January 2014

Weather-wise, it could be worse. We could be living in the Somerset Levels. Or in the ancient near east at the time of the flood. We would still like it to stop raining.

New year seems a long time ago. Immediately after new year we went to Edinburgh to stay with Grandpa Martin (travelling somewhat against the flow of traffic) and rode on the big wheel and went swimming in a pool with a wave machine and were thoroughly spoilt. in the finale of a Christmas holiday during which all the travel worked perfectly and we had only one day’s illness between us (that was Peter, who had seen the new year in with a lot of vomiting).

Then it all started again. School, work, after-school club, weekend activities, too much laundry, not enough tidying up. I discovered in “sharing assembly” on Friday that this term Matthew has been learning to do Bollywood dancing and risk assessments. Not risk assessments for Bollywood dancing, as far as I know, though I’m sure the University of Leeds health & safety bods would manage to come up with an impressive list of risks. Peter also seems to have been doing a lot of dancing – “The Magic Elf” is, I take it, the new equivalent of what my generation remember as Music & Movement (“Find yourself a space…Pretend you are a tree…”)

We now have (Great-)Grandpa Morris’s old piano in our living room. It is a very beautiful thing with a fine loud voice. Fortunately Matthew tends to play it, rather than mess around on it, and the rest of us mostly just admire it. Matthew very diplomatically and conveniently passed his small electric keyboard on to Peter when the piano arrived. The small electric keyboard has a volume control. And its loudest voice isn’t nearly as loud as the piano.

Only major family excursion this month was to visit old friends near Sheffield. A gathering of three families – nine children and six adults, cosily accommodated by one large house and two large vehicles. Children bonded over board games, meringues, and nearly falling off large rocks on the edge of the Peak District. Good times.

The garden is still a swamp but I have now planted the pair of pear trees we were given for Christmas. Having pared down some of the bushes to make room. Disappointingly, the partridges are still missing.

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