Welcome to our blog.

….. Making pretty things
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Three children (17, 15, 13)*** Two parents *** one dog *** Country loving *** Cottage dwelling in the South-West of the UK. That’s us!

We’ve been blogging since January 2010, about everyday happenings that bring us joy.

Just a thought….

“A moment spent in wonder is worth a lifetime spent in awe.”

 

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secondary school

The Playground Mafia: a book review

The Playground Mafia book reviewI have been standing in our school playground for over nine years. Not continuously. Obviously. Although there are times when it feels like it. No.  Just at the start and end of each school day.

At first it was great. I will talk to anyone, pretty much. I met the other parents, caught up with friends and talked to older parents who knew what was going on. A complete godsend to any new school parent.

As the years have elapsed, my enthusiasm has decidedly waned.

walking home

Don’t get me wrong, I still love picking up my children and catching up with their day. The difference is that most of my friends have either gone back to work or their children walk home by themselves. So no playground catch-up time. Plus, I’m now the older parent who knows what is going on. Well, most of the time. Novelty has gone. I should have left at the same time as my Eldest packed up and whizzed off to secondary school. Except, at that point, I had two more children and another five years to go. (Two and half years now left …and counting)

Secondary school is a contrast. For a while it made me appreciate the end-of-day primary school ritual. There is no standing in the playground waiting for a 13 year old to swan out of class cemented to her gaggle of giggling friends, where everyone seems to tower over you, except the teachers.

owl brooch on bag

There is no chance to learn from long established secondary school parents, or reacquaint with adults you’ve not seen since toddler group. Unless you head along to a PTA social event. Now, I need to rely on school communication and my …now what do they call them…young person to keep me informed. This last avenue of information is strictly on a need-to-know-basis, of course.

It was with a renewed sense of curiosity that I started reading “The Playground Mafia“. My nine and a half years of playground observation have not gone passed without a fair amount of human watching. I was intrigued to see if the categories fitted in with my experience.

The Playground Mafia is set out as a field guide and written with humour. It has a fairly comprehensive list of types of parents that can be encountered in the playground as the school children escape their classes. I noticed no grandparents or other carers, but I’m guessing that the authors needed to draw a line somewhere. Although, I think this was a mistake, as both of these categories certainly are part of the playground dynamics.

The Playground Mafia book review page

Categories include Pushy Mum, One-son Mum, Helicopter Mum and Flaky Mum, who I can recognize. There is also Sporty dad, Toyboy Dad and Midlife Crisis Dad who I’ve not spotted in our playground.

I couldn’t help sniggering as I read. Yes, I spotted some friends and I spotted some characteristics in others. As I read on, it became slightly repetitive, but as already explained, the novelty of the playground has worn thin for me. It’s the sort of book that is best dipped into, rather than being read cover to cover.

I also could not help thinking that our playground isn’t quite so racey as the one in the book. Either that or I have been oblivious to all the signs of extra dubious activities.

If you have spent any time waiting to pick up children, whether at school or an after school club, you will spot somebody in this book that you recognize. Failing that there is a section at the back for cocktails and also collective nouns for the different categories, which might well appeal.

lilac and fizzy apple

The end message seems to be to find the like minded people in your playground. From my experience, I’d say that is great advice.

I’ll be leaving this out for my friends to read, next time they come over. Or maybe I should leave it on the school bench at pick up time and just watch to see who takes it home.


Disclaimer: I was sent this book free of charge as part of the Britmums Book Club, which I thorougly recommend. All opinions are my own and honest. I was under no pressure from PTA Mum. Really.

Dear Daughter: About Maths

Peaceful Hours no 65 Farmers wife letters Dear Daughter

Dear Daughter

I’m on a roll this year. Already another quilt block complete. I have two sewn up, but when I suggested that I use both with this letter, you sweetly declared that you’d prefer one square to one letter. No problem.

Every block pattern is measured and scaled up on to my square of freezer paper. Multiplying and dividing the lengths until I can replicate the pattern, just so. Then cut up, ready for the english paper piecing. It has to be precise. I number them so they’re sewn up in the same order. I enjoy this process as much as the stitching.

And here comes the topic of my letter to you: Maths. You chose your GCSE Options last week. By the end, there was a tough choice to make and you made it. One throw away comment was that it was a shame you couldn’t drop one of the compulsory core subjects. Maybe Maths. *internal gasp from your mother. reach for chair.* Continue reading

Dear Daughter: About Options

Periwinkle from The Farmers wife lettersDear Daughter

Another block complete to add to your Dear Daughter quilt. This one is called Periwinkle. I like the name, although the pattern reminds me more of the compasses found on old maps. The ones where only the North is labelled.

With 111 quilt blocks to choose from the book, sometimes it’s difficult to settle on which one I’d like to do next. (Between you and me, sometimes I just like the name of the quilt block!)

The decision process can take a while. *twiddles thumbs*  Add in the time taken to choose the fabric, and I can deliberate over the choice longer than it takes to stitch the pieces together.

Periwinkle withThe Farmers wife letters book open I usually lay out all the blocks I’ve completed. Fourteen this time. Rearranging. Wondering about the colour I’ll use to separate them all eventually. Making sure my fabric choices this time, work with my general theme. Oh, the choices.

Making choices and seeing the way forward has been a recurring topic of conversation between us recently. We’ve spent a lot of time discussing your options at school. I’ve admired the way you have analysed the possibilities. Laying them out. Rearranging them. Checking they fit in with the bigger picture. Not unlike my sewing decision. Continue reading

Photos

There have been cases when people lifted my photos and words, and used them without credit to me or asking permission first. Using them for their own commercial gain. I have now added a level of security to deter people from doing this. Apologies to people who do play nicely. If you would like to use any of my photos, please contact me.

Copyright notice:

All my words and photos are copyrighted to me. They cannot be used for commercial benefit by anyone else. If you would like to use any of them, then please ask me first and don’t just take. Written permission only. Don’t pass my words, photos or ideas off as your own. It’s not nice.

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