Wednesday, June 28, 2006

"It's not dirt, it's fun"

What a lovely afternoon. Three children from the HE group and then the youngster from over the road came by at 4 p.m. to play so the kids, and I, had a good time.

When A from over the road turned up, the house erupted. Although the 3 HE kiddies hadn't met him before, they got together straight away to have a noisy pillow and cushion fight in the bedrooms for about 1/2 hour! Switched my ears off and got on the PC for a bit.

Once the 3 had left, A stayed behind and as usual he and B played with the water canal outside (which now had green algae in it, but who care's ah!), and they extended their play by introducing sand to the canal system. For once I didn't say "no", I just let them carry on because they were having such a fantastic, imaginative, cooperative time. When they finished and came inside to wash their hands (sand is as bad as glitter, it gets everywhere and stays everywhere for weeks, no matter how much you clear it up), I casually mentioned, looking at the canal system "that looks a bit like a disaster!". B answered "Mum, it's not dirt, it's fun and fun's good right?" - well who's been watching too many adverts on TV then? "Yep, fun is good, but I'm not Persil" I had to reply.

Well, I've left the "disaster" as I'm sure if I start to clear it all away, they'll be back for more dirty fun. Good for you B - yes, dirt and fun do go together and it's so nice to see kids having fun together like this.

Just thinking about things - at 3:30 in the morning!

Our 17 year old cat decided to sleep with us last night. I know lots of people are against pets sleeping on beds but it is allowed in our house as long as they don't disturb us (although they often do and we never kick them out!). Anyway, Jasper was laying next to me fast asleep until 3:30 a.m. when his tummy kicked in and decided it needed food and rumbled louder than an earthquake moving buildings (just a slight exaggeration, of course!). The rumbling, gurgling and other bodily noises continued and continued and Jasper didn't care at all, he certainly wasn't leaving his comfy position to get a early morning feast.

So, laying there awake and wondering - the brain starts to think of things and for some strange reason I started to recall my school life. Unfortunately I couldn't recall much at all, which says alot really.

I remember being told off when I was 6 for filling a whole page with a drawing of my Dad (whom had very recently passed away). I remember feeling very uncomfortable with a male teacher when I reached, what is now known as, year 5. I remember having to stay in at playtimes until I'd finished my mini bottle of milk, which made me feel physically sick. I remember playing outside at "role play" and feeling excluded from the games because I was quite shy. I remember hiding in the girls' loo from the year 5 teacher because I was late for recorder and choir practise, and hearing him come to find me (and a couple of others) - that was scary! So that was infant and junior school.

In the seniors I remember that the class made our French teacher burst into tears because we were so unruly. That my English teacher would constantly pull me up for not reading the words properly aloud to others in class reading time. That, during the most important part of senior education, when we were revising for exams, most of the teachers went on strike every week and we ended up with a PE teacher for maths who truthfully told us that maths wasn't her forte, or our actual maths teacher would listen to the radio in his store cupboard while we were "working" at our desks.

To be fair, while I thought all this through, three fun things did come to me. Being asked to choreograph a small dance for a group of children for the end of term play (in junior school). Doing maypole dancing for the parents (in junior school). Best of all though, having the fun of mixing with boys when I reached the 6th form at senior school (and then not wanting to work as boys were much more interesting).

So, what does that tell you about school life? Perhaps schools have improved since my day (which wasn't that long ago), but I really hope my kids remember more about their home learning than I do about my school learning when they recall their childhood.

To top it all, I really hope I get a better night's sleep tonight (yep, I will kick the cat out!).

Monday, June 26, 2006

Where is this all coming from?

What I call real learning actually happened about 6.30 this evening and lasted about 1/2 hour!

I hope you won't be offended by any of the following (no it's not horrible rude stuff - just life really). This is our opinion and we don't mean to offend anyone else. I'm trying hard to teach the kids that everyone is individual and have their own beliefs and opinions on all subjects.

It started with the Bible story of Joseph, thanks to me trying to sing the songs from the musical and failing, in sections, on some of the lyrics! K went through the story with me which then led her to ask my opinion of the Bible, saying that the stories where too wonderful and that there were too many miracles which really don't seem to happen in every day life! Ah, this is a good one to bring up. We talked about who told the stories and how religion in today's time has changed alot. In the past people had to go to church (or be punished) and that today miracles do happen but people perhaps aren't so aware of them or don't want to acknowledge them because they are not religious as they used to be. Talked about how I feel "someone" guides us, which in itself, to me, is a miracle, and gave lots of examples. This little chat went on for a while - we have decided to read the New Testament as it is a great book and then go onto the Old Testament (which I found an eye opener). Comparing religion led them on to Henry VIII and his clothing vs how Royals dress today. Suggested we design a new outfit for Henry VIII for his birthday anniversary on Wednesday - K said jeans, t-shirt and trainers would be good! The topic moved to life during Mary Poppins - happy and carefree and how that just isn't the case in "real" life! Talked about the past, fond memories of my Gram, how she smoked lots and stayed up until the early hours just thinking things through. This brought up smoking and what it can do to us, why it is unhealthy, but how smoking wasn't my Gram's downfall in the end. Which led to how she did die, (a nasty fall against some furniture, as I recall) concussion and how the brain reacts in these situations. K retold a story she'd read about personality changes after a nasty knock to the head. This, I believe, was the end of the topic and "learning" session!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Grumpy week!!!

Most of this week has been not too good. We all seemed to be a bit grumpy and the kids were hard to motivate. K and B went to play with friends on Tuesday afternoon which gave me a good two hour break to do abit of work on my Ellesfuntimes web site, but I couldn't believe how fast the time flew by and I'd only done one new page! I find I get side-tracked by all the fun graphics and things that I can use to boost the pages and this slows me down big time. Anyway, more socialising on Wednesday afternoon - we met the same family in the park for an hour or so of fun and chat. Thursday we went off with some others from the group to view a couple of potential new venues, mainly for our winter sessions. Thought the visits would be a dead loss, but in fact once inside the buildings we were very surprised by their sizes and the lovely outdoor play areas. We are hoping to view one more next week which has a good indoor fun area - ideal for wet days. One of the families who came along popped back to our home for a quick play and cuppa, so we've certainly been building on the social skills this week!

Maths this week has been mainly about the growth of towns between 1500 and 1600 with some simple subtraction to work out the actual growth and then turning this into fractions (for K) with some help. We've also looked at a 1560 map of London and compared it with an 1811 map that I had in the loft to spot the huge amount of differences between the two. B was interested in all the boat activity and the fact that there was only one bridge in 1560, K was interested in the spellings of some of the popular places and how these had changed.

We didn't get to see the Trooping of the Colour on TV at the weekend, but we did have a quick look at this web site about the Queen and her family through the decades which is really lovely to browse through if you have a spare moment (yer, like when!). B sent the Queen a birthday message! K found a site which featured the crown jewels which fascinated both of them (trip to Tower of London on its way then) and her new love of gem stones kicked in so she also found this lovely detailed site all about gem stones. They wrote funny little rhyming poems about the Queen's birthday using this rhyming dictionary to help them and then they drew their ideal crown and what stones they'd use to decorate them as I read some AA Milne poems like "Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace"!

Made little toy Medieval soldiers. I got the idea from a picture in one of our topic books (apparently kids from this time used to have wooden toy fighting knights) - the kids were able to make them "fight" by pulling the strings on the sword and shield. Here's a piccie.

During our trip to the park, there was lots of talk of rollercoasters and how they'd like to build one that was really, really fast and brilliant. Found this web site where you can do just that!

Today seemed to be the most productive day of the week, more Tudor work, made pretty craft cards for my Mum's birthday and discussed structures and how skyscrapers are built. I heard from a blog, or forum, I believe, that this week is architecture week. We had wanted to go off around town looking at a variety of buildings, new and old, to talk about architecture, but it didn't happen. This web site is all about it and had a fun idea of building a structure using food. Did this today, here's the pics. Started out using marshmallows (as suggested) to hold dry spaghetti to make the structure, but we found cubes of jelly were fantastic and really made a stable base. B used celery and a grape too in his design (which I had to help him with a little bit). Both "buildings" were strong when finished. B's needed crossbars, which we talked about, for added strength. K's is still standing, B's is now a heep!

So, I thought we'd had a bad week work wise, but now I see that's not so true, so it was really just a grumpy week!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Greenlaning in Elsie Mo

Landie, now namd Elsie Mo (after a guest beer in the pub we ended up at), took her first greenlaning trip today after a long time off the road. Weather was fab and luckily (as we had the hood off) the sun didn't beat down until mid afternoon, but it was still wonderfully warm. Took a picnic and went along three greenlanes near to us. Greenlanes are byeways that you sometimes see signposted off main roads and look like tracks through fields etc.

Found a lovely little spot to have a warm drink of water (yuk) and pick some different grasses to find out about next week. Had a brief wander through the beautiful countryside to witness lots of pooing cows!

Lots of discussion during the day on various interesting topics, most of which I can't remember (as usual), but some of it was on the workings of the Landie and cars in general.

Ended up at this rather gorgeous, friendly, pub with good kiddie's play area, for a lovely refreshing cold drink or two. Then home for a good old scrub up - we are all filthy!

Friday, June 16, 2006

How an artist works!

Thought I'd just post these "before" and "after" shots of K's desk in her room. This is where she customises her model horses and works like a true artist - in a (organised) mess!

When the art materials begin to move to the floor and beyond, that's when I step in to have a good tidy up. This time it took 3 hours over 3 days!



Thursday, June 15, 2006

What we've done today

K didn't get much sleep last night, and has the snuffles this morning, so we didn't follow our usual idea of a work session!

Looked up on the net the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth to find out about it. We drove past it at the weekend and I must admit we didn't think much of it close up (in fact it was really hard to find when driving close by it), but you can certainly see if from a long way off which is always impressive. Anyway, this site has some details - it's 170m tall - not that big really compared to other structures in the UK (let alone the world). Kids drew a 1cm to 10m scale drawing of it and then we decided to check out some other tall buildings. The London skyline photos on this site show some beautiful examples, K thought the "Gherkin" in London was great. B explored further and looked for tallest buildings in America - loving the Chrysler Building (details found here). Both drew their chosen structures to scale and noted their heights in metres. Briefly checked out the tallest buildings in the world (we've covered this before) and B especially enjoyed looking at the different styles of structure.

Went food shopping and then packed a quick picnic to drive to our usual park to eat at "Rabbit Creak" (K and B's nickname). We watched all the dragon flies flitting around and discussed mating (as most were doing this). Also talked about the variety of water plants that had appeared since our last visit - we also noticed the taddies had gone - we hadn't checked on them for a couple of weeks. Paid a quick visit to the garden centre to have play on the swings, check out the weird names of some of the plants, compare smells of the huge variety of roses, see what stock of rabbits and guinea pigs were available and discuss why some fish are cold water and other need heaters (B thought the thermometer was in case they got ill - sweet). When in the car the subjects of the environment (what it is) and how cars are causing damage to it cropped up, as did the topic of why we need to drink water to stop ourselves dehydrating and getting headaches.

Watched England play Trinidad & Tobago and talked about how T&T was a member of the Commonwealth. Like most kids after this match (in our area anyhow), went out and played footie afterwards!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

There is someone watching over us, I'm sure!

Another lovely day, although alot cooler (needed a cardigan when we went out). After "work" this morning, we headed off on our very dusty bikes to the park for a scoot around. The sandpit was closed so we ended up in the playground. K and B hooked up with another couple of kiddies, similar in age and B played some imaginary game with them for about an hour! Had to tear him away just at the point when the game had him being (gently) tortured in a dungeon!

Back home and B wanted to continue on his bike, so I stayed out front to cut the hedge and wash an extremely gritty car. The youngster (who's 11) from over the road asked to play with B on their bikes and off they went, up and down the road, happy as larry. Lots of laughter, joking and boyish play. I was really proud of B as he'd listened to my instructions about staying close by, etc., etc., and he stood his ground when the other chap wanted to go further afield. The two ended up playing footie and then with the water canal in our garden until tea time. I'm hoping they will continue to see each other, they certainly seemed to hit it off well.

These two things today seem to have happened at the right time for B. B is one to like lots of attention and play and being at home he's stuck with two girls for company most of the time. I play with him as much as possibly, and on there are times when K and he get on really well, but it's not "boy" play - this happens at weekends when P isn't working. He loves getting together with this HE friends but I feel he can go abit wild with happiness then! We've talked about him maybe being happier back at school where he'd be with mates throughout the day, but he certainly doesn't want this (and I don't either), so today's little happenings were abit of a blessing and I'm hoping play like this will become a more regular thing.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Busy little B and K!

Internet and email down today - ahhhh! I think I stayed pretty calm actually, but K was not impressed and very unhappy when she wasn't able to do her usual thing from 4 p.m.! Unfortunately for K, we had banned her from using the PC yesterday until her manners had improved towards everyone, and now she's had two days of no fun on the net. Also, most of our work is internet generated, tut, tut, I know, so we used today to finish off some of our outstanding work, etc.

After a week and a bit, we checked on the chicken bone that had been sitting in vinegar all that time. It certainly had turned bendy, as predicated by the experiment card, due to the acid in the vinegar breaking down the calcium in the bones. K hated doing this experiment and said she hoped this was the end of all "body bit" experiments for now!

Did our weekly measuring of the veggies. We've had to water them 2 or 3 times each day during this hot spell - they had wilted alittle over the weekend when we were away and it always amazed me how they perk up so quickly after a drink. All are doing great, except the carrots - we're down to 3 or 4 of them now (and I did weed the plot today!).

K has decided to write a book (to be published when finished) about Red Pepper, one of her model horses, and life at a stable yard. She's done quite a bit today, typing away on the PC. I had a read of the first chapter and, as usual, was very impressed with how grown up her writing is. No doubt being a bit of a bookworm helps for this kind of thing.

B's done lots of things too. I took some piccies of some of the things he'd got up to today. He's into making marble runs at the moment. This is something he and his fellow playmates were doing over the weekend in Portsmouth. The constructions he's making now, using his plastic run, are marvellous and quite well thought out. We also had a go at mixing the plastic run with the wooden one to build a different kind of game.

Started our Father's Day gifts - painted stones - and B did some free style painting after this. He and I also did some painting using food colouring on wet absorbant kitchen paper. Made a fabulous piece of art.

While I was washing up the lunch bits, B decided to do one of his "science" experiments, mixing various food stuffs together in an unused spaghetti jar. He loves doing this and chatting about what makes fizzes and bubbles. I remember enjoying this activity when I was a child, but I used to cook the food!

Went into town to buy a Father's Day card for my dad (I need to post it early) but came back with everything but the card! What is happening to my brain?

Monday, June 12, 2006

Birthday bash x 3

What a brilliant weekend we've just had. Went to Portsmouth to celebrate a double 40th birthday bash at my cousin's house. She and her hubby both hit the big "40" this month and her sister, my other cousin from Scotland, came down to celebrate her 39th one too!

We don't often get so see my cousins, last year for one of them and 9 years ago for the other!! Terrible isn't it?! Lots of catching up, lots of girlie chatter, lots of eating, sunbathing and playing with the kiddies, who are all about the same age. Here's piccies of them playing at horses and sweeping the yard + my sister producing some very pretty face painting.

Went out for dinner with them all on the Saturday night, then back to a rather hot hotel room for the four of us. We decided to put the kids in the double bed so P and I could each have a single bed. Not the best of ideas, P snored, K figeted until 5 a.m. (when we decided enough was enough and swapped beds), B kicked no end in his sleep and I just dozed in between these interruptions! Tired but excited in the morning, we felt much better after a lovely full English breakie then off for more chatter and pleasant company.

My sister and her family turned up on the Sunday. A really happy, hot, day. Long journey home, lots of traffic, all of which was very slow moving. It took us about 5 - 6 hours to reach home and it was bliss to sleep in our own beds!

Oh and we stopped off on the way down for a 49p Ikea mouse mat! I've got one, P wanted one, stopped off for one, had one left that had been drawn all over, so we got it for 10p in the end! Of course we had to buy some other little bits and pieces as well, couldn't just go in for one thing could we? Only spent £20 - must be the cheapest of our Ikea trips to date!

Anyway, if any of the Portsmouth crowd are reading - thanks for a brilliant time!

Friday, June 09, 2006

The simple pleasures ...

Around 5 p.m. this evening the temperature gauge in the car (which reads outside temperature) rose to 38 deg C!! B was wishing it to get to 40, but it decided to drop to 35 after a short while and then steadily downwards from there!

We went to a great group session this morning, all about Medieval times and the kids had fun meeting friends and doing some crafts and some circus skills. Helped on the table assisting the kiddies with producing toy jesters. Good fun, lots of time for chatter! Off for a burn off (literally) in the park afterwards then home for a late lunch. Rather strange that K and I had New Covent Garden winter vegetable soup for lunch on such a hot day. We need the cartons (they are like the old style cardboard 1 pint milk cartons) to make Spanish Galleons! Lovely soup - just like home made.

Kids had a whale of a time playing in a huge flower pot that my sister gave me to grow veg in! Plugged the holes with plastic and filled it with water. Nothing beat the sound of them playing happily together (it doesn't often happen unfortunately), with their hearty laughs. I was busy hoovering and putting on new bedding when they appeared totally covered in mud. They'd decided splashing themselves (and my washing on the line) with mud from a pre-made wet, muddy patch, was much more fun! Here's a piccie anyway.
Horseriding later and B and I took the scrabble to catch a quick game. Then when we got home the Landrover was back from the garage fixed, MOT'd and "ready to go"! Camping and off-roading here we come!

Have a super, hot, weekend.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Last couple of days

Why is Blogger sooooo slow? Couldn't get on yesterday and this evening it's really bad! Drives me mad (actually it probably drives my hubby more mad 'cos I'm constantly ranting about it!).

Any way, couldn't get on last night, so quick update for Wednesday and Thursday.

Wednesday: spent most of the day outside - one of the joys of teaching at home I guess! Maths ran smoothly this morning and B asked to do more and more as we're recapping on telling the time and he's pretty good at it, even when it comes to the 24 hour clock. On the theme of Tudors, we all made so lovely illuminated letters (although we didn't have any gold paint, used yellow instead), the idea was taken from a history projects book I'd picked up last year. Talked about how the monks used to painstakingly decorate their work taking such care and time to ensure it is beautifully done - no printers around in their time! We overcame a huge hurdle with B this afternoon and all went to see Curious George at the cinema. B's never set foot inside a cinema before, and we've always had tears and tantrums about going, but today, as P was home too, we decided to go as a "surprise" (sounds really cruel, but it worked). Felt a bit sorry for him to start with as he was excited about where we may be going and his face crumpled when we drove into the cinema car park. After the initial kicking and screaming, we managed it and thoroughly enjoyed the film, as well all did. I think it was made for us home edders in mind - wonderful line near the end saying how people can't learn by reading lists of facts, they need to get out and explore to learn! Yep, we certainly do! Went to the park early evening and P took this beautiful photo which he sent in to the BBC Weather hoping to get it put up on their site.

Thursday: Last night the BBC said rain for today, luckily they were wrong (again), we've had glorious hot weather, although it did take a while to pick up. Not so good maths today. No more telling the time and back to simple recapping tests. B stumbled on a very simple fill the gap numberline that went up in ones - just couldn't see it until I pointed it out (after a few "words"). As always with both of them, it's the really simple things that throw them. Anyway, B wanted to do more illuminated letters so I encouraged them to write a simple poem about Henry VIII and then use the first letter as the illuminated letter - good work all round. Also chatted about Henry VIII and the Navy, the Church and the Mary Rose. Had a look at the Mary Rose website for a guided tour and found out what life was like back then on board. B wanted to do more fun games so I pointed him and K to the jousting game here which kept them happy for a while and then to designing a coat of arms here. B was hungry for more so I set him up with this new found wonderful website with lots of educational, fun games. He found one from the Science Museum that kept him going for a long time. Eventually encouraged him to stop and got them both to do some drawing while I continued to read Peter Pan to them. Getting into this now and the kids love it. K updated her Medieval tack and rider to take tomorrow for our group Medieval session. She's also been busy sorting out her model horse postal show entries - there are loads! K's also decided to write a book of horse stories based around one of her models. Went off to the park again for a footie session and a couple of lads joined in. They were far better than us and I think it made B think abit about perhaps have a few lessons. We'll see what happens! As P was home early this afternoon (he'd had an exam this morning), I was lucky enough to do the weekly grocery shop by myself (yippee!) and then have a few hours shopping in town hunting down some new shoes etc.

Bye for now.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Wow, the veggies have really grown!

Kids have enjoyed playing in a den I'd set up for them in the garden.

Also took the opportunity to snap some of the veggies, can't believe how they've grown. When you see them every day it looks like they haven't changed at all, but we've been keeping a diary to notice the difference in height of their various veggies and salad from week to week. Also, looking at the last photo, the pots now look like a wilderness of green! Don't think the carrots are going to materialise to much, we have about three little shoots (after all this time) and lots of weeds! Nevermind, everything else looks good.

Did some maths today (groans from K, "oh this looks fun" from B), made a good luck banner for P as he has an exam on Thursday, took a peak at the blue tit web cam to find just two chicks still in there (anyone know what happened to the others - hope they flew!) and did a mini book on birds that don't fly, eggs and feathers and took a closer look at an egg from the fridge that I opened up for all to examine. We found this site that explains all about the different parts of an egg which helped us. Also, I didn't realise there is an air sac inside - take a look when you next crack one open, it's in there at one of the ends!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Farm Party and other things

June seems like it's going to be a busy month. I actually enjoy having a diary that looks like a bomb's exploded all over it, but I'm alittle worried I'll miss something important!

My sister and her family visited on Saturday. She has two boys, 4 1/2 and 2 1/2, both lovely, lively little chaps. Thankfully they played with B on this visit. When we went to their house recently, the boys chose to play with K and B felt very left out! Lots of noise, lots of pizza for lunch and full tums afterwards. Went with them on to Sleaford to baby sit for the evening. My sis and her hubby were going to an evening wedding reception, so the kiddies needed looking after and it made sense to all go over to where the party was to be held, luckily in the town where bro-in-law's mum lives (but his mum was on holiday). Uneventful evening, little one slept in a bed for first time and didn't fall out or even get out until the morning. It was lovely to hear them singing and chatting to themselves until 9 p.m., as little one's do, and wake up doing the same (at 6:45 a.m.!).

Sunday, B went to a party held at a local farm. He had a fabulous time. Sun shone and the air was warm so finally no lugging of jumpers and coats with us. A wonderful playground kept everyone amused until a very bumpy tractor ride took the party to an enchanted forest to hunt for presents (what a lovely idea). Food next then a great load of energy used up on the mini tractors and bouncy castle. Strangely enough this farm party didn't include a visit to the animals, but B and I did this afterwards. A place to go back to with K I think; it would certainly fill an afternoon, maybe a day if the weather's good. Here's a couple of piccies. It was lovely to see B enjoying the company of his new friends, even if he does need reminding to calm down once in a while!

P is off work (again) for most of this week. He has an exam on Thursday and is hoping to swat up for it beforehand. Also hoping to see Curious George this week as he's home, and drag B to the cinema once and for all (probably kicking and screaming). No idea why he won't go to the big screen, probably because he doesn't know what'll actually happen. I'm hoping he'll settle once he realises it's not too bad, just a little loud! Went bowling with the group today and B won again - he was so thrilled with himself. K came second in her team but didn't care - she just enjoyed the opportunity to "gallop" up and down with her friend and chat about horses and models!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Bits and pieces

Not much to say about the rest of this week. Although it's half term for schools, we decided to carry on as usual here (although we did skip maths this week!). We've done some more of our Tudors topic, plus we've put chicken bones in vinegar (apparently it softens them), learnt about Dragon Boat festival traditions, started watching the second batch of baby blackbirds in the garden, cared for the veggies + lots of either bits and pieces that happen day to day.

We read a book titled "Smelly Old Tudors", which is quite discusting, but the kids made me read it all to hear the gorey details about the plague, throwing waste out of windows, rotton toes falling off (and teeth falling out), etc., etc. (makes me feel ill even writing about it). Have also started to learn about Henry VIII. In a recent blog I mentioned that we'd come across a life size portrait of Henry at Belvoir Castle and that he looked quite shortl (possibly as people were smaller in those days), however, I was totally wrong. It turns out Henry was 192cm tall, so rather strapping really. We found lots of interesting things about him, and his wives on this website, listened to a couple of ballads that Henry was supposed to have written (B really likes this style of music), and started a Henry VIII and wives mobile.

Weather today was delightful, so we packed up a pizza picnic (we can't stand sandwiches) and dragged P away from the office for lunch in the park by the river. Had a lovely time and even got the chance to rescue a little terrier dog who missed his footing, fell down a muddy bank and ended up in the water! Kids did a spot of fishing ... for weeds ... using their nets and then home for K's horse riding.

Took the lovely old Landrover in for it's MOT today (it has been off-road for two years while P has been "fixing" it) and was amazed to hear that it only failed on it's exhaust (which we knew needed fixing). We imaged it would come out of the garage with a list as long as you arm of things to put right! We all love the Landy and enjoy using it for off-roading. We're hoping to use it to go camping this summer. P has a blog about it, although he doesn't really update it that often!

Have got round to putting a couple of items up on Ebay to sell, check them out here (one's a gorgeous princess/fairy dress with wings - it is so pretty but K's decided to part with it now, although she has hardly used it). I find it takes an age to add items for sale, it's almost a chore! Also, cleaned the house (yep, again!) as more visitors coming tomorrow!

I'm off to sit in the garden with a nice cuppa (although it's getting a bit dark now, but I love listening to the birds). !