MO

Hi Everybody

I just wanted to let you know that a few months ago my family bought a Morris Traveller.  It’s an old banger of a car, all rusty and smashed up, but Evan, who is my brother, and Dad are turning it into a campervan.  They’re currently building a wooden house on the back of it.  It’s kind of a campercar!

We all fondly refer to it as ‘MO’.

Allow me to introduce Mo, who will be a campercar in the future, courtesy of Evann and Dad.

Allow me to introduce Mo, who will be a campercar in the future, courtesy of Evann and Dad.

Evan is very passionate about building and so is Dad.  Dad has a lot of experience, as he has been a carpenter for over 30 years. Mix this with Evan’s enthusiasm and you have an amazing project.  In fact, Evan loves Mo so much that he has started his own blog about the project.  He is doing so well with his blog and with Mo that I just wanted to support him and promote his blog to some of my readers.  Here is the link: https://mymorris.wordpress.com/

 

Evan and Mo

Evan and Mo

It would be really great if you could check it out, he would love it and I would really appreciate it.

Thanks,

Gracie

A few helpful tips and points from Andy

Today I was sitting in the manor house kitchen, sipping yannoh and chatting, when Andy came in.  “Hey Gracie,” he says, ” I’ve just read your blog.”  ” Is it all correct?” asks Mum, ” I mean all of the facts and figures?”  ” Well,” Andy answers ” I’ve made a few notes of things you could change, add or include.  Do you wanna come up to the office now?  We could discuss it, you can make some notes of your own”.  ” Sure.” I reply and I follow him up the creaky wooden staircase to what all of us call the ‘Top Office’.

The next hour or so was spent in a comfy chair, with a view out onto the wheat field, discussing extra information concerning wheat, illnesses, spelling mistakes, varieties, questions and so on.  I learned a lot in this short period of time, these are the main points that Andy talked about.

Now for Summer Harvest! Part 2.

 Why Do We Grow Heritage Wheat?

Heritage wheat is taller than modern wheat.  The reason why our ancestors grew tall wheat is because it grew higher than the weeds and so cast a shadow over them.  Obviously no plant can live without sunlight, so, simple as, the weeds died.

Now farmers want to put chemical fertilizer on, if they put it on the tall varieties of wheat they’d get super huge and topple over.  Therefore they have to create a small type of wheat so that when they put the fertilizer on the wheat grows to the right height.  But the weeds can grow easily in short wheat, so now what do we do?  Easy, we spray the field with weed killer!  Ah, but what if you’re an organic farm, like us?

Now you’ve covered your wheat field in weed killer,all the weeds are gone.  In most fields of modern wheat it’s all the same variety, unlike a lot of heritage wheat where it’s lots of different types.  Without the weeds the illness just passes from plant to plant to plant.  Whereas if there were weeds the disease would hit one and stop because that species isn’t affected by it.  Because all the plants are identical the illness spreads mega fast. So?  We can easily spray the plants with fungicides to stop diseases.  Oh no!  The organic problem has just popped up again. Eeeeeeeeeeek! Here come some pests, ahhhhhhhhhhhh, what can we do?  DON’T PANIC, we’ll just put some pesticides on. Grrrr, why does that same old prob keep ruining everything?!

So you see how many chemicals and horrible, disgusting, artificial substances are in the bread that you eat?  If we all just grew heritage wheat, all these things wouldn’t be needed.

Thanks Andy for your advice.

If you want to learn more about heritage wheat visit Andy’s wesite:

http://brockwell-bake.org.uk/

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Harvest!

Harvest weekend is here at last!

Harvest weekend is here at last!

Imagine this:  a field of beautifully  golden wheat, it’s perfectly ripe and sways gently in the warm, humid, summer breeze.  Harvest  weekend has finally arrived!

Where I live, on a farm in Sussex, the harvest is a big deal for everyone, men, women and children alike.  Everyone  has to muck in and pull their weight.

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Tiger enjoying herself.

Tiger enjoying herself.

Loading up the trailer

Loading up the trailer

Long ago scythes and sickles were the only means of harvesting, but recently they have been forgotten because of modern technology such as combine harvesters.  Not only do combine harvesters do the job in a very short amount of time, they also save a vast quantity of human sweat.

Working in the early evening sun

Working in the early evening sun

Everyone helps out.

Everyone helps out.

Andy, our chief baker here on the farm, is incredibly knowledgeable about all sorts of grains, baking and the whole process from grain to loaf.  People say that he is one of the most learned people about wheat.  He specialises in something called heritage wheat.

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Heritage wheat is very old wheat.  Wheat that you might say is not used by any farmers anymore, except growers of this heritage grain.  It’s Andy’s passion to reintroduce these old varieties back into use.  You may wonder how he gets hold of the grains, well, that’s simple enough.  There are two different ways.  Number one is a seed bank, there are usually one each country.  For every type of grain that is ever cultivated, they save about 180g.  People can get it from the bank in tiny quantities. Number two is more romantic, but probably less used.  It’s  where you visit an old mill and with special permission, take up the floorboards and gather the ancient grains that have fallen through over hundreds of years.  The absolute maximum age that you can still grow wheat at is around 40 years old.

The main reason why types of wheat get wiped out, is because of illnesses.  Most types last 8-9 years before an illness that can take them over forms.

Once you have the grains, maybe fifty or so of them, you sow them.  Then when you harvest them, you find that each head has say fifteen grains in it.  Again you sow all of these seeds and the numbers keep multiplying.  Soon you have a whole field of heritage wheat.

Anyhow, because we were harvesting heritage wheat, it seemed only proper that we did it traditionally.  Plus we were all wanting to do it with scythes and sickles.

We must get it in before tommorrow, because it is due to rain.

We must get it in before tommorrow, because it is due to rain.

Before the harvest Andy worked extremely hard, sowing, reaping, sowing again, reaping once again, he’d been nurturing this wheat for 7 long years.  We just came to help with the cherry on the cake.

All weekend long us workers harvested, sometimes having breaks to sit in the shade and sip cool icy water or run down to the river and have a refreshing swim.  Our wide-brimmed straw hats bobbed among the long yellow stems, as we waded through, collecting the heads of the Orange Devon Blue Rough Chaff, which is dark and furry and leaving the tall, light, velvetty Old Ken Hoary.  Us kids would run up to the taps and fill jug after jug of cold water, then pour it into cups with a splash of ginger cordial for the other workers.  We’d cut sheaths of a certain type of wheat and tie it with tape, writing its name, whether Welsh Hen Gymro or Chidham Red.  We separated the weed from the wheat, all the while munching on crunchy grains.  Each tastes a little different, Old Kent Hoary is slightly spicy, ODBRC is more sweet.

Evan working hard

Evan working hard

Chewing grains of wheat

Chewing grains of wheat

where's Irys?

where’s Irys?

Ah! There she is!

Ah! There she is!

At noon we all walked down to the manor house for a delicious and totally traditional lunch of pickles, cheese and , of course, bread! We all talked pleasantly and discussed the afternoon’s work.  The puddings were all made by me, they included flapjacks and rhubarb & plum crumble. In the evening there was music, meat, a campfire and beer.

Yum!

Yum!

The grand finale of the harvest weekend was when we loaded all of the sheaths onto the tractor trailer and followed it up to the bakery were we unloaded and had a team photo taken on the trailer.  Then we all rode back to the field to do it again!

Such a wonderful photo, full of beauty

Such a wonderful photo, full of beauty

Daddy!

Daddy!

Tiger looks like a proper country girl here!

Tiger looks like a proper country girl here!

This is Andy proudly showing off his the product of his hard work

This is Andy proudly showing off his the product of his hard work

 

Lulu waiting to catch the sheaf that is about to be thrown down to her.

Lulu waiting to catch the sheaf that is about to be thrown down to her.

Well done!

Well done!

Overall I loved doing the harvest, getting a feel of how it used to be for people in the books I read, like Laura out of Little House on the Prairie, and learning so much.  This weekend has been part of my homeschool life education.

 AwesomeTeam photo!

AwesomeTeam photo!

ME!

ME!

Lulu, Evan, Tiger, Irys, Dad and Me

Lulu, Evan, Tiger, Irys, Dad and Me

Tiger and Ev on the trailer

Tiger and Ev on the trailer

 

A good view!

A good view!

Holiday Snaps!

The beach

The beach at Lyme Regis

 

Buried in sand!

Buried in sand!

 

Last week my family and I went on holiday to the lovely little seaside town of Lyme Regis. We had such an amazing time I thought I’d share a few photos and memories.

Most of our time was spent on the beach, building sandcastle, swimming in the sea and burying each other in the sand.

Dad, Evan and Irys spent ages making me such a beautiful mermaid tail!

Dad, Evan and Irys spent ages making me such a beautiful mermaid tail!

Struggling to get out!

Struggling to get out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was Lyme Regis Lifeboat Week while we were there so there were loads of awesome activities on. We took part in a few of them.

Morris Dancing and we got to join in! It was really fun swirling hankies and skipping.

Morris Dancing and we got to join in! It was really fun swirling hankies and skipping.

 

 

 

 

Irys and Evan joined in a treasure hunt on the sandy beach. Here's irys digging for her life.

Irys and Evan joined in a treasure hunt on the sandy beach. Here’s irys digging for her life.

There was a pavement art competition. This was my entry. I didn't win.

There was a pavement art competition. This was my entry. I didn’t win.

 

 

 

 

 

Because it was lifeboat week the RNLI (royal national  lifeboat institution) put on lots of displays.  At one point we actually got to board the boat and have a look inside!

 

Ev trying on a crew member's helmet.

Ev trying on a crew member’s helmet.

This photo says it all. My bro is in absolute paradise, he LOVES the RNLI.

This photo says it all. My bro is in absolute paradise, he LOVES the RNLI.

Us with the small lifeboat, named 'The Spirit Of Loch Fyne'

Us with the small lifeboat, named ‘ The Spirit of Loch Fyne’

 

A rescue reanactment

A rescue reenactment

Me sitting in the lifeboat navigator's seat.

Me sitting in the lifeboat navigator’s seat.

 

We did a few walks on our holiday. Some long, some short. On one short walk we saw a stunning viaduct, so impressive. Another time we walked about 9 miles to Seaton, got the bus back to Lyme and then had to walk 2 or 3 miles back to the campsite. I must admit, my feet nearly dropped off!

Mum and us kids in front of the viaduct

Mum and us kids in front of the viaduct

Map reading

Map reading

Walking.....

Walking…..

This was taken just over half way through the walk.

This was taken just over half way through the walk.

Clambouring precariously along a fallen down tree which was resting against another tree. It was about 20 foot above the ground.

Clambouring precariously along a fallen down tree which was resting against another tree. It was about 20 foot above the ground.

 

This photo is of a water mill that was on our daily walk into Lyme.

This photo is of a water mill that was on our daily walk into Lyme.

 

We took some really cool selfies while on our hols. I tried to be creative and do something a little different when I took the one of me laying on the stones.

Me and Evan.

Me and Evan.

My Mum and Dad with Lyme Regis in the background.

My Mum and Dad with Lyme Regis in the background.

 

I love this pic.

I love this pic.

 

I love fireworks, they’re magical. I love to come up with names for all the different types, gold sparkles, fairy dust and lily flower. Watching them shoot up from the end of The Cob and explode above the sea, lighting it up in a thousand different colours, beautiful, just beautiful.

WOW!

WOW!

Fire Shower is my name for this one.

Fire Shower is my name for this one.

Squiggle and Swirl!

Squiggle and Swirl!

 

The Cob is a long wall in Lyme Regis that encircles the harbour. It is fun to walk along, you can feel the fresh sea breeze and it whips your hair around. My Mum and Uncle used to spend all of their holidays in Lyme, doing all the stuff we’ve done.

Looking down into the sea.

Looking down into the sea.

Irys (with a lovely smile)

Irys (with a lovely smile)

Weeeeeeeeeeeee!

Weeeeeeeeeeeee!

Evan about to walk along a rickety pontoon and then board the lifeboat. It's a dream come true for him.

Evan about to walk along a rickety pontoon and then board the lifeboat. It’s a dream come true for him.

I had to include this lovely photo of my sister.

This is Irys at our campsite, Hook Farm Camping.

This is Irys at our campsite, Hook Farm Camping.

Our camp, rather relaxed.

Our camp, rather relaxed.

 

Our great great grandparents used to be part of the bowling team on Lyme green. They have a bench here in their memory.

Our great great grandparents used to be part of the bowling team on Lyme green. They have a bench here in their memory.

After our lovely holiday in Lyme Regis we finally had to leave, but the fun was not over. We had a few places to stop on the way home, including the Cerne Giant, a village fete and Durdle Door, a place of wonder and tranquility, although it is invaded by hundreds of tourists every summer.

Coconut shy! Dad got two, but I got none.

Coconut shy! Dad got two, but I got none.

A lovely photo in front of the Cerne Giant.

A lovely family photo in front of the Cerne Giant.

The village fete we went to was in some one's garden and they had an outdoor swimming pool. Irys and I had a swim.

The village fete we went to was in some one’s garden and they had an outdoor swimming pool. Irys and I had a swim.

 

I took so many pics of Durdle Door, because I think it’s stunning. Here are the best ones:

My Siblings playing at dusk.

My Siblings playing at dusk.

The cove

The cove

Gazing out to sea......

Gazing out to sea……

The view of the beach, cove and arch from the cliff top.

The view of the beach, cove and arch from the cliff top.

Irys and the famous arch.

Irys and the famous arch.

Durdle Door

Durdle Door

 

This is a perfect picture. If I stare at it hard enough a poem starts to form in my mind.

This is a perfect picture. If I stare at it hard enough a poem starts to form in my mind.

 

I’ll finish with a few family shots and a big thank you to my Mum and Dad for such an awesome holiday.

Sitting on the step of our campervan.

Sitting on the step of our camper van.

Walking in the sea's shallows.

Walking in the sea’s shallows.

Dad and I

Dad and I

Jeans For Genes Day!

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Jeans for Genes Day is drawing near!  I’m sure some of you have heard of it and maybe even done something with your friends, school or work in aid of this amazing charity.  For those who aren’t familiar with it, here goes my explanation.

Jeans for Genes is a charity helping children with genetic disorders. On the 18 September every year, people in groups, schools, nurseries and workplaces all over the place get together and do something extraordinary in their jeans.

The money they raise goes to the charity and they use it to create life changing projects,  such as A Week On The Open Ocean, which gives children born with no eyes the opportunity to spend a week learning to sail and steer out in the English Channel. One teenage girl said that she didn’t dare to leave the house without her prosthetic eyes before the course.  She left them behind when she went on the boat and now she feels so much more confident without them. She also said that it taught her to be brave and try new things.  It’s really incredible.

It also provides equipment for the kids, like wheelchairs or communicating devices. It makes life a whole lot more pleasurable and easier for them and their families. They pay for well-earned holidays for young carers, who sacrifice their own life for the needs of others. They are true legends, they should be celebrated.

These children are so amazing, you think what they’ve been through, yet they don’t give up, they fight until the very end. When asked, ” What do want the most?”,  one young boy with restricted growth answered, “I wouldn’t change who I am for a million bucks, I just want to be accepted as who I am”.  They don’t want to feel excluded and bullied just because they are different, at heart they are just the same as any other child, special.

These are a few of the children with genetic disorders featured on the Jeans for Genes website. To read their stories visit the the address at the bottom of the page.

These are a few of the children with genetic disorders featured on the Jeans for Genes website. To read their stories visit: http://www.jeansforgenesday.org

I only heard about the charity recently, but as soon as I’d sat, my eyes glued to the article in First News, for ten minutes, I’d already made up my mind. I wanted to help. So I thought about what I could do in my jeans, a sponsored silence? A walk? A run? A swim? A cake sale? The main purpose of this blog was to make others aware of Jeans for Genes Day and to gather lots of ideas for things I could do to raise money for Jeans for Genes, extraordinary things for extraordinary kids.

So does anyone have any ideas?

 

Jeans2015

 

Favourite Tennis Player?

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I love tennis, as I’m sure some of you all do too. It is my dream to go to Wimbledon one day, I would love it.  It’s fun to watch or play, but have you ever thought about who your favourite player is?  I only really watch Wimbledon, sometimes Queens. It’s really hard to decide who you want to win, but I always cheer for the new players.  I just think that if the same top people like Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams and Roger Federer win every year it gets a bit boring and predictable.

My fave has to be Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, he is so smiley.  I want to know who your favourites are, do you cheer on the not so famous players? Are you loyal to your country’s favourites? Let me know, leave a comment below.

Here’s my Wimbledon poem, hopefully I’ve captured the main feel and elements of the tournament.

Echo of shots out on the court,
the audience rises in applause.

It’s love-fifteen,
as the crowd tucks into strawberries and cream.

Summer days, nice and hot,
players doing rallies and shots.

Only in white,
the sun is so bright.

Rollercoaster Conquerer

I’ve only ever been on proper rides twice in my eleven and a half years and both with my Uncle and Auntie.  One was in the July of 2014 and the other was yesterday, the 29 June.

My first experience of theme park life was at South End. The whole atmosphere didn’t really suit me like it did my brother.  I’m not a very loud, adrenalin seeking, crazy kinda person, but I was enjoying it anyway until the moment we turned a corner and saw Rage.  The biggest baddest rollercoaster ever.  Even watching made me feel nervous.  It all just got worst when Evan shouted out, “Uncle Martin, Uncle Martin! I want to go on that one. Come on it with me, come on.” “Oh no,” was my initial  thought, but slowly a mix of curiosity and not wanting to be the one who didn’t do it came upon me and I joined the queue along with Evan and Uncle Martin. After about 30 minutes of queuing it was almost our turn, Ev was absolutely hyper by then and Uncle Martin and I were wondering if this really was a good idea. Too late now, we climbed into our carriage and away we went. There’s not really much I can say about the actual ride, but what I do remember is the agonizingly slow climb up a vertical track, backwards, then the not knowing when your going to flip forwards and plummet at an incredible speed downwards. The rest was a blur of falling, rising, flipping upside down and finally staggering off to the sound of Ev’s super hyper whoops and shouts. There, in South End Amusement Park, was where my fear of rollercoasters began.

 

The biggest baddest rollercoaster you ever did see.

The biggest baddest rollercoaster you ever did see.

I'm in that carriage somewhere!

I’m in that carriage somewhere!

We talk about it often enough, Ev laughs at how scared I was. I couldn’t help it. One day recently, Dad talked to me about it. “You should go on them, Gracie,” he said ” Think of it as a challenge, a fear to overcome. What does Bear Grylls say? When you have nothing left to give and you are scared, don’t give up. Dig deep into your soul and bring out some adventurous spirit and strength. Once you’ve done it, you won’t be afraid anymore, you’ll have overcome it. So take my advice and next time, which will probably be when you go to LegoLand with Uncle Martin and Auntie Carol, try.”

Well, it was hard, extremely hard, but I felt inspired by Dad and Bear Grylls, so when I found myself at LegoLand I decided to give the big ones a go.

Irys and my cousin, Olivia , were off with my other grown up cousin, Kurt.  While Evan and Uncle Martin were waiting to go on something, Auntie Carol and I wandered off to see what we could find.  We came to a big track so high off of the ground it towered above every other ride or building in the LegoLand Resort.

Wow!

Wow!

I looked at it in absolute awe. “Wow, isn’t that huge, Gracie! You want to go on that one?”  “Actually, yes” I said, remembering Dad’s words of wisdom. ” On your own?” gasped Auntie Carol, ” Are you sure?”  “Yes.” I answered decisively, as I joined the long snaking queue. As I got nearer the front, I started worrying and getting really anxious. I kept swallowing and shaking.  I felt sick.  Suddenly I was called onto the ride. Terrified as I was, I stepped onto the round platform and sat down on a plastic horse. ” There will be a slight delay of the procedure of this ride”, came a booming voice. ” Oh great”, I thought.  I wondered whether to pull out, give up, call the lady and say I wanted to get off.  I decided to stay on, then I gagged and puked over the side.  That was pure fear.  I almost burst into tears, but the ride started spinning and I soon forgot all about it and was having the time of my life.  I went on it again with Uncle Martin and Ev, even he screamed, ha ha.

I'm on the right, on a black horse.

I’m on the right, on a black horse.

I left something behind that day, now I’m free from the fear that may have held me back all my life, had it not been for the wise words of Dad and Bear.

 

Really Wild!

 

Breakfast Time

Breakfast Time

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

 

 

 

I wake to the sound of birdsong and the faint smell of wood smoke. The early morning sun shines brightly through white canvas of our bell tent. I glance at the clock, 6:30, forty five minutes to wait until I can venture out of the little tent crammed with six (well, five now) sleeping children all worn out from their previous days full of fun activities, laughter and jokes at the Really Wild Home Ed Camp. Each and every day so far has been amazing and jam packed with fun. Silently I look about me, I can see five heads on five pillows, their bodies wrapped in sleeping bags, blankets and layers of clothes, safe from the cold air. One by one the campers awake, their bed heads very noticable, I grin at them and we all start to chat. I rummage about in my clothes pile and pull out of a pocket my camp programme. We all pour over it and discuss the day’s plan. Everyone’s heading in different directions at different times, but I manage to figure it all out. Stella and I smile at each other through the confusion, us older girls are so organised, we planned it all yesterday.

 

Mornin' Spenser!!

Mornin’ Spenser!!

Evan at 7:15, day 4

Evan at 7:15am, day 4

Caedmon: some look better than others first thing in the morning!

Caedmon: some look better than others first thing in the morning!

At roughly 7:15 we all stumble out into the fresh morning air, all dressed and ready to go. It’s Thursday morning and the last day of the camp. We shovel down our muesli and Stella, Irys, Tiger and I all head off into the main meeting area ( called the village, even though it’s a fenced off section of a field with a marquee and a giant tipi in it) to gather for the animal kingdom walk. The boys, Caedmon, Spenser and Evan stay back at the fire. Steve takes us all into Grassy field and does a little talk about animal tracks, homes, food, signs, bones, fur and lastly POO! I keep watching out for my friend Benny and eventually he  joins us. We walk up the side of the field, doing a little foraging along the way. I stop with Stella, Tiger and Benny, my three best friends, for a snack of ‘bread and cheese’. In the war children were told to go out straight after breakfast and not come back until tea time. “There’s plenty of bread and cheese on the hawthorn tree”, their parents would say. What they meant by this was that the leaves are bread and the whitey yellow petals are the cheese.

We enter Little Wood and Steve walks down to the stream. All the animals come to drink here and we spot plenty of tracks in the sticky mud. A dainty deer, a slinking fox, a colourful pheasant and even maybe a lumbering badger. We creep along the edge and for some reason I feel the need to whisper it’s so peaceful and tranquil. It’s almost as if the leader of the animal kingdom has you under his spell. I wonder what sort of animal would have this real magic?

After walking a little further we discover some rabbit holes. We inspect the poo and freshly dug earth. Steve wants to show us something else, something I have seen many times before, something I have always wanted to explore, something that is a Wowo secret and a place forbidden to any of us children. It’s exciting as we walk towards it, then we see it, the gaping hole, the hole that we know if any of us fell in we would disappear. We stare down into the darkness for a while then Steve beckons to me, I go over and he starts to lower me into that deep damp abyss. I have not a trace of fear in me, only ecstatic excitement. As my feet hit the bottom I call up to Steve and the others. Now only a my head is sticking out, I look down and see that I am only standing on a narrow ledge and that the bottom is still far below me. My eyes grow accustomed to the gloom and beneath me I see a tunnel that I could easily squeeze through, that I long to explore, but Steve is already pulling me up.

The camp really was wild, we were up from 6:30am until 11:00pm running around, going from knife craft to tarpology, camp craft to stalking, tracking to search and rescue and foraging to cordage making.  We hardly saw Mum and Dad, only at breakfast, lunch and dinner and when they forced us to brush our teeth before bed. Talking of brushing I’m almost certain there’s no need for hair brushes and clean knickers on camp, but that’s another adult rule. The freedom was pretty cool, being able to decide what activities we wanted to do.  We all enjoyed ourselves loads and none of us can wait until next years Really Wild Home Ed Camp.  Meanwhile it’s lots of early nights for us!

Really Wild Photo Gallery

Where's Irys gone?

Where’s Irys gone?

Dance, dance, dance

Dance, dance, dance

Dance on Lulu

Dance on Lulu

One happy camper

One happy camper

Fun fun, yum yum

Fun fun, yum yum

Tinder bundle alight!

Tinder bundle alight!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bollywood dance!

Bollywood dance!

 

Eggy bread and Ketchup!

Eggy bread and Ketchup!

 

 

 

The campfire's roaring

The campfire’s roaring

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Caedmon cooking us all breakfast

 

Eating bannock cooked on the wild foods, nutrition and cooking course.

Eating bannock cooked on the wild foods, nutrition and cooking course.

Children, Unite!

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Children are 27% of the world’s people BUT 100% of the world’s future

We are the world’s future parents, teachers, prime ministers, farmers, bankers, builders, bakers, activists, scientists, ecologists, religious leaders, lawyers, pop stars, scout leaders, and most importantly, we are tomorrow’s peacemakers.

Across the world 58 million children aren’t getting the chance to go to school.

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FIRST NEWS, the weekly newspaper for young people, have launched Children United, a charity that is trying to help uneducated children all over the world to go to school.  They say their desire is to give kids a window on the world from wherever they are sitting right now.  It will help them to hear different points of view and understand different cultures.

They talk about all the different reasons why kids cannot and do not go to school.

They believe that all children have the right to education and have released a song , performed by Alesha Dixon and children from around the world, to share their message.  Check the song out it’s beautiful, emotional and full of passionate children.

http://www.childrenunited.com/song

I think the reason why children should go to school is because it gives them hope, a brighter future and a way to provide for their family.  If children are taught at home or are learning a practical skill like farming, then they should have the right to not go to school, but some for kids it’s a chance.

You may wonder why I, a home educated kid, am encouraging others to go to school.  Education is essential wherever you learn. Some kids can have a future that is promising and fruitful without going to school, but for others it is very important and an opportunity to seize because it can change their lives.

Children United want children to come together to raise their voices to say that they want their fellows to be educated.  They have written a petition, #UpForSchool, its aim is to gather millions of signatures demanding education for all, a message that no world leader can ignore.

When the petition is signed by loads of people then it will be delivered by Gordon Brown (The UN Special Envoy for Education) to some very important world leaders in the hope that they will make a special effort to make sure all kids that want to go to school, go to school!

#UpForSchool petition reads:

” We, the world’s youth, teachers, parents and global citizens, appeal to our government to keep their promise, made at the United Nations in 2ooo, to ensure that all out-of-school children gain their right to education before the end of 2015. We are standing up to bring an end to barriers preventing girls and boys from going to school, including forced work and early marriage, conflict and attacks on schools, exploitation and discrimination. All children deserve the opportunity to learn and achieve their potential.”

I encourage everyone to sign this petition.  It will make the future so much better for so many people, it will go a long way to ensuring that kids achieve their potential, their hopes and their dreams.

You can sign the petition at:  http://www.childrenunited.com/petition

Thank You!

 

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Story Of The Snake

I have a rather dramatic story to tell of, it was the highlight of my half term.

When I think about it,  us children found it amazingly, tremendously, exciting, but to the adults it was probably only something that reminded them of the delights of their own childhood. Well, we didn’t care if we were the only people in the world who were absolutely hysterical over such a small thing as catching a specific, slithering, special specimen.

 

The specimen

The specimen

Well, the story starts like this, it’s half term and our good friends have come camping.  I’m at home when one of them, the older one at twelve years old, comes running up, all out of breath. “Gracie,” she says “want to come rabbit hunting with me ?”  Of course I agree and we set off.  We head up to a field at the top of the farm where no campers go and silently we creep through the grass and keep our eyes peeled.  Unfortunately the rabbits have super sharp hearing and are a mile off before we have them in range of our nets.

As the four of us (my fellow rabbit hunter, my brother, my sister and I) trudge across the field we wrack our brains for a solution to the rabbit shortage. The only sound is our feet in the swishing grass, until my little sister pipes up, “why not try looking under the corrugated iron sheets? There might be some mice or voles”. “Or shrews” adds my brother. “Great idea” we all agree. Trudging across the last half of the field with renewed enthusiasm, we get to talking about the time when Dad and I checked them and saw a very sleepy grass snake.  My friend, who is terrified of snakes, looks slightly worried, but I reassure her saying, “I’ve checked the pieces of metal hundreds of times and there’s only been a snake once, alright”. She smiles nervously, but carries bravely onwards.

A little later we reach the shoulder-high grass where the iron sheets are kept.  Pushing our way through the mega long grass, we feel like real explorers now.  I reach one first, closely followed by Evan and Irys, my friend is a little way behind. I open it, the moment of truth, we hold our breaths. A few mice scuttle out, but we don’t move a muscle, all our attention is taken up by something else, you’ve guessed it, a snake.  I yell and my friend freezes, I will never forget the look on her face.  I run to the next one and the next one and the next one and so on, until we’d seen four real live grass snakes. We run all the way home.

We start equipping ourselves properly, long trousers, proper shoes or boots, not crocs, tubs to keep mice or snakes in, nets to catch them, a forked stick and two more people, my friends younger sister and another friend of ours. The adults all trying to be encouraging and enthusiasic, but I’m sure they thought that it was all some childish game.  Well, we totally proved them wrong.

My friend over came her phobia and went along with everything we had to do without so much as a scared look or a squeal.  Eventually we came to the bits of metal, after about 3 or 4 we see our first snake. I hold the iron while the snake thrashes around dangerously close to my fingers, when I think about it now I get scared, but in the moment it was all too thrilling.  Evan seizes his forked stick and pins down his snake’s head, my other friend grabs his tail and pops him neatly into a big tub, we fasten the lid punched with air holes.

We’ve got him!!!!!!! None of us can believe we’ve caught this creature. We walk home and think up a name while doing so. He really is a beauty, so we call him: Amber Death Geoff Sierra Daisy Tiger. We choose a name each, mine is Tiger, because I can see the light in his eyes and I know that he’s a fighter.

Tiger, Tiger burning bright in the forests of the night. What immortal hand or eye could frame thy fearful symmetry

Tiger, Tiger burning bright in the forests of the night. What immortal hand or eye could frame thy fearful symmetry?

When we get near, we parade.  Evan stands at the front with me beside him, blowing an imaginary trumpet of triumph, the others come behind.  Wild grins on all of our faces and looks of utter astonishments on those of the adults.

TRIUMPHANT!!!!!

TRIUMPHANT!!!!!

After having our photo taken, we marched back to the grass for the solemn ceremony of releasing our snake. We all went to bed feeling glorious and victorious that night.