Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Balancing Act




Evening lovelies.

You find me in a calm mood this evening. Although my feet are cold. I've tucked them under Honey, but they haven't thawed out yet. It's this weather. It beguiles you with promises of May sunshine, but unless you are in a sheltered spot, that sharp breeze catches your flip flop clad feet unawares. I refuse to continue wearing winter boots. I've had it with them. The wellies are on guard in the hallway for squelchy field walks. And the Converse are moping by the back door. It's flip flops or die until at least October.

How have you all been? Well, fair to middling or hiding under the table? I've been a bit of all three this past week. It's been rather hectic, but I can't for the life of me tell you what exactly I've been up to. I do know that I have an errand pile that's steadily growing in the kitchen, and it's another odd week of bank holidays, school trips, inset days and late birthday treats. The treat was a day at a spa with my sister in law. We went today, hence the Zen-like mood. Although it could be the two glasses of wine I had at lunch time. In my excitement I kind of forgot that I had to pick up Olly, but I think I got away with feeling (and no doubt looking) slightly squiffy at the school gate. On a Tuesday! Honestly! I feel terribly ashamed.....

This morning I had to rescue a sparrow that had managed to fly into the greenhouse, but not able to fly out. I left it to its' own devices for a while, thinking that I would probably scare it witless if I appeared hands outstretched in a confined space. I had just come back from fetching the car from up the road, and looked rather beguiling in my pj/gardening coat/welly combo. Anyway he didn't seem to be making a lot of progress, so after a few minutes I grabbed him and helped him on his way. Olly was very cross that he missed the excitement, and is hopeful that another bird may stray into the path of the greenhouse and be trapped - "it might be a swan next time," he said over breakfast.

He has spent this afternoon hunting for dead bugs to pop under the pocket microscope Sam bought him for Christmas. He showed me the ant; it was still twitching. When I pointed out that Mr Ant didn't seem particularly dead, he shrugged his shoulders. "He will be soon." So we had the chat about looking after all creatures - big and small  - and how cruel it is to deliberately hurt anything. In his zeal to see a bug up close and personal, he lost sight of this (at least I hope he did). I'm wondering whether I could get hold of some ready made specimens for him to look at. That might be very cool.

Other animal highlights include seeing my first common blue of the season, sitting in Sophie's garden surrounded by hover flies and bees, and watching a blackbird feeding his young. I wonder how many insects a blackbird needs to collect every day just to satisfy his hungry brood? Hundreds I would imagine. He used to same route to leave and enter the nest. I reckon he did a return trip every five minutes. It must be exhausting. My blackbird was feeding his three babies in our garden last week. They hopped under cover of the shrubs and plants, calling to their Dad to get a move on with breakfast. I've not seen them for a few days, so imagine they've finally flown the nest.

Tomorrow I'm on another school trip with Olly's class. We are off to the museum to look at all things Egyptian. I've heard all about how the brain was pulled out through the nose with a terrifying looking hook (I have a very graphic picture on the fridge that illustrates this), how they were stuffed with straw and that Tutankhamun had a lot of money. At least five hundred pounds, apparently. I just love helping out at the school. There's something rather wonderful about infant school children, and how their imaginations can just run riot when given the right environment. Olly is so lucky to be at a school that focuses on child led learning. I am acutely aware of the 'Let Our Kids Be Kids' campaign that is growing in strength around the UK, from a growing fear of putting too much pressure and stress on the heads of young people. Particularly when it comes to national testing in schools. I am not a fan of these Sat's. At all. But I'm also not a fan of schools that make such a fuss about them, that it impinges on the confidence, learning and development of a young person.

I also wonder how much pressure we can place on the shoulders of our children? Unwittingly or otherwise. I've seen some rather outrageous behaviour from parents when it comes to hot housing their children. It isn't right to completely stress out a seven year old, by telling them that they'll amount to nothing if they don't do well. I know that I shan't be paying much attention to the key stage two Sat's that Olly will have to take next year. I look at it this way; this time last year he couldn't even read. Now he is enjoying reading to me, and is being very gently moved along towards more complicated sentence structures, punctuation and language. He sets his own pace, and is never made to feel under pressure. Either at school or at home. Everyone is happy, but especially Olly. Happiness is the most important key, no?

And on that note, I shall take my leave. I was tickled pink by all your kind words, comments and bad language on my last blog post. Sweary Mary rules I reckon! I am aware that my blogging has been rather sporadic and random of late. This post, too, is one of something and nothing. There's lots going on behind the scenes here, and while my blog has always been a place that I can come and wear my heart on its' sleeve, I'm not able to give full and honest reign to it all. I'm finding that hard. My blog doesn't have the structure or discipline of others. In fact my most favourites have exactly that, and they are full of warmth, personality and them. But I've never really achieved that happy balance. Which could be the title of my biography by the way:

Leanne Paxton
Who tried to achieve balance, but kept wobbling and eventually fell off 

Have a fabulous week.

Leanne xx


  1. I hope everyone is okay there. I understand not wishing to divulge all on one's blog; what you might see as peaceful and organized on my own is only the stuff I feel like showing. But you already know that, from our private discussions. Anyway, I like what you share here, and the way that you share it. I absolutely love Egyptology exhibits and I'm totally jealous that you're going to see one. It's one of my requirements for a trip to a natural history museum, actually, that and nature dioramas, which I can stare at all day long. Hope you're having a good week so far, Leanne, stay warm.

  2. Your spa day sounds wonderful - how luxurious to be a bit tipsy on a Tuesday (it's generally at least Wednesday before this happens...) It's always good to read about people's minutae of life, because it's reassuring to know it's not just me with the growing 'to do' list and teenager's angsts, and you do write it in an amusing way! Enjoy your day out: looks gorgeous out there x

  3. Hi Leanne. Life on the whole is a balancing act, isn't it? If you are in danger of falling off, and need a bit of help, you have my number. I have read with interest about the Sats tests of young children in England. We don't seem to have those in Scotland and I have to say I am relieved. I tend to just go with the flow, and don't hothouse my children because I think it sets them up poorly for life in the grown up world. I want the children to enjoy school and reading and whatever else they want to do. Gentle encouragement maybe read a story instead of watching Scooby Doo but I don't push it, particularly with James who finds that letters don't stay in one place when he looks at them. Tutankhamum was a superhero of mine when I was a child, money and all. I am still fascinated by mummies and watched a program not so long ago about Dave, terminally ill, who donated his body for the study of the mummification process. It was a Channel 4 or BBC program. Maybe a big gross for Olly just now but one to remember? It was most fascinating. A little something and a little nothing is my favourite kind of blog post. I am not so good at those but I wish I was. Christina xx

  4. Gorgeous picture of Olly engrossed in his minibeast book and your coastal photos make me want to put the house on the market and move to Cornwall; it's so beautiful. R rescued a swan recently - it had misjudged the distance and landed on a main road instead of the canal. He had to pick it up and carry it down to the water - you can tell Olly that they are apparently very soft and cuddly! Hope all is well behind the scenes and that you enjoy your trip to the Egyptian Museum. xx

  5. It's interesting how you view yourself Leanne. I love your blog and would be very disappointed if it had the structure you talk about. You say it as it is. So important. I totally agree with all your views on education. You need to move to Jersey we scrapped SATS quite some time ago! Enjoy the Egyptians. B xx

  6. I don't care about balance as long as you are happy!!! Sounds as though you were pretty happy when you wrote this. Good on you for the slightly squiffy too!! Hope the Egyptians aren't too gory!

  7. I was going to say your blog is always full of warmth, you, and a true reflection of real life with warts and all, but after reading about those cold feet in the flip flops maybe I should change the always full of warmth to mostly full of warmth! I can still remember vividly taking the eleven plus and being concerned about it. It would have been even worse to have tests at 7. Sarah x

  8. Happiness is key, but not always possible all the time, balance is good but quite often hard to get, the start of my blog was quite reflective too this week, must be something in the air. Isn't this weather crazy? We had 2 to 3 inches of snow last Friday! Then 3 days later we had 11C at midnight, the plants and I are confused. Hope you and yours are well and you are having a good week, take care x

  9. argh. pressure on children and testing. nightmare. I took K out of her last SATS exam. it was too much. I called in and told them she was sick and we had a day out. If only I could do that for her AS / A levels next week.....

  10. Eek! Flipflops already?! You are a brave woman. Baby Bluetits get through 100 pillars a day so I imagine blackbird children are similar. Hard work either way. You've beaten me to the blue flutter, although I have just taken a PIC of a female orange tip :0) xx