Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Balancing the successes and the failures

I now have so many preparations to make for our too-soon departure to Hong Kong, that I can afford to waste several hours balancing out success vs failure of our few months in England.

(Let us pray when we have done this futile exercise that we reach equilibrium or, better still, are on the up. Otherwise, I fear the worst. In the woods last week my mind could not help but record how the kiddie rope swing had been most effectively mended.)

(Most in worship of a god called Education; obeisance performed while feeling smug and self-satisfied about the raising of outdoorsy children, who neither see broccoli as the devil's nose pickings nor imagine the most fun thing they can do on a Friday night is to smash up the city centre.)

1. Five outdoor adventure holidays taken by three children in lakes, woods, fields. Not a bad rate. My advice is: hold your nerve till the final hour. Some desperate adventure holiday company always does a half-price or kid bogof offer. (But not so useful if the holiday is located in Ullapool while you live in Eastbourne.)

2. St George's Day. And the Festival of History. And lots of castle. I love English Heritage, I do.

3. The Globe. Passion, satisfaction, delight, surprise, perfection.

4. Seeing Richard III at the Old Vic. I must pause to sigh.

5. Making jam, like good mother.

6. Local museums, all over the place. Hmm. Not as many as I would have liked. Saxmundham was my favourite, thanks to Peter with the keys.

7. Happy hour cantering for Tiger.

8. Spending time in Suffolk. Should I count as a success the fact that Big Bro's partner left the house before our arrival so she does not have to clap eyes on me or my foul brood ever again? I have put it in the Success list, anyhow.

9. Illyria Theatre. I include here all workshops, parks events, home ed activities, RSPB kiddie group etc. I could not possibly list them all as individual successes.

10. Northumberland. (And this time, avoiding being stabbed by Arctic Terns.)

11. Staying married.

12. Buying a small piece of vinyl. (I know it does not seem much, and it was the wrong size, but it was a big thing to me.)

13. Halting the ferocious advance of The Ivy. (The plant, not the restaurant.)

14. Visiting the tip with the contents of the house bundled into anonymous plastic bags. Strangely satisfying.

15. Organising and executing a week's tour of the Jurassic coast. With hamster. Without injury, loss, disfigurement, imprisonment, hospitalisation. (Very great success.)

16. Killing 235 moths.


1. Losing the shifty nightingale for which no vengeance is enough. I will trap the little bastard next time, if I have to sit up all night in Bradfield woods to do it.

2. Missing the British Library Science Fiction Exhibition. Don't show me your Martian badge and say in a funny voice while you are pretending to be a Martian, that it was very, very good.

3. Christmas pudding (make it and eat it). Truly, I am sad about this. I really wanted Sarah's Vegan Christmas Pud. And so what if we celebrate Christmas in August?

4. Visiting Dover castle. Big FAIL. Warning: I will make Dover Castle to see the Great Tower by this same time next year, or explode. Fact.

5. Staying over in Nottingham. (Always on the list.) Yes, I know that Nott'm is one of the premier gun cities of England. But we can all laugh together while we watch our innards splattered over the stone lions in the Market Square in a drugs turf war.

You are probably right. A visit here is a misconceived idea. The kids do not want to loll around The Trip before heading off to an evening's mindless criminal damage with a Robin Hood statue, but it was called fun when I grew up.

6. Other sites of visit FAILURE. Cornwall (Squirrel). North Wales (Tiger). Whale-spotting on the west coast (Shark). Salmon watching in Scotland (Shark). Hull, for The Deep (Shark). I harbour a desire for Scilly Isles burial chambers. So basically, everywhere.

7. All school-type work as recognised by most of the population. Handwriting. Spelling. Maths. Etc. Etc. Big Deep Fail with High Probability of Sudden Anxiety Attack at 2am Type of Fail.

8. Admitting to friends, flung about several counties, that we are now in England. Um.

9. Lace making. Long story, slightly embarrassing.

10. Allowing 756 moths to live because they have gone into hiding.

Now, those are the lists that spring to mind, and I have to say, the comparison of success and fail is NOT BAD.

Indeed, I can now say with some confidence that the children may enjoy the rope swing in the woods without first having to cut down mother.


sharon said...

I reckon that's a pretty well-balanced list. It also gives you a better defined list to aim for on the next UK trip. Dover Castle was rather splendid when last we saw it approx 17/18 years ago.

Nora said...

I'd say the pros win over the cons hands down. That's easy to see. Overall I got the impression that your stay in England was a success. That's been the general tenure of your posts. You don't really need to make a list for that. XOX

kelly said...

I've been doing a similar thing, mostly balancing out how successful our move here has been, and whether we've achieved all that we set out to this Summer. It's been a mixed bag all in all.

If we hadn't had amazing weather over the Summer which enabled us to get in some serious beach and outdoor time, I think it would have been nailbitingly close to a fail.

You've done so much! Surely you'll class this Summer as a success.