Tuesday, 21 October 2008

We're off!!

We are going away tomorrow for nearly three weeks, so I wont be doing any blogging for a while (will probably do a really long post when we get back - with lots of pics!)

Had a lovely day at Landmark today, with my friend, her two daughters, and another of A's old school friends. Very chilled (in more ways than one - it actually snowed a little bit!).

The famous water slides - not A's cup of tea.

The sun managed to shine a wee bit

The tower - looking up

A with Jess the dog

Good mates

I'm hoping to get into town while we're down South, to take A to the Tate Modern to see the Rothko exhibition. She's shown quite an interest in modern art, so I want to encourage her any way I can. She spent over an hour studying a book I have on Dali the other day, I think thats the longest time she's ever spent looking at a book! We had spent some time online looking at info about Rothko, and she was very enthusiastic about seeing the exhibition. It will be a very expensive day out, a proper treat, but hopefully I'll be able to make it happen.

Not many plans for the rest of the holiday, lots of time with my brother and his family, visiting various relatives, and meeting up with a very old friend I haven't seen for ages. We'll just see what occurs - I'll let you know ;0)

Friday, 17 October 2008

Clava Cairns

We (me, A and Granny) went to a brilliant event today - part of the Highland Archaeology Festival - led by 'Dr Indiana Bones': The Magic and Mystery of Clava_Cairns.

Lots of interesting information about this Bronze Age burial site, some of it delivered by characters from that time! My favourite was the barefoot Shaman (he must have been freezing - we all had coats, gloves, scarves, woolly hats etc). There were five different 'activities', and in groups of about 10 we spent around 20 minutes at each one, which worked really well as there were all ages present.

We three thoroughly enjoyed it all. Afterwards we went off to the cafe at the Culloden_Visitor_Centre to warm up. I love it there as they have a variety of vegan cakes and biscuits - a real treat for me, as at most places I'm sitting with my black coffee watching everyone else stuff their faces with cake!

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Building shelters...

...in the woods at Fochabers .

This was a home ed group organised event, led by a forest ranger who taught the kids all about survival, and then sent them off in groups to build shelters of their own. The kids all semed to really enjoy it, and I know A got a lot out of it. I forgot to take my camera (again!), so thanks to byothermeans for the photos!

I didn't enjoy the day so much. I was really looking forward to it, but for some reason when we arrived I was hit by a wave of panic/anxiety, and spent the first couple of hours desperately trying to hold it all together and appear 'normal'. Of course I didn't look normal, I probably looked like a right moody, unsociable cow because I was focusing so much on stifling my feelings that I couldn't talk to anyone. I get so angry with myself when this happens, and that doesn't help matters either. I managed to talk to a few people after a while, mostly people who approached me, but it felt like such hard work. I don't understand why because they are a nice group.

I came home utterly exhausted, and its taken a couple of days for me to be able to post this as it left me feeling quite low. Had a chat on the phone with a good friend who helped me get things in perspective, and I know its not always that extreme, but I hate the way it takes me by surprise like that. One good thing was I managed to hide it from A, she was busy off with the other kids, so it didn't spoil her day. My biggest fear is she will inherit this tendency, but there aren't any signs thankfully.

We've been stocking up on wood again!

A has been as creative as ever, and enjoying putting things together for her blog.

We've been working on spelling quite a bit, using the Smelly_Spelling workbook. I'd been giving A spelling tests (at her request) but felt a bit more guidance was needed. English is so weird when it comes to spelling, I'm just realising how difficult it is to learn, as there are seemingly no definate rules about anything! I think the best way is just to read loads, I'm sure thats how I got the hang of it all, but A is still quite a reluctant reader.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Some culture

Last night my Mum took us to the theatre to see Something_Wicked_This_Way_Comes . A very good production I thought, with fantastic use of the set. I did find the two main characters quite irritating at times, not sure whether this was down to them being young boys played by grown men, the forced American accents, or just the characters themselves. But there was a lovely sinister atmosphere evoked by the carnival scenes and characters, which both A and myself enjoyed very much. In fact I think I liked the evil 'Mr Dark' a little bit too much (but thats always been my problem). In essence though it was a very moral tale about joy and love overcoming evil.
I wondered whether A might be affected by the disturbing tone, some bits were very dark, and I know a lot of kids might end up having nightmares after that sort of thing, but she seems to take it all in her stride - not bothered a bit.

Today I learned to knit! Not sure how I got to the age of 35 without having achieved this, but I sat down today with my Mum and actually listened to her explain it to me, and am currently creating a dishcloth (woo hoo!!). I have great ambitions in this area, but the wise woman (Mum) tells me I must go slowly, otherwise I'll just put myself off by trying something too complicated. So its dishcloths for the time being. A, of course, has been able to knit for a couple of years at least.

Friday, 10 October 2008

A's Blog

A now has her own blog - My_Little_Life - I think she got fed up with me hogging the computer doing mine!

We have spent quite a lot of time over the last few days: planning, discussing, making notes, setting up, and finally posting. I hope she will keep with it for a while, as it will be a good chance for her to present some of her artistic creations, as well as develop some IT and writing skills. I hope she'll continue to enjoy it too!

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Happy Wednesday!!

It has been a very happy Wednesday here, after the grimness of Tuesday when everything was grey and the rain didn't stop, today the sun came out and it almost felt warm! I'm just realising how much my mood is dependent on the weather - when its dark and damp I just want to curl up like a cat somewhere warm, its not that I feel particularly low or sad, just more tired really. But when the sun is shining I feel great - full of energy.

We seemed to get loads done today, had a walk on the beach (with camera of course), then a drink at the cafe, where the lady serving (who happens to be one of the nice Tai Chi ladies) gave A some mental arithmetic practice working out prices and change. Came home and did some work on spelling, then A read to me. Then we played a new card game for a while - Chinese Ten - which I got out of this library book. By this time we felt we'd done enough 'work' work, so I got a bit creative in the kitchen: cooked some pies (leek and mushroom for me, leek and broccoli for A) and Italian style cauliflower, then apple and pear pie (with fruit from my mum's trees which we nicked earlier today) with alpro custard (delicious!) for pudding. After overdosing on pastry we waddled off to my Tai Chi class where A spent the time drawing, and devising a new game to play with her friends on Friday. Unfortunately the washing up is still waiting for me in the kitchen.

This is one of the things I love about my life here:
sand shadow picture:
beach treasure:
tree corpses - I find these very beautiful for some reason:
A running away!

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Mostly pictures

This appeared in my living room on Saturday:

The girls had their in dinner in there,

and this is how it looked this morning with the shutters and curtains closed:

Some of this went on too:

resulting in this:

Friday, 3 October 2008

Grannies on bikes

Been out on these a bit this week. I love my old ladies bike with the little basket on the front, so handy. I think I'm turning into my Granny - she used to hack about town on her bicycle, I'll be wearing a headscarf next.
A very sociable week for A, lots of time spent playing with friends, and this is continuing into the weekend: two extra girls here at the moment, one of whom is staying over the night; another friend coming for a sleepover tomorrow night; then a party to go to Sunday afternoon. I keep thinking about the people who said 'but wont A get lonely if you home educate?' with a smile on my face!
Not a lot of 'work' seems to have gone on this week, but I think its ok to have weeks like this.
I sat down last night and made a few lists and notes on the various projects we have on the go, and also the different activities to support A's numeracy and literacy. It all looks quite impressive when put down in black and white - rather than swirling round our heads and stuffed in folders and drawers all over the flat!