In theory we were to go back in time to the Iron Age, but I seriously think the time machine must have a sprocket loose or something because that was definitely the Ice Age. And, to steal a joke from the well known film of the same name (highly recommended if you haven’t seen it yet… or even if you have)… if that was the Ice Age, bring on global warming!
It was one of those days today – the ones where you’re doing several unrelated activities all sandwiched together and end the day totally exhausted with culture shock. First up was the early rising to take Tiddles to the swimming pool. It was the first time since Dad’s been back from his trip to my sister’s so I had to decide how to fit in the “getting him up” session into our new routine. He decided he’d like it to be before I take Tiddles, “but only if it doesn’t mean you having to get up even earlier”. No Dad, of course it doesn’t… I was planning to get up half an hour earlier in any case 😉
After Smudgelet’s swimming, during which I must admit I was rather impressed with his front-crawl-without-drowning routine, the two boys bustled off into the music centre to prepare for their concert which was being held, unusually, in the morning. Dad and Auntie M arrived to join me in the audience. It was delightful – how I wish you could have been there to see them. The Smudgelets, that is, not Dad and Auntie M! They looked so grown up and handsome in their black trousers and white shirts, Tiddles with his royal blue Music Centre tie. They each played keyboards with their respective groups, Smudgelet struggling hard to look as though he had some idea of what he was doing. (He refuses to practise on the grounds that he can’t play the pieces so practising isn’t any fun), and Tiddles proudly tinkling away one-handed with the second group which he’s proud to have joined (disappointment on its way, as they’ve decided to amalgamate the two groups next year, so he’ll be back with the beginners!). And then they were out there to sing with the junior choir.
Honestly, God. When you gave him the gift of a real love of music, couldn’t you have given him the voice to go with it?
But I was incredibly proud of my boys – Smudgelet with his sweet tone which I so rarely hear and Tiddles with his sheer enthusiasm which filled the auditorium and brought a smile to everyone’s face. My eldest loves to sing, and I love to hear him. I hate the fact that, as you get older, actually being “good” at music becomes important and affects what opportunities you have to indulge your love of it.
Best bit of the concert, though, apart from the fact that my children were the most gorgeous and most talented children there of course, was the junior strings – a veritable multitude of tiny tots wielding violins and making, to my utter surprise, a remarkably pleasant sound. Little ones barely big enough to touch the floor when they sat up on their chairs, remarkably small girls wielding remarkably large cellos, tongues sticking out in concentration, heads nodding in time to the music and bows flying. I watched in wonder and amazement. I love these concerts – they are incredibly inspiring.
Then on. From Tchaikovsky, zooming back in time to the Iron Age.
It was the annual open day at the much-loved local educational farm. It’s only open to the public once a year, usually it’s for school visits. Every child on the Island has been there and loves it, and the man who runs it is a local hero. As he walks past, children watch wide-eyed and open mouthed and nudge their parents and whisper very loudly in awestruck tones, “Look, Mum. That’s Mr G!” Normally the open day is one of the best days out of the year, although last year several people were ambulanced out with sunstroke because of the heat. Not so this year. It rained. It blew. It rained some more. It was downright horrible. There were still hundreds of people there, but most of them were jammed into the piggery, the only source of real warmth and shelter, and by the look of them most people were longing to snuggle up with the piglets, who looked really cosy in their jumbled mountains of pinkness. Many people only stayed an hour, but we stayed to the bitter (and bitter it was, too) end. Why? Because Tiddles was part of a Young Archaeologists exhibition. The farm is home to an authentic replica of an Iron Age farm house and field of willow. Each year the YAC put on a demonstration there, dressed in replica Iron Age costume and doing spinning and weaving and making willow plates. It was this exhibition last year that got Tiddles first interested in YAC and today he was in his element, demonstrating how to weave the osiers in and out of the basic framework to make a plate (which he then brought home as a souvenir. Where exactly does one keep these things?). I have to admit I was pretty proud of the fairly-authentic-looking costume I made, although the thick anorak and warm socks did rather spoil the effect!
Home for a nap for me and a hot bath and mugs of hot chocolate for them, then a curl up together on the sofa under a blanket for some more of the tales of King Arthur (Hmmm… he was not long after Iron Age times, wasn’t he?) while I fought off the temptation to open the huge parcel which had arrived in my porch. Yes, my massage couch has arrived. It’s really quite exciting… and very purple! 😀
To end the day, a short version of the over-tiredness-tantrum. Now that he’s nearing his teenage years, the dreaded vicious circle is in sight. He’s started to tantrum over being too tired to stay up for things he wants to stay up for (tonight being Doctor Who, even though I’d promised to video it for him as long as he went to bed without a fuss!) and thus being too worked up to get to sleep and, as a result, being too tired to cope with life properly the following day. It really is quite ironic that the cause of his tantrums is caused by his tantrums. If he’d only gone to bed properly the other night instead of sitting in the cupboard under the stairs (or what would be the cupboard under the stairs if we didn’t live in a bungalow) throwing a wobbly because he wasn’t allowed to stay up to do the homework he’d neglected to do earlier because he was too tired! How to break this cycle? Goodness only knows – I just have to hope he’ll come to see the cause and effect for himself and stop trying to fight it. But I’ll admit I’m seriously dreading the week he goes for the school trip to the Peak District.. or more precisely, the week he comes back!
Now, I think I’ll go and lie on my rather comfortable massage couch – did I mention how purple it is? – and watch the video of Doctor Who in peace.