Six? How did that happen then?!
I seem to be slipping later each year and like last year I struggled to find anything like a typical day around here. I guess the answer to that one is there is no such thing as a typical day around here but today had plenty of what is important to us, what we strive for, what plays a big part of our lives and where we are right now.
That includes friends, learning something new every day, seeking out new experiences and firsts, stepping up to responsibilities, laughing, singing, talking, nature and animals, learning from others in all sorts of different environments, giving our time and working together, relaxing and enjoying each others company. Today we spent a lot of time in the car which isn’t ideal and doesn’t necessarily characterise how we live our lives but it is certainly one of our biggest expenses and resources.
So we started the day off with breakfast, getting dressed and so on. No photos of that as we were all up and moving at different times but were out of the house pretty early today so here’s our first photo of us leaving the house and getting into the car, otherwise known as the Nicmobile
First stop was some chalk downland about 10 miles away.
I have been doing volunteering as a shepherd or ‘lookerer’ for the local council. This involves being on a rota to visit a small flock (currently just nine) of sheep kept grazing to protect local chalk downland and reduce the use of fossil fuelled grasscutting machinery. The scheme has been running for a while and is working really well with the flock checked twice daily by volunteers. I attended a one day course last year to learn more about sheep and grazing for conservation, how to ‘turn’ a sheep, common sheep ailments and symptoms to look out for, errecting and maintaining a temporary electric fence enclosure and more. I have passed all this knowledge onto Monster and Teeny and the come along with me and do most of the lookering themselves with me just nominally supervising. Last week we had the excitement of a limping sheep that we managed to catch so I could inspect it and report my findings to the shepherd. Today we had another limping sheep, although not so bad so we didn’t bother to catch it but just reported it to the shepherd who was attending this afternoon anyway.
So Monster and Teeny head count the sheep, check they are all able to get up, walk and run, cast an eye around the perimeter fence for damage and check the sheep have water.
We also enjoyed a bit of a Fox & Child moment watching a vixen and her four cubs playing in the sunshine in the next field along. We were too far away to get a decent picture and as we tried to move closer they scarpered but it was lovely to catch the glimpse of them .
Back to the car:
This time back past home and 20 miles the other way to a localish marina where some new friends have their boat anchored. We only met them last week but hit it off and arranged to meet up again today. They are Home Educators with a same-age-as Teeny daughter and a slightly-older-than Monster daughter (who is currently in school but about to come back out. They sold up everything to buy a boat and go off sailing, boat-school the girls and generally live their dream. After some amazing adventures they are back in the UK for a while to earn some cash, repair the boat and recuperate before planning to head off again.
The marina is very posh indeed with many boats costing far more than most of us will earn in a lifetime let alone have spare to spend.
We fell rather instantly in love with their boat
Monster for it’s playground / home /adventure setting all rolled into one:)
Teeny for the wildlife that came calling
and me for the fab design features making the most of every bit of space - loved the little galley
We had chats, playing, explored the boat and had some lunch before heading for a wander round the marina and over to the beach for beachcombing, crab collecting and erm, pretending to be a seaweed monster from the deep!
Back to the car again this time heading for home for a couple of hours. Home is just as important to us as out and about and if we don’t have at least one day every fortnight with nothing planned but hanging out at home we all start to get a bit burnt out.
Teeny made herself very busy, first she took her ducklings out. She hatched them 2 and a half weeks ago from eggs she’d been incubating and they have imprinted on her and think she’s their mummy You can read more about the Hatchwatch 2010 adventure over on our self-suffish blog. They are currently still living in a box in Teeny’s bedroom at nighttime but are now able to go out in the garden for most of the day providing we’re around to protect them from seagull or other bird of prey attacks.
Monster got out the geomags. His current favourite passion is Harry Potter and he made some HP characterrs merged with Ben 10 Aliens to play with
Meanwhile Teeny had appeared back in the house again and was carrying out one of her favourite past times - making potions! This time it was to use to clean seaside treasures such as shells.
The cleaning idea got her thinking so she gathered up some coppers and a glass of coke to leave to soak overnight to see if what she’d heard about coke cleaning things up was true.
(it always amuses me when my autonomously Home Educated kids wind up doing the same sort of experiments that more structured HE children do, or I remember doing in school. They follow just the same formula of knowing a theory, devising a way to test it and then drawing a conclusion from the evidence but it’s all on a whim or because it’s something they heard somewhere, or an idea that just occcured to them rather than out of a book or someone else’s head).
Teeny checked the ducklings were secure and safe in their outdoor pen and we grabbed swimming costumes and headed off to the swimming pool for their weekly swimming lessons. I often go in too but didn’t today and observed them instead. Obviously I can’t take pictures in the pool so here they are brandishing swimsuits ready to go in:
and here they are an hour later on the way back out again. They both have half an hour of lesson and half an hour of free time in the bigger pool using the slide, diving boards etc. as their lesssons are staggered.
and here’s a ‘just for the fun of it’ silly photo they posed for and asked me to take and include in their day
and yes that is the sea you can see in the background. We love living near the beach and always mean to spend a lot more time there, but it does at least always appear in the background of our lives. We live about a mile away from the beach and probably drive past it most days, always observing the tides, what colour the ocean is and what boats, kite surfers etc. we can see out at sea.
Back home it was teatime for Monster and Teeny, and bedtime for the ducklings who happily follow Teeny back into the house. It won’t be long before they are staying out all day and night but they have a few weeks before then and need to grow some feathers!
Usually bedtime would be a story together but today we had a dvd that everyone was wanting to watch. It didn’t really hold my attention so I went off for a bath but left Monster and Teeny and their Daddy all cuddled up together watching.
A story doesn’t have to be in a book to be enjoyed together.
Bedtime here means both Monster and Teeny listen to audio books in their beds. Teeny was listening to Chronicles of Narnia and Monster to one of the Harry Potter series. Most nights they listen for half an hour or so before feeling tired and turning the audiobook off to go to sleep. Other nights of course they listen for hours and hours and are still awake when we go to bed! As I say round here the only thing that is typical is that today will be nothing like yesterday and probably not a lot like tomorrow!