Friday, 30 April 2010

Bright Beltaine Blessings

"Oh, do not tell the Priest of our Art,
Or he would call it sin;
But we shall be out in the woods all night,
Aconjuring summer in!

And we bring you news by word of mouth
For women, cattle and corn
Now is the sun come up from the South
With Oak, and Ash and Thorn!"


A very merry May eve to you all. I hope you all find a little fun and fire to welcome summer in.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Turning in

                               Fred, a few days old

Over the last few months I have found it increasingly difficult to balance the needs of home and my commitments in the wider world. In particularly I have found teaching my classes to be a huge source of stress and worry. The problem has been, as ever, childcare. This has become ever more problematic as we are now further from the town in which I teach, meaning I have to leave earlier to get their on time, meaning Fred has to be in bed and asleep by en earlier time. Simon's job has also meant that he is very often not home before I have to leave which means I have to spend half my life asking favours of the few people I know around here.
That's not even touching on the Sure-Start ante-natal sessions which are usually late afternoon and pose endless problems with the children.
Fred needs weaning. That would make things a little easier as then at least someone else could feasible put him to bed if necessary. Jack also needs a bit of extra time spent settling him into school. The house needs a lot of time spent on it. Not necessarily in terms of the renovation, but just in terms of organising our belongings a bit better so that we can live in it a little more easily.
And I myself just need a little extra time with a little less pressure to just, well, gather myself a little.
Because of all of these things I have decided to close my classes for the time being. I have not taken this decision lightly, and have sought advice from other Active Birth teachers and friends, but I really feel this is the right thing to do.
So now I have to turn in. Now I have to consciously work at finding a little breathing space, and make sure I use the time in a positive, restorative and progressive way.

I think the first thing I have to tackle is weaning Fred, wish me luck!

Wednesday, 28 April 2010


Our house is a mess!
The house itself is a mess, having been unloved and un-cared for for over 20 years. there are bits of ceiling that have fallen down to reveal the lath and plaster (and ancient animal hair, what joy for an allergy sufferer!). There are areas of amazing old flag stones, but equally vast expanses of concrete floors. The stair case is quite literally falling apart and it's only really a matter of time before we lose a child through it. Part of the upstairs hall, luckily a non-essential part, was damage by an ancient water leak and is not safe to stand on. The dining room, which will eventually become our kitchen, looks like the inside of a barn and you can see daylight around the windows,

I don't care how much water and playdough and bits of apple and squashed raisins ends up on the skanky brittle old lino in the kitchen.
It doesn't really matter how stained the reclaimed piece of carpet we are temporarly using in the family room gets.
Muddy wellies don't do too much damage to concrete floors, and mud sweeps up off them very well once dry.
And, the pile of building materials and scaffolding in the back yard has prompted a lovely lady over the road to let me use her beautiful walled garden to hang out my washing in.
All said and done, quite liberating really!

Thursday, 15 April 2010

A Second Birthday

A whole two years since he arrived! I can't believe he's two already, but I can't imagine a time when we didn't know him.

He loved his ducks, as I knew he would. He also loved his enormous lizard mat/wall hanging that you can see the edge of in the photo above.

He searched in his fairy baskets with just a little assistance from an elder brother or two. He had a breakfast of hot 'bix', toast and jam and the little chocolate from his fairy basket, before packing sandwiches and heading off to Rosemoor to meet Frankie and the girls.

A perfect day of sand and trees and pine cones and sandwiches and carrot cake.
As we were walking into the vegetable garden Frankie stopped and checked the time. 'Happy Birthday Fred' she said, it was after midday!

And even a quick stop in the vegetable garden for a quick pull of the scarecrows nose... heaven!

And Spaghetti bolognaise for supper with a huge bowl of strawberries to follow. His perfect supper menu as devised by his big brothers.

A Birthday Party

As Fred's Birthday fell on a Monday, and that meant Daddy would be at work, we had a little lunch party for him the Sunday before. We invited Mike, Frankie, Lily and Niambh, Xav, Sneji and Georgia, Uncle paddy and Laura and Ann and Robbie. Pretty much his perfect line up!

Jack insisted that he was making Fred's birthday cake,....

...but the tower scaffold arrived that day, and Fred had to make his own Birthday cookies!

Fred had a lovely party, full of crayons, cake and cuddles.

Then after lunch we all went up to the park so that the adults could pull various muscles and humiliate themselves on the play equipment and Fred could do some 'a runnin a ball'.

What a lovely way to spend a sunny day.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010


Early in march we found a large quantity of frogspawn in some natural ponds beside the Torridge. Most of the frogspawn was in a large pond, but some was in a smaller pond beside it, and with the dryer weather the pond was slowly disappearing.

We checked the frogspawn over the next fortnight, and eventually we decided that the water had gotten to low, so we took a bucket and scooped the frogspawn out of the little pond and transferred it to the bigger pond.

We kept the last little bit in the bucket and brought it home to watch it hatch.

The frogspawn was checked every day and to be fair, we got a lot of miles out of that spawn! We looked up the process in various books, investigated what tadpoles eat, drew various pictures of the tadpoles, as well as detailed diagrams of the life cycle of frogs.

But, all good things must come to an end, so eventually the tadpoles ( frogpole actually now mummy) had to be taken back to the big pond.

We carried them down in their bucket and very carefully poured them into the big pond. By then the smaller pond had disappeared entirely so we were very pleased we had intervened. I think I was expecting to see loads of tadpoles in the big pond, but the bottom was covered with leaves and you couldn't see a thing. Once our tadpoles were in they too blended into the leafy bottom and were gone.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010


Jacks Birthday... yes I know it's mid April and that was the end of January but I've been busy!

His birthday tree, which caused great excitement with the memories of Fins epic tree still fresh. Jack wasn't overly impressed with only having five fairy baskets, not eleven like Fin, but took great pleasure in nearly demolishing the tree in his haste to look inside them all.

I love how different they are. Fin took his time over his fairy presents. Spreading out opening them over two days, so that the last basket wasn't emptied until the following evening. Whereas Jack nearly ripped them from their branches and had them all emptied within five minutes of clapping eyes on them!

Oliver and Luke came back after school for a birthday tea, and Jack got his requested chocolate malteaser cake.

A Big Change

So, here is the before..... as it has been all his life....

And here is the after.... Serious big boy stuff.

He actually took to his big bed with almost no noticable fuss. I suppose one of the advantages of 'side car'ing him is that he was already used to being free to clamber in and out and having the big bed there.

A New School....

At the beginning of March the little boys went to school together for the first time. It was Fin's first time in his new school, and Jack's first time in 'big' school. It was so lovely that they could share this new start with each other. They looked out for each other, they played together, and even sat together at lunch.
It didn't last of course, but it was lovely for a little while!

Friday, 2 April 2010

The story so far...

Well, finally back on line at last. So much has happened since my last post. We are moved in to our new house and life is starting to settle down in our new village. The bigger boys have both got places in the school and are enjoying their new social lives.

The house feels warmer and more homely now. We haven't done much work on the place yet, but that will all happen in due course. It's not as difficult living here as I think I had imagined though. And there is something very liberating about living in a dirty old falling apart sort of a house. You have to worry less about mud or dust or wellies. Not that I was ever unduly concerned.

We also have Freddie's second birthday fast approaching, and my sewing machine is broken which is making several of the presents I had planned impossible. I think a quick look on the Myriad website may be called for.