1st Leydean Cubs Rough It for The Rucksack Challenge 2015.

The Clanfield Cubs have taken on the challenge to raise as much money as possible for the Rucksack Project. (Big thanks to MrsB for getting us involved.) If you haven’t heard about it, head on over to Facebook to see what’s happening in Portsmouth, or to their website, if you’d like to find out what’s going on near you.

They have been busy collecting cardboard boxes — and if you’re a parent, family member, teacher or friend of a cub, and you stood still too long, I have no doubt that a sponsorship form was firmly placed in your hands, accompanied with a winning smile.

So, at 7pm on Saturday the 19th of September, we ferried our cubs to their HQ. They had a sleeping bag, a rucksack, and lots of enthusiastic excitement. I don’t imagine sleep was on their agenda at all.

Clanfield Cubs Rough It

Unlike today, the weather was kind, chilly through the night I’m sure. But, thankfully, dry. They had very simple rules for the sleep out.
They could bring a rucksack and nothing else, they had to get whatever extra clothes and snacks they thought they would need into it.

There was no-where to cook food and no tents.

They set to work straight away, organising their cardboard, using the outside walls for as much shelter as possible.

Clanfield Cubs Rough IT Cubs Rough It Challenge

There was even a little house for the cub mascot, Alfie.

Alfie, The cub.

We collected our tired troops on Sunday morning at 8 o’clock, and the conversations we’ve had since their adventure has demonstrated what a powerful lesson they’ve learned.

My girls understood why they were raising money, and they understand what homelessness is. But after a very dark, uncomfortable night they now question how come ‘being homeless’ is allowed to be ‘ok’.
We have been asked questions in the last 24 hours that we’ve struggled to find answers to…
                                 Who lets people be homeless – why can’t people be helped?

                                    What about their family?                   What if they aren’t well?

 Who protects them from robbers when they’re asleep?

  What about when their food runs out?                   What about when it snows?

… and in turn they have begun to look very closely at the world they live in, to see how they’d like to change it.

Sanity 101; for Parents.

That’s the thing with children I suppose; as much as we love them they drive us crazy in equal measure, and as you climb the rungs on the parenting ladder you lean certain undeniable truths along the way — one of them being that in order to maintain a little sanity you must have little treats and rewards up your sleeve, and I don’t mean for the troops — I mean for yourself. After-all being ‘Mum’ isn’t an easy task, and there are times when a nice full glass of red and an episode of Castle, (a very important treat for me) sometimes just isn’t enough.

It’s my Mum friends that can always save the day. Our children run in age right up the scale, and when my child patience and “let’s work through your maths homework once more” energy is depleted, (even defibrillator pads aren’t bringing this one back – CLEAR!) it’s my other Mum’s that become my support. A midweek night out at the local Italian, (we’re coupon cutters – the waiters love us) always turns the frown upside down. It’s about being able to share…

“why wont he just put his shoes on?”

“is bringing home a lunchbox so difficult?”

“what was the desperate need to put a rubber up her nose anyway??”

and the always old favourite; “my phone bill! You’ve never seen anything like it!”

And we don’t feel better because we’ve sat and moaned about our children — it’s because we’ve shared the burden, and we’re not alone. It’s because a couple of hours together always goes to prove that our children are not monsters, and we’re not epically failing as parents, (massive parent fear btw) and that really they are just children, all going through the stages and trying to grow up.

We walk to the car park and hug goodbye, knowing that in six weeks or so we’ll all be back for a little more therapy — and next time it might not be the children, it could be the husbands, work or our own parents — after-all they basically revert back to children….i’m looking forward to that particular stage of parenthood immensely.

One of those days;


Ok, so today was one of those days-

No, that’s wrong – the day itself was ok, you know – samey, like most other days.

But the evening, well….That deteriorated into an all shouting, all law-laying down, complete parent overkill-event quicker than the time it took for Usain Bolt to run the hundred metres.

You know what I mean? (Clearly, this question is aimed at other mad-parent-types out there.)

Continue reading “One of those days;”

Children and Questions – any idea’s?

I wrote this in the summer last year – and have just found it again, and it still has resonance for me so I thought I’d share it with you…

No.1 son decided on the way home from cubs to talk about words; “What does truce  mean?”
I gave him a brief explanation about how it’s just a way to make an agreement, and it’s a good way to keep the peace – my mind was already on making lunches and ironing uniforms for the next day.
“Why don’t the armies do that then? Why don’t they just call one of these truces and not go to war?”
The idle chat on the journey home instantly became one of those moments – well, it did for me at any rate. I was suddenly desperate to give him the right answer – but what was that exactly? What was I supposed to say?
He sat looking at me as I scratched around for a response, until finally huffing at me he turned to look out of the window.
I lurched into a bumbling explanation that both sides need to want peace to call a truce, and that’s not always how it is…which naturally lead to a waterfall of more questions, it turned out that I had entered… The ChildMind-field. That day at school they had been talking about soldiers, and communicating with different cultures.
“Mum, did you know Muslims don’t celebrate Christmas? That’s not even fair, how can Father Christmas leave those children out?”
He was outraged on behalf of the present-less children, and I just pulled a blank – what could I say? He was 9 a week ago, and I’ve been really keen for him to keep his Christmas belief for one last year, and the absolute unfairness of his observation struck me that I may have succeeded a little too well – he did believe. But he was now vilifying a cheerful old man in a red velvet suit for leaving other children out.
I need a handbook that has all the answers, as I never seem to have the right ones. I just offer up explanations hoping I get across a fair opinion for all, and in the meantime I just make things worse by offering too much information, or maybe not enough – or in the case of good ol’ Saint Nick, by not just telling him the truth…

Autumn is here…

So, it would seem the day the children went back to school was the day we kissed goodbye to any memory of summer. The evenings didn’t appear – it was just DARK. One day; sunset at 9.30 ish, next day, BAM – 7 o’clock; pitch black.

That said I would almost like to be able to stand there moaning about the onset of dark of evenings with everyone else – but I can’t. Because I love the start of Autumn and the approaching Winter. Husband thinks there’s something wrong with my love of the gloomy season. But I just love the heavy coats and scarves, gloves and open fires. And yes I know it sounds like I’ve romanticized it, Husband says often that there’s nothing good about ice on the roads and the pouring rain. But winter is a British institution, with its leaves on the track, fireworks and Halloween, throw in a healthy dose of christmas cards in the shops by early September, and it sums us up. My children keep starting sentences with “when it snows this year…”  it doesn’t seem to matter that I keep telling them that we don’t usually get snow this far south, in their little lives we’ve had snow for two years on the trot. Ergo; ALWAYS. This clearly exemplifies (to them) how foolish I am for not assuming there will be snow this year. But then when you’re a parent you’re always foolish, as you know too well by those ‘particular’ looks you get given by the 9-year-old when you say something colossally stupid, like Husband did yesterday…     “Saw in your magazine that you can get Jajabinx as a lego figure now..”  Which was met with an incredulous glare, and prompt reply of “Dad, he has been a standalone figure for nearly 3 months!”  Told husband to give up trying to be ‘hip with the kids’…..

But, back to Autumn. I’ve noticed over the last few years that ‘Make Your Own’ has been gaining increasing popularity, probably due to shows like River Cottage and CountryFile (both of which I love – I’m not ashamed.) And like everybody else, I’m keen to do my bit, and it has turned out to be one of the highlights of my year – I mean right up there with wrapping presents, flying kites and BBQ’s (don’t judge me). We’ve been picking blackberry’s, and collecting windfall apples, hazelnuts, sloe’s – you name it and somewhere I’ll have something homemade in a jar, box or bottle. I don’t remember doing it as a child – maybe it wasn’t popular? I don’t know. But I’m sad that I didn’t, yet glad that my children get to, and despite my mediocre cooking skills the troops love to eat something that they’ve been and ‘hunter gathered’. The only negative is, it glaringly highlights how wasteful we were before – it’s funny how loathe I am to throw out food that we’ve picked, I can’t bear to see it go to waste. I remember being young and my grandparents going through the fridge and the cupboards using everything, never letting anything go to waste. Maybe that attitude comes with age and experience, or maybe its a sign of the fiscal times. Who knows….

oh, and I know it’s a bit late, but I said I would warn you when a ‘parent with cute child story’ ended up on the blog so…..   WARNING!!