Thursday, 9 May 2013

52 Weeks Of Happy - 22/52

Well I don't know about you but St Ives is being lashed today. Wind and rain means little option than to bunker down at home. I've had to stake and tie broad beans, and the clematis flowers that have only just emerged are scattering to the four winds already.

May is always a busy month for us. There are lots of family birthdays. Alfie has a school trip to London and Sam has his school prom. And this year Alfie is sitting his year six Sats and Sam his GCSE exams. They all start next week. There is an undercurrent of tension starting to build. I am confident that they will both do well, but the pressure is really theirs alone. I can only support and gently give them a nudge in the right direction.

I have mixed feelings about Sats testing. At Alfie's school they are called 'quizzes' and the year six will have brainy breakfasts and fun games to relax them before they sit the tests. While I applaud the way in which the school tries to make it all as low key and fun as possible, I still believe that young children should not be pigeon holed purely on the basis of their academic ability at eleven.

Samuel is striving for excellence, and that is to be commended. His GCSE result will determine whether he will be able to study his preferred A Levels. He is very aware that he has to attain good grades, and for that he has to study. Hard. My feelings about this are completely different. There is so much uncertainty in the world today, and I want him to have as many options as he can. A good standard of education is an important part of this.

What a paradox -  one the one hand, I keep reassuring Alfie not to worry and trying to put as little pressure on him as possible. On the other, I am monitoring Sam pretty closely to make sure that he is maximising his revision opportunities. What are your feelings about testing children? I remain very sceptical about testing seven year olds. How does testing work in other countries. I would be interested to know.


Again I digress. Happy things. Simple happy things from my week. Inspired by Jen at Little Birdie.

Collecting Snails for Beryl & Jean

Mum is visiting this week. Olly loves his Nanny. She is lots of fun. She is laid back. She has treats in her bag.
I took this picture while they were searching for snails in the Agapanthus plant. Olly was absorbed in this task. I loved watching them together, so relaxed and happy in each others company.

Veggie Patch

You can see Shallots, Broad Beans, Radishes, Runner Beans and Spring Onions. I have Lettuce, Squash, Strawberries and Courgettes to put out. It is only a little space, but boy does it work hard. The pleasure I gain from this little patch is immeasurable.


I have finally got some new chairs for the dining table. Four matching Victorian pine chairs, and two other similar pine chairs. I picked them up here. It is a place of untold loveliness, and the owner is fabulous. We had a great chat about cake stands today. The chairs are solid. They are beautiful. I pass them and smile to myself.

Book Group

This week was my monthly book group, and we discussed 'The Observations' by Jane Harris. We also admired the new sexy kitchen of this month's hostess. Roo's Corian worktops sent many of us into paroxysms of pleasure. It was a great evening. It always is. I would recommend the book. The heroine, Bessy, is a new favourite literary character.

So there you go. Happy things. Happy happy!

Leanne xx


  1. I agree totally. I think SATS at 7 and 11 are just wrong but I know I'll be "encouraging" my kids to work as hard as they can at 16. GCSE and A level results have a huge impact on what they can, or can't, go on to do in life.

    Those chairs are very nice, i like that farmhouse style. My grandparents had four just like that around their pine kitchen table. x

  2. I seriously object to SATs in primary school. It' s all about the school rather than the individual children as the school is judged on KS2 SAT results. Your son's school sounds good. At least they make it fun. I once wrote to the governors and the local council at my daughter's school because not only did they treat the SATs like a formal exam in yr 6, but they did a practice Sat in year 5. If we spend all our time testing kids too young then by the time they get to year 11 when it does matter they don't care any more.

  3. Oh dear...that's not good. I hope you're broad beans survived. We've just been wind blasted here today.

    Nina x

    1. They have survived, and gone a bit barmy too. I've never seen broad beans grow so fast!

  4. The chairs look great. How nice to have your mother visiting, I can tell that Olly loves her. Here, they start standardized testing in either kindergarten or first grade. I don't really agree with it, and I say that as a former teacher myself. My son is in first grade and just took a bunch of tests in the past few weeks; he's cool as a cucumber and always does very well on these tests so I don't worry about him but my daughter has a very different personality and I don't see it being such smooth sailing when she gets there.

  5. I dont like tests for little ones either. I still remember sleepless nights before spelling tests, then tears when I got home as I didn't get them all right, all this at age 7!
    Your garden looks lovely enjoy. Lovely blog as always x Jenny

  6. My daughter has SATS next week too, her school takes it quite seriously, but I'm afraid I have the attitude that she must do her best, but it's certainly not important enough to stress over. Hubby is a teacher and says the schools never rely on primary school SATS for streaming and the children are retested with CATS. Having had 1 child through the system already (25yr old) I'm much more laid back now :) xx

  7. hello! blog-hopped my way here and enjoyed a read over a cuppa!Thought id say hello because i am a Leanne too! I am glad my children are grown now and we no longer have the pain that is SATS in our lives. WE have sunshine here in Dorset this morning, i hope you do too, further west!

    Leanne x