Been a long time – so a big update

JJ has been along to the local chess club quite a bit recently and has very much become a part of it – though he drinks lemonade instead of beer. The games are getting increasingly close, with visible relief from the adults who beat him – they all seem to think they won’t be winning for much longer.

Sea Cadet Area Sailing Regatta – three oldest went and sailed.

And our unit (and the Pearsons) came away with a few medals.

Bee has had an involvement in making a model plane for the BMFA payload challenge, so we went to the competition weekend and stayed in our new Bell Tent. On the way we visited Wimpole Hall & Home Farm

Here is the team having a breakfast briefing, with the plane Bee was involved in the background. They won their part of the competition, because the others (from China) crashed – from past experience they had made theirs very robust and repairable just in case, but they didn’t crash.

This time the Sea Cadet competition is the Junior sailing Regatta, which was on the same day as the Windsurfing Regatta.

So, we have the previous year’s winner and this year’s!

We’ve tried some swimming in the river recently, and have enjoyed being pushed about by the tide. Thanks to Mark for the body board.



Home-ed and picnics

Last week involved a lot of picnics. On Wednesday I took my older ones and a friend up to Ipswich for their monthly home-ed session run by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust, and so the littlies and I went to much-loved Pin Mill for a picnic.
Thursday was our local home-ed bimble (inc picnic) in the woods.
Friday our home-ed group had tickets for about 60 of us at the Schools Classical Spectacular at the Royal Albert Hall. I went with Bee, JJ Bear and Roo – this was something new as the smallest can now be left at home with Matt for a day. Usually Matt does trips to London and I stay home to babysit. Anyway, we had a tour in the morning, picnicked on the steps by Albert’s statue, and then the concert in the afternoon (complete with laser lighting, canons, and fireworks). And to make the day even more special we had been put in our own private box for 5!


Saturday we were back on the train, this time all of us going to the Cambridge Science Festival, and again I was able to go into some of the lectures while Matt looked after the 2 smallest. Everyone enjoyed it, but perhaps especially JJ who came out of his maths lecture on fractals just glowing! It was nice to be back there. (picnic outside the Babbage lecture theatre, in the drizzle)


Today was another picnic day, only we discovered at lunchtime that we had left the picnic at home. It was the first session of the John Muir Trust award with the local home-ed group. Tree identification, bark rubbing, tree height estimation, and weaving amongst other things. Then a quick stop to shop for replacement picnic supplies and on to play board games at the library with home-ed friends.
Climbing clubs this evening at the university, chess club afterwards for JJ at a local pub, and everyone else is flopped watching HMS Pinafore.


Roo, with his fractal-inspired magnetix pattern.





PIMG_5002Photos taken on walks taken over the Christmas holiday week. Maldon, Mersea, Flatford Mill (with friends) and Brightlingsea.

I’m attempting to revive the blog – so much is going unrecorded but life is going at such a pace that it’s hard to stop and put it on the blog.

This weekend  – Matt and Ben spent Saturday at Fellowship Afloat, a Christian-run sailing and activity centre just down the coast at Tollesbury. Ben is hoping to volunteer there and this was their start-the-season weekend for volunteers. Ben and Mip had a Sea Cadet competition (drill and piping) on Sunday, but the rest of us went back to Fellowship Afloat for the morning meetings and for lunch. It was lovely meeting some of the people who work there now, and some who began it all 50 years ago, all with an interest in sailing.

They also have a climbing wall which the children enjoyed and we walked along the edge of the marshes. It’s a beautiful place, and at least one of my Grandfather’s old barges is “retired” in the mud there.

Sailing Nancy

A beautiful time had on Nancy Blackett sailing for four days with the children. This time we managed to go to sea.

A couple more photos at:



Most of Bear’s replies were ‘no’, but eventually she started to have a sensible conversation








Both our big chaps did a great job of helming. Bee seems to have a really good sense of understanding the wind.


The intrepid explorer was very stable walking about the boat and did a strong job of helming



JJ kept watching the ‘inclinometer’, which reached 15 degrees, though a couple of days later with MIP and Bear on board we got to just over 25!

More photos!



Matt has found the cable require to upload the photos from his phone, so we have a few years of pictures to sort through….

Above is Bear at the climbing club she goes to at the University. Climbing is her favourite thing.


A recent Sea Cadet course – Seamanship probably.


Mip learning to iron his shirt at Sea Cadets!


A lazy Saturday morning?


I think this is Mip at the Bedford sailing club firework display using up an out-of-date flare?




Bee and Mip on a 2 day, level 1, (displacement and planing) power boating course last half-term, as part of their Sea Cadets.


Roo making his first Airfix model.


A new Asterix book for his birthday.


The remote controlled boat at the old dry dock.


One of Bee’s models being tested.


Bee made  this J class half-model yacht . It was commissioned by the Eastern Angles for this season’s play – Oysters – and is currently touring East Anglia.


In the woods behind our house.


Summer photos


A third sister in May.


Taking up the old floor in the new house prior to the builders moving in.


Dismantling the play house ready to move.

Last sailing at Priory? Matt, Bee and 2 little ones in the Wanderer, JJ and Bear in a Topper (Bear in water after a capsize practice) and Mip on a paddle board.



After the move – taking an afternoon off at Pin Mill.


Picnic at Colchester castle after the dentist

Paddling on the road during a very high tide.

Wivenhoe sailing club. Note the yellow wod (Wivenhoe One Design) in the background.

Another day out at Clacton air show.

First sail at Ardleigh Sailing club in a Merlin.

Matt crewing in a Wod race (the yellow one)

crabbing from the board walk.


Mirror Sailing

After a winter of sanding, varnishing , painting and fixing leaks the mirror was ready to sail.


A quick check…

….then Bee an Mip had the first sail. All well – no leaks!


Meanwhile the little one, Roo and I were taken out on the safety boat to take photographs.



Then it was Bear’s turn.

And then the baby decided she needed to go out too. (she wailed and shouted for a very long time until I gave in). JJ also went out too, but that picture doesn’t seem to have made it here.

Caught up?

I think I may have caught up with posting the summer’s photos!

One of the things I’m wishing I was recording better are the books we read as a family and the i player watching. Most of these I have forgotten now. Anyway, currently Matt is reading The Lord of the Rings with the children, I have just finished the Jim Elliot biography and started on Harriet Tubman, and we are watching Tudor Monastery Farm and Frozen Planet.