An Experience At Sea 🌊⛵ (Photos and Highlights)

Hi all,

Yep, I really did go to sea! ⛵🌊 And it was incredible.

On Saturday I (very reluctantly) returned from a four day home-ed sailing voyage with The Island Trust in Cornwall. I learnt some brilliant skills, met some super cool new people and made some fantastic memories. The whole experience will stick with me forever.

Pegasus – the vessel shown below – was our home for the time we were at sea.

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Describing the whole trip would take a long, long, long time so I’m just going to be sharing a load of my highlights and some photos with you guys today.

Enjoy!

  • Making some absolutely awesome friends! If you’re reading this right now, guys, I just wanna say how much of a pleasure it was sailing with you and getting to know you over the time we spent together last week.

Just in case you didn’t know – I’m on the very right

  • Learning how to crew a sailing ship and how it all works. Working as a team with the others to sail Pegasus 72 nautical miles all in all was absolutely brilliant.

Creds to Megan – another crew member 🙂 Pegasus is on the left.

  • Sailing at night! Learning to navigate and not getting to our destination until midnight was preeeeetty cool. The land and the sea were sequined with what seems like millions of lights used to find our way – a beautiful sight.

Megan’s again ❤

  • Seeing wild dolphins! A surreal experience. I still can’t believe it.

Thanks for this one, Isaac.

  • Sunsets.

  • Watching a sailor set the record for sailing non-stop around the world in the smallest boat. We greeted him at the finish line and had the honour of being pretty much the first human beings he’d seen in the best part of a year. I hope he appreciated the horns and the mexican wave 😁

  • Making a sand sculpture of a mermaid with Megan on the beach.

  • All the HILARIOUS inside jokes 😂😂😁
  • Enjoying the sun, the waves and the views up on deck. Feeling the motion of the boat (fortunately I wasn’t seasick 😀)


  • Steering! I loved the feeling of (kinda) being in control of the boat and of having to really concentrate on all the elements of navigation (the wind, landmarks, where we’re trying to go)

Now for some other random photos (credits to Megan, Isaac and Craig – the skipper)

Anchored in a coastal river mouth for the night.

A HUGE ferry.

Another stunning sunset.

The bow (front) of Pegasus.

Not sure if this was early morning or evening? Either way – very pretty.

Dusk on the water.

Another bow shot.

Look at the skyyyyy!

So yeah! A very special experience and one I hope to repeat in the near future. Thank you, Island Trust for making this so amazing! ❤❤❤

I hope you enjoyed reading about this and seeing all the photos!

Gracie xxx

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Extracts From My Journal + The Best Of 2017 Blog Awards Have Arrived Again (Yay!!!)

30th November 2017

It’s a proven scientific fact that any energy that keeps getting larger and larger will eventually explode. For example, friction will  eventually burst into flames. Well, there’s friction in my mind right now.

My Mum called it emotional turmoil, my Dad called it being lost, but I think friction is a good word at the moment. I’ve already burst into flames a few times, the energy always seems to die down, simmer quietly for a little while and then begin to build up until, you guessed it, I explode again with emotion again. Most of the time I don’t even know what causes all of these feelings. 

I need to look towards my future, focus on the positives that lie ahead and stop clinging onto the negatives of the here and the now. Being sad and discontent never made anyone’s life better, I’ve got to take action. 

2nd December 2017

Today I went to see Wonder at the cinema. As the scenes from my favourite book flashed past my eyes, I immersed myself in the story, rediscovering the powerful themes that run through it. Many of them are relevant to my life right now – being different, going to school, fitting in, standing out, real friendships, finding your place in this world, staying true to who you are. 

In all of the characters that I’ve known and loved for so long, I suddenly saw myself. When I read the book (and I must have read it 100 times, no kidding) I am an observer in Auggie, Via, Miranda, Jack Will, Julian, Summer, Justin and everyone else’s lives. However, watching the movie made me see their story in a different light. I felt like I was there, I was part of it.

I was Via, struggling with friendships. I was Miranda, just trying to fit in with the crowd, wanting to be liked. I was Summer, trying to be a good friend and Jack Will, trying but not always succeeding.There are no words for how much I loved this movie and how much of an impact it had on me. 
4th December 2017

I went to my teen yoga class today. Although I’m not flexible enough to do half of the poses I still love it. It’s amazing for relaxation, concentration, exercise and the releasing of stress. 

My yoga teacher, Luna, says that in yoga thoughts are like clouds, we let them drift by without holding onto them. You go into your body and just observe your mind. It makes you less anxious and stressed plus it helps you concentrate on your thoughts and make more sense of them. This was great for me, for someone who’s brain is especially active and often anxious, it helped me chill out and bring things into perspective. </

In other news from the life of Gracie Chick, my prize for when I cam runner-up in a poetry competition arrived. I received a certificate and a small bundle of writing supplies (a notepad, two pencils, one pen and a bookmark). Exciting! 🙂 


I’ve also been really into cooking with foraged goodies. This time of year is brilliant for wild food and I’ve been making the most of the abundance of it on the farm where I live. 

</I made this delicious lunch for my family, it’s a chickweed and lettuce salad with a berry vinegar dressing and crumbled parmesan on toast. It was SO good. 

</A yummy snack of roasted burdock root chips sprinkled with sesame seeds. Okay, I hope you enjoyed that little peek into my life at the moment. I felt like doing an update and I wanted to be honest.<Now, I have an exciting announcement to make ~ Megan is hosting the Best Of 2017 Blogging Awards for the third year in a row! By taking the survey now, you can vote for all the amazing blogs and posts out there that you’ve particularly loved. So, what are you waiting for? Go VOTE!

What’s going on in your life at the moment? Don’t be afraid of honesty, I often am and it never makes you feel better when you bottle it up. You can send me an email if you feel like talking. 🙂 🙂 🙂 Oh, and will you vote in the Best Of 2017 Blogging Awards? 

‘Gracie’s School’ Q and A Post + An Exciting Blogging Announcement

In my last post I introduced to you to my very own school, students and classroom. I shared my happiness at being able to fulfill my dream and making it happen through my own determination.  I  also asked you to submit your questions for my school themed Q and A. Well, many of you had lots to ask so read on…and enjoy!

Questions from Mukta:

When and how did you realize you wanted to be a teacher?

I’ve always loved learning and, to me, nothing sounds more like paradise than a place where young people can gather together to learn and share and pursue their passions.

School, and the modern education system, are supposed to provide that service, but I don’t believe they are. The majority of my generation view school as a negative place, a prison, something they’re forced to attend. School should be a place everyone wants to go to.

I am home-educated and the above is precisely the reason I don’t go to school. The reason I decided to become a teacher is because I want to create the school that I dream of, the school I want to go to.

What time do you begin/end teaching?

Nothing is set in stone yet, at the moment I’m being pretty flexible. Usually we start at about 10am and finish about 4pm??? 😀😀😀

Questions from Loren:

When you start a real school, will you want it to be elementary, middle, or high school?

I hope that my school will be a place where kids and teens of all ages can come together and learn. I want it to be an environment where they help and teach each other. I am from the UK so I’m not exactly that familiar with the US education system, we say ‘Primary’ and ‘Secondary’ schools here!

Questions from Melissa:

Are your pupils allowed to direct any of your teaching and follow their own interests or are you quite strict in following your lesson plans?

There needs to be a balance. I do make lesson plans (which I try to stick to), but if I see that my students are interested in or enthusiastic about a particular subject, I’m more than happy to focus on it. I also welcome my students suggestions and ideas. I have certain parts in each lesson where I ask one of my students to lead the activity and I just watch. It teaches them teamwork, leadership and creativity, all equally important lessons!

Questions from The Girl With IronWings

Are you guys going to travel around the farm place and learn things practically or…..?

Yeah, I guess so. It’s important to include a bit of reading, writing, maths and theoretical science, but most of the activities we do are outdoors, hands on and practical. I find that my students learn better when out and about on the farm. For example, we went fishing in the stream and then identified and learnt about what we caught. They loved it! Way more than reading about the affect humans have on natural habitats! 😀 I bet they remembered more of the former too.

How is the teaching going to be – How different from today’s schools? 😊

Hehe. I would say it’s pretty different. Here’s a quick list.

  • All different ages and abilities taught together.
  • We learn about things that are important in life, like knowing and appreciating your surroundings and how to protect them. 
  • The learning (and teaching!) is FUN!!!
  • I try and think about what suits my students individually, what they need help with and what their strengths are. I keep that in mind when making my lesson plans, unlike school with its ‘one size fits all’ attitude.

Also, since it’s about the environment will you be using gadgets?

We have a few gadgets… a camera trap that we’ve used to try and capture the secret lives of wildlife on the farm. We don’t use a lot of technology, just the internet to research things and find information.

Questions from Misabella :

What is your favourite subject to teach?

I’m about to start doing a book club + English and creative writing classes. I don’t enjoy maths very much, just because I teach out of a book and have to follow a set system/curriculum. These ‘environment’ lessons are great, I get to be creative and come up with fun, unique ideas that really engage my students. 😁

Do you find particular methods of discipline more effective than others?

I’ve googled the different ‘methods of discipline’ and would say my style is a mix of them all! I do try to set boundaries, but I also try and be positive and humorous. I wouldn’t say I’m strict, I try to be patient and listen to my students – although that is something I struggle with. I think this is an area I need to look into a bit more – especially if I want to be a successful teacher!

Questions from Tom:

How long do you hope to be keeping up with this school for?

Well, we’re living at the farm over the autumn, winter and early spring so the lessons will probably continue through those seasons. After that my family and I are off on our travels, maybe into Europe, maybe even further, searching for a place to settle down and call home. When we find that place I have no doubt that my school will re-establish itself and begin again, stronger and better than before. 

School is an interesting word, I wonder if it’s Greek?

Well, thanks to your research, Tom, we now know that it is a Greek word meaning ‘lecture place’. It would have looked like this in its original text: skholḗ or σχολή. Great fact! 

 I hope you all enjoyed that little Q and A! I loved sharing my thoughts and ideas on education, I even learnt a few interesting things in the process. If anyone still has any questions, please feel free to comment them and I’ll try to answer.

Okay, now I have an exciting and important announcement to make: I am getting some newly designed features on A Light In The Darkness soon! Not saying anything more, but watch out for a post revealing those. This is me at the moment: 🤐☺☺☺🤐 

Xxx

Sunrise In The Middle East

I wrote this story about girl’s rights in the Middle East. Hope you enjoy, but any constructive criticism is welcome! I have entered this short story into the Wicked Young Writer’s Awards so wish me luck!

Sunrise In The Middle East

“Greetings People. It’s me, Sunrise, and I’m back with the latest progress on the Girl’s Rights In The Middle East front. As you know…..”

I pause to blow away some of the dust that’s trapped in the gaps between the letters on my keyboard. I smile as the tiny particles are momentarily suspended in a ray of sunlight that’s disturbing my writing session, in a good way. I cup my hands around it and watch them glow with golden light. It reminds me of myself.

“On the morning of your birth, the sun seemed larger than ever before.” my Mother’s sweet, quiet voice echoes in my ears. “ I saw it coming up on the horizon, huge and round and blood-red. It spread its life-giving light all over the earth and eventually it reached you. It seeped in through my window and into the shadowy room. Then it touched your head and you awoke. So I named you Sunrise and hoped you’d be full of life, laughter and most of all, light.”

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I sigh as I pull off a floral-printed headscarf and a cascade of knotty, tangled brown hair tumbles down my back. My amber streaked, hazel eyes that are usually full of humour and curiosity sparkle as my big flashing smile makes an appearance on my smooth olive-skinned face.

I sit back down to read my emails and idly click the first one that pops up.

Dear Sunrise

My name is Aaminah and I am 11 years old. I wanted to tell you how much you inspire me and how, because of you, I go to school and learn how to write beautifully, like you do. Thank you.

You are the Middle East’s best female activist, that is what we say at my school. All the girls are pleased that you spoke up for their education so I write to you on their behalf too.

You are very brave and you have said what our people have all been too scared to say.

Thank you again and may you be blessed.

Every time a child sends me an email like this is warms my heart so much that I click Reply immediately and begin to type.

Dearest Aaminah

I am so glad that you are able to go to school now, I am certain that one day you will be an amazing writer. It was not just me who helped you, there are many girls like myself campaigning for education. When you are a little older perhaps you will be one of them. Perhaps we will even meet one day. I would like that. Say hi to your classmates for me!

Keep safe and may you also be blessed.

Sunrise

I hover over the send button and press it down. I imagine her delight as she reads my message of hope and shows it to her friends. It makes this risky and sometimes dangerous role that I have taken on all worth it. With a contented smile on my playing at my lips, I prepare to read the next piece of mail.

Sunrise Abdullah

This is a warning. Stop your campaigning or you will suffer the consequences. What you are doing is forbidden. We will stop you because you are a disgrace to us all. How could you abandon our ancient ways for the ways of the West? Empowering women is wrong.

I sit back, my face shocked and expressionless, and stare at the screen. I take a deep breath and scroll down to see the sender. Nothing. Email address? Security protected. “Arrghhhh!” my mood changes to angry and confused.

How can people say that? How can they not see that all people should be equal? Education is a chance that all people should have. A chance to escape poverty and oppression. When you’re educated it makes it easier to change the world. And believe me, there are a lot of things that need changing. In my frenzy of mad and blind rage, I hit Reply once again.

To Whom It May Concern

You are wrong.  A rule might be ancient, but that doesn’t make it right. If you truly believe that empowering women is wrong then tell me why. Now. I demand an answer. Because I am, like you, passionate. I won’t give up without a fight. I don’t care for your threats and promises, I am a peace-maker and I make peace through education.

Sunrise Abdullah

Writer and Girl’s Rights Activist

 

 

Poppa

 

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The next part of our adventure takes place in Kent. Currently we are living in a house here, taking care of a good friend’s 95 year old father.

We are looking after Poppa, as everyone calls him, in his own home on Romney Marsh.

It’s a lot of work looking after Poppa and a lot of it my parents have to do, but I am Chief Tea Maker and I do bake a lot of cakes and puddings for him, as he does have a very sweet tooth. He’s a lot of fun to be around and everyone loves him.

It’s funny, but exciting for us to live in a 3 bedroom house, seeing as we’ve only ever lived in tiny houses and, just recently, in the back of a car!

We have our own room, me, my brother and sister, and we look out of our window in the morning across the flat marsh with sheep grazing in the sunrise. It’s beautiful.

I’ve set up my own little corner on the landing with a table and a chair. I’m right next to a window again and the view looks like a painting. I have my stack of books and my writing stuff. And, of course, a tin of biscuits! It’s blissful.

This morning Poppa did some Homeschooling with us. He seemed to be enjoying himself. He made everyone laugh by playing Irys’ recorder!

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Looking after Pops is a pleasure for us.

We always said that if someone’s in need of help we would make it part of our journey to help them and we are.

 

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A good student

My First Published Article

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The aspiring author.

Remember Viva magazine? The one my friend Alice and I were interviewed by? Well *clears throat*, after reading this blog, they decided to ask me to write them an article! The article is about how me and my family are on a journey, at the moment in Mo (our Morris Traveller campervan). It’s also about our learning and our home education, my hopes and dreams and more.

You can read it online here, at http://www.vivabrighton.com/#!viva-lewes/c58g

It’s page 79. If you can’t get to it, tell me in the comments and I can always copy it over onto here!

 

Alice And I’s Interview: A Wild Taste Of Fame!

wildsaladThe sun beat down on us as we walked through the field, sun hats bobbing, hands trailing through the long grass. We stopped every now and then to point and then set off at a quicker pace towards what we’d spotted. Then we’d stop and begin to harvest, sometimes crouching down and sometimes reaching up. Our chatter floated away on the slight breeze.

The salad we were planning to make was a picture of summer colour. With thirteen different flowers of red, orange, yellow, purple, blue, pink, white and cream and five types of leafy greens, this was going to be a work of art.

We set up in the shade outside Clarabella, our vintage train carriage. We laid out three pretty china plates and three elegant silver forks. Then three glass mugs, one with a sprig of self heal, one with a floret of meadowsweet and the other with a few creeping thistle flowers.

But there was two of us, Alice and I, who was the third person?

I laid out a sheet of dirty white paper on the wooden table and then put all of my specimens out on it. Then, in my neatest, black , loopy handwriting I labeled them with all of their beautiful names.

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Soon our mystery guest joined us, Rebecca from the Viva Magazine. Viva is local to Brighton and Lewes. She was here to interview me and Alice.

In the interview I made sure I was bold and enthusiastic, as I wanted to make the most of this great opportunity and not ruin it by being shy.

The first thing Rebecca asked me was: what is your job? I replied that I was Alice’s student and that she taught me everything she knew about foraging and herbal medicine.

While Alice went to get the hot water for the three different teas for our journalist to try, Rebecca quizzed me on how I thought each of them tasted. I told her that meadowsweet is vanilla-y, creeping thistle has a gentle and honey like flavour so is soothing and self heal tastes green, bit like green tea.

Alice arrived with the water, smiling her usual wide smile. Rebecca liked self heal best.

Then we ventured out of the shade and into the baking heat again. We walked around the field again showing the reporter the plants growing in the wild. All the while Rebecca snapped away with her big, black, fancy camera. Photos of the sunshine, of me holding the creeping thistle tea by the creeping thistle, of the creamy meadowsweet flowers and the delicate yet prickly thistle flowers.

When we got back I read out the whole list of ingredients for the salad and together me and Alice told Rebecca a bit more about each plant, its medicinal properties, how to identify it, along other useful facts.  Rebecca scribbled it all down in her notebook, me glancing over at her trying to make sense of her shorthand.

Then, after a load more photos, we tucked in. The salad was like a rainbow of tastes, from hot and spicy nasturtiums to cooling, cucumber-y mullein flowers. The array of textures, mucilaginous to crunchy. With a drizzle of sweet, pre-prepared by Alice, blackberry vinegar, the salad was just what we all needed on a summer’s day.

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Overall, the interview went really well and I’m grateful to Alice for inviting me along to help out. Rebecca was friendly and keen to learn and I think she enjoyed herself. I can’t wait to read a certain article in the August issue of Viva Magazine.

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Me, A Shortlistee?

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Remember the poem I wrote to enter into the Amnesty International Youth Awards?
Well, it was shortlisted for the top ten! I felt so excited, I just couldn’t stop laughing and jumping up and down.This was a national competition and  thousands of people had entered.  I rung everyone, telling them the great news. I was thrilled. The feeling was amazing.

I had to wait a few weeks to find out if I had made it into the top three, unfortunately I didn’t, but I wasn’t disappointed. I didn’t expect even to get into the top ten.

A couple of days ago I received my certificate, which is very grand, and a small prize: an Amnesty International book. It is the Human Rights Act in sketches and it is by the children’s laureate, Chris Riddel.
If you haven’t read my poem you can read it here at:https://graciechicksblog.wordpress.com/2016/02/26/the-candle/

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The Candle

 

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I wrote this poem to enter into the poetry category of the Amnesty International Youth Awards. It took  me a long time to write the poem I really wanted to enter, like, five hours and eight attempts. Not to mention discussing it with and receiving advice from  various people, such as my Mum, Dad and friend Ollie.

In the end I was just honest with myself and wrote a poem based on my own experience. Here it goes:

The Candle

Every morning I get up and light my candle,
in the midst of darkness it can be seen for miles.

My candle shines freedom, beams truth and radiates justice.
My candle makes a difference.

Sometimes my candle burns strong and bright,
but other times a slight breeze makes it dwindle.
Sometimes a gust of wind blows it out completely,
but I always relight it and nurture it back to life.

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When ever my candle does start to dim,
I remind myself of all those who need me,
who may otherwise feel alone.
I don’t want to let them down.

I look around me and see all the people who are like me,
feel the same passion as me,
a passion for humanity.
And I feel bound together with all those who desire to keep their candles alight.

So I smile to myself and continue to shine.

“It’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness”

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