Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Grade 5/6 Show

All the kids, even the boys, were told they had to wear make-up for the school production: foundation, mascara and red lipstick.  Climber was not unduly freaked out by this, accepting the explanation that their features needed to be seen clearly under stage lighting.  It was a fun and interesting exercise putting it on him; like all people new to make-up application, his instinct was to screw up his face protectively.  The mascara was the hardest for both of us, and in the end I stood behind him, as if I were applying it to myself, while he stared straight into the mirror to avoid blinking. 


When we arrived at the theatre I covertly watched each newcomer boy walk the sidling walk of embarrassment up to their friends outside the stage door, then relax with relief and some hilarity as they checked each other out.

The Grade 5/6 production is a whole maturity level above what the younger grades do, with proper acting and scripts in it, as well the usual singing and dancing.  It seems amazing that these children were tiny Preps a short while ago and are now so capable of such a sophisticated performance. The show's basic plotline was the mystery of the School Staffroom, which turns out to be an individual utopia for each and every staff member. The principal's staffroom was filled with intelligent, smiling, perfectly behaved children, the history teacher was a pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, the music teacher had a 1920's jazz club etc. Hilariously, the office staffs' Utopia was a Water Park complete with slides, naturally enough this was not actually staged. Climber's class performed in the media teacher's Utopia, where the teacher was a 1960's Italian Film Director.

(Climber, pre the actual song, is doing his clipboard acting)

Their song was Cinema Italiano from the musical Nine, not one I was familiar with beforehand. The kids were great, acting up all the movie set madness and then singing and dancing with great talent and verve.

 (In this picture you can see Climber on the right, a host of boys wearing the ties I made and also the 2 black dresses with white pockets that I made.)

Despite the performance finishing at a latish hour, the boys insisted they wanted to go for our traditional post-show gelati.  Quite right too.  We were all tired the next day, but it was the last day of term and we've now got the holidays to catch it up.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Hi, I fell down the costuming black hole last week and I've just climbed out.  Twelve neck-ties and 2 dresses later, plus a pair of dance pants for my boy.  Which doesn't seem huge but that's on top of our already crowded life.  Anyway.  Grade 5/6 Production; tonight's the night.  Climber is that excited.  The showbiz bug has finally hit that kid, much to my stage-mother delight.  This was the note he left us this morning.

In a short while we'll be putting stage make-up on him and heading to the theatre.  But in the meantime, I thought I'd just make note of the fact that it's been 6 months since Basil was hit by the car.  Our bank balance is still dreadful but look!


Look at my kitty in a tree.


Thursday, September 15, 2011


Climber's soccer season finished last weekend.  For their last game one of the dads made a banner for the teams to run through.  You can see in this photo how much the boys loved it. 


After the game we gave our coach and team manager thank you presents, and Fixit had to be the speech maker for this, except the coach kept forgetting to just let us thank him and kept trying to 'coach talk' through it.

Our life will certainly be much easier now, because the commitment of 2 nights' training and an early Sunday morning game has been pretty full on, especially with me working those same two training nights.  Despite this I think we'll all miss it.  That's not to say I won't enjoy sleeping in this Sunday, mind!   But it was such fun, cheering the boys on, watching them improve every week and enjoying their obvious camaraderie with each other.  Our team finished 3rd last, safely ahead of the bottom 2 but a long way behind the rest of the ladder.  Never mind.  They lost 14 of their 18 games and yet somehow it felt like we had a great season; some weeks they showed flashes of brilliance which elated the watching parents.  Should have heard us cheer if they scored a goal, even in games where they were being flogged 6-1. The *1* made us soooooo happy. Climber adored it, loved training, loved playing.  The other boys thought he was a good player which did enormous things for his self-confidence.  I think the best thing about soccer has been the way it made Climber shine and bounce with happiness. Mostly.  Not when he was completely crestfallen about losing or letting in goals or playing badly, obviously.  But mostly.   Can't wait for next year really.  Meantime, roll on cricket season.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Craft Camp should come with a warning

The thing they don't tell you about Craft Camp is that while those Craft Camp companions of yours are seducing you with their excellent cooking, fine company and luxurious accommodation, they are also teaching you skills.  What's wrong with that, you might ask?  Nothing except now you will be one of the very few parents from your kid's school class Who Can Sew, so next thing you know you'll be signed up to make 12 elasticated neckties and two sixties monochrome shift dresses, which you never thought would happen when you sent your kid off to school all those years ago, safe in the knowledge that you couldn't sew.  (It's not the sewing that's so bad, I quite enjoyed making the first necktie, using this excellent pattern.  But now I'm in the middle of making the next 11 which is production line sewing: cue me with my limited attention span feeling like the kid in the back of the car on a long trip whining are we there yet? as I cut-cut-cut and iron-iron-iron and sew-sew-sew.)  Luckily Pea Soup recommended the Desert Island Discs podcasts from the BBC, so listening to Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon has made the afternoon less onerous, but more expensive.  I'm embarrassed to admit it, but somehow I did not have Paul Simon's Slip Slidin' Away on my ipod before today.


So there you have it.  By all means, go off to Craft Camp and have a hoot with the girls, but just know that you when it's all over you'll suddenly have all this extra work to do and no money.  Somebody should warn you, and it might as well be me.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Would you like cream with that?

I've just returned from a 24 hour sojourn at Sewjourn with a gorgeous group of women. I didn't sign up for this one because it was a Friday to Sunday booking and owing to tap I can't get there till late Saturday. But then the girls said why not come for just Sunday? which eventually became why not bring your sleeping bag and kip on the couch Saturday night? and that just sounded too good to refuse. So first up, a big thank you to Suse, Janet, Jenny, Eleanor, Kate M, Kate C, Gill, Sue and Tania for having me along and providing a great weekend of fun and fine company. You girls are the cream of the crop. Secondly, here are 8 Things I Like About Craft Camp.

1. The pretty. The daffodils were blooming, the magpie was warbling, the woodfire was burning. The faces of my friends were shiny and beautiful with happiness.

2. The bath. We have a horrid bath at my house so I always pack some scented bubbly stuff and sneak off for a relaxing soak in Sewjourn's deep and long white tub. So nice.


3. The food. I may as well say up front that I just love being cooked for, so I would always find the eating at Craft Camp a special treat, but the effort these girls put in to serve up a stunning dish pushes my delight dial up to maximum. We've heard tales of groups who come to Sewjourn and order pizza for one night and head to the pub for a counter meal on the second. I get that in a way, no cooking, no cleaning up. But I much prefer our group's method: Cook just once for the whole weekend and at every meal savour the healthy, handmade-with-love deliciousness. (And the cream, there was a LOT of cream.) Many hands make light work of cleaning up, and cooking is really not such a chore when the people eating it are so appreciative.

4. The learning. I always learn something really helpful at Craft Camp. This weekend's lightbulb moment for me was the discovery that actually I do have an arm thingo (a swing arm? I can't remember the official name) to make sewing sleeves easier. A year I've had that machine, and many's the time I've tsked about its shortcomings in the arm department. And then Kate M comes over and says this bit probably comes off...


... et voila! Sleeve sewing made easy.


5. The laughs. In particular this camp we laughed about cream, swiss cheese, vomit and a girl's name (but I can't go into that here. Suffice to say, there are some facts you should keep to yourself.)

6. The productivity. Despite the fact that I am a slow seamstress, I completed a string of bunting for a cousin's baby and a cloak for my nephew. And I admired many lovely things being made around me. There's an enormous work ethic at Crarf Camp because the luxury of being able to set up your project and keep working at it until it's done, despite still socialising, eating, drinking and sleeping, is not to be underestimated! We even seemed to have an unofficial tealady in Suse this weekend (essay-writing evasion?) so it was like having a pitcrew, topping up the crafter's chief source of fuel while the needles kept whirring.


7. The chat. In the flurry of post-camp emails, one of our group wondered whether she'd talked too much. No. We had a group of entertaining and funny talkers who were also good listeners. A lovely blend.

8. The sharing. Need tracing paper, a pen for the crossword, the use of an overlocker, some knowledge, some scraps? We have it covered. Everyone is generous, everyone is helpful. No wonder we come home feeling enriched.

Friday, September 02, 2011


Team Crarf Camp, aka Suse and Janet, has invited me for another gatecrash this weekend. Luckily Mr Fixit is a very nice person and does not mind me deserting the family, even though it will be Father's Day and technically you'd think he'd assert his right to a nice long motorbike ride in this gorgeous spring weather. I'm off Saturday afternoon, and am trying to get organised.

Meantime, round here I've had my nose stuck in The Hunger Games books which are brutally compelling and un-put-downable. The dark circles under my eyes are testament to that. Finished now. I did actually buy them with a view to trying them with Climber, but think he needs to wait a couple of years before tackling them; lots of people, [SPOILER] including quite young ones, die.

I bought a lovely cushion cover from Tiny Happy which looks perfect on our couch.


I've become obsessed with being completely up-to-date with the laundry now that it's sunny again, because of all the rainy days this winter; except now the Bureau of Metereology have announced it was actually a really warm and dry winter. Really?

We bought a second hand telly, a proper digital one and BIG at that, and now we're wondering why, after all the agony of dodgy reception via el cheapo set-top-boxes, we didn't get one sooner. Oh that's right, ye olde disposable income problem. Because there was nothing actually wrong with the old one exccept it was tiny and once you got the reception right, (minimum 5 minutes fiddling) NOBODY COULD MOVE! Me and my First World problems, but it was annoying.

The kids caught nits and I combed them all out again.

Fixit is still doing his journal (the paperwork proving he has competency in every single area of aircraft maintenance which must be filled-in before they accredit him) and I think there's some sort of illusion going on with it, no matter how much work he does on it, the end is never in sight.

My tap hall received some long overdue maintenance (a lick of paint) but the Maintenance People didn't bother to check with the Daily Running Of The Hall People so I walked in last Thursday night and had to spend 3/4 of an hour moving paint tins and drop sheets before I could set up for class.

The boys had their regular mates over last night, which suddenly and surprisingly turned into a dance session in the kitchen for the big boys who were trying to work out some hip-hop moves.

I'm not sure what the little boys were doing, but there was lots and lots of laughing coming from them.