Saturday, 21 July 2012

Busy, busy, busy

Phew!  July is always a bit of a busy month and this year it's been busier than usual.

One of the downsides of having children at school that are not local (DD2's special needs school is nine miles away and DD1's grammar school 12 miles away) is that getting to any events there take time.  As it's been the end of the school year with various activities, that's meant more travelling than usual.  Add on the Olympic Torch relay and I've sometimes felt as though I'm either travelling somewhere, or planning the logistics for getting somewhere.

A couple of weekends ago it was DD1's end of year music school concert.  I'd booked that weekend off work as annual leave as I'd missed the Christmas concert and didn't want to miss this one.  DD1 doesn't have music (clarinet) lessons at her school - she goes on a Saturday morning to the local district's music school in a(nother) school in a village ten miles from where we live. 

It was a good, fun evening.  DD1 is quite good at playing her clarinet and is currently working towards her Grade V, which she'll take in November.  I'm trying to save enough money (around £800) so that we can get her a new, better-quality clarinet, which will improve her playing.

DD2 had four nights away from home (Mon-Fri) when she went away on school camp.  I'm sure you can imagine that I was rather apprehensive and nervous about her going as she's never been away from home without me before and kept saying that it was going to be her, me and Jess (the dog) on holiday.  All was fine though and she seems to have had a great time. 

While DD2 was away, DD1 had a music 'thing' at school.  Part of the school's curriculum music lessons, the girls had to perform two songs - a set one and one of their own choosing - which they had to arrange, provide accompaniment and choreograph. DD1's year were doing their performance from 8.55am though, which meant that even though she'd stayed at my in-laws' the night before so hubby and I could go out for the evening, I still had to be up early and get a train just before 8am to get there on time (I didn't drive because there had been more-wine-than-usual-drinking going on the previous evening and the traffic would have been horrible to drive in!).  DD1 was a bit disappointed that her class didn't score a higher mark than they did and, parental bias aside, I did think that the teacher marking the girls was a bit harsh for the first two forms (DD1's was second) and didn't take into account the nerves of the first form to go on-stage, or the style of the song that DD1's form performed as their choice (you're not going to be all beaming smiles if you're singing a song in a sombre/serious manner, are you).

Friday morning of that week, the Olympic Torch relay was coming through Colchester.  It's a bit of a sore point in our and our neighbouring towns that the Torch only ran along something like 100m of our borough and didn't go through other towns in our district such as Harwich or Clacton, but DD1 and I got up extra-early and were on the 6.54am train to Colchester. It was rainy and we waited with hoods up for an hour before the torch-runner came along the High Street and we got a three-second glimpse.  At least we can say we were there though. Being a military town, there were service-men and women lining the high street on one side:

There was a decent turn-out and one little girl standing opposite had made her own torch:
And then the torch itself came past:
 And then it was gone!
Last week it was DD2's sports day at school.  Due to the weather we've been having, they weren't able to use the field, so it was held on the playground (which isn't very big due to the number of temporary classrooms they have to use - another sore point):
The children were very well behaved and (mostly) did what they were supposed to do and then everyone went back to their classrooms and got changed out of their PE kit (for some reason known only to her DD2 kept on her tights under her PE shorts!) and then parents were allowed to go and have a look around the classroom.

All this activity has meant I haven't made a great deal of progress on my knitting projects.  I'm at the ribbing of the first of a pair of toe-up vanilla socks.  I've done a couple of repeats of my pink Nympheas scarf.

I have finished knitting the Wendy Johnson Summer Solstice Mystery Shawl:

It now needs blocking but that won't happen until Tuesday at the earliest because I've got nowhere to block it until then.  DD1's off for a few days with Granny (to Paris, the lucky girl) so I might use her bedroom floor - if it's tidy enough.  I think I'll do a separate blog post about this shawlette though as it hasn't exactly gone how I thought it would.

I have been knitting on my sock yarn blanket though.  I started this about three years ago when the Monday knitting group started up and it gets picked up sporadically.  With the busyness of life this month though, it's been knitted on again as it's an easy project to pick up and put down again and it's something that can be knitted while chatting away at knitting group.

I think I've got 96 squares done now and most of them are from yarn I've used for socks, so it's a bit like knitting a project history.  I'm making this in a rather haphazard, higgledy-piggledy way, not worrying too much about which colours to put in next, or which direction the next row of squares is going to go.  I did think about putting some bigger squares in, but think I'll stick to the smaller ones.  When I've decided it's big enough, I'll buy some plain 4ply (something like Cygnet) and do a knitted on 15-20-stitch border.

I've also been doing some spinning - some burgundy merino that was donated by someone at a Saturday get-together.  I'm spinning an aran-weight yarn to make into a felted bag.

I hope you've got through all this.  I really should make an effort to blog more regularly.

Before I sign off, I do have something else to show:

I have nine of these.  I'll tell you what for in a few days.

I hope you have a nice weekend and that the sun starts to shine wherever you are.  It was nice here mid-morning when I took Jess for a walk, but it's got a bit grey and overcast now.

I'm off to do some ironing and then to check the bag DD1's packed for her Paris trip.  She says she's got everything she needs, but I just want to make sure because, well, she's 12 and there's a good chance she'll have forgotten something.  Like her toothbrush, or hairbrush, or enough pairs of knickers. That sort of thing!

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