Sunday, 31 May 2009

Spandex pants

Sometimes you need to make changes. Sometimes changes are made for you. Either way it's not always easy to readjust. I think it's time for me to pull out my spandex pants and get ready to transform into whatever new shapes life throws my way.

The greatest adventure is what lies ahead
Today and tomorrow are yet to be said
The chances, the changes, are all yours to make
The mold of your life is in your hands to break.
Glen Yarborough

I've had a lovely weekend spending time in the sunshine, chatting with friends and watching children (mine plus a few) splashing in the paddling pool. Real suncream, floppy hat and iced squash weather.

I made a very belated birthday cake for a good friend. Chocolate and beetroot cake. I like to think the beetroot cancels out the lashings of creamy icing!

With a little help Hermione made some chocolate rosebud lollipops for her and friends to enjoy at the end of an Enid Blyton inspired treasure hunt. A friend wrote a personalised mystery story about some missing jewels. Even our furry and feathered friends featured by name. Eventually the missing jewels were found in the broccoli bed!

The blush coloured broom is in bloom and is ever so pretty. We've a large clump of stocks in bloom too and their scent lured me to the border and kept me weed pulling till I lost the light at 10.20pm on Friday evening.

Despite having a wonderful weekend a couple of things are weighing heavy on my mind.
I'm worried that Hermione is being seduced by popular culture and that it is possibly having a negative impact upon her. There is so much media pressure out there to be slim, beautiful and generally gifted. Don't get me wrong, there's not a *big* issue going on here - just small things which most may feel aren't even significant - but I find them significant and want to keep an eye out. What's a parent to do? How do you protect a child from undesirable messages? How do you counter balance them with positive messages? Is it always possible?
Remember last July when our business burnt down and our insurers wouldn't pay up? Well, almost a year on things are starting to hot up (pardon the pun). The wheels of justice do grind very slowly but I suspect we may see some sort of development soon and whilst that is good it also brings lots of emotions and stresses to the surface.
One of the positive spin offs of the fire was that Craig had to look to find new ways to work and generally re assess his way of thinking. He's now working hand in hand with two local charities in a way which is mutually beneficial. That may extend to more charities in the future. He's also been involved in talks with DEFRA and Oxfam about the undesirability of disposable clothing. I'm proud of him - not only the way in which he is working hard to support his family and pull us out of a very sticky situation, but also how he is doing it in a way which brings about wider benefits. The downside of course is long hours and work stress - all of which can take their toll.
I also feel I need to be doing more with Miles. He very often just tags along with whatever Hermione is doing, but I think more and more so that I need to accommodate his own individual preferences and choices. Where do you order those twenty five hour days online?
Well, what will be will be and I'm not going to stress. Well, what will be will be and I'll try not to stress. I'll take lessons from the young and aim to keep my feet firmly planted... high...

...and retain a sense of wonder and fun.

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Friday, 29 May 2009

Tadpoles - a very sad conclusion

This morning we were delighted as the first of our tadpoles climbed up onto the large branch we had placed in the tank. As the day progressed more followed. Miles in particular spent a long while watching them.

I just went to look at them again not ten minutes ago and all eight are dead. Certainly dead - floating.

I'm devastated. I know some people would say they are *just* tadpoles but whatever they were they were just starting out on life's big journey and now they're gone. I can't help but wonder if it's something I've done or not done. I should go and cook dinner but I just feel sick. We've watched them grow from tiny tadpoles into little frogs and now they're dead - all of them - and I don't why.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

I've got a loom!

I really enjoy weaving but till now have had to satisfy myself with very small home made affairs, knocked up from scrap wood and panel pins.

Well, I'm pleased to say I'm now the proud owner of this wonderful loom which was given to me by Helen Cowan. I'm not sure how to work it, and will have to wait till I get it positioned up in my attic studio before I can really set to play, but I'm ever so excited. I have visions of making everyone I know a rug (or more likely a coaster) for Christmas!

The picture shows the loom in it's folded position. It opens up to much bigger than this. Helen took the photograph and I only hope she doesn't mind me posting it here to show you.

Helen is a textile artist and fine art artist. There are lots of beautiful pieces for sale on her website and also details of courses and textile supplies for sale. Go along and have a look. There's lots to see.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Dreamy view

There was a time when if asked what view I would like to wake to I might have reeled off names of hunky men. Well, how times change. I'm now hankering after this awakening view...

...which happens to be the roof of this secluded yurt below.

Hopefully my wish will come true and we will spend a happy break there some time this year all things permitting.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Who drank all the ginger beer?

Hermione is quite the Famous Five fan. She’s very into the Secret Seven come to that too. She’s devoured them all, and finds it ever so frustrating that Enid is no more and consequently there will be no more to add to the collection. She’s tried the Boxcar Children but they just don’t quite hit the same note.

Anyway, such is her passion that we are having an Enid Blyton tea party soon. Looking for inspiration on the food front I had a quick Google and was dismayed to learn that the Famous Five have been re-vamped - cream buns and lashings of ginger beer having been replaced by pizza and mobile phones.

Have these people never heard of leaving well alone? If it ain’t broken don’t fix it. There’s plenty out there that does need fixing. In my humble opinion the Famous Five should not be up on there on the ‘fix list’.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Fun in the sun

We've had much lolly licking, barbecuing, marshmallow toasting, water pistoling fun this weekend - with friends both tall and small. Time spent sipping lemonade reading the newspaper in the shade. Lying on the blanket having hazy hugs in the sunshine. Chatting with neighbours over the fence. Pulling weeds. Planning the week ahead.

Laughing, loving and smiling.

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Friday, 22 May 2009

Crikey! I wish my legs would grow as fast.

I wish my legs would grow as fast as these guys. Last week there wasn't really a trace of legs and now they've got full on froggy legs which seem to almost grow in front of your very eyes! If only mine would do that - I'd be considerably less rotund in no time.

Equally, I'd happily settle for them to grow at the rate of Hermione's knitting. She has always been happy to crochet and shown very little interest in knitting but one of her friends who she sees a lot of is a keen knitter so she decided to get out her needles and ask Nana to teach her this afternoon. She took to it like a duck to water with no problems at all.

Well, we're reaching the end of a hectic week. Today Hermione went on a guided tour of Hexham Gaol while I indulged in conversation and sampled the delights of Cafe Nero. Some of the mums who were going round the tour, and who I know very well, volunteered to look after Hermione for me so that I could slope off - in accordance with Hermione's wishes as she requested 'privacy in learning'. Eh? What next? I'm not complaining though. A fruit scone with apricot jam set me up for the day!

Time to put my feet up and flick through some study books which arrived in the post yesterday.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Tadpole progress

The tadpoles are coming along ever so well. They have grown from about the size of a cooked grain of rice to a large peanut. We can clearly see the start of two legs on a couple of them now so this is the time when I think it will become really exciting. Look - this one even jumps for a stick! We've tried feeding them lettuce, boiled lettuce, dried fish food and other things but have concluded that they like eating bark best - hence the reason Miles is popping a stick in the tank.
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Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Tightening the reigns and lightening the load

Life is as busy as ever round here at the moment. Yet another chock-a-block week with next week filling rapidly too. I need to scale down our gallivanting. I need to stop saying that whilst doing nothing about it - something which happens regularly.

Hermione is asking to do more and more 'work'. I feel delighted but also very challenged by her thirst for knowledge at the moment. She was just saying as she toddled off to bed tonight that she wants to do more work and more playing in the garden. Sounds good. I must learn to resist the urge when people call to say the kettle is on and the cake will be out of the oven soon.

Thankfully I have had a couple of wonderful offers from other home edding friends. One lady is going to do some science stuff with Hermione. She has a scientific background and is able to make it really fun in a way which I struggle to do. Another home edding friend is going to give Hermione some one to one creative writing sessions to help her to build on her existing skills in that area. I really like the idea of extending my skill sharing mentality into home ed too - although I will have to figure out what I could possibly offer!

I had hoped for a relaxing evening this evening but I've had to help make alterations to the barrier around my pumpkin patch. Another chook managed to make their way in there today and decimated another pumpkin plant in the time it took me to sprint up the garden and yank her out. Sheesh, they are rascals...

I need to remember to take my camera up the patch one of these days. We're eating rocket, chard, mixed baby leaves and radishes at the moment. The runner beans in the greenhouse are doing great. I think they may start to flower within a week or two making for a very early crop all being well. The tomatoes have lots of fruit on too just waiting to ripen. Broad beans are in flower. All in the garden is rosy.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Oh no!

We have guests this afternoon and the vacuum won't suck up!

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Ugly Duckling, a guided tour and shiny blankets

What a weekend! I think I need a full week off to recover!

On Saturday morning Miles and I headed on out for his first ever trip to the theatre. I was a little apprehensive as I had no idea how he would take to it. We went to see The Ugly Duckling by Travelling Light and Tobacco Factory Productions. I'm pleased to say he really enjoyed it. He sat with eyes as wide as saucers throughout - over an hour with no interval. Afterwards we had a look around an art gallery and then went for lunch. It is very rare that Miles and go out and spend time together just the two of us, away from the house. It felt different and I'd like to do more of it.

While Miles and I were out and about, Craig, Hermione and Nana went to some corporate horsey event for racing and buffet lunch.

On Saturday evening Hermione and I headed into town for a guided tour of Tudor Durham organised by the Education Officers at the Archaeology Museum. Thankfully the torrential downpours held off and the walk was extremely informative, if not a bit long and extremely tiring, (Durham is a very hilly and cobbled city), at the end of what was already a long day. Following the tour we were back to the museum for lamb's wool, a traditional Tudor drink made from baked apples and to try our hand at writing with a feather. These were pheasant feathers but apparently the Tudors would have used goose.

We learned a lot on the tour but I'm uncertain of how much Hermione was able to absorb at the time as it was long and tiring. I mentioned the possibility of doing a bit of a project about it but she wasn't keen on that idea. Next weekend we are joining with a couple of local families for a night of Family Fortunes fun. I think we may throw in a quick quiz too about historical Durham. Hermione's much more enthusiastic about this than a project, although the result is the same - she will read up about various things and think about it albeit to sort out quiz questions instead of doing something formal.

This morning I earthed up the potatoes *again*. I also hung the hanging baskets - all planted with edible stuff from nasturtiums to various leaves. With a little bit of help from Craig I finished my sprouting broccoli bed and removed more prize weeds.

This afternoon we headed off to an organised Low Tide Day to celebrate our coastal heritage, do activities and join in a guided rock pool ramble.
To cut a long story short we hiked the long way from the car to the cliffy bank, down to the shore, yomped down dozens if not hundreds of steps, trekked about another half a mile along a very pebbly beach and finally landed at the rockpools where we spotted starfishes and crabs.
Within less than five minutes, (I exaggerate not), the heavens opened, the winds whipped up to an absolute frenzy and despite wearing jackets and coats we were soaked within minutes. We looked for shelter at the cliff face but there was none. Miles went a strange shade of green and wouldn't answer me. I had a mild stress, thought of what happened the other week and feared he was about to have a 'funny do'. Craig picked him up and we quickly headed off in the direction of the cliff steps but it was slow going on the rocks and with driving wind and rain. A St John's Ambulance worker who was manning the event sensed something was up and came across. He felt Miles was very very cold - and I agree despite him having his vest, a jumper, trousers and coat on. The weather was suddenly extreme. He got out a really large silver shiny blanket and wrapped Miles in it from head to toe. You could just see his eyes and nose. Before we knew it a man from a coastal heritage organisation was there too. It was thought it would be best if Craig ran up the banky cliff to go and get the car and bring it to the top and the men helped me to carry Miles over the rocks. We got to the top, bundled him in the car and sat feeling a bit shocked and wondering what next. At this point Miles looked up as chirpy as ever and enquired as to whether there was any juice or an apple in my bag!

Once out of his turkey wrapper he was rosy and warm - no more green flushes! Obviously I was just delighted he was okay. I don't think I over reacted. I'm quite pleased with myself really as I think it would have been very easy to over react. I stayed calm but was just mindful of what did happen recently and perhaps the need to be somewhere very close to immediate road links as opposed to off in the rocky wilds for the time being. The St John's guy and the man from the coastal heritage place were amazing. The man from coastal heritage carried him most of the way and looked like he needed oxygen at the top of the cliff!
The sun started to shine and it was hard to believe the weather had been so bad were it not that we were still soaked through. With Miles chirpy and happily munching his apple Hermione quickly had her face painted before we headed back home following our rather surreal trip.

Woof, woof!

Friday, 15 May 2009

Tree faces and scavenger mobiles

Before anything else I just want to say that I really must stop watching that Kirsty Allsop's Handmade Home programme. Last week I had a lampshade obsession, (still looking for fabric), and following lasts night show I have found myself Googling for edible glitter. Yes, edible glitter! Such a thing does apparently exist and I'm very keen to have some. Sparkly fairy cakes here we come....not at all healthy I know but everyone needs to sparkle now and then.

So, what have we been up to the last couple of days? We went on a scavenger hunt and made willow mobiles with what we found. Not all of what we found could be reasonably attached. They ended up as bark mobiles but hey ho, I think they're interesting.

We have also put faces on our trees. Nana brought these rather odd things back from her trip to Canada. I wasn't sure what to make of them at first, fearing they may be really naff, but they actually look okay and everyone else loves them.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Cheap days out at beautiful gardens

In May's Gardeners' World magazine there is a card for 2 for 1 entry at lots of fab gardens. As with many of these offers there are more participating venues in central and southern England but I can't complain as one of our favourite gardens is on the list.

The magazine, which incidentally is a good read in itself, is only £3 something, but the card can be used as many times as you like and is valid into 2010.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Mystery solved

I've been thinking that we have been short of eggs lately and had no idea why. It's just been this week when we have stayed home more than usual because I'm cream crackered that I noticed that Merlin in particular tends to disappear for a while each day. I scoured the bushes today and found nothing so when Craig came home from work I had him climb over the wire fencing and willow screening, past the rain harvesting tanks and beyond to see what he could see. There in a gap between our fence and our neighbours were fourteen eggs! Craig couldn't even reach them and had to be helped by Hermione with a fishing net. I'm not sure how to solve this one. I don't want to restrict them from free ranging as I find they are so much cheaper to keep, happier and lay more this way - but at the same time I don't want this shenanigans each time I need to collect eggs.

Miles spent a fair while today bringing the outdoors inside. I think I was supposed to be pleased when he dumped masses of grass, leaves and sticks all over the dining room floor. As it was I was in an 'anything for a quiet life' mood today so just chilled about it and vacuumed it all up when he was done - which I think was perhaps the right thing to do.

Also tried out our new classical music for kids CD. Hermione loves classical music (as well as Girls Aloud and load of other poppy stuff). Miles on the other hand protested strongly saying that some Mozart we listened to was 'no fun for boys' and 'only for people who are crazy'.

Talking of Mozart, last night's small hour reading included The Mozart Question by Michael Morpurgo. I was very moved by it. It tells the tale of a boy who knows his father used to play violin but no longer will. He eventually learns that his father and mother were once in a concentration camp and they were spared death because they were excellent musicians - but were forced to play at the concentration gates as some sort of facade to calm the train loads of prisoners who arrived and were taken off to the gas chambers. I'm in two minds about reading this with Hermione. I think it has so much potential for discussion - obviously more WW2 stuff but also about Venice where it was set and of course Mozart. I'm just a little uncertain as although we have looked a lot at WW2 recently we have tended to skip the gas chamber part as I'm not quite sure she's ready for that nitty gritty yet - she knows lots of people were killed but we've not gone into detail. Anyone else studied it?

Monday, 11 May 2009

Conversations with God

Have any of you guys come across Neale Donald Walsh's books? I have the Conversations with God series but have never read them cover to cover. I tend to just dip in and out of them so to speak.

Anyway, during this time when I'm not sleeping so well I'm reading lots. In the wee hours of the other morning I picked up book two in the Conversations with God series and read, 'In some societies, parents couple in full view of their off spring - and what could give children a greater sense of the beauty and the wonder and the pure joy and the total okayness of the sexual expression of love than this?'

Personally I just can't see that catching on somehow - or perhaps I'm just a prude? Just imagine it - 'not tonight darling, the children have gone to sleep'.

Facetious comments aside, I must say I do find it very odd and perhaps going well beyond what I would consider appropriate.

Pardon the personal question, but, what do you think?

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Never satisfied?

I'm feeling rather cross with myself. Despite having had a really great weekend I just don't quite feel satisfied. Sounds awful doesn't it? The children have been to a party, we've picnicked in the park, fished in the pond, ate dinner in the car under trees (something the children seem to really enjoy right now) and today lots of folks came over to help me in the garden and around the house on our local community currency scheme.

I'm not certain that 'satisfied' is the right word for it - more a sort of 'restless not quite at peace with the world' kind of feeling. I think this could be a lot to do with the fact that since Miles had his funny turn resulting in sirens and flashing blue lights the other week I've not been to my meditation group and haven't even meditated at home - usually I meditate most evenings. I just don't feel able to disconnect from the 'here and now' and allow my mind to float elsewhere. I feel I need to be on rapid response alert, ears flapping at all times. I'm not sleeping well. The momentum I had to push forward with a great home ed community art project I'm organising has waned a little. The little spark that glows inside and helps me to see all things in a positive light is not burning as bright as I would like right now.

Usually it doesn't bother me if the children have oven chips two days in a row because I'm tired, stressed, haven't shopped, generally can't be bothered or any combination of these things. I know that by and large they eat an organic wholefood diet and it's what happens most of the time that counts. It doesn't usually bother me if they listen to stories read by the bloke on the box in the corner, because I know that so often I cuddle them close and tell them tales that are heartfelt and full of the earth's wisdom. So, why am I allowing these things to bother me now? Why when I've been handed the moon do I also want the sun? I need to stoke that little flame within, see it burning bright and feel it's positive glow. I need to just let all the crap fall away and get back to just concentrating on love and truth.

Right, that's enough of that. I have had an absolutely bumper week with our local community currency group this week so I'm going to talk about that instead. I'll probably forget some of the things I have received by way of trades but here's what I can recall right now;

a huge carrier bag full of k'nex,

a sturdy wooden toy garage,

a magnetic darts board,

children's jigsaws,
a Hornby trainset (Craig's choice),

lots of children's books,

a CD of classical music for children,

the Wiggles Christmas album on CD,

North American Indian chanting rhythms on CD,

special party table cover with lots of animals on,

fresh rhubarb,

pesto bread,

loads of clothes for Miles,

board games,

home made rhubarb and ginger jam,

six home made veggie pakoras,

two courgette plants,

a pepper plant,

a clump of garlic bulbs,

a kind of geranium,

a clump of lemon balm herb,

a flags of the world sticker book,

book to show us how to make paper planes,

box of geomag stuff and more but that's all I can think of off hand.

On top of all of this folks also dug my garden today and helped with a little bit of cleaning. We have a border which I absolutely hate digging. The pesky hens (which I am yet to forgive for making their way into my pumpkin patch and eating a pumpkin plant yesterday) are forever scratching in it and it gets full of really nasty weeds ever so quickly. It's now looking fabulous and I didn't even lift a finger! Here are a few of the team in action.

Something else quite exciting is coming up on our community currency scheme soon too - a massage workshop. An experienced massage person within the group is going to show us how to massage our partners, families and friends (well, who ever you like I guess). Craig isn't keen. I think he's worried it may be some sort of group tantric sex thing. He's irritatingly British like that. I've tried to reassure him but I suspect I may well have to borrow someone elses partner closer to the time which I'd really rather not have to do - which perhaps is just a symptom of my 'Britishness'.

I don't think I've mentioned that Nana is in Canada at the moment visiting my sister. Well, she's home in a few days now and we're all ever so excited. The first few days were horrid as Hermione burst into tears regularly because Nana had gone away and now she keeps crying because she's coming back - with joy she assures me! Aww, bless her!

Right, I'm off to plan snacks and activities to keep Miles amused during Hermione's French group tomorrow.

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Saturday, 9 May 2009

Never again..

...will I say that stuff is getting on top of me!

Friday, 8 May 2009

Sudoko for children

Hermione has just discovered sudoku and is enjoying it a lot. We came across some children's sudoku on this site (which incidentally has lots of good bits and pieces) and it's just spiralled from there.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Thoughtful Daddy

Hermione - What a thoughtful Daddy we have Miles, not many kids have a special tap for water bombs.

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Hey, pass me another Miles...

No problem sis...

Good job Mummy is as patient as Daddy is thoughtful.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Honey, I killed the tadpoles and the chooks..

..well not quite I'm pleased to say.

The children have been badgering me to have tadpoles since they stumbled across a few in the formal pond at our local botanic garden. Yes, free range children do venture into ponds, provided free range parent hasn't just cleaned out the car (something which happens as often as the Pope pops out for a pint).

At the weekend we relented and visited a local country park complete with nets and large containers to fill with pond water. We returned home with eight tadpoles. Now, I wasn't at all easy about this in light of the recent demise of all our other fish. I frantically searched the internet trying to pick up tips on how best to care for them. I came across this post and really could have written it myself. I am so pleased to have learned that it is normal for them to appear dead. I would have hated to have had to start looking into tadpole euthanasia too. I am still having nightmares about the last goldfish in the freezer.

So, brace yourself folks for what will hopefully be a very successful tadpole project complete with photos and updates. I would quite like to build a pond in the garden for them but I'm concerned that the chooks would gobble them up for breakfast.

Anyway, whilst observing the tadpoles and getting ever so excited about a money saving site I heard about on a home ed list I totally forgot about the chooks and have just had to go roaming around the pitch black garden like the Hen Whisperer trying to find them and carry them to their bed where they can be safely shut up.

If you shop online I suggest you check out I have saved £18 on a £120 shop this evening. I found it a little frustrating as it is slower to load than the supermarket sites and I'm also concerned that it doesn't check the offers are valid for your delivery date, however, on the whole it seems very good. Look after the pennies and the pounds look after themselves.

Right, I'm off to bed to try to catch up on my sleep after a spending most of last night tending the sick and stressing about the fleece enclosure around my pumpkin patch in the high winds. Hopefully I shall sleep well as I've been getting a little uptight about jobs around the house and garden lately but a group of folks from our local community currency organisation are coming over at the weekend for a bit of a Clean n Dig pot luck lunch. Cleaning and or digging is not compulsory but I hope that plenty will turn up armed with spades or dusters. Apparently someone is even going to offer prize for the snazziest pinny partaking in a pinny parade!
One last thing - if there is anyone out there within reasonable distance of Saint John, New Brunswick in Canada then please feel free to pop along to the opening of this new art studio. Tell Helen that her big sister sent you and I'd like to think she'd give you a discount.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Nature's Prozac give away

Guess what; despite the fact that the day started at 3.00am when Miles chucked up for the first time, (to be followed by yet another chunky eruption at about 4.45am), I am still smiling; despite the fact that I stayed up till gone midnight finishing hen proof curtains which have not even been closed today I am still smiling; despite the fact that whenever I pulled on my coat and boots this afternoon to pop out and spread a bit of manure the heavens opened and soaked me, I'm still smiling.

Before I tell you why I must show you my hen defence mechanism which will hopefully prevent access by all flying pests too. They are weighted in the corners with pebbles so that they stay put on the floor when drawn.

Now, here's the good bit, when the children had gone to bed there was still enough light left to pop up to my patch with a glass of chardonnay in one hand, spade in the other and earth up my potatoes, pick some of the first bits of salad and transplant a few mangetout that are rapidly outgrowing their guttering.

I sometimes ask myself why I go to such lengths to grow my own veg when I could just pop out and buy it just like that. That dusky half hour tonight is one of the reasons why I don't do that. It's nature's Prozac. Time spent creating, playing an active part in the life cycle and meeting the very basic needs of family and friends to the best of my abilities. It's great stuff. It's so great that I would like to share. I have a slight surplus of pea seeds (Cavalier) and am happy to send a few to anyone who would like to email me with their address. Go on - join the home grown revolution and reap the benefits!
Incidentally, Miles is fine now and I am beginning to wonder if it was something to do with our tadpole expedition last night.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Everyone's pal

How very civilised. In this day and age she would just be called a dirty trollop. How things change.

Okay, that's enough, back to the job in hand. I need to have designed, completed and installed chicken proof curtains for the patio doors by tomorrow if I am to be spared the hassle of chasing hens out of the kitchen all day whilst I spread horse manure on my new pumpkin patch. Bizarrely enough I've been looking forward to the manuring part all week. Just don't want to come in to find chicken manure on my floor - euuuurghhhh

What's more sad, making chicken proof curtains late on a Saturday night or blogging about it?

Night night.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Manhua : China Comics Now

We were invited to the opening event of this exhibition this evening. Hermione and I went along and thoroughly enjoyed light refreshments (sushi featured heavily) and a relaxed preview of the exhibition.

I must confess to knowing very little whatsoever about comics, the only ones I have ever read being the comic strips in the back of the Sunday newspapers as a child, however this didn't spoil my enjoyment of the evening. Knowing what I know (again not a lot) about repression and restraints upon freedom of expression in China it was very interesting to see the undercurrents in many of the comics.

The experience promoted much discussion and debate in the car on the way home.

Why was everyone else there distinctly middle aged (I'm thinking fifty plus there) and middle class in appearance? This was a free event yet there were few people there. Hermione thought that perhaps there were no other children there because having been forced to learn things they are not interested in all day their brains ache too much to do anything else at the end of the day. Hmmm, out of the mouths of babes....

Are comics a good way for people to express their serious feelings? Hermione probably made much more valid contributions to this one than I could today. Suffering a bit of brain ache myself. Hope to do a bit of Googling and pick up on this thread of conversation over the weekend.

Should fabulous pencil drawings be taken and digitalised (I think that's the term) to make them colourful and oozing special effects? Hermione thought that perhaps this stopped them being 'true' art and that the skills of the original artist were then devalued. In some cases I'm inclined to agree, although there were things that we thought looked better digitalised and also that is as I understand it an art form itself.

When we came home Hermione messed with the Picassa programme to add special effects to a photograph which she took last week - just to see how easy it is done.

Incidentally, what do you think of this place? Last week we went on a bit of a ramble and stumbled across this magnificent building. 'What do you think it is?' I asked Miles, 'a fish and chip shop' came the reply. They're very grand you know, chippies up north.