Firstly, I must say sorry for not having posted much this month. I have spent a large chunk of the month busily working on a special project for Mum's 'big' birthday next month. I started this project months ago, but as I seem to have a habit of doing, I underestimated just how much 'work' was going to be needed, and how much time that 'work' would take. Anyway, it's done now, and I'll reveal all next month.
What else has been happening this month, then? Well, the kids have done pretty 'good'. No.2 was picked for his school's team for a district athletics competition (in the 'throwing' event). It's an annual sporting afternoon in which half a dozen local primary schools take part. No.2 had two rounds of lobbing a bright orange ball as far as he could. He did really well and came second overall in his event. His school came second in the whole competition - losing by just 17 points to a school with twice as many pupils which wins almost every year. The weather was kind and it was a fairly pleasant way to spend a couple of hours on a summer afternoon.
No.2's school runs a system of 'merit marks' to encourage pupils. The kids are awarded merits for good work, good behaviour, and all-round good-eggism. For amassing 75 merit marks, they are awarded a bronze certificate (in front of the whole school). For achieving 150 merits, they are awarded a silver certificate; and No.2 has got one of those for the last two academic years. This year however, he has managed to achieve his gold certificate for reaching the dizzy heights of 250 merit marks - the second in his class to achieve it. It mattered very much to him to succeed at this, and I'm really proud that he managed it.
On the last day of the first half of the current term, No.2 came bounding out of school asking if we could take home the class fish for the holidays. Erm ... well ... what could I say? It was the last day, nobody else had volunteered and what harm could it do? Thus it was that Barney and Jaws came to live with us for 10 days.
It didn't start well, when I discovered that the tank No.2's teacher had put them in, had a small leak in the bottom of it. I didn't discover this until AFTER they were in my car and fishy smelling water had leaked in the boot :( My car smelled like a fish shop for ages. After a swift change of tank, we got them home, and they spent the week in the same spot in the hall, that Herbie used to live. Georgie-cat was very pleased to have something akin to cat-tv back, and spent lots of time just watching them swim around and around.
I didn't especially take to being a fish carer, and can confess I wasn't terribly disappointed when the term began and I ferried them back to school. I went up to the Staff Room to ask No.2's teacher to give me a hand. He said 'They're alive and well, then?' and when I commented that he seemed a tad cheesed off that they were he confessed that he'd only got fish to be the class pet as he thought they'd only last "a few weeks". He was bemoaning the fact that Barney and Jaws "have lasted for months and months and months!" It did make me chuckle.
Not to be outdone by her brother, No.1 has also achieved. The early part of the month saw her perform her very first 'gig' with the band she joined earlier this year. They had to put in a lot of time for rehearsals (as did their teacher/manager) but it was all worth it, as on the day they did really well. They did three 'sets' of songs in between other performers.
She was such a nervy Noreen leading up to the event, but in the end enjoyed it very much.
Her teacher loaned her a guitar for the event as, he said, she needed one which would plug in to an amplifier, and her simple acoustic guitar doesn't. Quite handily, he (the teacher) happens to own a music shop which sells, amongst other things - guitars - so he let her borrow one of those. This is it:
Did you notice the price tag on it? Here's a closer look:
Eeek! I was so scared we'd break it or damage it somehow. She is performing with this band again next month - and he's asked her to go to a rehearsal with another band he has too - they apparently need a "good acoustic guitarist" - so that guitar may well be coming back here. Perhaps I should make a padded cover for it?!
I'm not sure any of you will remember my mentioning in my January Round Up the matter of No.1 having to make her choices for GCSE courses. She merrily picked the subjects she wanted, and we thought all was well until she was called out of a lesson one day to be told that actually, two of the courses she'd picked were now not going to be running. :( Cue many tears and some wobbles.
Her dad and I were initially not very happy with the way the school went about it, but I have to say they listened to what we had to say, apologised muchly, and tried their very hardest to accommodate what No.1 wanted. They said she was the only student to have subscribed to both those courses which were now not running, which was very unfortunate. Since Music and Art were pretty much non-negotiable for her, Graphics was the subject she has been forced to drop. The school did offer to support her (with teacher time and materials) through Graphics as an after-school club which was very good of them, but it would have meant so much work on top of the 'usual' coursework.
After another meeting with teachers, she has decided not to go ahead with Graphics as an 'extra': They have assured her that the Art course she is doing is broad enough that Graphic Design will be a strong element if she wants to pursue it. So now she is taking Geography, Art and Music as her GCSE 'options', and we all hope this works out well for her.
I would like to say a big thank you to those who left a comment on my last post - x. I was keen to know what others thought of the 'candid' genre of photography and found your input really interesting and helpful. Obviously to some it can be rather intrusive and unwelcome, and I'm pretty sure that because of that I won't be persuing it as a main course of my photographic exploits. I will, however, continue to take candids in the way I have previously - sensitively and where possible, with permission. I am attending a couple of events next month where people are definitely 'performing' so in that instance, I presume candid shots are welcome.
I cannot let this month pass by without mentioning the World Cup being held in South Africa at the moment. My youngest was so full of hope, but bless him - it all ended in tears with England's 4-1 defeat to Germany last Sunday. :( He even had a bad dream that night about it; mind you, I bet Frank Lampard has many bad dreams about the goal that wasn't, as well.
We enthusiastically watched every England match. No.1's school showed the game against Slovenia on a big screen in the school hall for those who wanted to watch it with their chums. No.2's school day finishes at 3.15pm, so it was a race to pick him up and get back here as quickly as possible after the 3pm kick off of that particular match. We have watched many games, and thus far it would seem that the South Americans are in much better form than teams from any other part of the world. It pains me to say Argentina look good, but the fact remains that they do.
No.1 has little interest in football, but she did adorn herself with face paint for the England games (as did No.2 and me. Yes, there are photos to prove it, but you must be mad if you think I'm publishing them here :p).
My friend D and I decided to go along to a newish 'Knit & Natter' group that is running at our local museum. It only meets once a month so isn't a huge commitment, and we thought it might be nice to meet other yarny types. Not that I count myself as a yarny type, but it's always good to meet fellow crafters, isn't it? In any case, this was just the prompt I needed to get me started on the 'blankety thing' over which I have pondered for a while. I mused over what style of hookery I wanted to attempt, and settled on a ripple for this first attempt. I followed the 'neat ripple' pattern of Lucy at Attic 24, and much to my surprise it seemed to look 'right'.
I didn't know whether to do a totally random stripe or go for something a little more 'ordered' - in the end plumped for an ordered random affair :D This is how it's going:
Quite bright, isn't it? :D
One of the ladies at K&N was using something called a Lucet (also called a 'lucet fork'). I had never seen one before, but apparently it was a tool used by the Anglo-Saxons, Vikings and other peoples to make cords to tie around their waists, or to use as necklaces, or ties for various garments. The old 'french knitting' that we used to do as children (four little nails hammered into a cotton reel) is a descendant of the lucet method of cord-making. Another lady was using a triangular frame with little nails/tacks protruding at regular intervals as some sort of basis for a weaving project. I don't know what I expected when I went to the group, but it wasn't that I'd learn about things like those! We haven't yet decided if we're gong back yet, but I don't see why we shouldn't.
Right, I'll leave you with another picture taken this month - just a dandelion clock, but I like it: