Salisbury Christmas Market

Oops a week seems to have vanished!
Last Friday as part of our ‘German’ theme we took a trip to Salisbury to visit the Christmas market.  The sun came out for us and it was a lovely day.  Had never been to Salisbury, only through it, but instantly liked the place and I think a trip back to the museums is definitely in order at some point.

The train ride featured appropriate reading and a Christmas activity book.

A leisurely stroll through town.

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We visited the Cathedral which is stunning.  I don’t like taking photos inside so didn’t get one of the font but Sam was very taken with it.

20151206_820151204_12102420151204_120533 We went to the exhibition to see the Magna Carta (sort of thing that makes me a bit shaky with excitement being a bit geeky).

Sam as an elf!  Actually it’s a liberty cap.  He did point out the irony of US being called the ‘Land of the Free’!

20151206_15 Jigsaw of the ‘Prisoners of Conscience’ window.  Real thing is spectacular!
20151206_14Then on to the point of the visit.  Christmas market, bratwurst and a glass of mulled wine.  Love home ed.


Madness and Mayhem part 2

Wednesday, we left our core work in order to get some other things done.  Sam wrote thank you letters for his birthday presents and a letter to his penpal. 20151118_50 We sorted out the final bits for our rucksack for the Rucksack Project, a friend we were due to meet in Portsmouth had kindly agreed to drop it at the venue for me (as I’ve been too badly organised to get it to Fareham like I meant to).

We took some cheques in to the banks.  I showed Samhow to fill in the paying in book and gave it to him saying ‘it’s yours so you can do it’.  His response was ‘isn’t my bank HSBC?’  So we left Santander, where no one in the family has an account, and went to the right bank!  The boy’s confidence in dealing with practical things like this stands out.  Which is good as I’m obviously losing my marbles.

Into Portsmouth where we were meeting some friends to tour the Guildhall.  It had the potential to be really interesting, unfortunately the lady giving the tour was young and nervous and obviously had no idea how to engage with the kids.  Too much focus on the corporate/wedding side.  Sam was in an odd, hyper mood and hard work.  Was a good thing to do though and I saw things I didn’t know were there/hadn’t noticed, such as the murals in reception and a public exhibition of music in Portsmouth.

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Here’s Susie photobombing Sam in revenge for his constant photobombing of everyone else’s photos. 20151118_43  Sam’s favourite bit.


The thing that caught me was this tree


What you can’t tell until you are up really close is that all the snowflakes are corporate logos.  It’s really, really clever!

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Trying to blow away the madness 😉

20151118_49The last two days have been much needed home days.  Catching up on cleaning and work backlogs.

A little bit of what we’ve done.

Discussing ‘fantasy objects’ for creative writing.20151120_16 Catching up on our Christian stories work.  Writing a storyboard for Daniel in the Lion’s Den and learning about parables.20151120_14

Learning about volcanic intrusions and seeing how less dense liquids rise.20151120_6

Making chocolate covered prunes (and apricots) as part of work on Russia.  We also had kiev for tea.  We’ve spent a lot of time discussing communism and the USSR so okay kiev isn’t Russian but fell into our general area.

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Carried on looking at Cezanne,20151120_18Moving on from portraits to still life we started with Three Skulls.  Focusing again on shading.


Scratch20151120_3 Kinect20151120_2 Reading and documentary watching also featured.  He’s loved Wild Weather and we watched something on volcanoes.  20151120_4

Ran out of steam this afternoon as had some sort of allergic reaction to something – lumps, watering eyes the works.  No idea what but a nap and a bath seem to have done the trick.  Wine and the Hobbit now.

Flowing, Fizzing and France

Can tell I’m feeling more myself when the alliterative blog titles are back.

Weds was a rare day in (although one with deliveries and boiler servicing to work around) and a day for hands on learning.  We sped through Maths and Languages to get on to project work.

In science we were looking at lava flows.  We started by looking at viscosity by pouring a tablespoon each of various liquids onto paper and watching the flow and comparing the area they spread over.

20151111_41Contrast could be very clearly seen between water and treacle.  We talked about what type of volcano each would form.  Oh and discovered that you can write with treacle 🙂

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Sam made minibooks about different types of volcano and one to show how a caldera is formed.


It doesn’t matter how often we do this activity we can’t do volcanoes and not model the formation of a stratovolcano.  Start with a cone of playdough with a chamber and crater.  Set off a vinegar and baking soda explosion and cover the the tracks where the ‘lava’ runs with more playdough and repeat.  Great fun 🙂

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We finished up with modelling volcano plugs with cakes and chocolate.  Making a hole in the middle of a fairy cake and filling it with melted chocolate, then ‘eroding’ the cake (soft rock) when the plug had hardened.

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We’re at the perking up our Europe project stage by starting to try and look at a country a week.  This week is France.  We started with a lunch of French onion soup (no one will eat it besides me so while I love home made it just wasn’t worth the time this was a horrible packet mix to get Sam to taste it), baguette and brie.


Then we spend a ridiculous amount of time, effort and thought on constructing a model of the Eiffel Tower from spaghetti and marshmallows.