What Jack Did

Recent posts have been very Sam focused.  But I haven’t done away with Jack, promise.

He has been on a 3 day magic and circus workshop and LOVED it. And he made it into the local paper!

On Thurs they did an Olympic themed show for the parents.

And then we picked up Subutteo in a charity shop yesterday and he loves it.

And one of his oldest friends came to visit from the States.

A good week all round.

Portsmouth Dockyard Trail

Jack still had his workshop on Thurs so after dropping him off Sam and I headed over to the Dockyard to catch up with Claire, Oscar and Herbie.

We started off with a quick tour of the Mary Rose Museum and some dressing up.

King Oscar and Sir Sam his loyal knight

Mini Archers



Then it was on to Action Stations where they know their way around like the back of their hand and trying to keep up was futile.

Lunch and then HMS Warrior.  By this point Claire and Herbie were settled in the cafe and I was left trailing in the boys wake as they carried on with the treasure hunt/trail they were following.


They wanted to do some colouring (turned out to be colouring flags that I had drawn for Activity Village 🙂 ) and treated all on board to a rendition of the national anthem.

Another lovely day.




Victorian Science at Portsmouth City Museum

After dropping Jack off at his workshop on Weds, Sam and I headed to the City Museum in Portsmouth to meet up with some friends at one of the museums ‘Out to Lunch’ activities.


…played with buzzwires…
…writing and sending messages in bottles…

…made paper cup telephones and spent a lot of time running around and playing in the beautiful museum garden.

And then I got conned into some new clothes from Gap and some new maps (Sam likes maps!) which proved a hazard to other shoppers!


One of the big ‘things’ of the summer for the boys have been playing with making videos.  Which means I am forever losing my camera and when I do find it and start uploading the pictures it takes for ever as there are over 100 pictures and 10 video clips every time .  Here are a couple of tasters of what I’ve had to put up with.


One of the things they (well Jack really) are very keen on is the idea of stopframe animation.  So the last time I found a load of photos on there I downloaded some software and strung them together.  A five minute effort (bus was due) with no timing or music.  But they’re happy and if we get the time we will have a proper play this week.

Subs and Circus Skills

Jack is on a 3 day magic and circus skills workshop in Gosport and is loving it.  While he was there on Tuesday Sam and I went to the Submarine Museum.

The walk to the museum takes us through one of the many local marinas (and very pretty it is too).

Haslar Creek, and time for me to display my ability to recall pointless facts.  One theory behind the origins of the phrase  ‘up the creek without a paddle’ comes from when sailors were brought up Haslar Creek by boat to the Naval Hospital in Nelson’s time often to die.  The location of the site made it into a sort of prison so even those who recovered could not escape and desert.

We opted not to tour the Submarine at the museum as it was busy and ticket are valid for a year so we’ll go back.  Instead we stuck to the science galleries


They have a Horrible Science exhibition on at the moment which we were looking forward to but was actually dull.  We love the Horrible History stuff and the Geography but the science doesn’t work anywhere near as well somehow, it should the subject matter is there but…  The exhibition didn’t seem to contain any actual ‘science’ just cartoons.  Good for some kids I suppose but Sam much preferred the permanent – not child focused – gallery.

It was Make and Take day so we stopped to make …

Jolly Roger – also the flag of submarines. If you click on the picture it will take you to a site with info on what the symbols.
Horrible Science inspired bag








When we got home we spent ages playing with bubbles (I was blowing so no photos) and Jack did some juggling practice.


Ha Ha Ha






Lure of the Sales

Unable to resist sales I’ve been buying ‘educational resources’ and we’ve been playing


Pattern blocks
Glump Machine
Tetra trax – perfect game for Tetris fans. Pic is a link but unfortuanately seems to have gone up £7. It was definitely worth the £3.50 I paid, not worth more though.


…don’t seem to involve a lot of sleep!

LONG night!

At least I had the sense to wait until Pete was away before I said yes this time.  He was a nervous wreak last time 🙂

Major news…

…on Saturday we posted off the form applying for a school place for Jack for September.  Those who know us in real life know that this has been bubbling along for a while.  He wanted to go, then he didn’t, (repeat over and over) then he wanted to go but not until next Sept (to Secondary).

Anyway he came back from having tea at a friend’s a week ago desperately keen to go, and with time not on our side it was now or never, so off went the form.

Those of you who know me, know I was really upset when it first came up back in January but I’ve long since adjusted to the idea and can see definite advantages, particularly for Sam who has had to play second fiddle for so long.  I’m looking forward to socialising and joining in home ed group activities again (they were a pain to do with Jack in tow) and throwing away timetables and structure (which Jack needs) and being able to embrace a more go with the flow approach.  Academically wise Jack is bright and will do okay wherever and he has a nice group of friends who all go to the local school.

Slightly miffed that he waited until the day nearly £100 of course books arrived (that he had helped choose) and after I’d sat up until gone midnight three days on the trot developing a wonderful interactive spreadsheet/calendar for keeping track of his work (not that he was supposed to know of course but I was immensely proud of it 🙁 ). And most frustratingly that the decision came as a result not of one of the many considered debates we have had on the subject but from outside prodding.  Won’t dwell on that though as no point getting cross, it can’t be undone.

But if he is going, and I think he’ll never settle until he at least tries it, then now is definitely the best time.  I think he’ll love it and I might get to see a school nativity play :-). Hope the paper work goes through quick though as I really don’t fancy having to do all the uniform shopping and prep in the last week of the holidays.


When we put our request in for Olympic tickets we decided to pick the venues rather than events- we were never going to get or afford front row tickets at the stadium to see Jess Ennis so we went for Wembley and Wimbledon.  Failed to get Wimbledon but did get Wembley.

Women’s semi’s actually. France v Egypt

Stadium was wonderful.  Brilliant seats. Lovely atmosphere (Sam was fascinated by the Mexican waves).  Football was appalling in the first half, exciting in the second.  Other people’s kids were a pain as ever.  I nearly got stabbed in the eye by the Egyptian flag, enthusiastically waved by the very large, loud map next to me.  Fabulous day.

Stayed the night in the worst hotel EVER.  Travelodge out on the North Circular.  Called itself Wembley but was a good hours walk from stadium.  Spent a bit of time pottering around Wembley yesterday morning – it was dismal!  I love London but not there.

Investigating Chemical Reactions…

…or simply having a bit of fun.

Mentos and coke
which ended up in a coke fight (my apologies for the very sticky kids)
Wait for it…
Setting fire to stuff or using up more coffee stirrers
Victoria sponge by Jack – he’s getting good (and independent) at baking