Category Archives: photos

See How They Grow

We were given this little cooker when we live in Leeds. By neighbours over the road, whose daughter (then about 8 I guess ) said she didn’t need it anymore and would Elinor like it. It looks a bit sad now, but it was much love in it’s day :-) Have been keeping it around until I took a photo with Stringbean with it now. Guess no excuse for not getting rid of it now ….

Stringbean, 18 months, August 2002

Stringbean, 18 months, August 2002

Stringbean, 12 1/12 yr, August 2013

Stringbean, 12 1/12 yr, August 2013

There on the Stairs


SB is out at Ballet class, and BB is doing one of the things she likes best -  pottering around and playing. Yoshi, Terry and the recently purchased Dragon are on the stairs. I’ve no idea what the game is about, there are a bunch of Lego  people up the top.

Later I will probably be annoyed that she has left them on the stairs ;-)

Right now, I’m going to pause, take a snap and enjoy listening to her game for a couple of minutes, and treasure the moment, for those who aren’t here to have such moments themselves anymore.

It will be  ‘Jesse’s Song’ time before you know it.

A Girl With a Plan

As soon as H had headed off to work this morning, BB was agitating for us to find an old top of hers and  sock as she wanted to make and elephant cushion for SB for her birthday. After much rummaging in bags of old clothes, we found a suitable top that was near enough in colour to the sock to be acceptable.

So then she settled down to sew (no time to get dressed of course):





They had made sock animals at Wodensmeet the day before, and she had  a plan in her head  :-) And she pretty much did it all herself, bar a bit of help with tying knots onto the ends of the thread. And she shew me various ‘tricks’ she had learnt making the sock animals as well. I love that she was able to plan and execute this pretty much all by herself :-)

BB is a much more focussed child with such things than her sister, and doesn’t like doing a bit and then coming back to it, so  5 hours later, with just a  couple of breaks for food really, she had a rather cool sleeping  Elephant cushion :-)





P1020199Elephant Cushion










Meanwhile, I had been prising SB out of bed (no mean task, that girls is hopeless at waking up and getting up) She did her normal morning faffing about.  Did a couple of bits of book work - Collins Primary Grammar on Adverbs and the Spelling book. Something, else of which I’m blank right now.  A decent piano practice and then she wanted to bake some cakes to take to guides as it’s her birthday on Saturday. After some umming and ahhing, settled on Banana Muffins as easy and we had a stash of very ripe bananas.

After  bit of toing and froing to the shops – first for eggs, then for cake cases she settled down to bake:


Banana Muffins

And they turned out well, though I could notice the salt in them. We don’t tend to add salt a lot to cooking, certainly not into things like Muffins. But sshe had been following the recipe and it had had salt in obviously. Guides were a bit low in number tonight as some school event on so plenty came home again :-)

She is a good baker, but not very quick. So by the time they were in the oven, and she had done a good tidy up on the kitchen I was desperately in need of lunch. So some quick beans on toast and then BB went off to get dressed and SB disappeared upstairs as well – either playing with Cindy/Barbie or reading a book – she is re-reading the the Stephen Bowkett The Wintering trilogy(that I read as bedtime books a while back) and is on the second book, The Wintering: Storm.
I got on with cooking curry for dinner – including a very nice Moong Dall based on a recipe from a book I bought recently, Hansa’s Indian Vegetarian Cookbook as felt the need for some more inspiration on the recipe front. Hansa’s is a vegetarian Gujarati Restaurant in Leeds. We went to it  a couple of time, though I was never that impressed by the food. But the recipes in this book seem pretty good, and they are fairly simple and practical recipes (and probably simplified/ tweaked for the UK market somewhat)   compared to some Indian recipe books.


Got them back downstairs, SB did a Clarinet practice, BB pottered around a bit in the garden annoying the fish in the pond, and indoors with some Lego. And then before you know it, it was time to head out for BB’s gym.  SB did a bit more book work whilst there, mostly Galore Park Science. I forgot to take in the collection of bits I have to pass back to the Deep Enders who we did see there briefly, as BB has moved up into an older class.

BB also received her Certificate and Badge for the  proficiency award they did before half term.




Then it was home,  for a 30 minute turnaround,  quickly warm up the curry so that SB could have dinner before Guides. Back home BB settled down with Walking with Beasts on the TV, whilst beheading Lego people with a Lego knight. Followed by a bit of a late bedtime as SB not back from guides until past 9pm

A Bit Behind on the blogging

it is that time of year, a bit behind on everything really :( [tidying, sending cards out etc etc]
Mon and tues, i don’t know what has been going on, i think mostly playing ;) too cloudy for the telescope, which is a huge shame :( I have been doing loooonnnnngggg days at work as well.

But today :) see the logo :) it is historyetc. This week with the theme of christmas crafts. Not everyone could make it, as lots of christmassy activity all over the place, so we missed them, but still had fun :)

first craft out of the stable was chocolate making. we smashed 3 polos and stirred into 6 squares of melted milk choc and then filled a 12 days of christmas mould with them. was hoping at the end to take a pic of all the finished objects, but half of them were eaten within seconds :)


next we planned to do wreaths, and sent the girls out into the garden. Merry arrived and so her girls did chocolates. the girls did a fab job of getting lots of greenery. it became v clear that making the wreath bits out of straw would take longer than planned, so excavated out some old opitec kits, and the girls all happily coloured theirs in whilst Z mostly but i helped [grin] made the wreath bases.

Nanna and grandad bean arrived, having had a v relief inducing hospital visit [phew emoticon] and so hugs and joyousness :)

then we started the wreath crafting, and apart from some nasty stab wounds from the pyracantha and holly, it all went really well, and there were some very different yet all gorgeous wreaths created. BB and J went off and played instead, i think they did a bit of felting, as BB was finishing a mouse house. it took quite a while to do the wreaths, so lunch was pretty late. and didn’t have mildly alcoholic mulled wine and mince pies in the end, but did have carols blaring forth :) [even if some of them were sung by the monks of prinknash, and perhaps an acquired taste :) ] SB ‘judged’ the wreaths, and i think that went ok. not encouraging the ranking thing tho as always risks upset.
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4th craft was making lovely bead christmas stars to hang on the tree. slightly complicated, but Merry worked them out, and then all did some lovely ones. we also started decorating the girls trees in the playroom. slightly scared by all the climbing up and down the ladder :) it was too cloudy though to wheel out the telescope.


Daddybean, with added Bolding :-)


None of us have really got used to H being back on work time yet. So it was a bit of a struggle getting up this morning. Even BB slept in a bit longer than normal, and SB took multiple wakings to get out of bed  by about 10 !

THe first bit of the morning  after I saw H off to work (first morning to de-ice the car) is a bit vague, having breakkie, houseworky bits (which don’t really tend to stick in the brain) I guess. Looked at stepladders on the web as going to paint the playroom ceiling and woodwork next week and we don’t really have one that reaches properly to that height (being  rather higher than our old house), which means being balanced a little bit to high on the one we do have. Other then the girls room a ffew years ago, we haven’t done any  decorating since we moved in really. Alos need a deeper standoff for the ladder (well, borrowing the Deependers ladder) as the one I have isn’t  deep enough for our wide eaves. So perused, but didn’t decide.

BB mostly played a game with the chess pieces (not chess, some imaginary game). SB got up at last after much poking, did piano practice,  I cooked boiled eggs for not long enough (I normally use method one that Delia gives here ) but forgot to turn off the stove at one minute, so carried on letting them boil for longer. But not enough, so  weren’t cooked quite enough. will stick to my normal method, which looks more complicated than neccessary, but isn’t , and is reliable.

After breakfast, they both contrived to go upstairs to get dressed and then both ended up coming downstairs complaining that the other had poked them in the eye, or kicked them in the head (!!) and various other complaints. I didn’t really have patience for this, so told them to take it in turns to get dressed so as to avoid conflict.

Then it was outside into the garden, into a lovely sunny, if a little chilly day. Playing with bunnies, cleaning out Skittle hutch, a bit of playing etc. The kids disppeared back inside after a bit, and I carried on with my gardening plan for this year. Which is to try to do at least  1/2 hour in the garden most days (well those that I’m around, and when it isn’t horrible outside) and to gradually work at getting tasks done. So today I cleared an over grown area behind the greenhouse and put some of the black  woven sheeting down, I can now move some other stuff onto their, throw away the rubbish, and then clear the rest of the area behind the sable, where at some point we plan to grow a fan trained Apricot or something. I’ve already cut down the fig, so that it can regrow from the base and we can hopefully try to train it against the wall, rather than have it grow up 20 feet and shade the greenhouse. I’ve also  cut back some of the holly bush that had grown out so much it was getting in the way. Will need to cut back the top as well, but right now it has lots of berries on, so will leave them for Xmas stuff and the birds for now.

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The pile of stuff in the RH picture to be sorted stored  by the greenhouse, then clear the stuff at the end and the ivy along the walls. No idea what to do with the great big roller, hide it soemwhere else in the garden I guess. It’s been there for years I imagine, feels like it belongs in the garden. There is also a path down there as well, probanbly the middle is roughly where the edge of the black plastic is.

Was getting  hungry, so warmed up with a cuppa in the conservatory and then got lunch.

after coming back inside, and after lunch, SB did maths, DS French game, DK project book and Art de Lire French and played recorder.  BB was in best pottering about mode. She decided to make an xmas card, found the card, the colours and sat and happily did that without any input from me.- it ended up as an interesting xmas (outside) and Halloween (inside card :-) She made a couple more later on in the day. They are fab :-)

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She also drew out the design she wants for her birthday cake (a Tiger this year, she managed the first 3 letters of Tiger, but needed help on the ‘er’ .

SB also played a bit of some imaginary game with the Chess pieces, and then it was time for Ballet class. Cold, getting dark to early sort of day, we rushed there and me and BB rushed back, to find H home from work in the mean time.  Cups of tea, retrieving SB, BB settled down to watch a Star Wars film again,  tea cooked, and we watched Edwardian Farm on the trusty iPlayer.

Interesting to see Morwellham Quay. I rember visiting there on a school trip around 1975/6. It must have been in the early years of the restoration, I remember the quays being full of squelchy mud.

Catchup Post #1: Uncle Bob 25/2/1928 – 3/1/2010

RIP Uncle Bob

(This post was priginally started 29/01/10 – ooops)

My Uncle Bob died a few weeks ago (aged 81). But the funeral wasn’t until this week, for various reasons. So me and the girls headed of the wild marshlands of North Kent for the funeral. Didn’t quite manage to leave as early as I wanted , but still there in plenty of time as managed not to get stuck on the M25 or the Dartford bridge.

The most noticeable thing was the lack of a coffin, as Uncle Bob had left his body to medical science, so there was obviously no body to be buried/cremated. This was slightly odd. Though my Dad (Bob’s brother) found it a bit upsetting, because it seems to have been a bit of a tradition in that branch of the family to have the body back to the house before the funeral – for people to pay their respects I guess.  It’s seems an important thing for my Dad to have been able to see the body but of course this wasn’t possible.

The funeral service was fine in a funeral service kind of way. Girls were good – but I suppose they have had plenty of practice with 3 funerals in the last 7 months :-(  SB made a good fist of singing the hymns.  Though the organist did seem to be playing them somewhat on the slow side. And we had an alternative version of the words written by the vicar for the church to the tune of John Browns Body. Though reading the Wikipedia article on it, that seems a fair tradition for the song.  Though the girls did wonder why I might be crying a bit at one point :roll: :-)

After the service it was back to the house to catch with various bit of thr family.  Mostly cousins of one sort or another.  A few of my Dad/Bobs cousins were there, my Cousin Marilyn with whom Uncle Bob had lived for the last few years. her 4 kids and various of their kids. Here is most of the kids, bar the youngest baby who was asleep some where (as to why SB had her hand up un front of her face…..):


The generations are a bit out of sync. Aunty Ethel, Marilyn’s Mum was about 15 years older than my Dad, and Marilyn had kids a lot younger than me, and then her eldest son had his first baby at about 18  - so her eldest grandchild is already about 15.

Favourite entertainment seemed to be playing on his stair lift :-)


Headed off home, though I was rather tired and had to stop at the services for a caffeine shot. Girls decided they were hungry and SB had the most enourmous teacake in the world :-)

Goodbye Uncle Robert, though not so well in the last few years, after stroke and things he still had a sparkle in his eye.

Motte and Bailey

On Friday it was another history presentation session at a local HE group.  Theme of Normans and Medieval – so just a few Centuries to choose from :-)

Decided her on the Normans.  Originally there was some idea  about SB and BB re-enacting the battle of Hastings, which might have been entertaining …. But BB decided she didn’t want to do it. So then SB decided to build a model of  a Motte and Bailey castle. Would probably have been better to have had this idea a bit sooner.

Spent much of Tuesday morning looking at Motte and Bailey castles in books and websites . And settled on a model of a small wooden one as might have been built early after the invasion.

So something like this was the idea:


Made a base from two sheets of cardboard PVA-ed together:


Started with a circle, cut out increasingly larger ones, stuck them down to make the base of the mound.


That was mostly it for  Tuesday, IIRC the was some music practice and we had swimming lessons. Had meant to do some more afterwards, but it didn’t happen.

No time on Wednesday, so it meant we had to do the rest on Thursday. The plan had been to use paper mache to finish the mound etc.  But no time for that to dry. So I suggested using car body filler as that sets quickly.

So we marked out and cut more cardboard to make the land around the Motte and SB stuck it down.


Then I mixed up some filler, and SB applied it.  Sticking a few stones in for extra effect.


Had some lunch and then it was dry for painting.


Which was done in time for a break and a snack before Gym class. (we went early as we had to go to the pet shop so SB could by her present for BB

So that just left the castle wall and buildings to do ;-) Luckily, soon after us getting home H arrived home as well, so we had a joint effort. H made the building shells for SB to paint and roof.



I got on with making palisade  fences  etc. (SB had a go, but she dislikes getting hot melt glue on her fingers).


Having a break for dinner and Dr Who in the middle. It was about 10.30 pm when me and SB finished off by painting the palisade fences.


And we had a castle :-)


The kitchen was a disaster zone (cardboard, glue, hay,paint, dinner preps etc.), but the castle was looking cool :-) H managed to make some fairy cakes to take to the group as it was BB’s birthday

On Friday H woke BB up to give her a present of a DS game before she went to work. BB woke up said that you and fell back to sleep for another 20 minutes :-) We tootled off to the HE session. We had a retelling of a couple of Robin Hood tales,  The Black Death, SB’s castle, Structure of Feudal Society, and a bit about Stokesay Castle. Which were all very good. SB did a good presentation, about her castle, remembering to say most of the things she had wanted to say. Everyone was very impressed with the model.


When we got home, SB gave BB her present –  a dog collar and lead. The collar goes round the waist by the way. B was very pleased (she likes playing being a doggy games) So they went around play doggy games until H came home and BB finally got to have the rest of her presents.

Though we had had given her rather more help than intended because of time factors , she did a lot herself with just a bit of help. Along with history, some model making techniques, there was a good chance to investigate the appropriate use of different adhesives :-)

PVA, a good strong bons, good for larger areas or where you can wait, but not much ‘grab’. UHU type glue – good grab, pretty quick drying. Hot melt, good for where you want things stuck firm quickly. But mind the fingers ;-)

It was a fun project, but a bit more time would have been better. I think SB was impressed with how much you can get done when you need to.

Dinner, more Dr Who and Birthday (bought)  cake finished off the day.

A Gaggle of Groups

Thursday was Tots and Nots.  Bit late getting going in the morning, but SB managed to get a piano pratice in before we left just a little late. Once we got there SB was straight into Philosophy Club – apparently this week it was about the difference beteen hearing and listening. Me and BB sat and made a cardboard cutout digger  that Gina had provided the materials for. Sat and read with BB, played with Megablocks and playdough, had snacks, some playing etc., SB did a poem activity with Katy and some of the other kids. Recorders all round with Gina. Had intended to leave early enough to get home for a bit for SB to do a bit more preperation for her presentation for the next days HE group. But she wanted to do French as well so we ende up staying on for that.

Went straight onto gym via Pets a Home for cat food and Monster nibbles. Had the traditional ‘whats the best deal on catfood this time ‘  activity since they always seem to have a couple of  brands or another on a BOGOF or somesuch. This time, one of ou preferred brands was on a BOGOF that menat that buying multiple small packets was cheaper than buying a big sack. So me and SB pondered those for a bit.

Then we looked at fish, ahhh-ed over hamsters and other small furry things, found suitable treats/nibbles for Monster, put BB off from trying to buy uneccessary rabbit tat. Off to drop SB at gym and then me and SB headed off into town for a little bit of shopping (went into Millets for boot laces, BB came out with a fluffy fleece jacket….)  Sainsburys and then to the playground.

They are extending the gym, and the upstairs viewing balcony is mostly closed off. So me and BB have stopped staying at gym and watching SB as there isn’t much space. But it will soon be too dark to be going to the park and things so not sure what we will do if they haven’t reopened it soon.

Home for a boring dinner of pasta (not organised enough in the mornign to have anything else) and me and SB sat and sorted out final things for her presentation – some photos for a slideshow and questions for a quiz she wanted to do.

Viking and Saxon History

Another HE group, in another town. They have been doing monthly history session, where any kids that want to present something on the theme of the session. They started earlier in the year, but last month was the first one we got to and this was the first one that we have presented at. SB was inspired by a Making Viking Bread’ article in the latest issue of the Young Archgeologists Club magazine, so we used that as the focus. Though we couldn’t find the magazine last weeend and had to look up a recipe on the web.

H made the bread and butter with the girls last weekend. So we took that.  We took photos which SB wanted to display whilst she talked about how she made the bread.


She did very well at explaining what she did I thought, thought had to be reminded to speak up enough so people could hear. After that her and BB did a True or False quiz with soem questions relating to the food viking ate. BB was being the ‘glamorous assistant’ and showing the answers.


Though it was a bit of a comedy moment really as they hadn’t practised this. SB had coloured coded the True and False cards for BB green and purple, but BB didn’t quite have the hang of it :-)

We handed round the bread and butter which all went down well :-)

Other presentations included a Story and soup,  models of viking longhouses, about the battle of Hastings, the tale of Beowulf.

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After the presentations was lunch and playing outside/chatting before hometime.

Home for a bit of playing and pottering about. They both got into a good Bob the Builder lego game so I left to quietly too it.

Then it was off out to BB’s football skills session and home to get dinner ready,  followed by a bit of flopping in the sitting room. Me and SB did a bit of her Meccano remote controled car before bedtime.

Tune in next month for the next thrilling instalment of ‘Daddybean does Blogging’

the beginning of term, and a not back to school picnic!

i had managed to be mostly organised yesterday, sorting out an acid/bases science and picnic stuff, so setting off this morning ok. introduced myself to the temporary french child at the deependers, drank tea with katy, and eagerly awaited gina and her composing special occasion.

the children divvied themselves into groups with an adult, and i was with jjm combo, plus bb who was sulking because we hadn’t done the day in the right order with littlies science first. :roll: it was great fun, and loosely based around petroushka. i think we were probably more ‘loose’ than anticipated! all the children bar bb enjoyed it, and fran conducted the concert at the end. the children all had snack and watched petroushka on you tube, which they were all enjoying.

i hesitantly suggested if science was to happen, it should start, and they all raced at me like loons. i wanted to do it outside, but we had numerous too colds, so went into the deependers home ed kitchen. it was a bit of a squish doing all the kids science together, and reminded me why i wouldn’t want to be a class teacher, as lots of crowd control involved! i think it went really well though, and only had to be ‘slightly’ shouty! we had a solution of acid [distilled vinegar] and we made a solution of base [bicarb and water] and i told them that these were dangerous chemicals, and we were going to practice being v careful – it is a good thing they weren’t, and actually, i think i need to be able to tell m in french things like dangerous chemical. i might print off some hazard signs! i had some red and blue litmus paper – which is more obviously pink and purple! and we worked out that they changed to ‘the other one’s colour’ to detect acid and bases. fab. so some went off to find some other fluids to test, and those remaining looked to see if turmeric really was an indicator too. it was supposed to go red, and not dramatically convincing, but i think it did! the children then all did a litmus blue and red, and chose which of the fluids to test. you would have thought that they might notice i don’t necessarily choose the loudest jumpy up and down one to have a go, but ask the quieter ones! [trying to remember so that all really get a first choice]. we found wine to be acidic, and also hand gel – good explanation from sb for that, and maybe milk to be alkaline.

the last bit didn’t work quite so well due to a lack in my number of eyes, ears and hands! basically each child was to put 10 drops of either acid or base in a well with the pipette [divided into 2 sides] and then swap the acid/base and put a specified number of drops in, hoping to then have solutions of different alkalinity/acidity. then drop a tiny bit of indicator paper in. having looked at the results, we didn’t exactly have a range, possibly because some of the young scientists didn’t count, splurged in etc. but on the whole, those starting with the acid were in the acid spectrum of pH paper, and those starting with the base were in the alkaline. and there was a bit of differentiation within them. maybe something to try in smaller groups/individuals.

quick pasta lunch and off to the not back to school picnic, as co-ordinated across the uk by ali – thankyou! we weren’t sure of the turnout, so hadn’t organised press, but in view of the bbc piece, may send something to local paper in case they have a gap! we actually had 10 families attend, which i thought was fantastic – thankyou all! and, a greater suprise, 4 of them were new, 3 had deregistered this term, and 1 new to the area. we are hoping to all see more of each other, and i realised what a good thing a relaxed intro like this is for newly deregged parents! a party to celebrate our childrens’ right to a uniquely tailored education, following their age, ability and aptitude, without having to norm reference within a class of 30. their right to learn in a way that suits them, makes the experience worth it, fun, informative and brings the family closer together. hip hooray for the ability to home ed, and a pantomine boo for dscf for trying to regulate it away.





wild children