Rather unexpectedly I find myself in the middle of my first week off since Christmas, although to call it a “week off” is probably a bit strong; I mean I’m hardly sat on a beach with a Martini am I? I’m still running round like the proverbial decapitated domestic fowl, I’m just not out teaching every evening, for a change. It wasn’t planned that way, but all 4 antenatal sessions that I had pencilled in for this week have strangely been cancelled and apparently there has been some unexpected dip in the number of pregnancies conceived last Summer. So perhaps we can blame (or thank, depending upon how you look at it) Wayne Rooney and his colleagues for the unexpected hiatus? I guess if England had progressed a little further in the tournament I might be rushed off my feet now. Not to worry, we are assured that the birthrate will peak at the end of the year following the film adaptation of EL James’ literary efforts.
Actually, the timing has been great – Spring seems to be doing its thing; the evenings are lighter and the sun has even made the odd appearance, so Alex and I headed off to the farm last week and were treated to the one day old lambs. Obviously I mean to look at, not to eat! The boys have been able to go out and enjoy their bikes again and we even squeezed in a visit to Stonehenge at the weekend, to celebrate the passing of another year. It had been more than 30 years since my last visit and a lot has changed since then.
The new visitor centre includes a series of neolithic houses, staffed by English Heritage volunteers who chatted to the boys about how people might have lived in similar dwellings four and a half thousand years ago. There is also a giant replica sarsen stone set up on a wooden trailer that can be pulled to give you an idea of the effort required to move the stones. One theory is that the stones were moved by human effort, some from as far as Pembrokeshire, so this hands on exhibit gave the kids a real understanding of just what an immense job that must have been.
A bus now takes tourists from the visitor centre to the stones themselves and an audio guide is available to help explain what you are looking at. I opted for the kids’ version and the three boys and I listened to tales of bloodshed and human endeavour, although John complained pretty quickly that the kids’ version was much too babyish for him. All in all it was a fascinating couple of hours though and, mercifully, the rain held off until we were on our way out.
Looking forward, we are finalising details of a road trip to Germany at the end of May to see some friends we try to meet up with every Spring. The idea is that it will be a good test of how the kids cope with long drives and how we, their parents, cope with the inevitable arguing and boredom in the car. If there are no posts after May this year, you’ll know the outcome was not what we hoped!
As we approach the middle of March, and the halfway point of our planning, I’m trying not to feel overwhelmed with everything that is still to be done but instead to take one step at a time. I’m hoping that over the next 6 months I’ll find the time to be a bit more dedicated to the blog and with just 15 posts over the last 6 months, I don’t think I’m being wildly ambitious!