Friday, 19 May 2017

Instagram ideas

I don't have a smartphone and have been wandering dazedly about the internet trying to work out how to do instagram on a laptop instead. I'm half way there and have ground to a halt. But, the half way point means I can see others' photos and enjoy and learn from them. Yesterday, I set up my first directly-influenced-by-instagram activity for my older child. @creativeplayideas had posted about loose parts play which I had never thought of doing. I set out a dish of lollypop sticks, buttons and short pieces of wool next to a piece of white cloth.

I didn't call her to come and see, wanting her to see it and be interested (or not) in her own time. When she saw it she wanted to know what it was for, so I explained that the material was like a piece of paper and she could 'draw' with the objects. She immediately set to work, making a person, then a family, who then turned into paramedics (who she's been learning about at nursery).

She worked at it for about 5 or 10 minutes. She made choices and articulated them: 'the buttons are the heads', 'the wool is their hair'. She met with difficulties: 'I need more wool.' She used all the wool on the first person. With a little help, she worked out she could separate out the wool and give all the people some. She then said the family were paramedics and some of the buttons were their vehicle. And finally, she used the empty dish to sit her teddy in and explained to him that the white cloth was like paper. The dish is very shiny underneath and when she turned it over the sun glinted on it. In conversation with her teddy she asked: 'Do you know why it is so shiny?' 'No' replied the bear. 'Because the sun is reflecting through the window on it.'

There was imaginative, creative play, problem-solving, precise language use, fine-motor skills and it was lots of fun to observe.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Time passing

Last month we had our annual holiday with friends in Scotland, just like I mentioned in my last blog post 4 years ago. The difference this time was that we were there with our two children as well as our friends. Time passes and friendships and holidays stay the same, while new lives unfold and join the story. 

Friday, 8 February 2013


In a couple of months, we will be returning with lots of friends to a house in Scotland where we have all stayed before. Everywhere you look there are patterns:

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Sunshine and colour

We went this morning to the last day of a Cartier Bresson exhibition at Somerset House. It was a combination of black and white photos by Cartier Bresson and colour photographs by later photographers and many of the works brilliantly interwove subtlety with boldness. Afterwards we sat in the warm (oh yes!) sunshine on the terrace looking over the Thames sparkling under the blue sky.

Monday, 21 January 2013


I spent the weekend at a Quaker training workshop at Woodbrooke in Birmingham. These are their beautiful grounds which I was able to enjoy looking out at and walking in over the weekend.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Early walk

A morning of frost and ice, dazzling light and blue skies:

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Something different

It's all a bit grey at the moment, I'd love a bit of this:

Or, given that I'll have to wait a couple of months for that, I'd settle for some of this:

Even if that's not quite what north west London would look like in the snow.

Monday, 7 January 2013


I've knitted a cowl!

I'm very pleased because it's the first item of clothing I've knitted. There have been many squares for an ongoing blanket, and some egg-cosies, but no clothing... until now. I visited a friend who was wearing a cowl she had knitted recently and she made it sound so simple that I gave it a go and, indeed, the method was fairly foolproof. The trouble with knitting, or maybe the trouble with me, is that I've never worked out how to correct mistakes which is very disheartening, so I have been doing more crochet, where mistakes are fewer and easier to deal with. But now, well now, I'm even thinking of knitting some fingerless mittens!

Friday, 4 January 2013


A year ago this was my commute:

Each day for a month I went over to the main part of Venice in a vaporetto, walked along two calles, through a campo and crossed three canals. I spent each morning at the wonderful language school in the last photo, being taught by interesting teachers and spending time with classmates, some of whom became friends. Recently, I looked through my diary of that month and have been reminded once again of what an incredible time it was. I was lucky enough to be able to take a leap into the unknown and I landed somewhere extraordinary.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

New Year's Day walk

What a beautiful first day of January. After all these grey, rainy days, how lovely to wake up to sun lighting the topmost boughs of the tree at the end of the garden. I love living in London but my country childhood runs strong in my blood and I am always grateful that we live a shortish bus ride from the Heath.

I love walking on it in all seasons and weathers, but perhaps especially when it gives a show like this:

The ducks seemed to be enjoying the weather too.