Sunday, 24 October 2010

New Fast Automatic Daffodils

There's a poem by one of the 'Mersey Beat' Poets, Adrian Henri, that I always liked as a teenager. I still have the poetry books, well-thumbed from that time long ago. The other day I browsed through them and came across the poem again.
It's a strange poem, probably not to everyone's taste. Henri has taken Wordsworth's famous 'Daffodils' poem and spliced it with a Dutch advert for a car. (Yeah, weird, but I like weird.)

Here's the first part of it:

by Adrian Henri

I wandered lonely as
that floats on high o'er vales and hills
The Daffodil is generously dimensioned to accommodate four
adult passengers
10,000 saw I at a glance
Nodding their new anatomically shaped heads in sprightly
Beside the lake beneath the trees
in three bright modern colours
red, blue and pigskin
The Daffodil de luxe is equipped with a host of useful
including windscreen wipers and washer with joint control
A Daffodil doubles the enjoyment of touring at home or


I showed the poem to the kids. Then, egged on by their interest,'You mean you actually like it?!', I printed out another Wordsworth poem, and gave them some old magazines to make their own 'Mutant Wordsworth' poem.

So, this is the original they were working with:

Hmm..well it doesn't really float my boat. But take a look at the new improved version by ds1:

(alterations to the original are marked in bold type below)


By Public Relations

My luxury car leaps up when I behold

Cheaper online access in the sky

So was it when my life began

So is it now I am a van;

So be it when I shall grow old

Or let me fly

The child is father of the car that is man

And I could wish my days to be

Bound each to each by the tax increase."

So, you see, whatever you think of poetry - and most of the time I think it's a pile of pompous pants - it really is just playing with words. Yep that's all it boils down to. Iambic pentameters (or should that be pompous pantameters?) aside, there are times when poetry can be crude and fun. And - though I've only just noticed - ds1 has even kept the rhyme correct in some of the lines - man/van, sky/fly. There was no prompting from me, I gave them free reign to do as they wished with old Wordy. Blimey! That means my child actually READ the poem and THOUGHT about which words would fit best.

Sometimes we seriously underestimate our kids, don't we?

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Er, yeah, me again.

Feel like I can hardly keep up with our weeks now. I have so many photos to post, but haven't loaded them up yet, so a quick whistlestop tour right now and then I'll get around to doing the photos soon. Promise. No more boring posts, after this one. Go on, sue me.

We had a day out on Saturday with friends at a little theme park to celebrate dd's 7th birthday (half-price voucher for tickets, always a bonus). Then she had her birthday with home-made hedgehog cake, a wolf suit (which was kinda purple when it arrived rather than grey, but she was dutiful enough to try it on) and a visit from her auntie. Then on Monday it was cinema in the morning (Schools Film week - free films) and her 'animal-themed' party in the afternoon. All surprisingly chilled. Today, cinema again, this time to see Ponyo, one of the Japanese animations by Studio Gibli that we love.

Previous weeks the kids have been creating knex crossbows at HE group, doing poetry (well, doing 'Mutant Wordsworth' more about this when I post up the photos), ice skating, and er lots of stuff. I find now if I don't keep a note of it all it's soon forgotten. Ds2 has done a long hike and overnight camp with cubs, ds1 has been film-making with a friend.

Part of me feels I should be booking some group workshops at museums, or doing some outings with the kids, but another part of me knows that I can't really take anything else on at the mo. If you read my other blog ( then you'll know that I have other things to fret about, like Jane Austen and her literary chums.


In order for me to have time to tackle JA and Co, I've been trying to keep some structure to our weeks and a while back I came up with a plan to tick a few boxes. So, we do one week 'writing' (and anything associated with) and one week 'maths (and anything associated with). Writing has included poetry (Mutant Wordsworth), filling in a museum trail sheet, writing a letter to penfriends (it took a whole week for that) etc. Up to an hour a day max. Maths is less exciting and flexible...just workbooks until I can come up with the energy to do something else. Of course I could do cooking or some other sort of measuring, but cooking with kids is even more stressful than stapling them to the table to do a page of a maths workbook.

Saying this, I DO have plans to cook with the kids, using the River Cottage Family Cookbook which looks fab (have it on loan from library at the mo). Still at the planning stage though. Or maybe it will just make a nice coffee table book, or doorstop.

The kids started fencing lessons this week. Kindly offered at bargain price by another home ed family, my bunch joined others to have their first lesson on Tuesday. The best thing is that the teacher is a boy who was home educated himself, AND his mother was the first ever HE contact I ever made, about 8 years ago. Lovely stuff. Amazingly dd did not bark, or miaow or growl or make bear noises or crawl around the floor on all fours or hug the tutor's legs until he fell over. No she participated and cooperated and enjoyed. Miracles do happen.

Christmas is approaching. Am very aware of low funds, bulging credit card, and children's expensive tastes (and, more importantly, very few relatives left alive to meet these tastes, or even any to buy them some cheap tat so they have something to unwrap on Christmas day.). Oh and the small matter of nearly 2 grand's worth of course fees, still to pay this year. I'm going to blame it all on Jane Austen.

p.s. check out this wonderful explanation of the defence cuts:

Sunday, 10 October 2010

The Silent Blog

Yes my blog has been silent.

No particular reason. Or perhaps many not-very-good-excuses reasons. It's been both reassuring and unsettling getting back into regular domesticity since the Scotland trip. Routines, more routines and falling behind routines. Ferrying kids hither and thither. Picking over fluff on sofas. You know, same old same old.

I've started my Diploma Course in 'Creative writing' (God how I hate that phrase!). The weekly sessions are intense; the workload is - er - heavy. We're not talking essays and the like, more, well I suppose it's more that there are high expectations. I am surrounded by people who I assume (and have some evidence that they) are good, experienced writers, which ups the pressure. We are expected to read widely, understand fully, and write weekly.

This is the second week we've been expected to write a short story within certain parameters in a week. Finding the headspace, let alone the writing space, is a challenge. If words don't come when they are supposed to, no matter how hard you try and make them, how are you meant to write something to a deadline? It's not writers' block, it's simply a blank page.

Added to dealines there is the problem of understanding. This is only an introduction, but already we are onto theories of narratology and other adventures into Big Word land... It feels like I'm doing an English Literature degree as well as a creative writing course. My head hurts.

The tutor says 'I'll illustrate this with an example that you will all know, Pride and Prejudice.' I look around at the class and I wonder, am I the only person who has never read this book?