Saturday, August 18, 2007

Human Kitty Play Centre

Emily has become one of Voldermort and Severus' favourite toys, rofl. They love playing with her hair and anything dangly on her clothes. Here's Voldemort a few days ago showing off his growing skills:

While he was busy being a loon, Severus had fallen asleep in Buddha pose being cuddled by Jon, then he snuggled up on one of Daddy's shirts:
I've had to fiddle about turning up the brightness and turning down the contrast in these photos, so if the tones look a little odd, that's why. Only way I can find at the moment of avoiding the black blob syndrome!

The big cats are settling down now. Romeo's very partial to eating the kittens' food. I think he wants to "mother" them actually. He gets right up nose to nose with them as in this not very clear picture: Romeo is also condescending to sit on "his" bed even in company with the babies now. Although they do keep a respectful distance - probably wise given how big he is and how weeny they are!
Juliet hasn't quite plucked up the courage to go nose to nose with the babies yet, but she did come and sit with me and Emily in the dining room (Emily's "work" room) all afternoon yesterday, even though the kits were there too. She even went to sleep on the rug just a couple of feet away from them, so that's a big improvement. Cassie-cat doesn't see much of them as she's busy doing her own thing, but this morning she went nose to nose with Voldy without incident, so I guess she's fine.

We're letting the babies go more or less wherever they want in the house now. In theory. In practice, even though we've got all the doors open, they have yet to go downstairs of their own accord, and when taken downstairs all they want to do is follow me and Emily into the dining room and play there. Bless them, they really do seem to love being around people. They're extremely cuddly and you only have to sit down to have them both climbing up onto you. Emily has made a book about Burmese cats, researched from the net, and she found out that they're sometimes called Velcro Cats because of their desire to be held and to be close to you. Awwww! It does seem that way so far. When they get restless, the two of them come up to us miaowing just wanting to be picked up and cuddled to sleep. Extremely endearing.

The other big news of the last couple of days has been our butterflies. The first one emerged late on Thursday night, although we missed the actual emergence and only spotted it several hours later when it already flying about. Here he or she is:
Two more emerged yesterday and one more this morning, leaving only one to go. We didn't actually see the chrysalis breaking open for any of them, but we did catch this one only just as it had crawled out of the broken chrysalis, with its wings still crumpled up:
It's been really interesting, although I have to say I wasn't expecting the emerging butterflies bit to be quite such a blood bath. It said in the instructions that you *might* notice a few drops of red liquid coming from the butterfly's tail initially - our netting thing has huge red stains all the way up the sides and from one butterfly the meconium was literally running down the side in droplets as you watched. They don't seem to be eating at all, so I think we'll let them go as soon as the last one has come out and his wings have hardened. Although it's cold and rainy outside, not exactly butterfly weather :-(

Meanwhile, we've had the pleasure this week of waving goodbye to Royal Bank of Scotland, after all our hassles with them this last year. They unceremoniously withdrew our overdraft facility a week or two ago, without even giving any notice, which I'm sure must be against every banking code there is. They refused to give a reason why or reconsider the decision. We've now moved banks however, to Alliance & Leicester Commercial Banking who (so far) have fallen over themselves backwards to welcome the account and without a single quibble gave us an overdraft twice the size of the one RBS had had a paddy over. So - sticks out tongue and waggles fingers - goodbye and good riddance Bank of Scotland. You very nearly drove us to despair, you know. It wasn't funny at all. When I think back to how many hundreds of hours of tears and anguish that place caused us, I almost want to spit with fury, quite frankly. Not to mention how many thousands of pounds they stole from us in the end, between their exorbitantly illegal fees and everything else, and the harm they did to our business reputation by bouncing items and then apologising far too little, far too late.

We've also booked Jon into a week long mediumship seminar early in September, so hopefully he'll get some more good experience there. It's not that easy to keep the positive momentum going regarding his spiritual development - there's no much negativity in the atmosphere in this house, and so much spite and belittlment from some quarters, it's sometimes hard to move past that, so I'm hoping this course will be a real boost :-))

On the education front, Emily has been working mostly on history this last few days, finishing up some bits and bobs about Egypt while I've been reading Egyptian tales to her. We're just about all set now to start on Ancient China, which she's really looking forward to. After lots of recommendations on a newsgroup, I bought Suzanne Strauss Art's "Story of Ancient China" - much cheaper to get from the US - and I'm really impressed with it. Every chapter ends with dozens of discussion questions and loads of really interesting and engaging activity ideas too. If Emily gets on well with this one I think I'll invest in the others in the series too.

Oh, and we've both been watching a lot of Teachers TV Channel - for anyone having doubts about home education, I hugely recommend this! Every programme we watch does nothing but reinforce why home education is a hundred times better than anything school can offer. It's really interesting to see how the other half lives, though, and they do have some good ideas for resources etc. What really gets me, though, is the plethora of programmes about school efforts to "involve parents". I know some kids aren't fortunate enough to have parents who give a monkeys about their education - but the way the teachers on this channel prattle on, you'd think they were the only ones on earth who have the faintest idea how to educate a child. It's so patronising and condescending towards parents and families, not to mention towards the kids themselves. Has me shouting at the TV a lot....but it's fun ;-)

One of Emily's home ed friends, slightly older than her, is thinking of going to senior school next September, and will be taking the 11+ next year to see if she can get into the Queen Elizabeth High School in Gainsborough (just about the only even half way decent school within miles, so far as I can tell). Emily did mention at one point that she hasn't ruled out secondary school completely for herself. Eeep. Obviously we'd respect her wishes in letting her attend and see what it was like, when the time comes, should she still feel that way. Long time to go yet. However, you see, I have an ulterior motive with the Teachers TV stuff. I defy any sensible child to watch that channel and then think they actually WANT to be in one of those classrooms ;-)

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