Friday, 10 July 2015

A knight's Life

We visited the amazing Chateau de la Hunaudaye this week. It's one of the finest medieval sites in Brittany and after months of reading about castles and knights and life in medieval times it was great fun to finally visit a well restored castle. We had been to Guémené previously where the castle ramparts, a door and queen's baths inspired us but Hunaudaye was something else all together. In better condition it was much easier for us and the kids to imagine the castle as it would have been in its prime. Add on to this the 3D simulations you can watch and the castle really comes to life. We were all particularly fascinated to see exactly how the drawbridge functioned using counterweights. As a homeschooling family these visits are an important part of what motivates and invigorates our learning. 

The children also had a great time in the afternoon at the locally organised Rally des Loups. We walked around four sites each offering a different activity for the children - grass weaving, land art, medieval armor and weaponry and hunt the bugs. The children loved it all but I think their favourite was the one we took all the pictures of. After all getting to try on different pieces of real (replica not period) armor and pick up an axe and a sword was almost too much fun. We also discovered that knight's probably only fought for a very short time as their armor was so heavy they would have quickly tired. 

All in all a wonderful day and a great continuation of our medieval studies.

Apologies for the poor quality on the photos - we forgot the camera and the phone quality left a lot to be desired in the dim forest light.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Hidden gems in my garden

Right now there are lots of secrets emerging in my garden - courgette flowers blossiming under huge green leaves, hortensia flowers slowly turning blue and pink, first tiny hard green tomatoes and tiny little apples budding on our tree. It is a time of discovery, hope and joy for us as we watch the beginnings of the food that we hope will blossom and grow so it can nourish us later on in the season. Very exciting. 

We are learning new things about the sexuality of flowers and the pollination needs of squash. And always more bugs and pests and how to keep them off our Pak Choi and salad. We are nervously preparing to leave our garden for a little while and crossing our fingers that it will be well taken care of and we'll come back to red tomatoes and a bumper crop of courgettes, cornichon and tomatoes.

And then there are the other little hidden gems, tiny droplets of rain hanging on the leaves after a thunderstorm, a snail snugly tucked into rose petals (damn that photo didn't work out) and little elves running in and out of the clover and the trees delighting in the summer sun. 

Friday, 3 July 2015

Greater Good Poem is Featured Entry on Hour of Writes

Once again I have the pleasure of being a featured entry on the great writing site Hour of Writes. I participate regularly with this project for several reasons. Firstly, it's a bit like doing a weekly writing workshop, a prompt is given and it takes my mind where it will go. It's not the way I work all the time but I have found it to be a good discipline. Secondly, the feedback. It's always nice to have some feedback on your writing. The poems I put up on Hour of Writes don't always end up being my final version of that poem. Sometimes the feedback I get can help me with the tweaking phase of poetry writing which usually takes me way more time than the initial draft writing. And thirdly, I enjoy reading what other people have to say about the weekly subjects which are often very thought provoking. There's a wind range of writing approaches being showcased on Hour of Writes and it's a pleasure to peruse them. 

So anyway, you can read Twenty Eight to One here. It's the featured entry by tinyfeetandbluebirds under the heading The Greater Good.