Time off

I hope you had a lovely Easter. It took me by surprise – usually there’s a bit of a lead up but this year the children broke up from school and the next day was Good Friday. Luckily the weekend was a low-key affair; just the five of us at home with no pressure to do anything special. There was some gardening, quite a bit of baking and walking, and a lot of loafing about eating and watching tv (catching up on The Night Manager which is absolutely brilliant so far, haven’t finished it yet, no spoilers please!).

My eldest son’s GCSEs are looming (they start in May), so he is spending some time each day revising. It’s taken some ‘discussion’ and sitting down together to draw up a big calendar (plotting the Actual Exams; “Yes, they really are happening”) to get to this state of affairs. No amount of us giving him the benefit of our wisdom in these matters has helped. He’s had to come round to the decision that revision is probably A Good Thing all by himself. Frankly, I’m finding the whole thing rather exhausting already.

It’s not been all work and no play, though. The highlight of the Easter break so far has been a trip to see The Making of Harry Potter exhibition for our daughter’s belated birthday treat. It was completely fascinating to see behind the scenes and the incredible detail of all the props and scenery. What blew me away was that every painting, every tapestry and wall-hanging that you see in Hogwarts was created specially for the films. There was a huge team of artists, graphic designers, model-makers, make-up artists and costumiers. Every item of the wizarding world – the money, the newspapers, the packaging – was specially designed and made. You also get to see the mind-blowing, intricate animatronics of the magical creatures. My daughter loved it all. Apart from the enormous model of Aragog the giant spider; she’s not so fond of spiders. Even if you’re not a Harry Potter fan, I highly recommend it.

Back to the real world, in the garden we’ve made a start on a couple of the lower levels to the front of the house. We’ve been mulling over what to do with this part of the garden since we moved here. We’re still not entirely sure but we’ve decided to clear it all first. There’s nothing here that we love or even particularly like, so everything is going – all the mature, bramble-infested specimen plants are for the chop. A drastic decision but it will make the the whole area easier to rejig and fill with plants that we do love. The chain saw has been in action, a pick-axe has been wielded and we’ve had a bonfire. My mother-in-law (a force of nature when it comes to Getting Stuff Done) has come to help and thus huge progress is being made. More on this and pictures next time… Have a lovely weekend.

 

 

 

 

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30 thoughts on “Time off

  1. The thought of the children doing exam revision terrifies me. Glad you enjoyed the Harry Potter exhibition. HP is hugely popular in this house at the moment, there are constant spells flying about and wands pointed at me all the time. I shall look forward to seeing progress on your garden, it sounds very exciting. CJ xx

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    1. Of course we’ve no idea whether we’re doing the right thing – our eldest bears the brunt of our well-meaning parenting. Hopefully we’ll have worked it out by the third one! The HP exhibition is very exciting, especially for young HP fans.

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  2. I remember going through exactly the same process with my son leading up to GCSEs and the constant reminders to get a bit of revision done vs the need to go out and be with his mates. Tricky, but it worked in the end. I loved Harry Potter and should really go to the exhibition, it sounds fab! And can I borrow your Mother in law? I need a force of nature to help out around here! Caro x
    PS. Looking forward to see what you do with your border – a clean slate sounds like the ideal plan to me!

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    1. My m-i-l has gone home for a rest. But she’s always willing to get stuck in when people need a hand 🙂 I’m generally hands-off when it comes to homework, etc but revisind for gcses is important and I hope I’m getting the balance right between encouragement, support, ‘firm’ advice and as little pressure as possible. He gets enough pressure from school. We’ll see…

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  3. I’m trying hard to be the gardening M-i-L I would have appreciated! Not too difficult as one son lacks a garden (but I have plans to appropriate one of the very bare and dull communal beds to make a herb garden one day), and the other has a relatively small garden with not much soil and he and his wife are exceptionally busy making the house liveable in. I’m really looking forward to seeing what you decide to so with your garden – I don’t find it easy to decide what to put with what, and am always looking for inspiration. Could do with a Monty Don to visit and gently point me the right way!

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  4. It sounds like the perfect Easter weekend to me! It’s one of the things I like best about Easter – it’s so much more low key than Christmas. The Harry Potter exhibit sounds like it was a great experience. The exams your son is studying for, not so much so.

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  5. My oldest son sat the Scottish equivalent of gcse’s last year, and it sitting Highers in May. Both times, we have sat down together and negotiated a detailed study plan. It avoids disagreements and stress about what is to be studied when. I found it a huge help as a parent, and I think (!) my son agrees! X

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  6. It must have been wonderful to visit Harry Potter, some friends of ours visited there in the autumn and thoroughly enjoyed it too. Your latest gardening project sounds exciting I will look forward to following your progress. Sarah x

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  7. A blank canvas is exciting. I’m sure once you’ve cleared the space inspiration will come. In the meantime you could direct sow wild flower seed and enjoy the butterflies this summer. I’m afraid I never got involved with revision … I simply provided a calm(ish) environment with lots of moral and physical support. Have a good weekend Sam.

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    1. Good idea Sarah. We’re planning to plant potatoes in one area, so that it’s productive. I’d like to have a mix of productive planting and ornamental. I would dearly love to not be involved at all with the revising but he needed encouragement and guidance (up to a point). Now he has a rough plan, I’ve left him to get on with it and am supplying mugs of tea, hearty meals and gentle encouragement. Child no.2 is entirely different and I’ll be surprised if he’s not completely organised and cool as a cucumber about it all.

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  8. It’s definitely easier and more inviting, both planning and planting in a clear space.
    I have ’emptied’ bits of garden that are the way I want them.
    And other bits where I worked around iffy plants, which are getting whittled out with hindsight.

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  9. Lovely shadows and light around your home Sam! Your Easter sounds perfect. When it comes to gardening you always know things are going to happen when the words chainsaw and bonfire are mentioned! We have exams and all of these more serious aspects of our children’s education ahead of us. I am exhausted just thinking about it! Jane x

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    1. We’ve cleared a lot of space and our dog is enjoying the bare soil (muddy paw prints everywhere). Now we need to decide what to plant before the weeds take over again!

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  10. I need someone in my life to get stuff done. Maybe your mother in law would like to visit Glasgow? It sounds like a wonderful Easter weekend at yours. My oldest is also sitting exams this May (we call National 5 exams). His school has supported study days during the spring holidays, which have only just started in Glasgow. I am grateful the teachers give up their holidays to help our kids do well. Takes some pressure of me. Wishing you a good week. x

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  11. we did the dreaded GCSE’s with eldest teen last year. it is exhausting trying to motivate them. this year it’s AS levels. we’re planning a return trip to HP to celebrate her 18th, you’re never too old for HP x

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