Spot the proud lines… (you need to have read Diary of a Wimpy Kid!)

Although I’d done all the cross stitch, time ran out on me before I went away and I didn’t have time to sew this together to take up to Wales for my friend’s son’s birthday.   So sewing machine came out on Sunday and it’s in the post today.

I’m thrilled with it.  The patches are pockets and the background fabric was a real find.  I did one for Jack about 6 years ago and it was just yellow pockets on green fabric and doesn’t have the wow factor of this one.  Bonus points to anyone who recognises the dinosaurs from Harry and the Dinosaurs.

I don’t get my sewing machine out often as for the last 4 years I’ve been missing the part that holds the spool of thread, so it has required some inventive techniques in order to use.  I’ve had to stick to straight lines!  Also because the thread was loose the back of my sewing has been very untidy.  On something like the wall pockets where the back is against the wall it didn’t matter too much but I couldn’t do anything where seems were more visible.  Anyway by complete chance as soon as I’d finished the wall pockets I found the missing part.  So look what I made with the left over fabric.

I love it!  Pattern was free from here.  They call it an Apatosaurus but, as Jack the dinosaur  expert pointed out, they didn’t have bony back plates but not sure I’d call it a Stegosaurus (no spikes on his tail – Jack again) so we’ll settle for Dino.


Jack has a tendency to get obsessive over stuff.  When he was little it was dinosaurs, for a couple of years there has been a vacuum as nothing quite ignited his fire – but now football has

And he was gutted!!!

But has bounced back and switched allegiance to Spain (for Torres!)

Home sick

We’re just back from a week and a half at my Dad’s in N Wales.  When the kids were young I used to be so relieved to get home as the trip would leave me physically exhausted and mentally drained, now the kids are older and able to cope with the strangeness better I just feel sad to leave.  Don’t get me wrong I miss Pete of course and it is nice to be in my own house.  But Wales will always be home.

Lee is a lovely place to live (much nicer than the town I grew up in) and I have friends down here I’d miss if we left.  But apart from Pete and the boys the people I love are all back up in N Wales and I miss them a lot.  It’s over 7 hrs each way so really a once a year trip.  Oh well we’re not in a position to move up and even if we could I’m not sure we would, the boys are settled here.

So holiday was off to a bad start as the first day was my Aunt’s funeral.  Not an easy day. My aunt was a wonderful woman who has been ill for 20 years but kept her spirit and her sense of humour throughout and I will miss her hugely.  But she also represented a link to my mum as they were extremely close sisters and the day was full of little reminders that my mum is not here and without my aunt here my mum feels that bit more distant.

Anyway, cheering up a bit.  After the funeral we collected the kids from my friend’s and went for ice cream.  There is a farm near Chester where they make their own ice cream and they have lots of activities for kids.  It was very wet so we settled for just an ice cream and a run around the ‘pig maze’.

Sam and ice cream
The ‘pig maze’

Saturday was wet again so I took the boys into Chester for a potter.

Chester Rows
Chester Cathedral from the roman walls

Sunday,we went round to my oldest friend’s house for lunch and I got to cuddle a gorgeous baby.  I tried to get a photo by giving the baby to Jack – that didn’t end well!  No permanent damage done though 🙂

Monday and the sun finally came out so it was off to the beach.

in the cage – peace!

The tide was in when we got there so there was time for a play in the park.





As soon as the sand was visible it was onto the beach and into the sea.

There were also sandcastles (and a sand fish!)


And football!



Tuesday was nippier so we went out to lunch

And they had a park

And then to the Ice Cream Farm again for pudding.  Since it wasn’t raining we got to see all the areas which they have added since last year.

There were playgrounds


and a model coe you could ‘water’
Sam had a go at panning for (fools) gold and yes I have a bag of grit!

And there were quad bikes!


Weds was supposed to be really hot so back to the beach.  Unfortunately stiff sea wind was chilling so not much sea this time.

Thurs was cold and wet so we went into Mold to have breakfast with my sister and nephew (who is off school having finished his GCSEs which makes me feel very OLD!) and a very quick potter about the shops.  Then back to Grandad’s where I drew a map of Avantia (Beast Quest) for Sam to scribble all over.

Jack read

And they both drew


Friday was wet but we went up the hills

Then we nipped to the shops to get the 100th Blue Nose Friend!


How difficult can it be to take a nice photo of the two of them…

… I mean, look at the camera and smile – simple!  How is it impossible for them both to manage that at the same time!


I deleted the worst 4 too!

At least they are happy I suppose 🙂

These were taken outside the local church where the Beavers were helping at the Diamond Jubilee Thanksgiving service, Jack was press-ganged in to bulk up numbers.  I intended to use the picture to head a moany post complaining at the way many parents treat the volunteers that run youth groups such as Beavers and of course Rainbows.  Never got round to it though and the moment has passed.  Sure I’ll come back to it though, term isn’t finished yet!

Bang Goes the Theory Roadshow

Jack opted for strategic positioning here 🙂

Yesterday we went over to Poole to watch the Bang Goes The Theory roadshow.  It was really well done.  Possibly Sam was a little young to really get the most out of it.  But as the whole thing was themed on what could kick a football hardest, man or a rocket powered football boot they had Jack’s attention. Definitely knew their audience.

After the show and lunch we spent a couple of hours in Poole park.

Where we met up with other home educators going to the later showing.  Sam has decided he likes Monster very much as he ‘listens’ to him, the fact that Monster has the very useful ability to tune Sam out so Sam can chunter on as long as he wants is neither here nor there. Sam doesn’t need any response, as far as he’s concerned he has a captive audience.

Then we went to the ‘hands on’ tent where Sam had a go at shouting as loud as he could.  Which was actually not very, as unlike everyone else who went for one sound like ‘ahh’, Sam  went for a mini monologue 🙂

Having a race to see who could get water to flow quickest from one bottle to the other.
How the professionals do it - whirlpool!
Conducting electricity - Sam liked this one
No idea, not sure Jack did either. Something to do with clouds I think!
measuring how fast they can throw a ball
And Jack's turn.

Then a potter about the shops, where I treated Jack to some cds as he is getting in to listening to music in his room.  Michael Jackson’s Bad and Iron Maiden’s Number of the Beast – his choice :-).  Thornton’s ice creams and a discount book store rounded it off.

Then turning up on speck at the station, our train was just pulling in.  At Southampton we had to run as connection was on the platform and then Pete picked us up.  Never had such a smooth journey.

At home we watched the second half of the football, had a takeaway pizza, Jack wrote the first chapter of his new James Bond inspired story. Yes it is violent – I’m starting to accept that that is just boys (although not all boys of course) and laugh – taken me long enough.  Sam coloured in a world map (that Pete drew and unjustly got berated for always missing off Iceland) – red, which probably meant he was playing a war game in his head and there was mass slaughter…

Another very good day.

Boob day

I would have called it a day of culture personally, but when you are a 10 year old boy the naked boobs are obviously attention grabbing.

We were heading up to London to watch Horrible Histories, but as we opted to grab a lift to the train station from Pete on his way to work we were in London nearly 3 hrs early.  So a bite to eat down on the South Bank and then over the bridge…

no I have no idea what Sam is doing...

to Trafalgar Square…

Where we paused to recognise Nelson and have a long discussion about the logic of building statues and memorials to dead people, because after all they don't know or care. Sam remains unconvinced..

and the National Gallery.

This is where we first started encountering naked boobs, lots of them.

Many moons ago when I was still living with my parents in Wales and Pete was in London, I used to go to the National nearly every other Friday afternoon, to potter for an hour or so, then I’d walk along the Strand into the City to meet Pete from work before going for a few pints and a curry in the East End. Happy days!

Anyway I’d never taken the boys (apart from nipping in to use the toilets 🙂 ) as they are not interested enough to justify it as a day trip.   But it seemed a very good way to kill an hour.  We planned well, looked at the maps when we got in to the gallery, identified four or five rooms we wanted to visit, did those and left.  No one got bored, everyone stayed cheerful.

We went to see the Leonard Da Vinci they have as I’m hoping we can hitch our wagon to Big Mamma Frog and do our own Da Vinci project.  Although I suspect we may well get sidetracked by the Borgia’s a bit as this is Jack’s favourite HH song at the moment (I know we wouldn’t be the first to find ourselves led down this path so any suggestions of resources welcome).

We did Titian, late 18th Century Britain, Impressionism (Monet’s Waterlilies in particular), Seurat and Van Gogh.  Pretty random really, just what caught our imagination.  We stopped at things that caught our eyes as we walked though other galleries, mainly battles, crucifixions and greek myths (with naked boobs!).

We stopped for a drink and snack at the back of the museum opposite the theatre.  I love the going to the theatre but have strangely never been to a show in London, so there I got to do something new.

On the walk up to Trafalgar Square we had an interesting discussion on Georgian Theatre and how many theatres were set up and named after Georgian actors. I also got to pass on the story I'd happen to read on the train of Samuel Foote losing his foot in a riding accident that was the fault of George III's brother, hence they gave him a license to set up his own theatre which he called the Theatre Royale. Occasionally things like that work out and you get to sound very knowledgeable 🙂

I won’t bore you with my thoughts on the show again as I blogged them separately here.  Theatre was beautiful though, lovely domed ceiling covered in naked ladies to Jack’s chagrin.

Rather than head straight home we decided to go and spend an hour in the British Museum  which appears to have replaced the Natural History as the default hang out.

We’ve been before so only did some of the Greek and Egypt galleries.

Parthenon Sculptures
But Sam was more interested in the patterns on the floor 🙂
Venus and her boobs
And some male bits to balance it out
Egyptian boobs
and a scarab beetle

The mummies were their favourites

mummy and x-ray







With canopic jars runners up. Although we were disappoint that the info plaques never told us the names of the four sons of Horus from whom the jars get their heads and the staff in the room didn’t know and looked quite disconcerted when Sam ran up and asked him.  Hapi the baboon (lungs), Imsety the human (liver), Duamutef the Jackel (stomach) and Qebehsenuef the hawk (intestines) if anyone cares. 

Canopic jars

But this was the highlight.

Rosetta stone!  Jack has wanted to see it since he read the first Kane Chronicles.  Somehow we missed it last time we were at the museum.  I suspect because it was surrounded by tourists photographing it, took me ages to get this.

On the Kane Chronicle theme the shabtis were also popular.

Highlight for me was something we nearly missed.  On the way out a sign caught my eye, following it we found…

...Olympic medals


We meandered back through Covent Garden where there were no naked boobs but there were lots (and I mean lots!) of flags.

And of course street entertainers.


And this would be where my camera started playing up and I missed the man doing a handstand on some bricks on the vaulting horse.

To finish off the Kane Chronicles thing we stopped down on the Embankment to see Cleopatra’s Needle.

And have a run around in Victoria Gardens trying to catch pigeons to the amusement of bystanders.

Before heading for home.

I love London!

For Sam, St Pauls is the one on the left, the Gherkin on the right (he gets them mixed up 🙂 )

A lovely day!

Horrible Histories Barmy Britain

Yesterday we went to watch Horrible Histories, Barmy Britain, at the Garrick Theatre.  General consensus was that we did enjoy it but no where near as much as the other Horrible Histories stage shows (this is the 5th we’ve seen).

Previous HH plays have all focused on a particular era and have hung together better.  This was too vague a topic, all they could do is pick a few random bits of British history and throw them together.  If I was the sort of home eder who had to analyse and justify these things I would be hard pressed to see what educational benefit the boys gained.  It was a few standard well known bits (wives of Henry VIII!) with some quite obscure bits (Amelia Dyer – Victorian baby farmer), with no fitting together of it chronologically.

It is probably worth noting for anyone who has not seen the stage shows that it is not the TV actors.  In fact they are very different, much more of a narrative feel.  This one however was clearly influenced by the TV show and was much more a set of sketches, we covered Masterchef, Who wants to be a Millionaire? and the Apprentice.  And it did not work anywhere near as well.

I’d have probably been a lot more positive about the whole thing if it hadn’t been for the Apprentice sketch with General Hague getting fired because of the carnage of the Battle of the Somme.  It was impossible to see the humour in it.   I know that not all they do is supposed to amuse, they mix in the more tragic.  History is horrible after all.  But they handled that one badly.

On the positives, there were laughs.  Anne Boleyn was good.  And we had an interesting discussion on the mechanics of death by hanging on the train home, which attracted some strange looks, inspired by the Tyburn jig song.

My advice though is skip this one and wait for the Vile Victorians and Terrible Tudors later in the year.  We hope to catch them in Cardiff at the end of Nov/early Dec if anyone wants to join us.