Category: Jean

The Journey (by )

Mary entertained on the train with a fidget spinner

The weekend was complicated - we were down in London visiting family and Alaric was due to fly to the US meaning me and the girls would be heading back on the train - everything was pre-booked.

It was an early start which included Dad cooking pizzas for me and the girls to take on the train and having made us bottles of water in the freezer etc...

Al saying goodbye involved lots of hugs and snugs and in truth we weren't far behind him in leaving the house. Dad gave us a lift to Upminster Station - I had thought the Fenchurch Street Line did not run at the weekend but it did and we would have been in plenty of time for it... if I hadn't had to get Jean a ticket for the underground and the queue was pretty extensive!

The next wasn't for ages so we bought some crisps and drinks for our high adventure and went and sat on a District Line Train. We ate pizza that was still hot and due to a chance question by Mary on Gidea Park we ended up deep in the throws of family history which took us pretty much all the way through to zone one!

Now I had been in London on Wednesday and Thursday - I knew the train lines were broken but what with the head injury and things I just kind of forgot (not about the fire but just about trains). I hadn't even registered that the train was only going to South Ken. meaning we ended up at South Ken with me and Jean trying to work things out... back on the district line we went to Embankment were on the way in Mary had asked why everyone was getting off :/

Mary was beginning to get restless - we'd eaten our lunch and the trains were getting more packed so I told her a story - How Mary Became the Gap Toothed Monster! There was giggling and fluroshes added by her toothlessness herself.

I was a bit stressed - I was already struggling with understanding the tannoy and being able to read the signs and Jean was trying her best but just doesn't know the system - between the two of us we managed to get on the Bakerloo Line - all three of us sat on two seats - many were standing because it's the underground. It was hot and airless and Mary began to fret - we put the drinking water on her head and assured her there would be ice cream at some point in the journey.

Oh yeah on the District Line she'd broken out in uber energy and shimmied up the hold on to pole. Fidget Spinner was for the win for getting her to sit down - Jean tried to scare her into sitting by saying trains crash - I snapped at Jean because when you are on the train you don't really want to think about that or at least at that point I didn't.

And the train stopped in the tunnel, the District Line had done this lots too. Mary was excited that we were actually underground. We got into Paddington with 20 mins until our "big train" so we bought ice creams - I couldn't work out the self serve till - I couldn't work out which ticket got us through the barrier - I did get coffee.

I am paranoid about travel so had given myself an extra almost 2 hrs to get across London - good job really!

We found our seats, terfing the poor welsh dude who fortunately got another seat - the train had people packed in the vestibles which made me feel bad when I had to ask them all to move so I could go a loo! But I had been on packed trains for several hours at this point.

The girls ate their ice creams, we had little chats with the welsh guys and the guy next to us offered to lend Jean a charging cable for her phone which was lovely even though we declined.

This is my fidget spinner:

Mystic Flower Fidget Spinner

It kept Mary quiet long enough for me to reset my brain a bit though her and Jean fought over who was going to get to play with it and Jean dismantled it which grumped me!

I love the fidget spinner - Alaric bought it for me - it is a beautiful thing.

We then played the Story Telling Game - were we each say a bit of the story and pass it on - Jean tries to pull the story into scifi and Mary always adds magic and fairies and I have to thread it into something coherant - they often take unexpected twists and Mary really enjoys telling them DRAMATICALLY!

And she had an audience.

We got through to Swindon on origami - Mary loves origami so spends ages folding her own shapes (which she then tries to teach you how to fold!) and I had also made some little modules she can fit together to make bigger structures including a snake 🙂

I was pleased with myself as I managed to fold a tetrahedron or three sided pyramid - I am working on modular origami at the moment as I wish to use it in various workshops.

Pyramid Origami

And then we were at Swindon... were there were no connecting trains :/ There had been nothing about this at Paddignton - as none of the other passengers knew anything about it either! The poor station lady had to explain over and over again the two ways we could all get to Gloucester, Stonehouse etc... depending on where we were going. It would be faster to go to Bristol and get a train back from there - we opted for the bus/coach because it was half an hour till the next train and I wasn't sure I could cope with more changes and platforms and I don't have good previous with getting back from Bristol when tired etc... having found myself heading "up north" on several occassions and the notable time I ended up in Wales.

A fellow passenger - a lady who spoke very little English made sure I knew which bus to get on with the children which was lovely.

There was aircon on the coach - we blasted ourselves with it and ate nibbles... and got stuck in traffic and Mary had a melt down arching her back and thudding into the seat. I managed to calm her down though she wasn't really quiet at all for this journey until she flopped her head on me and dozed a bit. To be fair by this point of the journey I kind of wanted to join her and Jean had retreated into her iPad.

The walk home was hot - there was more water poured on heads and Mary had her second melt down when she realised we were walking home via the "stone bridge" as she just did not want to go that way. She was throwing a massive wobble shouting and flouncing and then I said "do you need a hug" and she nodded and climbed up me for a hug and... burst into tears... she wanted her daddy back.

We all walked together - Jean had been going to go on a head but a) realised she had a "kids" rucksack on and b) felt Mary needed big sis to hold her hand. We bought second ice cream from the corner shop and were home.

Bristol and Mateys (by )

Facebook has been popping up memories from previous years - at the moment it is kind of the same thing regardless of the year... meeting up with our Friends Becca and Olly and this year is no exception!

So much food!

This year we went to Bristol and walked around the water front, slightly hampered by the outside wheelchair lift being broken but we found other ways around.

Broken lift

Then we went for lunch at Prezzo who had a gluten free menu and was quiet enough and was vegi and wasn't a bank breaker and had toilets and tables on one level and had dairy free options (as a group we quiet hard to cater for but Bristol had us covered!). We ordered a stupid amount of food as we thought the pizzas were individuals but were huge!

Birds in the harbour in bristol

Jean saw to the left overs as she'd had a kids meal and is a teeny-tweeny and now slightly taller than me and growing fast!

Mary was good and managed sitting still for the meal as she a) took daddy outside for run arounds and b) was going to get to play in the fountain - unfortunately she was then so excited about the fountain she splashed straight into it and run out of Alaric's sight and ended up in trouble! But she did then get to race Becca up and down the dock side by the M-shed which was closed by this point. Then she played with Olly going up and down the river - a stylised map set into the tarmac.

She also gave her pocket money to a homeless guy.

We popped into the german beer festival to see if any of the craft stalls etc... were still open but they weren't but there was a photo board 🙂

German Beer Festival Bristol

I'd pretty much run out of room on my camera other wise there would have been alot more photos! Including Jean sitting on John Cabot who sailed from Bristol in 14... something and found North America. A young tourist asked us questioned about him but ended up telling us more than we knew including finding the date the statue was made.

Exploring the John Cabot statue in Bristol

Looking up this (historical figure)[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Cabot] I find the finding of the Americas by Europeans is a long and distended tail and I have a whole lot more to learn including a celtic myth about Hy-Brasil which I think maybe the glass isle myth. This is all good stuff for The Punk Universe novel series I am writing.

I've been researching a lot of stuff for this series lately including discovering a myth that Jesus actually went to India and England in a world tour before returning home and being killed as a political radical. This was interesting as Becca was explaning local historical sites to me including the wells and hotspring and the fact that an ancient (as in 3000 year old) jewish religous site was found in a house basement recently - my brain instantly wondered if that was maybe a site that historical Jesus (Jesus in historical records not as/as well as a holy figure) might have visited.

There is lots of funky stone work in this area of Bristol which I love - I love both the rocks natural history and the people history that laid them there was structures.

Stone arch door bristol

Bristol is a rich city for history as most cities are... as well as modern archetecture and the interaction of society, tech, city and environment. This was highlighted quiet well by the renovated crain that has been turned into a little eco hut and the tumble down ruins becoming little oasises of plants. I never fail to find new things (some quiet old 🙂 ) to take photos of.

Stone and pipes and leaves bristol

The outing was rounded off by the kids watching a film and us rabbiting about everything and nothing and looking at photos from our uni days - Mary's comment on seeing a picture of my by three giant axes in Greece "mummy you were so small!".

Of course I ran out of camera space so missed the giant beetle eating my children - but fortunately Becca was there!

Jean and Mary being eaten by a giant stag beetle in bristol

Hidden Poetry (by )

Hidden Poetry and Art Pouch in Gloucester

Today I hid poetry around Gloucester (hope they were all found before the rain!), saw people wearing the badges from the pouches, had people ask about the festival when they saw me making more pouches, sorted some exciting things along the lines of an Ada Lovelace Day event, Poetry talks, tech-history and art/sci/paleo cross over with two different sets of people representing several different groups and moving the goal of art and science accessibility forward in the world.

I also had an epic lunch at Cookes Cafe and Curios which do gluten free sandwiches (most places with GF options still only do cake or stupid expensive hot meals that are a days cals in and of themselves!). I love this cafe and I met my friend and we chatted for ages and it was great and the people who run the place are lovely and yeah it's just one of my favourite places in Gloucester.

Later still I met up with Jean after school and we had a cake in the Waterstones Cafe - their GF cake happens to be orange and lavender and reminds me of my nan (dad's mum). It is a glorious cake and one I probably shouldn't keep buying but I do... Jean bought herself a white chocolate tart with a W on it for Waterstones. The Gloucester Waterstones no longer has a Costas instead it has it's own little coffee shop and they use a local bakery.

Special W chocolate tarts for Waterstones in Glos

I love sitting and creating things in both of these coffee shops/cafes they both induce a lovely atmosphere and yes I know it's a bit much have done both in one day but I was in Gloucester for the whole day!

Jean enjoyed her cake.

Jeany enjoying cake

Art Activity Booklet!!! (by )

Art Activity Booklet

At the end of April me and Jean were sitting in the Gloucester Waterstones Cafe - she was doing her home work and I was working on my graphic novel script. I think I swapped what I was doing to making stuff for a writing workshop and she finished her homework stole my sketch pad and began drawing. Her drawings have been improving drastically this year and she love the general idea of anime and comic book art. She wanted an activity book so she could work through a series of exercises - not like the shelf of how to draw/art books we have on the shelf at home but more... interactive ie you get to draw in the book but it's not a colouring book type thing.

So off I went to look at what the bookshop had (well actually I popped off to the loos but noticed they had some books that matched her description so nabbed a few on the way back), none of them were quiet what she wanted and she decided they were too expensive...

"Could you make one with your tea cup and mug picture in it?"

So I started work on it and she vetoed and swapped things etc... until we have ended up with this booklet - it is along the lines of the Cuddly Science Activity Booklet and the Christmas Activity Booklet I made.

And also because it is us it has an essay on cave art with examples from around the world!

There will be a free downloadable PDF version on WigglyPets Press when I get round to it 🙂

In the mean time it will be coming with me to workshops, festivals and shows and physical copies can be bought from my etsy shop.

CampNaNo April 2017 (by )

I love writing challenges - they are a bit trickier these days with my limited time window of working brain but it is still possible. One of the things I like about them is not feeling al on my on 🙂

Alaric all set up for CampNaNo 2017

And so me and Alaric are signed up for one of the Nation Novel Writing Months add ons... CampNaNo. This used to be Script Frenzy and is where I'd work on my comic book/graphic novel stuff. Pretty much I still keep it as a Screnzy and work on my graphic novels and Al's role playing game. There is also a poem a day writing challenge NaPoWriMo in April so I bung things up on the WoPo site and the FB page and things to help others. I myself take it as a time to look over what I am doing with my poetry and spend a little time each day on it.

Catapault pencils for the Stubby Writing Challenge 2017

Both girls are doing their own CampNaNo - but me and Jean are having a writing race - known as The Stubby Challenge!!! This is how I did my first actual written and not voice to text stuff after the head bang (I think but to be honest it's all a little foggy back there!). It doesn't involve screens and I can write as big as I like and Jean loves it and... it works - though obviously it means that at some point there is going to have to be a lot of typing up!

The way it works is that we find funky pencils - this time it is catapaults to go with the camp them, last year I think it was dolphins and bats?

We have the ream of paper and our pencils and we write! Then when you are scratching the paper with wood you sharpen the pencil - the first to end up with a pencil stub wins! We even have a special Octarine pencil sharpener from the Discworld Emporium!

Jean Working on her Foodverse CampNano 2017

I'm slowely lurching my way through a novelisation of my first comic book script about how The Punk ends up being apparently immortal. It is slow progress but that is fine 🙂 Jean is working on her project from last year too - The FoodVerse - we typing up and editing chapter one An Apple Pavlova, now it is about about carrots.

Mary on the other hand is dictating a set of stories about a rainbow jungle and the sparkly creatures within 🙂 When the rest of us are working on our books she sits and colours in the picture she has chosen for the front cover. Interestingly they are quiet Roald Dahl in nature.

Mary Colouring in her Front Cover Campnano 2017

Of course I am still managing some typing so am kind of working on multiple projects - this means that I have to have check lists to keep myself on track especially as the time I can concentrate for is actually so small - I can't do hyper focus and I can't fall through the page - my brain just shuts down and I fall asleep! But I think I am getting there and producing good stuff.

So yeah CampNaNo is go and I am prodding people to write and create!

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