Category: Cranham Scout Group

Easter Egg Hunt With Cranham Scouts (by )

Wednesday evening I organised an easter egg hunt for the Beavers, Cubs and Scouts. The Beaver leader organised games and Alaric sorted out camp stuff with the parents.

Easter egg in the copice Easter Egg in the reeds Hiding the eggs in the tree Easter Egg on tree stump

I put chocs and chicks and stickers into plastic eggs.

Easter Eggs

I also made dairy free chocolates for the children with special dietry requirements.

Home made Easter Chocs, eggs, duck and bunny

We had a campfire for the Scouts and their's was done in the dark after the two younger sections had gone home. I had rabbit and duck marshmallows for toasting, hot cross buns of various varieties - again toasted on sticks.

Then I had creme egg splats and as it is Nation Science and Engineering Week and I had gone in to help with their astronomy badge a few weeks previously I created a came called Splats for Facts. They loved this game even though I had inflicted The Little Chicken Song on them all whilst their egg trail was being laid (some of the eggs where in the trees!).


I ended the night by telling Jean a Horice The House Dragon story - it was a continuation of one I've been telling her for a while but off course all made up on the spot. To my amazement I ended up with a group of teenagers all sitting around listening to it and even those I thought weren't listening were as they answered questions about what the story was about to those who arrived back a bit later from the hunt. They seemed very impressed that it was made up of the top of my head 🙂

Glowing coals

It was a lovely evening and I took video of the fire and played with my camera in the hope of using the footage for something arty later on!

Furry Puss Mog Friend The After Time

I took lots of low light level pictures of trees 🙂

A home for something small Rambling roots A path through the bleak woods

Astronomical Fun (by )

The last few weeks have seen me going in to help with the scout group for their astronomy badge - I took in my old Astronomy Now mags and some old lab books and mission cloth badges I was given at the museum when I worked there and the stuff I won with Celestial Montage from ESA.

Oh and one antique telescope our lovely friends bought us as a wedding present - this is the fourth time it has had an outing to help infuse you people with the joys of space 🙂

I didn't have time to plan a talk so had to wing it - this was made extra interesting due to the meteorite air burst over Russia and the near miss asteroid which the kids were a little confused over. So I waffled at them and gave them stuff to look at and asked them questions which showed that some were confused over the difference between America and Russia but that they have brains enough to deduce impact behaviour which was interesting.

The some of the girls meticulously pawed over my old note book and I explained abit about blasting rocks with lasers to see what they are made of. One boy shyly asked to keep an Astronomy Now and I think he would have taken more if he could have 🙂

Then they all toddled off to look at the night sky as it had cleared up nicely.

Yesterday I bought in stuff for them to make little models of the Hubble Telescope out of loo roll middles and serial packets - this seemed to go down really well and ended up in interesting conversations about space probe design.

I really enjoyed it 🙂

Halloween and Nanowrimo (by )

It's November the first which means it is NaNoWriMo again - this is National Novel Writing Month though it is a global event theses days. I have roped Alaric in this year as well as he has been moping about how work on his novel has completely stopped now he no longer has comutes to London.

Pumpkin count down to NaNoWriMo

I am sending him to his first meet on his own tonight in Bristol which has a vibrant group with friends from Uni plus it is close to his Hack Space which he goes to on Thursdays anyway. I on the other hand will wait for the weekend when I shall pootle into Gloucester to go and have coffee and do some writing and catching up with my WriMo friends who ashamedly I have failed to meet up with outside of the writing yet again!

Chocolate motif halloween cupcakes

I am continuing on from the novel I started for GothNoWriMo last month - well sort of - it has actually spilt itself into three so I shall be working on the second story/book The Prophesy it is part of the Punk Canon as I am now calling everything set in my world of gentically engineered humans and older hominid race with ancient super computers and what not. This trilogy called The Godex is specifically about bio-computers and ancient blood cults - it is a psuedo horror/crime with elements of Grail type quests within.

It is doing things I didn't expect it too - the manuscript has become a living creature with its own ideas of whats happening - all I know is the over all story arch and how it fits in with The Punk tails.

Jean's star nosed pumpkin

And then because I am completely nutty I am also doing PiBoIdMo which is Picture Book Idea Month with Tara Lazar once again. It was this picture book challenge that really got the The Little Books of Poetry going. The Little Book of Spoogy Poetry already existed - just. But The Little Book of Festive Poetry and the others stemmed from this writing challenge. I shall be blogging and stuff about the kidlit over on Orange Monster but in summary I shall write up my list of ideas - some will be new some will be ones I have scattered in notebooks of which I already have hundreds :/

Pumpkin of Cranham Village

However PiBoIdMo has become something more to me - it is a month that I work on childrens books. I am hoping to get The Little Book of Festive Poetry actually in print for the public this month - at the least you shall have a down loadable ebook like I have just done with Spoogy. Last year I made 100 copies with my home printer and embellised the cover with metallic pens and things as gifts for people - some of whom will be getting them this year instead!

Autumn cakes

30 hrs minimum I shall spend on my kidlit projects this month - I did this last month in the effort to get Spoogy out there and that achieved all the illustrations and the time it took to scan, edit and put the book together.

The Little Book Of Spoogy Poetry

I love my writing and drawing challenges 🙂

The first book of The Godex - The Awakening is going out on Black Monster a 1000 words at a time - it is completely unedited and I am very dyslexic but it is there if you want to read it - or wait five years and you can buy the nice edited version 😉

And that brings me back to Halloween 🙂

Severed foot blood cake

The kids all seemed to have a great time out on their walk and floating lanterns on the stream in the village. I stayed in the hall to finish decorating the cakes and prepare the luke warm hot chocolate 🙂

Halloween and autumn cakes and jelly ghosts Cups galour Mary eating a severed finger Spider vegan halloween cupcakes Spooky cupcakes Chocolate motif halloween cupcakes Blood and body parts cupcakes autumn the cupcake way autumn leaves cupcakes

(I love my new plunger cutters for icing)

regal icing autumn leafs

Then when we got back to the house I made dinner whilst Alaric did pumpkin carving with the girls - well Jean! Mary loves her little pumpkin that Jeany chose for her (because she loved hugging the little pumpkins at the farm shop!) but all she wants to do is hug it so we decided carving it would be a bad idea so I gave her a pen to decorate it with - she was exstatic!

Pumpkin pals

We haz pumpkins! Jean preparing the pumpkin for Daddy to carve MAry drawing on her huggable pumpkin Jean giving Mary advice on where to draw the cats and spiders on her pumpkin Mary Happily drawing on her pumpkin Baby Mary preparing to attack the pumpkin

They then went off to bed happy and I helped Alaric find his way round the NaNoWriMo forum and website 🙂

Pumpkin face

I was tempted to stay up and start writing but my wrists were a bit achy from the icing of cakes so I decided to rest well instead and lo! I am writing - well have been already this morning - now obviously I have a Mary to look after but here we go!

Oh and Jean's doing Nano again this year too 🙂 She is armed with the pink glitter monster notebook Ulrike gave her - she has spent about half an hour on characterisation and tonight after school (and a bit of room tidying) we will be having our very own little writ in - I even have toffee apple chocolate fingers 🙂

10 Halloweens! (by )

Today is the tenth Halloween for me and Al 🙂 We started going out actually on Halloween - I skipped several parties and a workshift to do so and I wasn't even sure if it was supposed to be a date or not!

I remember faffing over which cloths to wear and went with the new things I'd bought with my first wage check of the new academic year - I'd been shopping with Becca 🙂 Lavander tie dye boot cut fitted trousers with a black lacy top with a plunging neck line and erm... trainers.

I'd printed out his email stating the time and space coordinants and the invite for dinner and then showed it to my friends for advice on weather it was a date or not Jihane said it was whilst Greg said it wasn't! And both panicked as they thought Al was a random from the internet as I mentioned the facted we'd been emailing each other. We had infact met the previous spring when Tanya had tried to set Aoife up with him - we had been emailing each other ever since reguardless of an embarrassing attempt of friends to force us together when he had started going out with another girl shortly after the Aoife set up. They were only going out for two weeks but I didn't realise that so we tiptoed around each other electronically for the whole summer!

I got to South Ken Station early and hung around - he didn't show so I walked up the steps to check up by the shops and then headed back down them and through the tunnel. No Al but he was there when I got back to the station. He was relieved that I was late as in his excitement he'd gotten on the circle line and gone the wrong way! We were married several years before we found out each others version - neither of us wanting to seem too keen incase it scared the other off!

We walked aimlessly talking of everything from scifi to social issues and my course work which I had been showing him for the last few weeks at the Union after an incident were I had fainted at Musical Theatre and ended up being brought down to the union and placed with Andy D and his friends to recover a few weeks previously. Somehow I'd ended up chatting to Al.

We ended up in Pizza Express which became like our place. We had dough balls which we shared.

We then walked some more - down to the river but my back was starting to really hurt - I had on my college rucksack and I was cold - I was already having intensive physio at the time and had also been told I had a life expectancy of 30 so I was not even sure I should be trying for a relationship. But again my health actually helped me - I had to sit down. We sat on the river bank. And I was cold and fed up of waiting to see if he would make a move so I flopped against him and snuggled up for warmth. He took this as a sign that he was allowed to make a move FINALLY and so he went to kiss me and I got the giggles. But we did kiss and it was a cheesy forever moment only shattered by the lights on the buildings all winking out as it was 11 o'clock!

Shocked at the time I waited with him on the Kings Road opposite the Blue Bird restaurant until he got on his bus - he wanted to walk me home but I felt this was stupid as he would have to walk away from his bus stop! I had also insisted on paying half the bill.

From that unsureness of each other we became inseperable and much to everyones horror we moved 'too fast' moving in with each other after only a few months - and then engaged after 10 months and married the following summer. With a baby due just after our first year wedding anniversary. But we are happy with each other and the kids - other things have been hard but they have been external to us and the thought of facing the stresses alone is an intollerable one. Now that things are improving we are being careful not to emulate alot of couples mistakes - sometimes it is the stress that binds you together and you grow apart as your both dealing with life.

We have lots of plans for our lives still and he is joining me in NaNoWriMo this year as he confessed to missing his writing time and he is a fair way into the novel/story arch that we made up together starting on that first night - it is a joint effort but I can't do my bit until he has finished his.

To celebrate this moment that has lasted a decade we are coming to London for a long weekend in November. We will visiting what is left of our old haunts (The Black Widow is gone but I'm hoping we can visit another Erri Pub, The Foundary too is gone, we may go and look at The Union but I don't think we will go in or if we do it will just be for a drink). We want to visit a Paul A Young Chocolate Shop as they have become an our place as well even though we've never managed to be in one at the same time yet!

The Natural History Museum is a must though I will probably mope outside doors I'm no longer allowed through. Pizza Express, the places in Ealing and maybe a meet up with friends.

We are mainly coming down to London to London to see Gotye 🙂

We found this artist as our friend Ulrike sent us the youtube video on Facebook - she was the first of a wave - 'Doesn't he look like Alaric?' and yes he does though Al himself says he can only see a vague similarity 🙂

We even made a spoof video - which we now actually have permission from Gotye Head Quarters to have made.

I organised the gig, Al the hotel - we still have no hotel books 🙂

Our lives are not exactly were we envisioned them but on the other hand we are all together in an amazing house that is not rented. Al is loving his job and I appear to have ended up with the career I thought I would have once I retired. And for that I owe a hug debt to Alaric - he helps me with the writing and art, doesn't get annoyed when I forget to cook dinner when I've said I would because I've got distracted by drawing or papier mache or writing. But more than that - he has given me the self confidence to get out there and do the things. this year has seen me win medals and get through to the final stages for poet laureate of Gloucestershire and so much more I can't even begin to list.

He took pity on me and sorted out the tech issues I was having with The Little Book of Spoogy Poetry 🙂 Talking of which today is your last chance to download it free 🙂 You have until midnight just click on the image below.

The Little Book Of Spoogy Poetry

And now I am off to back Halloween, fireworks and autumn cakes because predictably we are running an event for the cubs tonight 🙂

Parents Evening and Jean (by )

Parents evening - I was dreading it as Jean is being a bit of a moo at home at the moment - dismantling things, being distracted when you ask her to do something, having tantrums over getting reading for school loosing her cardigans and jumpers and things. But we get ther and at 7 yrs old Jean is 9 and 1/2 yrs in maths and spelling and the teacher said this was as high as the assement went., level 2 in litracy though the teacher thinks she isn't even trying there and I have to say having read her dinosuar piece I agree! It was the opening scene of The Land Before TIme :/ Level 2 is still above were she should be for her age. She is being helpful and socially interacting well and has a reading age of 11 and 1/2. Only thing is she chats too much in class and her and her friend keep finding loop holes in the schools work ethic - meaning they have technically completed the assingment but not really achieved what they are capable of - this is so they have more time for chatting!

She also helpfully reminds teachers when they have forgotten something or like last year corrects their grammer :/ Out of the three R's she is official better at all but maths than me, at home she is showing a rather machanical bent at the moment - which I assume is the reason for her starting to dismantle things. She has just finished Laura Ipsum which is a sort of computing introduction done in the form of an Alice In Wonderland adventure - one of the guys who came over for Chicken UK gave it too her as a presant - she is sad there isn't another one.

She is really progressing with Jujitsu and starting to really look forward to it! She is now a Yellow-White Stripe belt and at the weekend she learnt how to defend herself from thugs with pool cues - this training was done by the guy who trains the police - at her grading the other week he said she has a Tiger inside her but that she is still a bit shy at letting the Tiger out. Jean says 'I do not have a Tiger in me I have Tigress' this is from Kung Fu Panda!

She is also doing running club at the school and, choir and Beavers - the clubs at the school are mostly free which is a bonus. We couldn't afford the music lessons which made me a bit sad but at the same time I think she is doing a lot of stuff and I restricted the number of lunch time clubs she applied for as I believe she should have free time to play with other kids as that is really really important.

I am amazed at her 🙂

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