Archive for July, 2012

Trophy hunters


Robin strops magnificently. He was in a quiet strop straight after his football team lost in the semi-final of a tournament, having won eight straight games that morning. His gripe wasn’t that of the over-involved parents (that the best player had been put in goal) but that he wasn’t going to get a trophy. Still looking thunderous he was rolled out for the third place play-off, which was won, with Robin scoring the opening goal. And then came the medal and a trophy and a return to good humour.

The following week was the club presentation evening. There Robin and 40-odd other six year olds were given awards the size of the old Jules Rimet Trophy simply for having played. Amongst the delighted faces and shrieks of pleasure, Robin kept a serious face. The smile came when he was given to keep for the summer the trophy which his team had won at a tournament in the spring. Back at home he aligned his career haul of five trophies on his window ledge, carried them around the house, returned them to the ledge for bedtime, but had the curtain left open so he could admire them from bed.


Five years of junior football have left Gabe’s window ledge crowded with trophies. He collected two more at his presentation evening this week – one for being part of the team and one for Coach’s Player of the Season. James the Coach praised Gabe for his vision, making passes others couldn’t see. James went on to say that when Gabe joined the team at the start of the season, the other players weren’t on the same wavelength as he, but gradually they were connecting. Fine words for the lad.


Eliza has become very close to a new friend this year at school. Little A is Hungarian (although speaks English) and for some time has known she is returning this summer to live in Hungary again. Her mother, who struggles to communicate in English, invited Eliza to tea on their penultimate day at school. Little A’s mother promised she is a ‘kitchen fairy’ and made all of Eliza’s favourite foods. Little A, touchingly, had presents for Eliza.

Eliza’s long-time close friend Tall A is also leaving the school. Friends since they were three and living walking distance apart, Eliza and Tall A will continue their friendship. I imagine, though, that Eliza will notice a gap when she returns to school in September.

The Archbishop of Canterbury


As Headboy, Gabe had a prominent role in the end of year assembly. Sat on a stool in front of a lectern, he and the Headgirl introduced each of the classes as they set about performing their decade from the Queen’s reign. He was serious and proficient, without giving the sense of enjoying his role.

His class performed last. By contrast with the song and dance routines of the other classes, his reenacted the coronation. Gabe had kept his role a secret and appeared, to my surprise, dressed with mitre and frock as the Archbishop of Canterbury. He took the oath of office from the Queen and handed her an orb and sceptre.


I have resigned myself to hearing my children growing up speaking like their classmates, not like me. L has taken a more interventionist approach, targeting in particular the pronunciation of ‘th’. Repeated reinforcement by L eventually paid off as Robin has shed the ‘f’ sounding of ‘th’. Recently, he said that he was the only child in his class who didn’t say ‘th’ as ‘f’.


Eliza has started a bead collection. It’s this term’s fad at school, where beads are shown and swapped in the playground. Eliza lays them out in order of preference and wants to know which are L and my favourites, too.

Back in the saddle

Robin had been the keenest cyclist, but his road tumble meant that all three have stayed off their bikes for months.

But there’s been an upsurge of biking interest. First we went to the local woods by bike. There the kids held races along the path, ploughing through mud, sending it squirting it up their backs. Robin was flagged for dangerous riding several times as his weaving stopped him being overtaken.

Then they rode down the wooded slopes where they have tobogganed in the snow. Over jumps and after a few falls, challenged to go down one slope and back up the other side.

The following weekend we tried geocaching by bike. We found our first treasure, but the next two foiled us, despite concerted hunting. Between caches and when the thrill of the hunt faded, they raced each other and shrieked.

Gabe’s bike day at school had prompted the revival. The school letter included the line that children are advised to wheel their bikes to school. L or I mentioned this to Gabe, as it had amused us. We should have known better. For most of the 1km journey to school, Gabe pushed his bike, anxious not to contravene the advice.