This might be a long post, it feels like there is so much to say so maybe you might want to grab a cup of tea or even skip this altogether and just look at the pictures (but that may not make sense!)
It’s been a week almost since I last wrote here and the week gone by has been full of creativity at my favourite place, my children are in the last month of their last year at the school that has seen them grow from small people to the emerging youths that they are. The school is an incredible state school which is full of amazing creativity. I found it because of an award I won in the millennium year and knew that they had to be there. One day I’ll write more about it, but I love it as they celebrate all kinds of pagan rituals, have lessons in tree houses, in the woods, set fire to things and embrace the full spectrum of the arts. I am spending the last few weeks with them, my children and the entire rest of the school (19 classes in total) and we are creating a sculpture park of animals mainly of found things which will be a backdrop for a huge project that takes two entire days next week. The project is a re-creation of The Ark story but I’ll tell you more about that next week.
It was also my birthday yesterday and birthdays and me are at odds with each other. As a young child (and even now) the first few chords of that song *Happy Birthday* would create an emotional rollercoaster. Even at other peoples birthdays and my mum used to have to apologise in advance as she got used to the fact that I would cry whenever I heard it – I have no idea why but the idea that anyone would sing to me makes me feel sick to the stomach and the hairs on my arms stand up. There is no rational explanation for this, it may have been an early childhood scene when my large and loving family probably belted it out for me and me being the lover of shadows would find that whole focus incredibly tricky. My little sister used to have to come to my friends parties with me and now I am older I have pulled myself together a bit better but can still feel my younger self shuffling if anyone sings it to me and I fight back tears and the lump in my throat. Having children of my own made that better, no way did I want them to have this idiosyncratic oddity and yesterday I had to deal with it in a big way. The first class I was in (one of my favourite classes) sang to me as soon as I came in (their teacher is a good friend of mine) and I kept it together but told them the story of how funny it made me feel. I had made them all cupcakes, like flamingos as that was their animals, so whilst I was getting the cakes together some of the older children thought they’d sing another song – Annie’s Song by John Denver. I kept it together.
At break time in the morning, the whole school come together for a *hall time* whilst the teachers grab a quick cuppa – I did that too and when I went in the staff room, there it was again, *The Happy Birthday* song. I thought that was hard enough but had no idea what was next going to happen. I knew the school head wanted a tour of where we were at and when she asked for me I thought it was that and not what I was greeted by – the entire school waiting for me and three very sweet 6 year old boys who sang a solo of happy birthday followed by everyone else. In my head it is probably the same as an arachnophobic being left in a room with 500 spiders except these were 500 of the sweetest children all looking at me and singing, it ripped that phobia out and I could feel the emotions rising but kept it together enough to say that if I could share my birthday with anyone, I was so very glad it was all of them – that was followed by hugs and clapping of my age (21 years and 240 months dontcha know!).
I was given so many wonderful gifts, including these sweetpeas grown by one of the classes and the knitty cup from knitwit, a beautiful collar knitted by wildfennel, yarn, more yarn and wellies! I have been waiting for some new ones since mine nearly died in a very wet and muddy festival almost two years ago. I have been dropping huge hints for over a year to my OH but my parents who take note of such things bought me these.
Something sheepy in the case of this yarn from knitwit.
But the best bit? ~ being woken up by the children (OH is away on X Factor tour) and opening cards with them and finding that they had commissioned the genius queen of yarn to create something special – party rings yarn – what more could you want? Thank goodness for genius children and genius friends.