Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday mumblings

And so the weather has truly turned.
It's blowing a gale outside today and the rain has been coming down all night.
Luckily, we're certainly set up for battening down the hatches in the pickles, jams and chutney stakes - take a look at the pantry! We may not survive long...but we'll go out farting like troupers! Hoorah!

I was debating writing a blog post of interest, however, I am rather wrapped up in essay writing at the moment and deciphering writings and lectures from the 1920's, which are zapping my creative juices, so instead I'll just give you a few photos from the weekend:

Photo dump!


Pip has to have something in her mouth!

Apples on our tree!

LMB learning to use my sewing machine.

Concentration - oh, and don't forget the hat! I love her style, and she loves hats!

Table runner made this weekend.

That's all! Have a good week!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Tales of a country transplant!

The day of reckoning has come whereupon I have finally realised that I may actually have a wee bit more 'townie' in me than I'd like to admit.
My limitations to animal husbandry have been put to the test and I have failed.

This afternoon whilst driving out of the village, I was met by a solitary ruminant. We have a lot of these in our village, in fact a good portion of them live opposite our house.
I am quite fond of listening to their grumps and protests during the day and it is quite a calming site. It makes me feel that I really do live in the countryside and what with them and my chickens, the days are aurally therapeutic.
However, I know that these 'gentle giants' actually have somewhat of a sadistic streak. Many of our footpaths go through their fields, so dog walkers need to be aware of the fact that they must keep their wits about them for, much as their cute faces and doleful eyes seem to suggest they will do no harm, they are quite renowned for charging man and dog over the stile at a rate to challenge Mo Farrah when they feel like it.
Hence the fact, I walk the arable routes whilst Mr Beehive takes on the beef cattle!

So, black, young bullock is in the road - no way forward.

I have a flashback moment to 1995, on an elephant safari in Sri Lanka with a guide armed only with a flip flop and a charging male. My young tender years flashed before my eyes that day.
However, I have learned well in my old age.
I carefully reverse my nice, clean and freshly mended car behind the van parked on the verge, stick out my arm to slow down the vehicle coming around the corner behind me, wind up my window...and wait. He can't get me in here!

Well, what can I do? I have no flip flop! I'm wearing my converse - by the time I take those off he'll have rolled me into the ditch!

The third car that comes around, a beaten up truck, pulls over to block the road...I do what any neighbourly spirited person would do...I suggest she pulls out of the way for fear her car will get trampled and maimed by this black devil in the road. Well, I wind my window down again and do my duck impression!

She looks at me sympathetically...I'm one of those transplanted country folk...opens her car door and gets out, arms spread wide, she's wearing's a give away in a village.

Holy cow pat...she's going to give the bugger a hug...she's one of those cow whisperer types...I smile, sheepishly and wind down my window again as she returns back to her car, job done with the cow back in his field (single handedly)...
"I thought it might damage your car" I mumbled
"Oh no dear...they hardly ever do that" she smiled at me...there was that sympathetic smile again.
"Ah, right!" I must remember to re read my manual to cow herding when I get home I note to myself.

All crises avoided, I continue on my way, knowing that I can herd a cow next time...hell, I have dinosaurs in my garden!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Goggling over Goggles!

I was a teen growing up when I first heard the Tears for Fears song, Mad World. 
I'm not sure I took much notice of the lyrics, however, oddly enough, the first song that popped into my head when I read the latest letter home from school was that one!

Year six go swimming on a Friday morning and, despite not being sent home a permission slip to say he can go swimming, I was asked to send in a letter to say that Master Beehive the younger (who wears glasses) was able to wear goggles.

In our haste this morning we forgot to pick up the letter, so I ended up taking it up to the school office later in the morning. My letter was not of the official requirement. I needed to fill in the County Council's required form.

It began...

"We are advised by the ....shire Healthy (sic) and Safety Handbook which states:

"Goggles should not be worn unless for a specific purpose and in this case they must be made of unbreakable material."

We therefore request that pupils do not wear goggles to go swimming as there is a danger that:-
  • another pupils (sic) could knock the goggles accidentally against your child's eye and damage their vision
  • the material, from which the goggles are made of (sic), may be inappropriate (breakable under stress) and could cause damage to your child's eye.

Let's just ignore the grammatical errors for a moment, because we all know that spell checks don't always pick up on them and if you're typing in a hurry to send out a school letter ;-) HOWEVER....

What is unbreakable material? Kevlar? Lead? Heck, maybe we should have an 'elf and safety warning about the breakable and dangerous nature of pencils in school, or rulers?

Secondly Mr HealthandSafetywithobviouslyfartoomuchtimeonyourhands, my child wears glasses...yes...breakable ones at the playground, where there are children who may accidentally knock the glasses against my child's eye and damage his already damaged vision! 

Still, that'll be less of a possiblity since you banned balls in the school playgrounds which meant that children resort to kicking stones and rocks instead during playtime...I can see how a soft, sponge ball would be of far more danger to my breakable-glasses-wearing child than a medium rock coming towards his head as it's being used as a football.

For GOODNESS SAKE, PLEASE relax some of these ridiculous 'health and safety' rules. We live in a real, all singing, all dancing world where accidents do, sadly, sometimes happen. But to wrap kids up in cotton wool so that they never seem to get a sense of their reality, or their actions and subsequent consequences? How are we ever going to raise a society of well adjusted people who know limitations and how they will impact on others?

Actually, thinking about it, I wonder if any of the Olympic or Paraolympic swimmers were made to sign forms about their goggle wearing or, maybe there are just some 'magic unbreakable' goggles out there on the market that I just haven't learned about yet?

Please let me hear some of your 'Health and Safety gone mad' stories!

Thursday, September 06, 2012


I do love September, I'm not sure why; whether it's the new term, fresh start type of thing, or the autumn colours (I love autumn colours because they're so bright and invigorating), the misty mornings with the low level mist rising over the field and then the late hot mornings. Whatever the real reason that my soul leaps each September, I'm glad it does!

All the children are back to school now and I think they're doing okay. MB the elder has come home twice now with a smile on his face (and once without his school shoes *sigh*) and settled straight down to homework without even a murmur of disgruntlement; MB the younger seems to think that his new teacher is "alright once you get to know her", but seems a little teary about being in his last year at school (on day one...god help us by July!) and LMB was up and dressed and ready to go at 5.30am and 'loves' her new teacher and class and...and...and...(you get the picture!).

I am also post day one of my Montessori training and have come back somewhat overwhelmed by the amount of work there is involved. This year is a level four, which is year one of an undergraduate course, so it's hardly surprising. However, we have more exams and submissions than I did last year on the BSc! Still, it's fun, there seems to be a great group of women doing the course, I am only driving to Winchester one day a week, so I do have time to do the work and other things. It's no where near as intense or stressy on the family as the midwifery training was, so that is one huge relief. I can also commit myself to the canoe club and yoga on a weekly basis too and I know, from one week to the next, what I am doing - planning is back in my life again!

I do miss the midwifery, I haven't talked much about it on here. In an ideal world...or maybe I should say in a 'different' world as the one I have is pretty ideal thank you very much. In a different world I would live closer so I wasn't driving 400 miles a week, I would be somewhere where students are not walked on or spoken to as if they are something on the bottom of someone's shoe with an IQ of 2, where I could survive on around 4 hours sleep in a 72 hour period and where my husband worked at home all the time rather than in Tanzania, Ethiopia, Russia, Nigeria, or the US! and in a world where the likelihood of there being a job at the end is definitive rather than vaguely possible and Independent midwifery wouldn't be being sold out to EU insurance laws.

But, it isn't that world, it's this one and after giving it my all, I know that the most important thing to me is that I see my children grow up and attend their assemblies and awards, that I cook them something other than beans on toast (although they probably don't share my sentiments here!) that is remotely green and healthy and where I can say to a friend that I can help them out if they need it or look after their children if they're running late. I also realise that, I loved delivering babies and working with mums, but really what I'm more passionate about (and what I'm instinctively pretty good at) is parenting and education of the early, early years.
I have always felt very strongly about the connection between the life in the womb and the life outside in the early months, so what I'd like to develop is my work with babies through to 6 years, the crucial, formative years.

We are all creatures of influence to some degree or other and I know that my time in the USA played very heavily on who I am today. A wonderful directress, whom I'm sure I've mentioned before, Mary Reinhardt has always been and will always be that guru that has led me to where I'm going to be going. Her toddler classroom in Wilton, CT was the inspiration that is one day going to be replicated here in my little part of the world. So, first step is to get the diploma...! I say so a lot...I hope my path isn't going to be too tricky to navigate. Still, it's September...anything is possible in September!

Saturday, September 01, 2012

The Bees had been working hard all morning...

We've been living up to our name today, being a 'hive' of activity. Master Beehive the elder has spent the whole day paintballing with friends, Mr Beehive has been removing the hedge and cutting the front lawn, we've all demolished the old chicken house - which was riddled with red mite - don't even go there - (diatomaceous earth, red mite spray, fortnightly coating with mite powder has  had no effect on them either on the prevention of in the first place, or the cure.) and we've assembled the new house which is made of recycled plastic - it's looking really good, should be a whole load easier to clean and the mites shouldn't settle in it as there is no where to hide in plastic.
Maxi Hen Loft

I've made the Christmas mincemeat - yes - don't go there either - it's a story of windfalls!

Do you think we have enough to survive?

and, most excitedly of all, I've been kayaking for a few hours on the canal.

Rosemary and chilli oil, rocket pesto, mincemeat, hot beetroot and garden chutters!
One of the 'things' I have always wanted to do is be able to canoe better, so I bit the bullet and signed up for an adult beginner's course over the next four weeks. We're out twice a week learning the basics (and learning some more advanced stuff too). It was a whole heap of fun and I met some nice people too. The idea is at the end of the course we may want to continue at the club and eventually learn to race. We started in Poly-Pippin canoes
which are more stable on the water, but a bugger to steer and then some of us had a go in the Kirton kayaks

which have rudders and are much less stable when you're stationery but are fantastic at speed and stay much straighter than the Pippins.

It was a somewhat wobbly experience in the Kirton and I am not sure if my butt cheeks could have contracted much tighter in trying to keep the boat upright - I felt somewhat like my mother used to when she drove her mini metro in the 80's, leaning forward to encourage the car to go faster. It had bugger all effect, but made her feel better. For me, trying to control the tilt of the boat with my arse, naturally did nothing, but I did feel my buns had had a great work out after 20 minutes of that!

Still, "there is nothing, absolutely nothing half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats!"