Archive for December, 2015

French trip


Just as Gabe had, three years earlier, Eliza set off in the early hours of a Sunday morning on a school coach journey to France and Belgium. The terrorist attacks on Paris had put in our minds the trip in jeopardy, but the school found the official advice favourable and Eliza didn’t want to miss out.

A couple of Christmas markets, ice skating, a visit to a chocolate factory, hours and hours on a coach and no educational value whatsoever – but she had a great time.

Robin and Gabe

The sodden autumn meant that game after game of football was cancelled. One weekend’s fixtures were lost when a weather forecast wrongly predicted frost. Meanwhile, Gabe’s revenue stream was interrupted as his chances to referee games were lost too. And during the idle time, Gabe’s coach was negotiating a mid-season relegation for the team after looking out of their depth in the first two matches in division two. In the New Year they will compete in division three with nine losses against them and in the division two cup competition, after the league refused to demote them for both league and cup.

Coming out of her shell


At Eliza’s first secondary school parents evening, L heard a series of compliments for her progress and good nature. Several teachers noted that she began term very quietly, but was now coming out of her shell. Another (ignorant it seems Napoleon and many other eminent people of limited size) contrasted her physical size and that of her personality. The comment about ‘coming out her shell’ recalls her early days at junior school, where, in a class with many children from the year above, Eliza grew in confidence and flourished with the academic challenge. 


Robin is still the first in the family to wake. Nowadays he will lie in bed until he hears someone else roused. But at weekends, when we might be in bed past 7am, or if he wakes in the night, perhaps from a bad dream, he’ll come looking for us. ‘Baby Putin’ we call him, as he is bare-chested. But it’s not aggressive nationalism we’re met with, but urgent requests to go downstairs for breakfast, or perhaps a hug. 


Gabe is genuinely motivated by music GCSE. He talks seriously and keenly about the subject matter. He has begun composing a piece for the piano. He listens to classical music, alongside modern tunes on his Spotify playlist. And he has set himself the target of learning to play Beethoven’s Midnight Sonata and Für Elise on the piano.