Wednesday, 26 November 2008

is he real?

Yesterday on the way home from school we were talking a little about Christmas. I think the conversation was about how Father Christmas brings all the presents. Grace, the wonderful 8 year old said to me, 'Now Hannah, is Father Christmas actually real?'
The thoughts that preceded my answer went a little like this...

'No of course he is not real - my little sister got this at the age of 4 and declared it to the silly women on the train to Scotland who were trying to convince her he's real. I am not going to lie to you but, oh help, I could be about to shatter all your illusions and bring your little world crashing down around you, and I'll have to pick up the pieces....'

So I said,

'Do you want to know the truth?'

Grace & Will: Yes

Hannah: 'No he is not real.'

To my surprise, neither of them were upset or particularly bothered by this. Phew. Grace simply asked, 'But who brings all the presents?' To which I responded, in true 'I-work-with-children- so-always-throw-a-question-back-at-them-to-get-them-to-think-style', 'Who do you think brings them?'

Grace: 'Mummy and Daddy?'

Hannah: 'Yep.'

That was far easier than expected.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008


So, the day which had been filling me with nerves & getting into my dreams, finally dawned on Sunday 16th November. Hellrunner time. Fourth half marathon in fourteen month, only with a bit more of a twist than the last three. Running through bogs, up and down sand dunes and away from roads, on a military training base where signs heralded, 'Caution: Military firing range...If you see a military object, do not step on it, it will explode.' Or something along those lines.

There was a wonderful atmosphere about the setting - aside from the guy bellowing down a microphone, 'You asked for hell - we're giving you hell!!!' Well, not exactly, but ok. It was a much smaller affair than the big city marathons, which I loved. Fireworks went off as the starting gun fired, along with a whole lot of wooping from runners & supporters alike.

In all honesty, it was the most fun run I have ever done. While it was lovely to have lots of supporters along the whole route running in Bath & Bristol, it was actually quite nice to be running alongside fellow runners but away from the crowds. It's amazing once you get into deep conversation how quickly 12 miles can go.

The bogs were a highly comical experience. There really is no way you can run through murky stinking water that comes up to your shoulders, so you just wade on through, trying not to trip over branches that lie in wait unsuspectingly underfoot. So I looked quite a sight, emerging from the stinking swamp, with just the tops of my shoulders showing the true gleaming white colour of my t-shirt, and the rest of me rather blackened. Beautiful.

After finishing the run, we made our way to a very lovely pub nearby - the Jolly Farmer - for some much needed grub. They served the fattest sausages I have ever eaten. (Other than the sausages the children have been making at school this week with playdough, though I hasten to add that I have not eaten those ones.) With contented bellies & slightly weary bodies, we made our way back to Bristol, and had (though I can only speak for myself) the best night's sleep in a long time. Good times.

i'll chase the stars & you can paint the moon

Today on the way home from school we were talking about how dark it was and she said how the stars help us to see at night. At this point, Grace said, 'Please can you hold my bag while I chase the stars?' She wanted to see if she could catch up with them. And she caught one. While I am all up for telling children the facts, there are moments like these with children that I love. Stand back and watch their imagination run wild...

This photo is one I took of the moon in my first year at university, standing on a high up balcony in my student house, gazing up at a deep blue sky and waving my camera around, painting the moon.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

thankful for the little things...

I am thankful for this day - a day of rest - that has given me time to...

:: Drink huge mugs of coffee with a precious friend

:: Peruse the books in Borders

:: Watch Little Dorrit

:: Read my new Recipe Book

:: Create

:: Cook a little

:: Be inspired

:: ...and rest.

Tomorrow shall not be so restful. Tomorrow, it's time for Hellrunner. Oh help.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

a beautiful afternoon

There are some afternoons which I happily cherish. Yesteday was one of them. It was a crisp Autumn day, the sun was shining, the trees looked stunning and the children were in a lovely mood. So we stopped at the rope swing on the way home. The kids swung to their heart's content, and made leaf piles to run through. What more could you want from a walk home from school?

Monday, 3 November 2008

A November Day

To give the kids some fresh air today, I took them over the road to the Downs - a big old expanse of green goodness. We took a couple of kites with us - one stunt kite, one tiny-weeny-small enough to fit in your pocket-kite. The children wanted to fly their kites in the middle of a circle of young trees they've named 'the seven sisters'. Even with my lack of common sense, I knew it would not be a good idea to fly the kites here. So we moved just to the left of them. Before we could start our kite-flying-fun, Grace wanted to find out the age of the trees. She informed me that you did this by listening to them, and proceeded to hug the tree (as above). I, in my ignorance, asked, 'how can you tell how old it is by listening?' Apparently, you'll hear the tree whisper, '7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 or 1.' Lovely.

As I was starting to assemble the kite, Katie, the oldest of the three who has got her head vert well screwed on, and frequently outsmarts me, started calling my name in a slightly panicked voice. This was a rare moment. Rising to the occasion of being needed, I ran over and asked what the problem was. To which Katie pointed to her leg, where she had managed to get a whole piece of dog poo on her. I have no idea how on earth she managed this. Neither does she. So I was champion-Hannah and removed the offending article, making no fuss whatsoever. Gross. That's all I can say.

More great antics were had, as we managed to get the kite stuck in the tree. I was not worried, I was confident we could get it down. All that was needed was a little tree climbing and I was well up for it. So, with a little leg-up from Katie, I launched myself over the lowest avaliable branch of the tree. I'd like to point out here that this wasn't really a tree-climbing tree, but a kite needed rescuing, and I was the lady for the job. Or not, as it turned out. While I was bent in half over the branch, wiggling and wriggling in an attempt to get my feet up, but only being successful in getting my hair caught in the pines of the tree, with Katie giggling at the whole charade (as was I, which did not aid my efforts to hoist myself up), Will had somehow managed to free the kite. Not the champion-Hannah-for-the-second-time-around that I had hoped to be. All good fun though.