Sunday, 16 November 2008

Ancient woodland in Milton Keynes

Did you know Milton Keynes has ancient woodland? The sort of woodland listed in the Domesday Book? There. You thought Milton Keynes was a new town with some grid roads, didn't you?

This symbolises home ed. We reach the places most people don't even know about. Indeed we are living proof, with our outdoors education, that the great outside is not only reserved for boy scouts, escaped convicts, druids, the underprivileged on a council orienteering course, drink drivers on community service, or a spooky chanting church group. Granted we might belong to the sub-section, mad people and hippies.

The outdoors is our classroom. And thanks to Grit being smart about the location of this ancient woodland and the fact that there's a celebration of wood there today, she makes a bee-line for it. And never mind the drizzle and freezing temperatures.

It's just as well Grit and the gritlets go, because we swell the numbers considerably of people who attend this fine woodland event. In fact we make up fifty percent of the crowd.

People of Milton Keynes, where were you?

While you were sinking into your DFS sofas, cooking in your own lard, hypnotising your brain with daytime TV, arguing with the dysfunctional/extended family over the dead chicken called Sunday lunch or walking pointlessly up and down the tedious mile of the shopping centre, Grit and the gritlets experienced a fine education in this ancient gnarled wood, with four sticks and some wool.

Here are Tiger and Squirrel, making dream catchers. Grit says that in the dream catchers we catch all the bad people like truancy officers who would lock up the outdoors in a big store cupboard and pack the gritlets off to a classroom, to be glowered at by uninspiring teachers bludgeoned half to death by tests and targets who now teach only for job security and not for the love of learning.

Anyway, that's a digression. Here's a man showing off his wood chipper.

And then there's the spring pole lathe. And believe me, we've now quite an education in woodturning.

And what about the charcoal burner? I could kiss that history smack on the lips just for being so old. Indeed 700 years ago, I might have become a charcoal burner's wife.

Grit is then moved to buy a hand carved ash stick, suitable for beating small misbehaving gritlets...

When a man strolls by, taking his Harris hawk* for a flap.

Now, people of Milton Keynes, you should be ashamed of yourselves, not attending this fine celebration of wood and all things woody in the ancient woodland that forms part of your town.

See what you're missing?

* The gritlets say this is a Harris hawk. If it is not, please correct me, and I will beat the gritlets with the new stick.


mamacrow said...

does look like a harris hawk to me. am jealous, sounds like a fab day out.

Angela said...

Wonderful teaching in the woods. Could I join your group? Only a charcoal burner in German is a Köhler, and that was the name of my awful maths teacher who always stank of cigarettes and treated me so badly, so I might have started crying. But still I would have enjoyed it!

Suburbia said...

Whatever he is he's very majestic, such a beautiful bird:)

sharon said...

Milton Keynes obviously doesn't know what it's missing. What a very handsome 'poking' stick you have there. I'm sure it will come in useful for keeping recalcitrant gritlets in line! I think poking at your offspring with a stick carries less of a penalty than beating them with it ;-)

Anonymous said...

That carved stick looks a little like your jurassic goose.... or it that a coincidence?

mamacrow said...

oh my god it does too!!!!

Grit said...

thank you all for your comments!

angela, i think home education is increasingly the wrong term, isn't it? it's learning while living, and you are more than welcome to come along for the ride!

and oh no... you are quite right mud. what has become of me? my subconcious has been invaded by a jurassic goose.

The Finely Tuned Woman said...

I imagine you got wet and cold feet in the woods, but that you had a wonderful experience with the gritlets and the poking stick, which I have a South African edition off. I have no gritlets to poke, but I do have some animals. I haven't tried it yet, but they have not yet driven me to despair.

Iheartfashion said...

You are an inspiration, Grit!