Sunday, 31 May 2015

Where the Wild things are!

Tomorrow marks the start of June and the beginning of my Thirty days wild challenge .I've decided to keep a record on my other blog Rural ramblings of the wild things I do over the next month.Thankfully, living in the country it shouldn't be too hard to find things to do in the wild.Time will tell!

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Living your dream

ALICE laughed "There's no use trying", she said, "One can't believe impossible things"
"I daresay you haven't had much practice" said the Queen.
When I was your age I always did it for half an hour a day "why sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast"

Lewis Carroll
Through the looking glass

It's too easy to put children down.A teacher unwittingly did it to my daughter recently when my daughter said she wanted to audition for a county dance group.She did in to lessen the blow in case my daughter didn't succeed. She did my daughter a favour .It made her angry and more determined to succeed

For many children however it would have knocked their confidence and planted a seed that maybe they weren't good enough.In fact the outcome isn't the be all and end all, it's how we handle it that counts.Win or lose my daughter will gain from her experience and move on.

In fact my daughter completed an application form and was invited to audition.It was tough and despite being shortlisted she didn't get a place this year.

That didn't stop her.We got feedback, made new contacts and found another dance group.She has applied again and has been accepted for audition in two weeks.

Meanwhile she auditioned with that same group for a choreography grant last week and we heard yesterday she had been accepted.So little by little she is reaching her goal.

Never under estimate the abilities of your children.Trust their instincts, they'll only doubt themselves when you think they can't do something.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Never a dull moment!

I think I'm becoming a bit of a geek.It's rather sad isn't it when you're excited at the prospect of the  arrival of light weight tent pegs! When they arrived I was rather surprised that they resembled  overgrown hair pins.I'm not sure what sort of wind they have down south , obviously not the blustery kind that we have on the hills in the Lake District.Nevermind they will do to keep the tent flap open on hot, sunny days!

My flirtation with the thought of wild camping meant that I had to go shopping for meths.I didn't know where to start.Did they sell it behind the counter in little dark shops on street corners?.My best friend thought it was hilarious as I explained defensively that it was for my new trangia cooking stove rather than for our local rave!

As usual we have had  a busy and varied week in our house. In an effort to keep on top of our one acre garden I have been trying, between showers, to spend at least half an hour a day pulling up nettles and cutting back brambles before they get out of hand. We have a man with a digger coming on Thursday so we spent yesterday recycling what we could from a huge pile of wood and slate piled up in the space where the digger will dig.My daughter smashed old slates and made a mulch for the garden path I have created and sawn up logs which were piled up into a bug hotel.The hotel sign is still to be made!


I've planted wild flowers around the village as part of our Grow Wild project and sprinkled a couple of packets of wild meadow seeds and butterfly attracting seeds on barren areas in the garden just to see what they do! I noticed too that a friend in the village had mown the track alongside Soutergate beck  and yet another had weeded the top of a wall so that I could plant a few seeds there.Community spirit is contagious.

We will have to wait and see what emerges and I will post some photos on the blog later in the summer.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

If you don't go, you'll never know!

Well how things have moved on since last week's auditions .Cumbria Youth Dance sent an email with details of other pending dance auditions and my daughter immediately filled in and sent off her  application.

Meanwhile she received notification that she had been selected to audition for a choreography grant in Lancaster.Quite a tall order considering she has never done choreography before! Thank goodness for the internet!

We googled, and googled again, hoping for a clue about where to start. It appeared that the choice of music was key.The theme was bullying so we googled  "bullying music" and this Coilbie Caillat song was recommended.My daughter loved it!

Her dance teacher offered to spend Sunday morning with her and a fellow student and it was lovely to see her enthusiasm as she practised her moves over and over again in  the room above our garage.A recreational space away from the house where my son can drum to his heart's content without disturbing the neighbours and my daughter can dance freely away from the prying  eyes of Google.

My daughter learned so much on that Sunday morning.Her dance teacher had arranged for some fellow students to dance the prepared dances.They were older than my daughter but offered plenty of help and advice based on their experience.She came home with pages of ideas which she scribbled down as fast as she could in a little notebook about timelines and rythmns and learning styles.

 Her enthusiasm was contagious! Once again I was witnessing an example how self motivation is the best key to learning.The competition is for fourteen to nineteen year olds.My daughter is just fourteen.Whatever happens, by surrounding herself with older and more experienced dancers and choreographers she will be challenged and stretched.I firmly believe that if you surround yourself with successful people (whatever your definition of success) then you will be confident and successful yourself!

Saturday, 16 May 2015

There may be trouble ahead! But let's face the music and dance!

What a weekend! For months we have been preparing for the Keswick/Coniston to Barrow Walk (or at least I have) and then three days before my daughter is due to walk forty miles it's announced that they are doing auditions for Cumbria Youth Dance the day after.Something which my daughter has been waiting to do for over a year now.

Apart from the fact that it was highly likely that she would be unable to walk, let alone dance, and that the venue was one and a half hours away, accessible only by car (as there is no public transport on a Sunday) she was determined to attend.The auditions which are advertised as being open to all talented dancers in Cumbria are it seems, quite the opposite, there is only one audition and one location.If you don't make the audition, you don't get a place!

Quite apart from my own feelings on the fairness of it all this is obviously our introduction to the 'world of dance' and my daughter wasn't going to let this chance pass her by.

She finished her walk on a high,running over the finishing line in ten hours fifty eight minutes - a pretty good time for a first timer ,and she was smiling!

And so we were up next morning for her auditions near Penrith. We found the venue without too much trouble and,after signing in I left her to it!

I went to Rheghed for a coffee and a cookie and bought some lovely presents from the gift shops. Helen Skelton was due to do a book signing of her new book in the afternoon so,having browsed the entrants of the Cumbria Art festival and voted for my favourite with a yellow sticky dot planted securely beneath the artist's name. I set off for Penrith and had a browse round the town taking pictures.

Then I went back to Newbiggin where the auditions were taking  place and discovered the village well and water source which had been renovated. Apparently the village lay on layers of limestone with sandstone underneath. The water seeped through the limestone to the impervious sandstone and formed springs which had been used as watering holes for drovers taking cattle from Scotland to England.

At the end of the day I went to see how my daughter had fared. She had been selected to dance before the judges again but hadn't been allocated a place.Whilst disappointed ,she learned how tough it was going to be to attain her goal amongst youngsters who are dancing two or three times a week and travelling down to Warrington for lessons each month but she also got a taste of what was required and is now working on a fitness regime so she can audition again next year, and the next and the next until she gets her place! That's my girl!

Saturday, 2 May 2015

It's not every week you meet your MP!

I'm never happier than when I'm free from the constraints of 'school'. This week has been one of those weeks. My daughter has been doing work experience and my eldest son is in Milton Keynes on a training course. Google meanwhile is happy in his normal routine,away from the unexpected!

Work experience has taken the form of volunteering in one of our very important community hubs Ford Park. My daughter has worked in the cafe,planted in the walled garden with the volunteers (some of whom are unable to work due to mental health problems or learning disabilities) and learned about the benefits of companion planting , sat in on a level 1 Horticultural course, picked fresh vegetables for the kitchen,spruced up the nature walk, met our local labour MP John Woodcock who popped in for a coffee, experienced the anxiety of a staff member who's family live in Katmadu where there was an earth quake on 23rd April.Thankfully news came through that they were OK.

What a vast array of learning and the week isn't even over yet! When I dropped her off this morning,the local yoga class was about to begin and a group of walkers were gathering for the Ulverston Walkfest.It's obvious walking around town that it has been the Flag festival this week too!I managed to take some photos of the Gill on one of the practice walks I've been doing in preparation for the C2B next week.

I finally managed for the first time yesterday to walk up Hoad without stopping! I have been walking in  Newlands Bottom a hidden away spot just outside of town .The bluebells are finally out, and although unfurled this morning, so are the wood anemones! I even spotted two Jays, the first time I've ever seen them in the wild.

What a lovely week! Now that's my sort of Education!