Wednesday, 30 June 2010

New T-shirt and a new blog

This arrived in the post today, bought from these lovely people.

The new blog is not mine, but A's, and can be found here:

Hopefully she'll post a bit more often than with her last blog!

Monday, 28 June 2010


I'm not a great fan of seagulls, I hate the way they dive bomb at you when they've got babies to protect. I know they're just being good parents, but they bloody terrify me. However, spotted these guys out of our top window this morning, and have to admit they are very cute looking.

If they start squawking at 3 o'clock in the morning I may change my mind.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

A dramatic week

Because A took part in the performance of 'Island Dream' (a take on A Midsummer Nights Dream) with her drama group. She played 'Bottom', a good role for her - lots of very funny lines. She had a little contingent of fans in the audience - grandparents and friends - and did extremely well. More importantly she really enjoyed the whole experience, not just performing but the teamwork involved with the group. She's going up to the older group after the summer, which she's a bit sad about as she'll be leaving some of her friends behind, but it will be an opportunity to make new ones and maybe for more challenges.

A's friend came over last night for a sleepover, and they have gone off this morning with Granny to the Quaker group's barbecue, its glorious sunshine and they will be by the beach so I'm sure they'll have a great time. Later on they are going off to a dress-up/singalong showing of Mama Mia (are they insane??), so I wont see them for a while. A chance for me to get on with some work, a bit sad when its such a lovely day. I now have an 'office' in our spare room, which is much better than working in the corner of the living room, and am on a mission to create an even more effective work space. I need a desk, and a proper chair for sitting at the computer (one which supports my knackered old back).
I have another piece in the current issue of mumsense magazine, not really an article - more of a list: '101 summer fun ideas', something I was asked to do, and created back when we were snowed in, which was a little weird! I have a couple of other pieces I'm working on, but feel I need a big push to get some more work out there. It feels difficult at the moment as there's so much going on through the summer - various visitors coming up, and then we're away again for a couple of weeks - but then there's always 'stuff' to distract me, I just need to get on with it.

Sunday, 20 June 2010


We had a go at making these on Friday, the pack had been lying in our cupboard since Christmas, when it appeared in A's stocking.

Had to go out and buy a cooking thermometer to monitor the sugar/water/starch mixture

Mixed it at high speed with the other water/starch mixture, adding a bit of vanilla extract and a little pink food colouring

Then left it to set

Chopped it up and dusted with icing sugar

Plenty to go round :o)

They weren't as light and fluffy as they should have been, probably due to our impatience at the mixing process - I reckon if we'd mixed a bit longer they would have fluffed up more - but they do taste delicious.
We had some with strawberries and melted chocolate last night, and are going to try toasting some tonight.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Angel Fish

We spent this afternoon making this.

Back to work

Really feels like a 'back to work' day with HE today, after our holiday break. We did some revision on the division A had been trying to get her head around before we went away, and she seemed to remember it all very well. We had a look at some of the other topics in the online course she is following (in a very flexible way, ie avoiding all the timed assessments that send her into a brain-freezing panic) and A asked me what there is to like about algebra. As I launched into an enthusiastic defence I could see her eyes glaze over, and almost heard the word "nutter" escape from the corner of her mouth. So I have been on Amazon and ordered a load of murderous_maths books, in a (probably futile) attempt to prove that 'hey - maths is fun!!!'

We also had a look at 'spelling'. We have a new approach to spelling, using this book. On Monday A is given 16 words to learn and on Friday we have a test. Very simple, very schooly, but she seems OK with it. Spelling is the one area where A really falls down. She has a great vocabulary, writes wonderfully, has a fairly good understanding of punctuation and grammar, and has no problems reading, but her spelling is pretty bad. I used to say to myself that as long as she is reading and writing lots the spelling would come eventually, and maybe that's true, but we've both become aware that she seems to be lagging behind her peers in this area. Embarrassment - as wrong and unfair as it is to be judged on your spelling skills - can be a strong motivator, and A wants to improve. We've used the 'fun' spelling workbooks and games in the past, but feel the time has come for something a bit more intense. We'll see how it goes...

After maths and spelling A decided it was vitally important to tidy her room. She's been up there for a couple of hours now and there has been a lot of guitar playing going on, and apparently she's just "nearly done the splits!!".

Some more ideas have come up for themes to work on:

  • research into Anarchism (A started using the Anarchy symbol as her initial, but only had a vague idea of what it stands for)
  • a creative/arty look at the periodic table, as A seemed so interested in it when looking at this book
  • artists profiles - I have recorded several programmes on different artists recently, and we'll link this into doing some studies of favourite artists work

Had another 'nutter' moment this morning. Popped out to pick up a few things in town and bumped into an old acquaintance - very nice lady - who asked me if I was still 'home tutoring'. I smiled and replied 'yes', and she raised her eyebrows, gave a wry smile and a little sigh, nodded goodbye and walked off. Now I have no idea what was really going through her mind, but there was a definite vibe of 'nutter' I feel. At least I'm a happy nutter though.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

My young scribe

Just been to the 'young scribes' (A's creative writing group) summer party, where my girl read out a poem, a short story and a monologue, all written by her. Very proud Mum here :o)
The standard of all the kids writing was astonishing, the main group is made up of 7 girls between the ages of 10 and 13, with a few little brothers who attended the party as guest readers.
Sadly, the woman who runs it is moving away very shortly, but hopefully the parents will keep the group going.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

We are back

Feels like we've been away for months. Had a busy time, mostly fun, visiting and staying with various people down south. Struggles with certain elements, for both of us (yes, I'm being deliberately vague here) but hopefully we'll learn from it. All in all a good holiday with lots of happy times and good people.

Started off in London with my oldest friend - M, (she's not old - I've just known her a long time!), a lovely, lovely person, who put us up for a weekend. Its always easy with M, we don't actually keep in touch very much, occasionally email, but whenever we meet up we seem to slot back into that old friendship as if we'd just seen each other last week. Very much on the same wavelength.
On the Sunday the three of us went into town, firstly to the V&A, then to see 'Stomp' in the West end. Really enjoyed it. I wasn't sure how they would make a show out of what is basically a load of grubby looking men banging stuff (which incidentally is one of my favourite fantasies) but it was very slick and clever, and also very funny.

I haven't got too many photos this time, but here are a few from the V&A :

Some squashed trumpets etc hanging from the ceiling

A strange glass sculpture

This is my favourite - its title is "Guts"

Glass lollipops

Some vases