Saturday, 5 January 2013

Day 5 - we are under attack

This is not the best of days. Yesterday ended with me feeling rather smug as Harry had turned a corner and I was taking full credit. No chest infection and feeling much better. However, in the middle of a very long night with a very wired new kitten the entire family came under attack. Pete first, then me and Molly and then the boys. We all had the virus and it was not a fun place to be. Mimi disregarded our combined suffering as she demanded her presence be felt and truly understood. Forget mum on a Scottish island because I could be living anyway today. I have not set foot out of my door and I still have my pjs on, shameful. This is, thankfully, a very rare event in our family's history. One of the joys of home schooling is that you are not constantly bombarded with illness but when it strikes we are just not very experienced! Can I tell you that even my eye sockets hurt. What is all that about? Not matter, life continues. Molly is mid way to her student house in Lincoln ready to face her exams and Harry is out and about. Mimi is here right by myside looking completely adorable. You would all love her. She has a brother who, sadly, contracted some sort of virus while in the womb and so needs extra special love. He is quite well but he shakes a little and his muscle strength is a little under-developed. His name is Timmy and he needs a home. If any of you would like to meet him go to cats protection, isle of Arran branch on facebook and speak to Linda. School starts on Monday so I will be mad busy getting things ready because I have left it all a bit too late. We are studying the Georgians and I am a little sad. It is our final history module that we have not yet covered. George and Max will be studying it with me as Harry continues with his fitness diploma. What you have to absolutely know is that, as the parent, you learn as much as the children! I love that about home school and I am never quite sure where school starts and finish in this house. It seems to pop up everywhere. The very first time one of the children turned to us all to tell us something that the rest of us didn't know I knew this was a good thing. Harry may be the least academic but he learns from so many sources that I forgive the fact that he is not a truly academic thinker. He learns by doing and I understand that and try and learn from him. It is important to let you know that it is not always perfect. Home schooling is the biggest challenge I have ever faced. I run out of juice sometimes and need to recharge. Thankfully I have lots of family and friends who will take their turn. I also try and avoid maths if at all possible. That is strictly Pete"s domain and he does it very well. Maths was, by far, Molly's worst subject at school but when Pete took over her confidence started to grow. She ended up taking her GCSE a year early and got it. Harry is much stronger at maths and received a distinction in his GCSE equivalent. I am completely rubbish at maths and at the age if 48 I don't really see that changing. All that said we do have a bit of a routine. School happens in the morning and then we are done by 1pm and we can all do what we do. So my working day starts then and I have got very used to that. We have two school rules. If it someone's birthday there is no school and if it snows there is absolutely no school! It rarely snows on the island as we are in a Gulf Stream and it doesn't often get cold enough. There goes some of your mental images of living on Arran! I annoy most of my facebook friends on a regular basis by wishing for snow when they can not get away from the stuff. I used to commute to my job in winchester on the M3 and now I simply step into my studio. I do, however, have much less money but I care not about that. My challenge this year to spend less money is bound up in the fact that I have come to hate the stuff. It gets in the way of life for me and I also believe that most of the stuff I buy I don't need. That would exclude my iPad, of course, as it is my best friend. When we moved here we stepped out of the whole mortgage thing and have never stepped back. We began living in one of the holiday cottages which was a two up, two down affair. I loved it despite the lack of space. Over time to have graduated to the large five bedroom farmhouse. Sounds wonderful? It is but it needs a lot of TLC and we are just the people to do that. I did just want to say that Pete and I had endless conversations about this move before we finally plucked up the courage to do it. The Tarransay project in the year 2000 changed our lives though. If you saw it on telly you know what I mean. Life on Arran for us is not about a flick of a switch (we often get power cuts) or a swipe of the credit card. It is far more basic but in many ways, far more rewarding. I spend so much time with my children and, for that, I will always be grateful. It is a long way for the stressed wife and mother trying to juggle more balls than is even possible to hold. I think some people crave a more simple life but, in my experience, you have to be prepared to live it. As I finish Pete is out in the pouring rain chopping wood for the fire. I can't, of course, help as I have a kitten to cuddle. Hope weekends are trundling along nicely. Xx