Wednesday, 12 February 2014

half term holdays

The school holidays are spaced without much thought. The Christmas break finished only 5 weeks ago and now it is already half term. Sometimes two months go past without even a long weekend. Half term holidays mostly meant stress in the past. There are definitely some advantages to being unemployed. Maybe I should start calling this "not working" instead, it sounds less negative, yes? The February half term always coincided with my biggest teaching load at University and taking time off was incredibly difficult, the classes had to be taught no matter. Richard and I usually somehow managed to get just enough hours off between the two of us as to not leave the children to look after themselves (a tempting option!).
None of that stress this year! Although of course for a short moment on Monday morning I was thinking how nice it would be to send them all off to school and have the house to myself.... mustn't grumble, they seem to be growing up at the speed of light and will no doubt not want to spend time with me much longer.

I declared Monday a lazy day. This usually involves lounging around in our pyjamas for as long as possible. It was not as long as I would have liked it to be because I had to drop Annie off at a friends house for some playtime and ballet dancing in the morning. Annie is practicing for her grade 3 exam in March. She has got quite a few exams under her belt (grade exams and standard exams) and is rather chilled about this all. She is a solid "merit" student and I am proud of her. The little creatures spent the rest of the morning playing the Wii and Sam never got out of bed until lunchtime. I managed to fold and tidy all the washing and do all the other crap chores that need doing in a big house with lots of people living in. After a pick and mix lunch we did dropped the now returned socialite at another friend's house for her second play date and went to do the messages. I really really don't like shopping with James but it had to be done. James is a lovely boy but the moment we cross the threshold of a shop he turns into an evil child who should be sedated and strapped into the trolley. Neither is possible and usually I am simmering with frustration and the wish to abandon my child in the crisp aisle. But to my big surprise, James was not only bearable but downright pleasant and helpful.

For Tuesday we planned a trip to Edinburgh. Off peak train tickets are cheap and we crossed the country for £30 pounds only. I like a bargain. I also discovered that we could travel from our local train station to Edinburgh without changing the train. Easy. We went with my friend Christine and her two children. It was much colder on the East coast than here in Glasgow. Amazing what difference 50 miles can make. It was also somewhat brighter, which made for a change. We visited the Museum of Scotland, which was amazing. It had recently been completely refurbished and updated. There is something for everybody: culture, technology, space, engineering and more. Naturally with two little boys I spent most of the time with the bones and stuffed animals. And the museum shop. The big ones were exploring the museum on their own, except Sam, who quite likes the bones, too.
We found a little Italian restaurant in the Grassmarket area where we had a bargain lunch. For pudding we crossed the road to the sweetie shop where each chose their favourites from a huge selection. Mine are strawberry plums. James and Alistair chose a selection including blue bonbons that stained their tongues.

Next, we discovered a joke shop where we spent another good while choosing something funny. Stretchy men, finger rockets and invisible pens and stuff like that. Annie was tempted by vomit flavoured sweets but decided against buying them in the end. Phew.

We wondered the streets to go to the Camera Obscura but lost track of time. There was not really enough time for a proper visit to the rather pricey attraction but we spent some time being silly with the distorting mirrors outside.
A quick walk up to the castle and then back towards the train station. Christine and I wanted to visit the National Gallery on the way back. We deserve a bit of a treat, too and it is never too early to expose the weans to art. It was not too bad, we managed to see the impressionists without drawing too much attention to us. James and Alistair were particularly impressed by a small sculpture of a tiger killing a fawn, a hunting scene with a multitude of dead animals and a big tableau in which St John the Baptists head was served on a platter. They didn't particularly like the impressionists.

On Wednesday we went to the cinema to see the new Lego movie. It was as good as you can expect a Lego movie to be and the children all liked it. We went early to exchange our Tesco vouchers for cinema tickets and then lunched in style at Burger King. A rare "treat". We had some spare time before the film and spent some time at Waterstone's. We left with books and plastic dinosaurs. Being a doting mother I refrained from abandoning the children and browse the craft book section for while.

The rest of the holiday was uneventful, James and Alistair played with their dinosaurs and toy quad bikes. I am not sure they realise that quad bikes and dinosaurs never co-existed but they probably should have, some great playing going on. Sam and Annie are reading their books and Annie is planning dinner. I was going to make a smoked haddock and water cress tart and a spinach tart but realised that we run out of milk and I forgot to defrost the smoked haddock.

Tomorrow the schools are back, we only get three days off at half term. Annie has her spring disco, formerly Valentine's disco. It can no longer be called Valentines disco because apparently some children will be upset if they don't have a valentine to go to the disco with. Really? What a load of nonsense and so typical of our times. But I must not start ranting here.

I am hoping to go to a disco ceilidh on Saturday, if I have any energy left and if I can talk anyone into joining me. Possibly Annie. My friend Kat organises traditional ceilidh dances with a modern twist. I love ceilidh dancing because it is ok to be clumsy and out of sync. There is usually a dance caller who shouts out what do and when. My favourite dance is the "stripping the willow". Children learn the traditional dances at school here, which I think is great.

Last news of the day: we have a new baby boy in the family! My lovely cousin Melis gave birth to a little boy, Simon, this morning. I am soooo happy! I finished his wee cardigan just in time and will share this masterpiece with you soon. Enjoy the rest of your week. Cx


  1. Hey Christina,

    You packed a lot into half term! Our half term is next week. I am hoping that the weather doesn't get in the way. My Mum is visiting which will be lovely. I am planning on taking the boys to the Lego movie too. I have a list of activities that I predict only Olly and me will enjoy. Sadly Alfie rarely comes out with us anymore. Enjoys your little ones and your lovely excursions as much as you can.
    By the way the museum looks ace, and I heartily approve of Burger King and pic and mix sweetie shops ;)

    Leanne xx

  2. Looks like you had a great mini- break. Over here there are no breaks at half term, just 10 (or sometimes if you are unlucky, 12) straight. We do get a lovely 2 weeks off at Easter though which is a treat, My boy is hanging out for the Lego movie, is roaming around muttering lines from the ad willy nilly. Love your recount of your boys appreciation of art masterpieces! mel x

  3. Now I want to go to Burger King! It looks like you had a really nice break. The school calendar there is so different from ours. I think the only thing we have in common is the two weeks at Christmas. Your kids are really beautiful and I'm so glad you have more time to spend at home with them right now.

  4. Our half term is next week. And how odd that you only get three days! But you made the most of them and have crammed in so much, that day trip to Edinburgh looks brilliant. Congratulations on the new baby in the family. x


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