Sunday, 29 April 2012

Summer with monika

they say the sun shone now and again
but it was generally cloudy
with far too much rain

they say babies were born
married couples made love
(often gently)
and people died
(sometimes violently)

they say it was an average
                             run of the mill
...but it wasn't

for i locked a yellowdoor
and i threw away the key
and i spent summer with monika
and monika spent summer with me

unlike everybody else
we made friends with the weather...
mostdays the sun called
                      and sprawled
allover the place
or the wind blew in
as breezily as ever
and ran its fingers through our hair

but usually
it was the moon that kept us company

somedays we thought about the seaside
and built sandcastle on the blankets
and paddled in the pillows
or swam in the sink
and played with the shoals of dishes

otherdays we went for long walks
around the table
and picnicked on the banks
of the settee
or just sunbathed lazily
in front of the fire
until the shilling set on the horizon

we danced a lot that summer...
bosanovaed by the bookcase
or maddisoned instead
hulligullied by the oven
or twisted round the bed

at first we kept birds
in a transistor box
to sing for us
but sadly they died
we being too emraced in eachother
to feed them

but it didn't really matter
because we made lovesongs with our bodies
i became the words
and she put me to music

they say it was just

                        ...but it wasn't

for we had love and eachother
and the moon for company
when i spent summer with monika

           spent summer

Roger McGough

Love and blessings Tudor and Beth xx

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

My first 'Yarn along'

I'm hopefully (technical issues notwithstanding) joining in with the Yarn Along over at Small Things today. An exciting and slightly nervous moment for this wet-behind-the-ears blogger.

My first realisation is that it's much more difficult than anticipated to photograph books and knitting together in a way that shows both clearly whilst being aesthetically pleasing, as evidenced by the radiator in the background. It's all a little frustrating.

The knitting in progress is a lace scarf - I expected lace to be too tricky for me but I've been pleasantly surprised by how easy it is as long as I give it my full attention. There are plenty of mistakes but fortunately the yarn, Rowan tweed, is fairly forgiving. It's a bit of a bear to work with but all that gnarly-ness is a good cover up for misplaced holes.

Book-wise I've just finished reading The Slap at the bottom of the pile, and I can report that in my opinion there is not much to commend it. I believe it's near the top of many best seller lists but I'm slightly bemused as to why. With no likeable characters, a flimsy story and little in the way of charm, it felt like a bit of a waste of time.
 In the middle is the wonderful Ken Robinson's book, The Element. As a home educator I often regale folk with with my very vocal admiration for Sir Ken. He's an influential thinker on education and creativity and his talks and writings are delivered with wit and charm. This book is a really interesting look at how various people from actors to olympians have succeeded by doing what they love and have a gift for. He believes that intelligence is not necessarily measured in IQ and we can all find our 'Element' by focussing on our gifts and passions. There's a fantastic animated talk about education by Ken Robinson here, - if you know me, you'll have seen this before!
Lastly, on the top, is a little book I stumbled across in the library - Earth Prayers. I am so glad I found this little gem, it's so uplifting. It contains verses which honour the earth and our connection to it, from modern day poets to the prayers of the Native Americans. I'm only into the first few pages but I'm already inspired, not least by the editors themselves. They say they wanted to feel empowered rather than helpless in the face of so much harm and destruction.  Prayer, in all its myriad forms, felt like a way to give voice to that need to heal. I am really looking forward to delving further in and sharing these little love-filled verses.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Sparkle and sadness

A beautiful 3rd birthday party celebrated with beautiful people. A heavy heart for the leaving of a very special family.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Trains, planes and automobiles

I have a dream of an unschooled family life...curiosity is king, we all feel in control about what and how we learn, knowledge will be gained by active pursuit and immersion in the subject, we will follow our dreams and passions and our days will be filled with adventure. It perhaps doesn't sound terribly realistic and I know that many days will not be this way, but it is an ideal - something to reach for. We have grown and learned together since they were born, I see home education as a continuation of that. At the moment, Eli is only at his Steiner Kindergarten for a few days a week; from September, he'll be 'home educated' full time. I have used inverted commas with that phrase because I doubt much of our time will actually be spent at home. My hope is that we will have many more days of togetherness and learning like this one spent at MoSI (Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester).

We had so much to talk about here! We had conversations that covered Jupiter's spot, lifting weights with gears, earthquakes, bomber planes, war - and so so much more. It's days like this that help me believe we can do it...that help me to be confident that learning happens in an organic and spontaneous way and that being together makes it all the more joyful. 

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

The Boy in the Starry Pyjamas

 Following these instructions, I made Eli two pairs of pyjama bottoms. Some may consider this vaguely deranged behaviour, but for me, this is soul-nourishing stuff. Let me explain; they weren't made in a third world sweatshop; they're made from super-soft flannel; they keep my boy warm and snuggly, they are an Act of Creation.

The brown ones are particularly jazzy I think. To complete the look, I appliqued a wee star onto a t-shirt with matching fabric. As captured below - Eli is obviously beside himself with delight. A grateful recipient is clearly the best reason for home-made pyjamas.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Mmmm castles...

Whilst in Wales, we visited a castle. Who doesn't love a castle in magnificent scenery on a freezing cold day in April?


This will be a post about our visit to Wales. This was over a week ago. I'm often late in life and I'm starting to worry that I will transfer this shoddiness to my musings. I Must Try Harder.

Belatedly...We visited the Grandparents in Trefriw, Snowdonia. Wales, and particularly this bit of it, is a truly magical place. I love coming here and so do the boys - mostly for the attentions and attractions of Rob's parents, but the place itself brings peace. Trefriw is quiet and quaint, with waterfalls and wooded hills. And a garden...

For Eli's birthday, Nain and Grandad gave him a metal detector, and much time was spent digging holes. These explorations did not always yield treasure...but with a little intervention and some luck, there was enough to fuel further curiosity.

For me, no visit to Trefriw is complete without a visit to the Trefriw Woollen Mill. Full of its own woolly magic, I can spend ridiculous amounts of time here. Tweeds on the roll and rugs and blankets as far as the eye can see make for a thoroughly satisfying wander.

I'll hopefully be returning very soon.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Five years

It's now over a week since my cowboy turned 5. For him it was momentous. For us it was a little scary. We talked about the day he was born; how he changed our lives forever, how much love there was and is.

It so happened that on this special day, Monty fell off his bike and badly hurt himself; we were around a corner and did not see. This 5 year old of mine stepped into his big brother shoes and approached people to ask for help. As I came into view, I saw him in the distance reaching out to passing strangers and trying to get assistance. My heart lurched then and lurches now when I think of him feeling alone and scared without us. But I also feel such pride to have witnessed his courage and maturity in his brother's moment of need.

Needless to say we sped to the scene, and soon our farm park day out with Nanny was back on course. The next day we followed up the fun with a romp in the woods. Good friends were there, and treasure, and hot dogs...and cake. Birthdays are a big deal round here and I think this one was a good one.

Happy Birthday dear Eli x

Monday, 2 April 2012

Crossing the Rainbow Bridge

These bright days are giving me plenty of opportunity to try out my new camera and, although it hasn't really been taken out of auto yet, I'm feeling slightly worried that my expectations were too high. I'm not sure if it's the workman or the tools but pictures seem to lack the warmth and definition I was hoping for and colours are pretty bleached. Maybe if I read the manual...

Monty was my first obliging model, he pulled a series of disagreeable poses.

This picture really shows the bump on the side of his nose from falling on the hearth; I worry that it will always be there now.

Daffodils are also fairly obliging subjects...

Then I snapped some corners of Cragg (these may become a series), on my way to Eli's 'Kindergarten birthday'. As I walked and photographed buds bursting and life unfolding, I marvelled again at the magic of this place that we are so blessed to live in. Unfortunately, my photography does not really do it justice yet.

    Eli's Kindergarten birthday was as beautiful as expected. Such care was taken by his wonderful teacher Helen to make it a very special occasion. I was fairly emotional from the very first notes from the lyre. Seeing my boy sit on the special chair, witnessing the wonder on the faces of the other children and listening to the story of how the little angel crosses over the rainbow bridge to be with his chosen family had the tears full flowing. Such a big moment, watching him cross into another year, ever growing. I'm fairly sure there'll be more birthday sharing before the week is out...