Monday, 28 September 2015

My castle

We had the delightful news that we need a new boiler this weekend. I have not showered since Thursday but resorted to the old flannel wash and trying to shampoo my hair in the sink. It's grim to be honest. It comes after six months of such heavy house expenditure that I almost laughed, almost.

It is keeping us in the rat race, get a job to get a mortgage, get a better job to pay the mortgage and keep the house standing when it would like to fall down.

I'm not sure I even want a house any more. A yurt would do, leading a nomadic life, moving when we had grazed the area. Or a campervan, or a horse-drawn Romany caravan.

Of course I romanticise when others would be so grateful for solid bricks and a roof over their head.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

School blues

I feel I am at school with them. Its a full time job getting them there with the correct stuff completed on the correct day, never mind the voluntary and money contributions required.

So far, in the 2 weeks and 2 days they have been back, I have supported, helped the children with or been asked to:

1. 4 sets of spellings
2. 2 sets of times tables
3. 3 sets of x 10 spelling sentences
4. 4 lots of maths homework via the computer
5. 1 drawing and labelling for science homework
6. I project curated, ordered and paid for (sewing kit)
7. One Victorian costume cobbled together
8. Wellies in school on the right day
9. One assembly organised and delivered
10. Pestered them mercilessly to read their books
11. Make cakes for fundraising teas
12. Sponsor a Dragon boat race
13. Pay £20 voluntary contribution
14. Pay £30 deposit towards a £400 school trip (yes you read it correctly, £400)
15. Filled in countless medical and permission forms
16. Bought new shoes, trainers, shorts, cardigans, dresses etc
17. Paid £5.95 for a reading book they were all required to have, yes we have to buy our own books
18. Donated 2 bottles on non-school uniform day for the fete tombola
19. Required to donate time or spend at fete
20. Dress them for school photos and purchase
21. Asked to volunteer to hear the children read, offer time in school garden and help on school trips.

This is a state primary.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Song of the Sea

It's the most beautiful film I have seen in a long while, and had I been alone I might have cried a lot more than did. I would have allowed the tears to really flow rather than hold them back, not wanting to scare my children or all the other people in the cinema.

The animation was just exquisite, magical, entrancing and entirely enthralling. I am sure it was lost on the children although they seemed happy enough when they left the cinema. My heart was heavy with loss, with bottled up feelings, with characters I wanted to meet, with storytellers and faeries. 

It was a truly incredible little film, heart warming and heart wrenching. For all ages, but especially mamas. 

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Hope in Trafalgar Square

It's been a tough couple of weeks, there seems to be sadness and unfairness all around. My screen is filled with those images, so terrifying and helpless. The radio gets switched off regularly so as not to give the children nightmares, they may not even be listening. We still don't have a telly so are cosseted from the moving pictures of grief.

There was hope in Trafalgar Square on Sunday. A man writing his feelings in poetry on the ground. An eclectic band of people and musical instruments making the crowd smile. A Turkish man spreading some love by making rings for free, to passers-by who could not quite believe it. We all crouched with him, looking at the intricate curls of the electric wire, his array of cheap beads, a real Aladdin's chest to us all as we chose our jewels. I wanted to ask him about himself, fuelled by the media's fury on immigration and desperate refugees.

But he just wanted to smile with us, enjoying making us rings from electric wire - it would have been rude to ask.

For a moment, on the surface, not scratching anywhere below that - humanity smiled, mingled and took selfies. For just a moment, there seemed hope in Trafalgar Square.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

My favourite place

"What's your third favourite colour?" P asks while wandering along a farm track.

"Which is your second favourite animal...and you're not allowed to say horses, cats or dogs...?" she might ask. Or my personal favourite;

"What's your favourite light bulb, Mummy?" P queried in all earnest.

It's a game that can last for a long while, especially on walks or tedious car journeys which involve the M25.

"Where is your favourite place?" is a game we have played often, even partying around a pool in Ibiza with over 18's.

My favourite places are the ones which produce calm, awe and near-tears. In no particular order:

Where moor meets the sea, wild weather and wonderful walking

East Africa
 The raw wilderness

The islands, the cities, the culture, the language, the countryside

Where's your favourite place?