Archive for June, 2013


Strike action affected the kids’ schooling today.


Eliza didn’t go to school. Her teachers took industrial action and so she stayed at home with L, who worked. Eliza, with a little help, baked.

Eliza's cake









Robin has been nurturing a grievance in the weeks since plans for the teachers’ strike were announced. The whole of his school closed – bar one class; his class. It’s been a sensitive subject, but he survived today, not looking too resentful.


Gabe and his classmates had the run of the school as his was the only year unaffected by the strike. He said he wished every school day was like today.

But the teachers were back at work this evening for the school’s awards event. Gabe was one of the two pupils in his class receiving and award for earning the most hall points. The trophies, certificates and prizes were handed out by Kate Goodman of BBC TV minor fame and an alumna of the school.

Gabe award

Parents evening at secondary school


L attended Gabe’s first secondary school parents evening. 10 teachers in an hour and a half. And this is (some of) what they said:

  • the IT teacher pulled out a picture of Gabe smiling and said, “this is what I see in my class. I wish I had a class of Gabriels”. Two other teachers said they wanted a class of him.
  • the history teacher said she wished Gabe could look after his book, but she couldn’t fault his work. “He has a great history mind.”
  • his form teacher said that “by year 10 he’ll be known throughout the school”.
  • the art teacher really hoped he would carry on with her subject.
  • the maths teacher said he was very good, “but not arrogant. If someone in the class gives an answer Gabe knows is wrong, he sits quietly as though puzzling how they reached that answer.”
  • the design and technology teacher said he “is on the steepest trajectory” in the class.


Eliza had two days of assessments. On Wednesday she took a gymnastics grade, passing floor, beam, bars and vault and getting a merit overall for a score of 33/40.

The next day she took grade 1 piano. She has stuck to her practice schedule and was well prepared. Gabe tried helping her on the afternoon of the test, and effort that went awry and ended with him shouting and making her cry just before the test began. Her result is awaited.


Robin had a sleepless evening, coming downstairs four or five times claiming he couldn’t sleep. By mid-morning today, he said he was feeling sick and by mid-afternoon he had been sick. Five hours of throwing up and rushing to the toilet followed until he flaked out asleep.

Night and day in Yorkshire

Daytime in our Yorkshire holiday home was a delight. The vast garden and tennis court were the scene of cricket, football, badminton, mini-Olympics and many variants of tennis. The three sitting rooms hosted games, computer-use, TV viewing and lounging. The kitchen had a food supply to match its size.

Nighttime in our seventeenth century home was less appealing for the kids, who shared one large room. Robin was the first to show. He wanted to go home. But Gabe found sleeping there the hardest. He was up until midnight and awake again at 4am. This continued, though less extreme, through the week.

Eliza had bagged herself a bed slightly different to the boys. Less appealing I thought. But half-way through the week, it became the object of desire, with Gabe complaining late one evening about Eliza monopolising it. Just as an intractable battle was welling up, Eliza soared above the others’ bickering, declaring decisively, “Right, you have it and keep it for the rest of the week.”