Tag Archive | easter

Singing of holidays

spring16 003I’ve been editing my new Home Ed book; one just for all those wobbly days when you wonder what the hell you’re doing! It’s to reassure you you’re doing good, because I remember what it’s like when your mind turns deceitful and messes with your confidence. This book is to get it back on track.

I’ve been determined to get it done, it’s a lot of work and I’m that stuck to keyboard I think my fingers now have square ends. And I also get slightly loony when I’ve been shut inside, too still, for too long.

So I’m just a bit desperate to prise bum off chair and get outside; enjoy the Spring delights this weekend even if it is in the rain.

Delights like:

– Rippling Lark song as they sing over their territories and show off to a mate. When did singing stop being a way to show off to a mate? Have you sung to a mate lately? The blackbird is the best at it; I hear him morning and evenings on branches and rooves and TV aerials.

– The perfume of the soil. I guess you don’t often hear soil described as having perfume. But the scent of it turned under the harrows, drying in the Spring winds, is as delectable as the smell of the shore when you roll up at the seaside. I drink it in.

– More light than dark hours in each twenty four, increasing every day till the solstice – fair makes my sap rise! When my sap rises I feel I can achieve anything – bit like the Lark. Even singing.

– The beginnings of buds, blooms and blossom that decorate all natural spaces wherever I go – rural or urban, from the tiniest green jewels on the hawthorn hedges to the blousy buds of the magnolia in town gardens.

This is how I’ll be celebrating this Spring weekend – hope you find some delights too and enjoy yours whatever you’re doing.

Happy holidays!

Easter – wake up with the earth!

pussy willow 007

Pussy willow coming into flower

Easter time; the season of rebirth. And if we get some warmth and sunshine so I can be outside it’ll make me feel reborn too! That’s the effect being outdoors has. It wakes me up and energises!

The Easter break surely is the best time to get re-connected with earthy things.

If you live in cities it’s all to easy to forget about the earth under all that concrete – I know – I grew up in central London. It never enters your head neatly tucked out of sight beneath those hard pavements; you never think that it sustains all life. It provides all food, all the materials we need to create our homes, machines, gadgets and clothes; everything we own originates from the earth. That thought is truly amazing.

It’s also worth considering how much we’re going to pollute that life-giving earth with yet another mound of packaging over Easter.

How about doing Easter differently? How about an experience instead of packaging! One that will reconnect you and your children with the wonders of the earth at this time of year as it emerges from its winter shackles? Visit a farm and see what food is being planted, seek out some lambs, look for sticky buds and pussy willow and go somewhere you and the children can bury your nose in spring flowers. Start growing some cress (you can do this in eggshells!) or sow some sunflowers.

This doesn’t have to cost the earth, either literally or budget wise. Especially if you don’t buy into that commercial con that Easter has become. Enjoy a chocolate egg by all means but you can get ten chocolate egg-sized eggs with minimum waste, for the same price as a massive box with hardly any chocolate in it if you compare the weights. I’ve got wise to it now and won’t let companies fool me. And like to consider the needs of the earth as well as my need for chocolate! Share that with the children, help them understand the earth, its needs and and how delightful it is.

A prettily packaged egg encased in a mass of plastic lasts a few moments on the eye and in the mouth, but will pollute the planet for years.

Memories of good times spent outdoors under the sky, watching hatchlings or touching sticky buds, lasts forever and through our connection reminds us to act in ways that will preserve them!

Swallow for Easter

An illustration by C F Tunnicliffe from my favourite vintage Ladybird book 'What To Look For In Summer'

An illustration by C F Tunnicliffe from my favourite vintage Ladybird book ‘What To Look For In Summer’

 I’ve had the best Easter present ever.

No, not the chocolate. Not the lovely, lush, shining grass, so succulent I could eat it! Not the buds and the birds bursting with song. Not even the fresh daisy faces smiling up at me from the ground.

It’s the sight of the first Swallow with the promise of summer in its arrival.

May your Easter be as enriching as mine!

Composting the kids…

006 Am I completely nuts?

I just have to go outside even if it’s like the Arctic and snow flurries keep biting my nose end. But I’m stir-crazy with confinement. And my bum is becoming sofa shaped and screaming at me to get off it. My eyes burning for a computer free day.

So whatever the conditions I’m off outdoors this weekend.

I used to see the same madness on the children’s faces when we’d been indoors too much. It was so much easier when they were young. I could convince them it was going to be great once when we got out, despite what conditions beyond the window suggested. They’re not so easily hoodwinked now!

I leave my youngest to the laptop and go dig the compost – a nice hot job for a freezing day. And it makes me go all philosophical.

There’s nothing more satisfying than to see the rhythms of nature come full circle. To physically see that whatever grows from the earth will eventually return to it. Us included. And as I fork what was once waste from our garden and kitchen it is turned into a reward for the soil for all that it gives us. And the quality is the result of all I’ve put into it.

Kids are a bit like that. They will gradually compost all that you put into them, assimilate it into their minds and morals and behaviour, and grow to reflect everything that you have spent time and bother putting there.

And just like with my compost, it’s worth paying attention to that. Worth being careful to only provide that which will nourish your kids; physically, mentally and spiritually.

A bit philosophical for a holiday but a really fitting thought for Easter and the season of re-growth.

The lure of the chocolate egg…

 It’s Easter. And I’ve been thinking; not about the Spring season, rebirth and the cycle of life but also recycling.

I was examining the extortionately priced Easter eggs looking for Easter gifts. But when I looked at the way they’re packaged in relation to the amount of chocolate in them it wasn’t just a question of budget that made me recoil in disgust. It’s also the amount of destruction to the earth that’s gone into producing them and the amount of waste there’ll be as a result. All to express what? Respect for religious beliefs? A little love? Celebration of the season?

How conditioned we become to the lure of clever commercialism. Like most other people, I wanted to provide loved ones with something truly lavish. But budget wouldn’t stretch to luxurious eggs and anyway I’m not sure that I would want to perpetuate the myth that it’s necessary to buy into all that just to show someone a bit of appreciation.

So what could I give instead? Time maybe? Definitely affection? What is it we truly value?

I value warmth and interconnectedness. I value family and home and purposeful work. I value the earth; its wonderful cycles and seasons and the resources it gives us. I value love most of all.

You just can’t package those things.

It’s hard to maintain focus on the things you truly love when the culture in which we live attaches most of its importance to the price of the things we buy and the pretty way they’re wrapped.

Our children only spent a small time in school but already perceived a sense of judgement being made about them through things like – how many sweets you got in your lunch box, how big a present you got at Christmas, the wretched party bags and how big your Easter egg was.

I was so glad that through home educating we had a better opportunity, not to necessarily decry things that others value – and it’s fine to be buying expensive gifts, but to keep them in the perspective of what we truly valued as a family outside of those powerful commercial and conditioned influences. To actually examine and discuss what really was of value to us; love, appreciation of family, responsibility towards the natural world and the waste we create, our opportunity to be together. Our time and attention to our values being the most important thing of all.

It’s a good exercise as a family to be examining what’s truly of value to you and being together much of the time gives a good opportunity to discuss it – even when your mouth’s full of chocolate!

Happy Easter.