Thursday, 22 October 2009

A busy week

Well, I finally took the leap I've been planning for the best part of a year, and officially registered as self-employed! I am now a freelance writer/researcher. I haven't blogged about this before much for a few reasons. Partly because this blog is primarily about our home education experience (although its impossible to separate that from our lives generally I suppose). Mostly because I just wasn't comfortable writing about it. Anyway, now it is a reality and is going to affect us both quite a lot.
This week I've been dealing with a lot of the official stuff - phone calls etc - and have found it quite stressful. I think once everything is in place and I know what money is coming in and can budget accordingly I will relax a bit. I'm really looking forward to the 'work' bit, but it will mean juggling things a bit more time-wise. A is old enough to understand what's going on, and is very supportive, even asking if she can help with some of my work as part of her home ed. I just need to make sure 'work time' doesn't eat into 'A time', but I will be mainly working when A is at her Granny's.
I spent the whole of Sunday doing some research work - my first bit of paid employment as a freelancer - but got a bit carried away and forgot to take breaks from the computer. Consequently I ended up feeling like my head was going to implode and was unable to get to sleep until about 3am. Not a good start!

Anyway, enough of my stuff, what else have we been up to???
Very much enjoying the new series of Scrubs - a programme A introduced me to. Makes us both laugh like maniacs. Particularly like the misanthropic Dr Cox.

Granny arrived home from her trip to Napoli, with lots of pretty little gifts for A, and a huge bottle of Amaretto for me (mmmm...she knows me so well).

We had a lovely day out with some friends in Aberdeen. Went to see the
Mueck exhibition at the Art Gallery, which I absolutely loved. The giant newborn baby was so beautiful, amazing detail.
We also had a nice lunch and wandered round the shops a bit. Miserable weather, and a very crowded train journey there and back, but good company makes all that irrelevant.

Today we had some friends over from the home ed group - a Mum and her four daughters. We had met them at several different events, and at one of the more recent ones A worked in a group with the two oldest girls and got on very well with them. So when A was feeling a bit lonely recently I decided to invite them round. It all went very well, the girls all played happily, and the youngest (a four-year-old) took a particular liking to A, which was very sweet, and well received by A.
I really enjoyed getting to know their mum a bit better, and we discovered that we lived round the corner from each other when A was a baby! Small world! Hopefully we'll get out to visit them at their place soon.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Last photos of York (I promise)

Barley_Hall is a restored medieval town house.

A feasting in the Great Hall

Where the fire place was in the middle of the Great Hall

A plague doctor, nightmarish figure, part of the 'Plague, Poverty and Prayer' exhibition.

The Roman_Baths_Museum was tiny, but full of fascinating stuff, like this Roman equivalent of toilet paper.

This was a great little place - we had a wander round, looked at some of the art work and chatted with the very friendly proprietor. Would have been nice for A to do a bit of painting there, but she felt a bit conspicuous as no one else was painting when we went in.

Rowntree Park

This lovely park was just a couple of minutes walk from our guest house.

Friday, 16 October 2009

York again - lots more pics!

We visited the Minster , but only went up the tower as the rest was too expensive (we were running low on funds at this point!) Lots of steps, but great views.

Clifford's Tower - part of York_Castle , and site of a horrific anti-semitic massacre in 1190.

We went to the Castle museum too, the prison exhibition was really interesting.

Spotted these on the wall of an old church in the centre of York - gorgeous!

Monday, 12 October 2009

More York

We went on a guided walk one morning, which I had been really keen to do (A less so) but it was very much aimed at adults and A found it quite boring. Don't get me wrong - I hate it when children are acommodated by being patronised and treated like idiots - but I have to admit that this guy was very dry. He was factual and informative, clearly from an academic background and definitely knew his stuff, but it was a bit like a lecture really, and quite hard work. The worst bit was that he charged for A as a student rather than a child which would have been a lot cheaper, I didn't realise this until later on. I know she's getting tall, but surely he didn't think she was over 16?!

We also visited Yorkshire_Museum , which was pretty good, but lacked the more interactive elements A had enjoyed at some of the other places. I think its really difficult to get it right, because if there is too much of the hands on stuff, particularly computer based, then it actually detracts from the whole experience as that becomes the focus, but A certainly seems to engage more when there are relevant activities to get involved in. There's only so much 'looking' and 'reading' she can do before she wanders off to find something to draw!

A enjoyed making a mosaic

The gardens outside the museum were beautiful, and there were plenty of these fellows about to keep us entertained!

We did get to the theatre one evening, and saw a wonderful production by Puppet State: The_Man_Who_Planted_Trees . It was a brilliant show - really funny in a very gentle way. We both enjoyed it a lot, despite A's concerns beforehand that it would be for little kids.
After our theatre excursion we went in search of a vegan restaurant I had heard about - El_Piano - and we had the most delicious tapas meal. Their onion bhajis are the best I've ever tasted (and I've tasted many!). Best of all was the selection of desserts - a rare treat for me :0)
Needless to say, we went back several times during our holiday.
Pea and potato curry; Albondigas (soya mince 'meat' balls); onion bhajis; rice.

Sticky toffee pudding and chocolate brownie


Decided to get up early(ish) today and get blogging while A is still asleep. There is so much going on just now I've found it difficult to get round to doing this, and we have some nice photos to share.

One of the first places we visited was DIG , the archaeological museum. It seemed very geared towards groups (particluarly school groups), and we got our own guide who took us around. It felt a bit intense at times as all the questions were directed at A, whereas normally I suppose there would be a whole class to discuss and answer questions, but A said that overall she enjoyed it, despite visibly squirming when she didn't know the answers (I did help her out, but I didn't always know the answers either!) Our guide was very nice though, and we got to 'dig' for artefacts from 4 different time periods: Roman; Viking; Medieval; Victorian. There was lots of interesting information, definitely worth a visit.

A was very keen to visit this place...

and we spent a good couple of hours here. We loved it - they had some really good hands-on stuff available, such as objects and space to set up a still life composition, and a seated area with mirrors, paper and pencils for self portraits. A was in her element - she's happy to wander round art galleries anyway, but these activities complemented the experience perfectly for her.
We came back to the fountain outside the art gallery several times as it was a great place to sit and relax. A also did a lot of sketching here.
We had a couple of really warm days, and after trudging around York it was lovely to soak our feet.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

RIP Les, a very special man.

We are back! After a rather extended trip away.

We had a really nice time in York (I will blog on that with lots of photos soon), but while we were there my Grandad died, so we ended up going first to Southampton to my brother's, then travelling up to Northampton with him, his partner and my oldest nephew for the funeral. We then stayed with my brother and his family for a few days.

I felt quite sad that we didn't get to see Grandad - we had planned a trip down to visit him from York, as I knew he was very ill, but he went before we made that trip.

This was my Dad's Dad, and like my Dad he was a lovely and genuinely good man. He was a bit cheeky, and a bit of a geezer, but was also very wise, and sharp as ever at 95. He always made me laugh.

All my grandparents were a huge part of my childhood, and with my Dad's parents there was always a lot of laughter. They were married for 70 years - seems unbelievable - and when we lost my Nan a couple of years ago we all wondered how he would cope. He did ok, with a lot of help from my Aunt and Uncle who lived near him, but he did get lonely, especially in the evenings.
This picture really reflects the warmth I always felt from them
I love this one too, not sure when it was taken, 50s, or possibly early 60s.
I have some wonderful memories of my Grandad. I felt truly humble, and grateful, listening to the tribute at his funeral. I really did get lucky with my family.