My children go to a very small village school. Many things about the school are far from ideal, there is no school hall, no playground or playing field, no reception or corridors, class 1, which is made up of children from reception and year 1 work in a corridor as a classroom. The old Victorian building has steps that lead straight onto the main village road and children are in constant danger of being hit by cars entering and leaving the school building. In so many ways this school fails our children and the long awaited new school budget was withdrawn 2 years ago thanks to the recession. Never the less what St Tudy C of E primary school does have are teachers who care, pupils with respect and a school which is at the heart of a beautiful village community. It is when I come to attend events such as the Harvest festival Service in the Church next door to school that I remember why I love this school so much.
The Triplets are now in year 5 and I know I only have one more year at this quaint village school before all my children are in secondary education. This makes any school event very important to me. When they thrust a letter in my hand after school last week to ask me if I would come to Harvest Festival as they all had poems and verses to say, nothing was going to keep me away. I was that embarrassing mother who was hovering ready to see them emerge from school and enter the Church.
I was then to be found creeping along the aisle right to the front of the church, video camera at the ready! It was worth every scowl I may have received to capture their little faces proudly reading their part.
In true quirky village style the lighting failed, the electric was off so no loud speaker and the vicar was late, but hey ho our head teacher carried the service perfectly and the children did so well with no microphone over the sound of babies crying. The younger children were armed with props to show as the older ones spoke and were delightful parading round the church waving at their parents as they passed.
Once they go to secondary school there will be no more school plays, no more Church services on special occasions and no more wanting Mum and Dad to watch. These last years are ones for me to treasure. If you have children at primary school, I urge you to do all you can to attend these events and support your children, their school and the wider community. I know it is not every parent who can go when it is in the working day, but if someone who cares can be there to watch it really makes a difference. It was for times like these that Nick and I gave up corporate life to run Coombe Mill, a decision so right for us.
I’m Joining in with some lovely linkys by other bloggers. Click the badges for more family stories.
After spending Friday at The Mad Blog Awards in London and Saturday on a busy changeover where the kids all work too I was keen to have some relaxation and country time with the children on Sunday. We headed out with some plastic bags to see what treasures we could find in the woods through the farm. I have seen some lovely posts on Country Kids with families enjoying the autumn finds of conkers, helicopters, blackberries and mushrooms and I couldn’t wait for us to do the same. Alistair and Felix were helping Dad round by the goat field so I left them to it while the triplets, Theo and I set off past them on our forest hunt.
A little fun jumping the stile into the woods from our deer field:
Then we were all eyes peeled to see what we could find. Acorns, hazelnuts, and elderflower were common place and what I think was a sloe and some hawthorn berries.
It wasn’t long before they began to find some mushrooms and toadstools. Not being sure which was which I suggested we kept a bag of these fungi separately to look up when we were home. Some of them were really fascinating in look and feel and the children were quite intrigued and cautious; it took some persuading them they wouldn’t poison themselves so long as they didn’t lick their fingers or rub their eyes after touching them.
The bags were all collected together and the children headed to help each other climb a tree. I captured a little video of this one as I was so delighted at the way they pulled together as a team to help each other up. Theo is so often my middle child who can struggle to find his voice as the youngest of the older three and not one of the triplets. Here he shows his caring side and some leadership skills in organising the tree climbing and looking out for his siblings.
I love seeing them enjoying the woods like this and equally each other’s company.
How could I refuse them a game of 40 40 in? I can never run as fast as them and end up “it” most of the time, but it is a delight to see them enjoying such a simple game so much and wanting me to play with them. I know it won’t last forever so I’m making the most of it while they are still young enough.
Sadly our fun ended with an injury. Guy tripped over one of the massive granite outcrops and smashed his knee hard. Thankfully it was only a bruise and the others rallied round to help him homeward.
Catching up with the workers they free loaded a lift back on the trailer, though Jed did his best to try and fall out!
Back at home we examined our finds. The gruesome fungi are what appealed most and they used an old piece of board to paint up a collage of forest dangers. It was a lovely crafty activity to end our day.
If you fancy exploring in the woods too The Forestry Commission have a great page on Autumn at the moment encouraging you to get out and see what you can find at your local woods with a handy identification page to help you understand what you find.
Autumn is a lovely time of year to be outdoors with children, no need to worry about sun cream, plenty of leaves to play in, catch or collect and make into a craft activity. I do hope you will join me in linking up some of your autumnal adventures here on the linky. From the garden to the park, the beach to the woods, please grab the badge and share some outdoor fun ideas. Remember to check out some of the other great posts too, it could be your inspiration for next week.
A few I loved last week:
Diary of the Evans Crittens show how to combine a reflective day of churchyard learning with pure fun at the beach that suited everyone.
while Whisky for Aftershave shows that outdoors works for kids whatever the weather
Leaving the kids at the school gate Farmer Nick and I left the countryside of Cornwall and headed for London; a four hour drive to mull over business plans, reflect on how the kids will manage alone and enjoy our day ahead. With a new tom tom to guide us and hours in hand I was not going to miss half the evening like last year. From the moment we arrived at the Royal Gardens Hotel I met so many familiar faces it instantly relaxed me and I knew I was in for a treat with the great MAD Blog Awards sponsored by Parent Dish.
Still undecided just hours before the event I had both my possible Boden dresses with me. There is only so much dress consideration a man can take so I packed Nick off to his sister in Fulham, and enjoyed a quiet hour deciding between two lovely dresses, accessories, rollers and nail polish before tottering down for my make up appointment with the delightful girls from Oriflame. I felt like a celebrity and everyone I bumped into looked wonderful and full of excitement for the night ahead.
It was a giggling, happy bubbly welcome over a welcome glass or two of fizz. The time disappeared in a flash as I snapped away on the camera, tweeted, instagramed and chatted to so many wonderful bloggers both familiar and new to me.
The main dining room was dazzling, dinner was delicious but I must have spent too much time talking as I always seemed to be eating when everyone else had long since finished.
Then the awards, I felt nervous and excited for everyone. It was wonderful to see the delight on the winning faces, but really there were no losers, all the finalists were winners in being there.
The outstanding contribution category was in a league of its own, bring together those who have really made a difference to parent blogging. The brilliant video of all the finalists left the room welling up with emotion; I was so pleased all the finalists were asked up to the front with the wonderful Edspire like first amongst equals which was just how that category should be. I have so much respect for all these bloggers.
A timely interval, a chance to dry eyes and a little crazy distraction with a wave machine. Well under the influence by this stage I was only too quick to follow the vivacious Mammasaurus onto the lethal board.
I’m not sure who grabbed my camera to take this photo but it makes me look much more competent than I was so thank you so much! Despite mouthing off about all the surfing I do with the kids in Cornwall I think I was the most hopeless one there. Regardless it was a great talking point, lightened the mood and brought out the competitive side in many. I’m afraid I was less complementary and took delight in capturing everyone at the point of falling off.
Back to the awards and I think I may have held my breath as my category Family Fun sponsored by TravelSupermarket.com was read out. I remember throwing a sort of *eek this is it* glance across the table at fellow finalist Emily of Family for Fun as the names were announced. Hearing Becky of Baby Budgeting pronounce “And the winner is” was like time on hold, or perhaps that was just my breath. Hearing “Coombe Mill” follow released such a plethora of emotions. I guess I remembered to exhale, as I managed to walk up and collect my award without passing out from sheer excitement.
Sally Whittle aka The Evil Overlord surpassed her own high standards with the organisation, content and timing for the evening. The awards ran into comedy and fun with this crazy character giving everyone a giggle and setting the scene for the after party of more surfing, dancing, chatting, drinking and laughing.
Before I knew it I was one of the last left, the music was turned off and it was approaching 2am. I think I just wanted the magic to last forever; Sally I fear had seen enough of us all by then but still humoured me with a photo.
Saturday rolled around all too soon. We were the first at breakfast and no I didn’t see anyone else there.
On the road at 7.15 my rock of a husband drove all the way. I had planned to snooze but was still too excited and tweeted the journey home. Before you think I’ve totally lost my marbles, I would have loved a lie in and a day in London, but we had left the children overnight with the responsibility of starting our busy Saturday holiday changeover for us. Arriving home before 11am we were delighted to find everything under control. They had checked out the guests, fed the animals and opened up reception for the cleaners and were busy stripping beds and sorting cots and highchairs. Hugs all round: them to me for winning and me to them for having everything under control at home.
My wonderful family of fun
A huge thank you for all who voted me into this amazing evening, to Sally Whittle and the team for producing undoubtedly the BEST MAD BLOG AWARDS EVER, to Boden for sponsoring my lovely dress from their autumn collection, Travel Supermarket for sponsoring the Family Fun Category and Parent Dish as event sponsors for the night.