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Showing posts from July, 2017

Days 9-13 : On the road at last

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Our lack of blogging since day 8 is good news, in the sense that we are now finally on the road. I (James) went up to West Lancashire on the train to pick up the motorhome and then drove it back down to Guildford. Since then I've been trying to get to grips with what is essentially one enormous gadget. Saturday morning was spent wrestling with water tanks, pumps and blown fuses and finally at lunch time I did what I should have done at the start of the day and RTFM (Renseignements Technique qu'il Faut Maitriser ... if you were wondering).  Following the documentation step by step IKEA furniture fashion got everything up and running and so on Saturday evening we all slept in the motorhome ... or well in any case we spent various periods of night in there. The last two days have been an uphill packing marathon as we took the contents of the dozen or so packing boxes, plus suitcases, and various other bags that made their way over from France, unpacked every

jour 8 - des pirates partout...

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Les enfants ont bien profité de ce début de semaine - des cours de natation lundi et mardi (chaque prof semblait parfaitement adapté pour chaque enfant - une souriante pour Myriam - un 'lance des défis' pour Nathanael, et  un 'je vais tout t'apprendre' pour Samuel merci @Gfdspectrum - nous adorons vos profs. Puis aujourd'hui, James est parti récupérer Lucia, et nous avons participé au camp d'été de l'église de mes parents - qui continue jusqu'à dimanche. C'est la raison pour laquelle nous sommes ici pour la semaine - 5 jours avec 100 enfants de 5 à 11 ans et 80 animateurs/volontaires de 12 à au moins 72 ans.. Myriam avait très envie aussi de participer - et il y a une crèche pour les enfants des volontaires. J'ai donc passé ma matinée à accueillir enfants et leurs parents, jouer avec un petit de 18 mois, être l'assistante du photographe (merci les conseils de Pascale et photos de groupe de l'ADPF ) , servir du jus/th

Days 6/7 : Wiping data

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A few years ago I asked my facebook friends what method they recommended for wiping data off a pile of old hard drives I had collected out of various old computers. The response with the most votes was "drill a hole through them". So when Laura's mum asked me to wipe the data off her old computer, well the words "power-drill" and "educational experience" just leapt straight to mind... In the end, everyone had a go at drilling holes in Grandma's hard drive - while wearing some kind of eye protection of course. We did also have a conversation about what data was, and how abstract things like bank details, passwords and photos could be stored on a shiny metal disk and why it's important to wipe data before disposing of a computer. Bet that's not on the national curriculum in England or France... IT security can be fun Thanks for all your comments and feedback so far. We're not yet into a regular rhythm of writing or respon

Jour 5 : commencé, mais pas encore commencé

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OK - un peu de français...finalement. Hier, samedi, était une journée un peu plus difficile émotionnellement. 1.. Message de notre prof préférée: vous me manquez - envoyez nous des photos 2.. Myriam qui me présente une fleur "est-ce qu'on peut aller la donner à Dalala (sa meilleure copine). "Désolée, Myriam, non, nous ne pouvons pas aller la voir pour la lui donner." 3... On a appris récemment que nos voisins ont perdu une amie proche, de façon brutale..et nous sommes loin, trop loin... 4... Nathanael est difficile depuis quelques jours - boude, béliceux, grognant. J'avais pris le temps de l'écouter avant - sa réponse était  'nous n'avons pas encore notre camping car'.. Mais ce temps d'échange ne semblait pas l'avoir aidé, il continuait dans son comportement de non,non,non.. Et puis, finalement, hier, il a lâché " Mais maman, L et M, ils me manquent".. Ses deux meilleurs copains, un de l'école, et l'autre un voisin

Days 3/4 : The Plan, or how to get around

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At the start of this tour we have no idea if our choices about how to get around are going to work out. Our initial strategy is to have a motorhome (let's just call it 'the van') and bikes. We've brought over all our bikes from France thanks to regular car trips between Normandy and Guildford. We chose a motorhome with a large garage area with external access so when we want to set-off somewhere in the van we can quickly chuck kids bikes and other camping gear in there and not have to spend too long packing up.  Adult bikes will be mounted on the back of the van and we have a child seat for Myriam who is 3. We have a shopping basket on the front of one of the bikes and we're hoping that will suffice for day-to-day errands. However we realise there is a risk that we just sit in campsites because the motorhome is too big to park anywhere (7m long, 3.2m high), and the kids are too small to cycle anywhere (or the weather is too wet/cold), and places we can park

Day 2 : lâcher prise

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Pour les amis francophones ce billet sera encore en anglais. On prévoit de les faire moitié-moitié VF-VO à terme. It's hard letting go of control, but it's the end game of parenting. Today Samuel & Nathanael discovered Grandma's crystalware, which was just too tempting to ignore. My gut instinct would have been to say no due to the risk of broken glass, but Grandma said yes, and said she didn't mind broken glass - it was bleeding children who've cut themselves on glass that was unacceptable to her. So with the firm instruction not to touch any broken glass, the crystal treasure banquet could begin. And of course they didn't break anything.  We went into town on the bus to join the public library. Although I've learned to let go of control in many situations, crossing the road with the kids puts me in max-stress hyper-control 'WILL YOU JUST PAY ATTENTION TO THE CARS' mode. I blame it on statistics of road deaths but to be honest the statisti

Day 1 : Nature on your doorstep

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Traveling light is our aim but it's relative when there are 5 of you and you're leaving for a year and especially when Dad insists on taking his guitar. Everyone helped carry the luggage through the Gare du Nord and across London from St. Pancras to Waterloo. Going beyond the fact that we actually needed their help, we gave all the children some luggage to carry and be responsible for, to include them in the challenges of negotiating steps and escalators, and so that they felt included in our family adventure from day 1. The 21st century world allowed us to speed through the French and English countryside at 300 Km/h (225 mph) this morning, with the fields going past so fast it really wasn't possible for a child to identify animals in the nearby fields before they were instantly out of sight. Fortunately we were able to resort to Lego animations on the tablet to keep the children occupied instead. In 6 hours we were whisked by taxi, train and underground, from ou

Introduction

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It's been an adventure getting here, and we haven't even set off yet. The project : suspend for one year our busy city existence, in exchange for a 6-berth motorhome, the good-will of friends and family, and a totally empty agenda. We will be leaving our family home in Gennevilliers, France and traveling all over the UK during our year off. We'll be taking our living-lightly ecology, our faith, our parenting, our education and our leisure onto the road, and working it all out as we go along. We've been preparing for this for more than a year, but redirecting the post certainly makes us feel like it is really absolutely finally going to happen.