Monday, 3 June 2013

The best evening, possibly since forever

Stayed at the junior Wildlife Watch.

Normally, if the over-enthusiastic Dolores welcomes me at the doorway to the brick hut with, Are you staying? when I can see behind her only the promise of a quiz on moths and insufficient biscuits to entertain us all for two hours, then I detach myself sharpish, and find a dark place to lurk.

My personal rule is, Never lock yourself in a room with a dozen kids and not enough biscuits. I only ever stay for the outdoors meetings. Then I can do trekking about woods and quarries, because those are my things; looking up at a bird's backside, peering into bushes, and fingering gravel.

But tonight it was an indoor meeting. And I broke my rule. I stayed.

They had owls. Owls in a line pegged out between the choc'n'crisp vending machine and the display about moss.

Real owls, not fibreboard cut-outs, like the falcons brought out by the RSPB, but real, live, breathing, head-turning owls, with names like Pincer and Whisper who sit on the back of the sofa at Owl Woman's house, probably watching reruns of Kill Bill while waiting for dinners of dead and butchered mice.

Even better, these owls could be gently stroked and put on your finger and, if the inducement was right, sit on your head while you secretly prayed they wouldn't poo. I bet they were house-trained.

The best owl was this owl. Muffin, or Miffin, or Mayflower or something. I forget. I was too wrapt in covert admiration, stealing photographs of her many moody owlerisms. To me, she became the best, most beautiful owl in the whole wide world.

Look, here is Wonderful Owl. I share her with you, then you will know what puny sacrifice it was, staying two hours with a dozen kids and the over-enthusiastic Dolores in a brick hut and not enough biscuits.

She has more dramatic expressions than Nicole Kidman. Look. Pensive! Alarmed!


Surprised! As in, I am surprised to hear that voles are now reduced by 50% at Moles&Voles Fine Food Outlets.

Angry. Don't make me angry.

Look at what you did. You made me psychotic. 
(My personal favourite.)

But then! She let me get up close and personal. Revealing she has more wondrous sultry smoulderyness than Kate Moss. Have a butchers at Miss Owl now. She should be on the cover of Vogue.

Yeah, there were other owls as well, hanging about, demonstrating flying techniques in the brick hut, once they could be lured up by a dead chicken, but frankly, they paled into insignificance.

And kids. I suppose I have to record that, educationally, they were there. Somewhere. Behind the owls.


Katie Pybus said...

Have you read this practical guide to learning at home age 11-18

I wrote a review of it on my blog and this bit stays with me

There are a few points in the book, just as in One-to-One, that I am not totally cool with, the author makes a couple of historical generalisations that detract from the book's credibility for example a way of thinking about committing to home educating for the long term and the practicalities of this it has certainly been really helpful for me. This quote, right near the end of the book: "Schoolchildren are consistently told that exams are important and some of this conditioning permeates through to people who do not go to school; they assume that their path must, at some point, converge with people who do go to school, and that the time will come when they must stop the work they are doing, however rewarding it might be, and sit some exams so that they can get qualifications, go to University etc."
and then he goes on to say "These assumptions deserve to be questioned........."
really struck a note with me, in my mind I can see now that there are at least two, and probably more, paths we can choose to travel and it is not necessary to have plans in place to build a bridge from one to the other. This type of visual picture is very useful. He is right of course, there is a widely held assumption that at some point you will once again hook up with the real world and hope that they forgive you your sins........

Katie Pybus said...

Well my being clever and trying to turn the links to websites into hot links appears to have caused them to vanish!!