Ju Jutsu Jean (by )

This a poem I have written for my little girl Jean who is so enthusiastic she wants to take part on the next Olympics even though she will only be 10 then!

Her current plan is to work hard at Ju Jutsu which she has been doing for just over a year and to then cross train to Judo as there do not seem to be many martial arts in the Olympics.

She has just spent the morning watching the Judo and is now watching the swimming. She came up with a lot of the rhymes in this poem so it is really a joint effort.

Ju Jutsu Jean

Ju Jutsu Jean was ever so keen
To travel to London to impress the Queen
So she practiced and practiced and practiced some more
Till her muscles ached and her bottom was sore

She tried and tried
Till her mum cried
Not with sorrow but a bursting pride!

Ju Jutsu Jean the string bean
Was tall enough to be on a basket ball team
But she was kind and never mean
She washed her ghi
And made herself clean
Braiding her hair into a plated pair
And took the train to get her there

At the palace gates the guards said no
They informed Jean she would have to go
Ju Jutsu Jean turned said SO!
And with hands on hips did some back flips
And gave the guards some tips
On fighting a keen string bean called Jean

After a while
With the guards in a pile
Jean remembered her letter written in the style Roy-al
The guards groaned and opened the door
And Jean was amazed at the marble floor

In she went to see the Queen
Ju Jutsu Jean represented her team
And was awarded a medal with gleam

And so Ju Jutsu Jean the keen string bean
Beamed at the Queen
Showing off her gleam

Then she headed home once more
Were her mum had put bunting round the door
And smiled knowing there was a party in store
With food and singing and fun galore!

Bread Puppies! (by )

SO... I found an idea/recipe for bread puppies here yesterday and today I have baked them for a friends birthday present!

Bread Puppies!

They are not the best bake ever and I used sour dough and we don't have a bread maker etc... but I'm happy with them 🙂

Krav Maga (by )

I've always enjoyed combined mental/physical challenges. As a child, I often entertained myself with things like getting from one part of the house to another without touching the floor. This required planning, and finesse; the combination was exhilerating.

I enjoyed my time in the Combined Cadet Force, as many of the exercises we were set involved this combination; and I particularly enjoyed being in the school shooting team. Especially when we went out to electronic target ranges and did exercises involving running to checkpoints with an assault rifle, diving into the prone position, inserting the magazine, shooting at targets as they popped up, and then running to the next checkpoint. It was like playing Time Crisis!

However, that kind of thing has been missing from my life for the past decade or so. Also, I've been spending far too much of my time sitting in cars or at desks, with my main exercise being carrying heavy objects (such as sleeping children) for short distances. I was feeling a keen desire to exercise more.

Then about a year ago, Jean started doing Ju Jutsu, and I started to wonder about taking up a martial art. I remember, many years ago, a friend saying he was taking up Krav Maga, an interesting-sounding Israeli martial art that grew from self-defence techniques in the Jewish gettos of Hungary before World War 2.

However, my searches found no nearby Krav Maga groups; the nearest was in Bristol. So I gave up on this idea for the time being. But a few weeks ago I spotted a poster in a shop window in Cheltenham advertising local Krav Maga courses; sure enough, a group had started!

So yesterday evening, I turned up to give it a try.

It's delightfully pragmatic; most of the attacks seem to revolve around wacking your attacker as hard as you can in the softest bits of them you can reach, then running away. The first skill I started practicing was how to kick somebody in the groin, punch them in the face twice in quick succession, pull them down hard onto your rapidly-rising knee into their stomach, elbow them in the kidneys, and end up behind them (running away, of course), in one smooth motion. We then proceeded to have a try at being pinned from behind by one person while another ran at you from the front; there is a technique to escape the grip and leave the person gripping you curled up in a painful ball on the floor, but doing it while also dealing with the person coming at you from the front makes it a lot more interesting. There were also some more abstract exercises in dealing with large numbers of people coming at you, avoiding being cornered or surrounded, and getting them to get in each other's way. That involved some physical activity in keeping moving, but it was mainly a mental exercise, observing the paths of the attackers and planning your movements.

The practising was good exercise in itself, but we also did a bit of general fitness exercise, largely as part of the warm-up before getting into the practice. I left feeling tired but lively, and today I've been feeling the ache of growing muscle over much of my body, so it's been a good work-out.

I got on well with the other students, who were very helpful with the new people in their midst; and the instructor seems to be a truly intriguing and inspiring person!

It was good challenging fun, so I'm going to keep going, hopefully switching to the Gloucester group that will be starting on Mondays in September!

I turned up in a shirt and trousers, straight from the office, but most of the people there had track suits. Black ones, and t-shirts with martial-looking imagery on, were particularly popular. The contrarian in me is now wondering if I can get a glittery pink tracksuit in my size...

Poor Goldy – Poor Jeany (by )

So at the Queens Jubilee Jeany rescued a goldfish from the fayre and proceeded to care for it in a manner that astonished me and Alaric.

She would panic if she was running late for school and had not yet fed it. She was keen to clean the tank out and had selected a friend in the form of Slimey the pond snail for it.

Having gotten out of the initial first few weeks I thought we were safe but alas last night Jean came done the stairs sobbing that something was wrong with her fish. He wasn't moving and he was floating at the top of the tank.

She took me back upstairs and yes poor Goldy was a goner. I took Jeany back down stairs and sat her on the settee, 'Do you understand why Goldy isn't moving Jeany?'

shakes head

'He's died sweety' - clingy hug and hysterical sobs up several levels from the previous crying.

We had conversations (very wet conversations involving hugs) about death and about how she made Goldy's life really good and it would have died sooner etc...

She remembered Betsy and Minni and Eve and Percy and Cosmo and the Ginue Pigs. And we sent Goldy on a journey to the sea where Goldy's body would become part of the Great Cycle of life and nourish other creatures and were it's soul would swim in kinder different waters.

Jean was very scared of why Goldy was floating so I explained about how the tummies of the dead get filled with gas as they can't poo anymore and so the stuff starts decomposing meaning they turn into a sort of balloon. Part of me wondered why I was resorting to science and thought that Jean probably just wanted more cuddles but it actually calmed her down.

It's been knitting a fish which Jean asked me to finish so she could hug it in bed - so I did.

We sang Goldy a goodbye song.

Jean slept after being assured that any little ghost fish would be one that loved her for taking such good care of it.

This morning her main concern was that Slimey would be sad and loney.

Dad’s 65th Birthday – A Discworld Adventure (by )

Great A'Tuin Cake

It was my dad's 65th birthday (his actual birthday was the 3rd but what with all the well everything that we've been doing - we decided to post pone it!). My dad is a massive fan of the Discworld series by Terry Pratchette - I introduced him to them when I were back at university.

SO I themed his birthday. We had:

The luggage and Friends:

Luggage Cakes

Wizard Hats and white chocolate stars:

Wizard Hat cup cake

I made one or two of them 🙂 If my Bro and his wife could have made it I was going to do chaos butterflies and Death cupcakes but as it is I already made far too much!

Wizzard Hat cup cakes

And of course we had the main cake - the Great Star Turtle A'Tuin rinding through space with the world on his back, held up by four elephants - who admittedly look like some sort of elephant/mouse cross bred.

The Disc World Cake One of the Four Elephants holding up the world made of sugar paste The Circle Sea and Cori Celesti in fondant Discworld cake side view

Dad seemed very please even if we did have a clash of the culinary cultures over his macaroni cheese and fried onions (Alaric put them in the actual macaroni cheese which was great but as we had never had that before and the only thing like it had been a horrible celery in the macaroni cheese - we initially all reacted with horror which we tried to cover up as he had been cooking for ages making all the sauce and everything - poor Alaric). We had pear cider and opened the Cider Brandy Alaric's Step brother Simon got us.

The Ferfer awaiting macaroni cheese Ferfer's 65th birthday meal

Dad's reaction to the cake was great - he says he loves the elephants and the fact I put the mountains in too 🙂 The Luggages didn't not come out as well as I wanted but Jean who had been watching The Colour of Magic and The Hogfather with Ferfer came into the kitchen and exclaimed 'Mummy you've made Luggages!'

I think the box set of Discworld films was greatly appreciated by Dad as well 🙂

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