners :0)
I also got round to (finally) starting the weeding on this little bit out front. Its the only bit of our garden which isn't paved or gravel, and I'd let it get into an awful state. I think what was putting me off is that someone had let their dog use it as a toilet, seemingly on a regular basis. Hopefully one day I will catch them and chase them down the road with a plastic bag!! Anyway, I begrudgingly cleared it of dog crap and will carry on weeding now until it looks beautiful.

We also - much to A's delight - had a little overnight visitor:

Rosie is our friends dog, and she is very bouncy and full of fun. We really enjoyed a couple of long walks on the beach with her. I think A would like to keep her for longer actually.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Arty day

Inspired by going to see the exhibition at Moray College of the City & Guilds Textiles final year work (including work by our lovely friend!) and BA Fine Arts final year work, we had an arty day today:

We both really enjoyed getting messy and creative, had some music on in the background, but both became quite absorbed in our own work.
A has become quite friendly with our elderly neighbour, so took some pieces round to show her and they both ended up sitting in the neighbour's garden in the sunshine doing some painting :0)
Painted stones

I will post some more of the finished pieces another time.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Sunshine and Science

We enjoyed the beautiful weather last weekend. Went out jogging on Friday morning (before it got too hot), then spent the rest of the morning out in our yard reading to each other. I finished Spilling_the_Beans_on_Charles_Darwin which we both loved (on to STB on Tutankhamen now). A read a chapter of Pippi_Longstocking - a brilliantly funny and anarchic tale about a nine-year-old girl who lives on her own and does things her own way, ignoring adult advice/intervention. This is one of my all-time favourite children's books.

Reading in the sun

We had friends over for a barbecue Saturday night, and we all happily stuffed our faces with Linda McCartney sausages.

A went out with my camera yesterday and took some 'abstract photos' (her words) around the town and neighbouring gardens. Here are a few:

Yesterday was also 'science day' through at Inverness_College, organised by one of our HE group parents and hosted by the STEM club. A had a great time, she worked mostly in a group with two other girls, but there was a really nice friendly feel to the whole group - including the parents, and I had quite a laugh too (much needed at the moment!). Briefly, the experiments were:
Enzymes - looking at how enzymes in pineapple and kiwi fruit affect the protein in gelatin, by leaving the fruit in some jelly for three hours and checking for changes.
Fruit battery - wired up a lemon/orange/grapefuit to a LED using a copper coin and a galvanised nail, then added more fruit to the circuit, testing how many were needed to light the LED.
Fat Content and Diffusion - looking at how fat affects diffusion by adding one drop of food colouring into pots of different types of milk (skimmed, semi-skimmed and whole) and comparing them.
Protective Packaging - each group had to design a container for an egg that would prevent it from breaking when dropped from head height, using newspaper/bubble-wrap/straws/tape. The designs were very varied, but they all worked.
Soda Snakes - using sand, bicarbonate of soda, icing sugar, alcohol, and a match, some very impressive 'snakes' emerged for some groups! Really should have taken my camera - for this alone - but, of course, I didn't :0(