But! October will not have as it deserves. It shall not be blasted into micron particles, nor scattered through the universe, never to be assembled again. No! Good things must come from The Evil that was October. Or I am not my mother's daughter. Then, here are the good bits.
1. The British Library.
We are Friends, BritLib and Me. Our friendship is the Direct Debit type (surely one step up from hard cash over the counter).
You can expect to see us strolling hand in hand down King's Cross - me wanting to ogle their lovely books, and them, purring coo-coos at me, making come-hither glances from their shop front.
The only blip in this new affair is that, to pursue it, I have to again pretend it is for our 'home education'.
My protestant misery streak must be coming out. I cannot just say, 'I'm joining the BritLib because I want to walk into their exhibitions when I like'. It has to be because it is useful for a cause greater than this simple satisfaction of not bothering to book a ticket for their (excellent and fun) Gothic exhibition; I must tell myself that throwing my bank account at them is improving for the Griblets; perhaps morally virtuous for the whole family!
I wish I could get rid of this streak. It is annoying.
2. The V&A.
I'm friends with them as well. This is my present to Tiger, who wants to spend days at a time wandering in their hallowed halls. Really, we only can manage one day a month. I like the V&A, of course I do, but I have yet to swoon in their company. Maybe a little more exposure to their lacy embroidery will help. Speaking of which...
3. My Knicker Drawers.
Each of us has a purpose in life. Mine is in my Knicker Drawers. It is going well. I have some brilliant commissions from lovely people, who I admire most of all for trusting me to create for them books of fancy, whimsy, idleness, intent, purpose, poetry and pleasure.
4. MET Macbeth.
Let me pretend we popped over to New York. (Don't tell anyone we went to the live screening at the cinema in Milton Keynes.) But I am a Big Fan of live screening! If you do not indulge in this, you must! Find out the theatre you can enjoy without the train travel, and go!
As an adendum, I also took the Grotlets to the re-screen of the National Theatre's Frankenstein. (Shut up about the certificate 15. They are old enough.)
All scholarly stuff. Add Global Citizenship IGCSE, the STEM lectures at the local school, and various Future Learn Moocs and other curriculums the Griblets are following in a not very intensive or regular manner.
I suppose I should be on the case everywhere, but the reality is, I'm not.
I introduced the Gribblytots to the exam system last year, so Job Done. Yay Me, Tiger Mother! As far as I'm concerned, they now know what exams are about. They can choose where they go from here, whether they take lots of exams, not very many, whether they wing their way, or whether I have to place a large bribe behind the waterpipes at the local college.
6. Neil MacGregor.
He of the British Museum, the lovely voice, and the wonderfully informative series on Radio 4, Germany: Memories of a Nation. A home education could be had, sat at the kitchen table, eating jam butties, listening to the radio. (Hang on a minute! That's how we do home ed.)
Not simply our evening walk by the Co-op skip. But the wandering in the healing paths of our beautiful natural world. (Or as much of the soothing wilderness we can suck up between the A5 and the A421.)
The best of all (if you are a practising teenager) is running about the woods in Wide Games, organised by a wonderful home educator who I rely on for all small and large matters, from diary management to remembering how to breathe.
I suppose I should also include, under Outdoors, Tiger's Climbing Club and our ongoing Scuba fanbase, aka Shark, off with her underwater diving chums, once a week.
Specifically, Love's Labours Lost. RSC, understudy performance. See it February if you can't make Stratford. (Live to cinema 11 February 2015!) We have maybe six plays to go before I achieve my (largely pointless) aim to have Shark, Tiger and Squirrel see all Shakespeare plays before age 16.
9. The Queen Galadriel.
Tiger, not to be bested by sister Shark (already dun a week on the sail), snatched a place on a weekend crew with the Cirdan Sailing Trust.
I like the way the Trust positions itself as working with Children of the Disadvantaged. Well, count us in! Consider that joining a sailing crew is our very own Social Inclusion Project.
10. Into Film Festival.
We saw Maze Runner. I don't recommend it. Sexual threat sublimates to cartoon antics (Are you the only girl in a tribe of boys? Throw rocks at them from a tower); terrible script (the character who is told to Shut Up! Shut Up! is female, couldn't you guess) and the bizarre premise of the whole thing.
Say you had a group of teens, preciously immune to a terrible disease that took hold after the earth was destroyed. What would you do? Get them to a lab and study their bloods? (Let's ignore even how the lab exists after civilization is destroyed.)
But No! You would not do blood tests! You would build an enormous mobile concrete maze. You would make a hole in the middle where your teens can live. You would stock the maze with robotic flesh-eating spiders, then watch your teens try to get out. When they do (I spoiled it for you now) you would tell them you never expected they would survive! Before blowing out your own brains. (Or not.) Effective cinematography, a trashy storyline. With robot spiders.
But film is big at Grit's. We sometimes hang out with the local Independent Film Group.
The Festival of Geology. A fixture of our annual calender. It is always delightful, surrounding ourselves with the gentle geologists, animatedly talking granite. I have put the Pliocene Forest at Sutton Knoll, Rochhall Wood, on our list of things next in Suffolk.
12. Local politics.
Obviously I am not content to drag my Grofalots to the sub-sub-sub-working committee on the future of the Arts charity in Smalltown!
(Probably Not Going To Be An Arts Charity Any More, thanks to a bunch of self-serving devious
But I am determined my offspring learn Practical Politics. I took them to a discussion about Milton Keynes architecture, including talks by English Heritage and the 20Cth Society.
13. Sitting in Lidl car park Luton, hugging a bottle of rum that Shark Made Me Buy.
Buying alcohol for my 14-year old daughter is my Parenting First. I am PROUD. Shark said she wanted either meths or rum. I thought about this, then concluded I cannot drink meths. I bought the rum in Lidl because I am usually there on a Tuesday night (woodcraft folk), and Lidl must be cheap on rum, no?*
14. Crude and vulgar language.
Recently I had a brush with a member of my own sex. It was a depressing and dispiriting experience. Mostly, I am a woman led to foolishnesses by my own head. I wonder, What is reasonable? What would be an intelligent course of action? I have developed some sense of what is right and what is wrong based on experience, observation, and thoughtful consideration of the options. Let's think about it.
Pft. I wasted hours and 40,000 spoken words attempting to reason, how, um, I observe that some women, er, women who maybe want to advance their careers? - well, perhaps they use morally doubtful, what I would think of as dubious, exploitative, underhand techniques - perhaps massaging of feelings, blahblahblah, some sexual hinting with some emotional control, and stitching the vulnerable victim into a need relationship, blahblahblah, possibly using the source book Honey Money as inspiration (please don't buy it), perhaps where trade can be had from a teensy bit of hair flicking? But then, blahblahblah, squeezing on the bullying and threatening and foot stomping and the screamings of disloyalty and betrayal if the goods aren't delivered; pulling the strings of the heart, not the intellect in the head; emphasising the change of heart, not the change of mind, as the how to get where, and the means to get what they want. Um, I think the short-hand phrase is emotional manipulation?
See? What a speak of blahblahblah.
Then someone summed up La Femme Fatale with commendable precision. She's a Prick Teaser.
I wish I could have said that. Hail vulgar language. Let it be my guide.
October. Some good bits with the kids. Otherwise, what a fucking disaster, with the vomit brought up by a encounter with a manipulative Prick Teaser dumped on top.
*It would be cruel to spoil this story with its additional bit of information. That Shark is taking a Future Learn course on experiments, such as extracting the DNA from a banana using washing up liquid and meths (or rum). I told her we did DNA already. But then I reconsidered. I reasoned that if we had rum, I could drink it, and blame Shark.