Once again I feel that I have to apologise for the paucity of updates and the hiatus between write ups. The trio of updates at the beginning of the month were supposed to have been backed up with some quick fire write ups. It is blatantly clear that did not happen. Life, work and the death of my NAS conspired to prevent that from happening. To somehow make up for this I am promising a couple of updates before the annual Bagnall Christmas message, that will appear on the Winter Solstice (already pre-written and scheduled).
So let me take you back before the last three write ups to the end of October. The Badger Moot ended on Friday 31st October and we arrived back mid afternoon. The more astute of you will recognise that corresponds to the beginning of the triduum of Allhallowtide, the eve of All Hallow’s day or more colloquially Halloween. In recent years the British have followed the path of our American cousins popularising the festival. Trick or treating and ‘guising’ (dressing up in Halloween themed costumes) has gained commonplace acceptance, indeed we were prepared with a big Halloween-themed bowl of sweets for the trick-or-treaters, of which there were at least half a dozen. Another of the common Halloween traditions is the carving of a jack-o’-lantern.
At the beginning of the year Éowyn was given some pumpkin seeds from Auntie Sally, and as part of our vegetable growing we grew them. Unfortunately, we suffered from a Pumpkin blight that killed off most of our crop, however one hardy individual survived and became the first jack-o’-lantern I have ever carved. Éowyn designed the face, and indeed drew blood weeping from its ‘eyes’ but Daddy got to play with the big sharp knife. I was quite pleased with it and as you can see from the photo below, it looked quite good lit with a tealight guarding our boundary.
The following weekend was the end of the half term holiday and thus marked the changeover between schools for our girls. By a quirk of fate neither had to go to school on the Monday. Amélie because it isn’t one of her days and Éowyn because her new school had an inset day. Therefore, with Lucinda and I also not in work we decided to treat the girls to a day at Legoland. With Ezra spending a day at Nanny and Granddad’s it gave us more freedom to enjoy the rides without having to worry about our little boy.
The weather was typical November drear, but relatively dry. Nevertheless we didn’t fancy getting a soaking on the Log Flume or the Viking’s River Splash. Without Ezra, Lucinda and I thought that we may be able to go on some of the bigger rides. Amélie was in the same frame of mind but Éowyn wasn’t interested and so while Lucinda and Amélie braved the Dragon ride, Éowyn and I waited in the drizzle armed with a camera to try and take a photo or their experience. Amélie loved the ride, she is so much more adventurous than her big sister, indeed Éowyn clung to me with fear on the Dragon’s Apprentice ride, which if you have ever been to Legoland you would realise is not exactly the scariest of rides.
Both girls thoroughly enjoyed their day at Legoland, Éowyn especially liked the fact that she was now old enough to join the driving school and drive an electric car around a more challenging course that the L-Drivers course that the younger children (Amélie included) have to negotiate.
The following weekend (I was at work – how unusual!) the family were invited to a firework party at Éowyn’s first best friend: Raine’s house. Lucinda drove to High Wycombe with the kids armed with fireworks. Unfortunately the weather had other plans and the rain threatened to put a literal as well as proverbial dampener on the evening. A little bit of rain never stops the British from enjoying themselves though and eventually the fireworks were lit. Lucinda could not enjoy them though because Ezra was clinging to her for dear life and Amélie who doesn’t like loud noises was nuzzled against her hiding from the explosions. Only Éowyn stood and watched them and Lucinda was trying to keep an eye on her to make sure that she stayed out of harm’s way.
So after an exciting couple of weeks, of holidays, Legoland, Halloween and fireworks and starting a new school, life settled down into its new rhythm. A drive to school across Staines and the A30 was replaced with a walk through the local park (as fate would have it enduring Autumnal rain-showers for the first few weeks) to their new seats of learning. The first week went relatively well. Amélie thoroughly enjoyed her new school while Éowyn remained indifferent, which was as good as we expected the first week. Then things changed.
Éowyn started crying that she didn’t like her new school and wanted to go back to her old school. This obviously upset Lucinda and I think Éowyn sensed this and played on it a little more. It was time to be the bad cop and although sympathetic I had to encourage her to embrace her new school and try and make new friends. She would always have her old friends, indeed we have been pro-active in setting up playdates with some of her old school friends, but it would be fun to make new ones. As Éowyn was going through this transitional period the Ofsted report of her new school was announced and disappointingly it was grade 3 (requires improvement). It started to look as if we had made a big mistake.
Then a couple of things happened to help settled Éowyn. First, she moved up a level with her reading. At her previous school she would have homework once a week and although as parents you were encouraged to read with your child they were not given a new reading book until the teacher or teaching assistant had read the book with them. Her new school doesn’t give homework to younger children (which I am undecided whether it is a good thing or not) but they do read the comments that we make in her reading diary and give her a new book each day. This is really helping her reading, which can only be a good thing. The second thing that helped to settle her, was that she began to make friends and indeed was invited to her first birthday party.
It is now a month since they started at their new schools and Amélie is still enjoying her new school, in fact she says that she prefers it to her old school, which is great news. Éowyn on the other hand would still prefer to be at her old school. She is making friends and when we drop her off at school she seems very popular with a lot of the girls and they look for her. However, her new teacher is not her old teacher and obviously teaching methods vary and I think that is part of the problem. Not saying that either is right or the other is wrong, but Éowyn is having to deal with a different school ethos, different teaching styles as well as making all new friends.
It is horrible to think that your child is upset and not enjoying school but it has only been a month and these things take time. She is obviously a charismatic character as she seems to make friends easily and other children seem to want to be around her. She is clever, she has already earned a place in the gold book (a reward given out to the top pupils) but she is strong willed and that is probably holding her back from enjoying herself at her new school. We will hopefully have a catch up with her new teacher in the week and see how she feels that Éowyn is getting on and if there is anything that between us we can do to help our eldest with the transition. As always I will keep you across how it develops.
Well I think I have kept you long enough and I have to keep somethings for the next write up, so I will take my leave
Peace and Love
PS: Another little funny from Amélie mishearing lyrics. One of the bigger hits of the year has been ‘all about that bass’ by Meghan Trainor. The lyrics are a little repetitive: ‘Because you know I’m all about that bass, ’bout that bass, no treble.’ Amélie, not really understanding what is meant by treble changed the lyrics to ‘Because you know I’m all about that bass, ’bout that bass, no cello.’ Not sure that she knows what a cello is either but maybe she has seen this smooth jazz version and added two and two together.