Tuesday, 15 May 2007

The Clown of God and other stuff

Nana and Hermione went to see Watercolours by Quicksilver Theatre Company at Darlington. They were both in good spirits when they came home having thoroughly enjoyed it. Having said that, neither were able to really explain it to me. Apparently it was very 'arty' and 'inventive' with a cast of only four.

They then joined Soo, Miles and myself in attempting to avoid the workmen who were fitting the kitchen work tops. Five hours into the job it was looking quite promising. I thought the end was in sight. Then it happened - one of the men broke one of the granite slabs! He had what appeared to be a very strained telephone conversation with his employer and then announced that his employer was about to start the two and a half hour journey from where they are based to bring a new granite slab. What should have been a six hour job turned into an eleven hour job and by the time they came to leave they almost felt like part of the household :-) Never mind, I'm more than happy with my new worktops - even if that does make me feel very old and sad indeed.

Not a lot happened on Sunday. We went out for Chinese lunch and called into the plant nursery on the way home. We now have cauliflowers and a chili plant to add to out growing veg collection.

Our veg patch is looking good - even if I do say so myself!

Sweetcorn and lettuce -

Broad beans -

Sweet peas which will in time shield the compost bin I hope -

The morning was a bit of a none event. I had an appointment. On the afternoon we met friends at the local soft play place called Action Replay. We hadn't been in a couple of months and the children all really enjoyed it. I think the children enjoyed it much more so than the parents who had very little opportunity to chat what with chasing their children all over. Next time we meet up I think it should certainly be somewhere that parents can relax and chat a little too.

Early evening was Badgers. Both of the girls were rather errr excitable when they came home. Craig grumbled that the session was riotous and queried what they get out of it. After a brief chat we established that they do spend a lot of time there chatting with other children, interacting and making friends. So, as long the riotous behaviour doesn't become dangerous hazardous behaviour we will stick with it. Hermione said very little about it until today when she casually mentioned over lunch that she was 'hand bandaged by a big boy' at Badgers.

With the children in bed I hummed and hahed about 'behaviour issues.' I am conscious that I'm not happy with the way I am communicating with the children any more. I regularly feel short tempered and irritable. I've stopped using NVC http://www.cnvc.org/nvc.htm to the extent I used to - not that I was ever an expert but at least I used to try. I have most of the books but I thought I would try to get back into the swing of it by using the home study pack so I've ordered it from Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/Non-violent-Communication-Training-Course-Study/dp/1591794439/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2/202-8601398-1138260?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1179254395&sr=8-2 . Hopefully this will help me to get back on track.

It has rained most of the time for the past few days. This didn't deter Miles from his daily dig around. He loves messing on his part of the veg patch. He doesn't care if it is pouring with rain. I just pull his hood up and then take shelter under the hawthorn and let him get on.

Talking of the hawthorn, it is now in flower and I must remember to try making a cup of tea with the flowers.

Today we started The Clown of God by Tomie dePaola.

This is a FIAR text. I had considered using FIAR for a while before I bought it but was hesitant because I had heard that it had a strong religious content. This is the first text we have come to which has religious overtones - well more than an overtone really. I read it myself last night and wondered whether or not to use it. I decided it would be wrong to leave it out because it contains religious and spiritual views which are not in keeping with my own. I aim to give the children clear unbiased information about as many faiths as I can - so as they can make an informed choice of their own. It can get a bit tricky though trying to answer the kind of questions six year olds can be apt to ask when it is something you don't even really believe in yourself. I'll do my best.

The story went down well, as per all of the FIAR texts to date. I have to say I think it is exceptionally well illustrated. There is a lot to see in the illustrations.

At the end of the story we looked in detail at the pictures. It is set in the Renaissance period. I decided not to go into this in detail save to say that at some point a long time ago clothes and buildings were like the pictures in the book and this was called the Renaissance period.

We went on to look at vocab. The words I chose to highlight from this text were - duke, wearily, amazement, stern, sacrilege, pounding, zucchini and egg plant (as opposed to the familiar courgette and aubergine).

We watched a Jolly Phonics programme called Words and Pictures on CBBC. It was good. We then did the corresponding tasks in the Jolly Phonics workbooks. Quick game of word bingo and once again putting numbers in order of size. I think I need to revamp 'normals.' We seem to get into a rut of doing the same sort of thing day in day out for a week or two, it goes beyond being interesting and comfortable and once again it's time to shake things up.

After lunch Nana and Hermione went shopping for new dance shoes. They bought a beautiful pair of white leather ballet pumps. Very pretty.

This afternoon we made ginger ale from a recipe in one of the new raw food books. We juiced a big bunch of grapes, a couple of stalks of celery and a big chunk of fresh garlic root. It was delicious. I can recommend it!

Off to continue preparations for our special guest arriving later in the week. For those who don't know my sister Helen is coming all the way from Canada for the weekend! It is a surprise for Nana. We should probably have people to stay more often as it is the only thing which seems to prompt me to attempt to finish all the jobs I have left half done. If you're reading this Helen I'm sorry to say but I suspect there will still be lots half done when you arrive. If I ever even think of buying a ramshackle to renovate again please beat me with a big stick!

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