Words of Wisdom

Youth is wasted on the young.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Learning To Quilt

In a belated Crafty Tuesday (Carrie hasn't even posted herself I noticed!!) I thought I'd show you what I've been working on. With the sunset of The Musical and the mammoth job of packing up 'the sweatshop' I have been suffering from sewing withdrawal. I always had it in the back of my mind that I might be able to do something with the scraps of material left over from the orphan costumes; they were chosen as a 'palette' and they were essentially quilting materials so the obvious choice was to try quilting with them!

Now I have dabbled in many crafts over the years: sewing, knitting, embroidery, cross stitch, raffia work (thanks to my Grade 5 teacher), pottery, decoupage, origami and even tie-dye but I've never attempted quilting. I know nothing about it! A quick consultation of my 'Traditional Country Crafts' book was in order. There was mention of wadding and running stitch and even cutting a template for 'blocks' but the whole section was a little thin and there was nothing about patchwork and the various kinds of patchwork options you could toy with. So, where to next?

Of course my beautiful friend the Quilting Queen from Jindabyne is no longer with us so I couldn't go there for advice (ouch, grief kind of catches up with you doesn't it?)...but wait! I have an awesome friend right here in Adelaide who is the Doyenne of Quilting! She bestowed upon us a wonderful quilt for our wedding/housewarming and, when I was picking The BA up from swimming years ago, could always be seen with a needle in hand waiting for one of her brood to emerge from the pool. The obvious choice. I made arrangements for coffee and quilting advice.

On Monday we met for coffee and I brought the bag containing all my off cuts. I also brought a pathetic sketch of the kind of thing I had in mind and she was most gracious in refraining from laughing out loud at my naivety. "Right," she said,"You're going to need some tools and a visit to my place for some lessons." Errrrrr......tools? What do you need apart from scissors and thread?

Oh foolish Arizaphale.

By the end of the afternoon I had purchased a rotary cutter and quiting ruler.

I 'passed' on the cutting mat as I thought Himself had one at home and I had arranged for a demo session the following morning. There is a lot more to quilting than I thought. *sheepish grin* Like, did you know that the easiest way to sew two triangles together is to put two squares face to face, rule a diagonal line from corner to corner, sew 1/4 inch either side of that line and then cut down the line? Voila! Press open and you have two squares formed by triangles! (I may do a photo tute on this later...it is so clever and my 'Traditional Country Crafts' book did not mention it at all!!!)

We ended up spending a lovely couple of hours yesterday, me mastering the rotary cutter and her sewing little blocks together for me. I'm on my own now.......wish me luck!

Sunday, 27 September 2009

She's Ba-ack!

And she's still smiling.

She slept on the couch from 6pm Friday night til about 11pm before I woke her to send her to bed. She then slept though until after 10am the following morning.

I keep nagging her to write a guest post about it but so far she has been coy. I keep saying she can't possibly STILL be tired but it certainly looks that way!

In a quick answer to some of the questions about the camp posed in the comments on my previous post.

Is it school sponsored?

Yes. It is an integral part of her school's year 9 curriculum and has been for 20 years.

Is it like a survival type experience?

Yes and No. Mostly yes I guess. The kids are in groups and have to co-operate in challenges and cooking daily on hobo stoves. They sleep 'rough' and use only the rudimentary tools they have brought with them. There are long drop toilets and no showers. They are however fed from a kitchen once a day (breakfast) and have plenty of fresh fruit available for snacking. They undertake hikes, orienteering, river crossing challenges, rope courses, a blindfold obstacle course, rope swings, building a fire from scratch, cooking challenges, going down a dark mine etc. On the last night they are challenged to spend a night 'on their own' in one of three different circumstances;
  1. under a tree
  2. in a field under a tarpaulin
  3. in the Esther Stand (standing in a 1 metre square space on a hillside for 6 hours)

Do all the schools do something like it, or just hers?

A number of schools run similar programs but hers is the only one I know of where the camp is a central part of the curriculum. Others seem to run in isolation as more of an 'add-on'.

Was this optional?

Yes and no. Pupils are strongly encouraged to take part and there are usually only a few who opt out, often for health reasons . This year however, the weather was so bad that after the first night and day, all pupils were given the option of whether to continue. Many 'phoned home' on the camp phone to discuss it and many went home that second night. Some returned the next day after a change of clothes and some did the whole back and forward thing, sleeping at home but returning to do the day challenges.

My child did not phone home. She made her decision to stay without consultation although she said it made her cry having to make the choice. It would have been so easy to have come home. She did not contact me during the whole week and she undertook every challenge. She wore the same 2 sets of clothes for the week. She did not shower. She got wet. Her shoes got wet. Her bedding got a bit wet but she stayed and she sucked it up! She stood for 6 and a half hours on a hillside in the dark and during a thunderstorm and she did not 'give up'.

Is this sort of camp a good idea? I think it is outstanding. What it does for kids in terms of building belief in themselves and their ability to cope is a gift without peer.

I am so proud of my tough daughter.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Update on the Weather For Thursday Night

Did I say she might have a dry night?
There was a thunderstorm about 2am.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Outdoor Ed Camp: or How to Sleep in A Tree During a Storm.

This is my Baby Angel arriving at her Year 9 Outdoor Ed camp last Sunday. She is unpacking her things in preparation for the 'search' by Year 10 Camp Leaders, to ensure the kids have not smuggled in ipods/phone/lollies or extra clothing. A Year 10 search reveals masses of contraband!

They have spent all this year preparing for this camp. They have made their own bowls,

candlestick holders and cups out of clay ; they have made torches in Science; they have planned menus in Home Ec and fashioned eating utensils from wood and plastic in Technology classes.

The newspapers and magazines she has there are for warmth. That strange green thing she is sitting on is her bed.

Last weekend she spent several hours out in the garden with Himself, practising knots and tying up tarpaulins with rope. We trawled the internet for instructions on how best to set up a shelter.
We bought two different sized tarps from the cheap shops.

The treebed, as you can see, is merely a stretcher like arrangement which is wedged in the fork of a tree (as far as I can make out) and anchored with rope. To protect yourself from the elements, you erect a tarpaulin over the treebed and secure it to various branches.

During the day, the groups of campers undergo challenges through which they earn points. They can trade these points for raw ingredients at the camp 'store' and they then cook their own dinner and lunch for the next day.

Now all this would be fine except for one thing.


This week has seen some of the heaviest rain, wildest winds and most fantastic thunderstorms that Adelaide has experienced in some time. And where is my child?????

Up a tree.

I cannot pretend that I have not been worried. Well, perhaps worried is the wrong word. I have felt guilty. I have felt guilty as I snuggled under a quilt on my lovely squashy couch in front of the log fire, listening to the rain pelt down and the wind howl. I have felt guilty as I reflected with relief that I was not being forced to sleep in a tree. I felt guilty that I was not snatching my baby from the jaws of discomfort and possible dampness and protecting her with my very life. It just didn't seem right. But then, she's not my baby anymore.

After the Music Suite, upstairs, flooded on Monday afternoon and we spent an hour mopping up ankle deep water with the Annie mops and buckets, I wondered how my child was faring in the extreme conditions and I did something I swore I would never do, I became the over anxious parent. I texted a friend who is a teacher on the camp and posed the question:

"How much rain does it take to wash this camp out?"

Initially there was no response but later I received this text:

"A lot more than we've had! Your kid is tough. Some have gone home already. She will let you know when she's had enough. Camp is running fine."

Can I give you any sense at all of how proud (and how relieved) I was? My kid is tough. I just welled up. I immediately phoned Himself who had been muttering about 'Health and Safety' and 'irresponsible schools' and the Westminster incident to reassure him. I haven't texted again. That doesn't mean that I haven't jumped a foot in the air every time my phone rings.

But here we are, Thursday night and no phone call. She's still out there. Tonight is calmer. After four straight nights of wind and water she may get a dry sleep tonight although I think tonight is the famous 'Esther Watch'.

On this night, the challenge is to stay 'on watch'. They carve themselves out a square metre of ground and stand or sit in that space all night. I wonder if they will let them do it this year?

Tomorrow afternoon I have to pick her up from school. I am on tenterhooks to see her, to hear her experiences, to help her make the transition from extreme challenge to normality. I wonder at my capacity to do this. Perhaps we will sit up together until it's late. Perhaps I'll curl up on the couch with her. Perhaps she won't need me at all?............

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Crafty Tuesday: The Costumes

For Crafty Tuesday this week I bring you both my own craftiness and my overall crafty vision albeit made by someone else! Having said that, for many of these I did everything up to and including the cutting out and merely outsourced the sewing :-)

Firstly, the ubiquitous red dress! I am so disappointed that discretion prevents me posting the full photos as the young lady in question looked beautiful in both of these.
Yes, that is a real dog, and yes, it could have been a disaster; in fact, during dress rehearsal it was a disaster but by the first performance 'Annie' had mastered the art of delivering non stop 'treats' to our Sandy stand-in so that he sat solidly in one place, munching!

Here's a full length shot of the dress. See how I cut it wide at the front to cover her 'assets'?

This is dress rehearsal shot of her first outfit, her 'orphan' clothes. Note the less than co-operative dog.
I've left the face in on this one as it is relatively obscure. This is Bert Healy the 'radio' personality from the 'Oxydent Hour of Smiles'. I didn't make this costume; it was one of many I assembled from our costume store but I think it came together well. She loved it!

These young ladies were 'the lovely Boylan Sisters!' and they were one costume I didn't feel worked completely . This was partly because I had envisioned a pastel yellow for the girl closest to the camera but could only get gold in the fabric; partly because the ruffled sleeves in the pattern stuck up too much so we left them off but in hindsight I feel I should have replaced them with something else...a softer fabric maybe or a puff sleeve?; and partly because I left the purchase of the pink and gold sparkly decorations to someone else. The blue one I bought is ok, not great mind you, but I think the other two are way too gaudy. Oh well. Can't win 'em all.

'Ralph and Shirley Mudge', the villains in disguise, were a good example of utilising what we had in the costume store but bringing it together well. 'Shirley' had more of a curl in her hair for the actual performance. I don't have pics of their first, more gaudy, outfits. Perhaps later?

Now a couple of group shots. I know their faces are 'in' here but I wanted you to get a feel for the set and I figure they're fairly small pics...

Firstly 'Hooverville'. For those unfamiliar with 'Annie', the story is set during The Depression when many shanty towns or so called 'Hoovervilles' (named after the President, Herbert Hoover) sprang up around the country as people lost everything in the stock market crash. I am pretty proud of this set as the design is mine. I didn't paint it, that was our sensational Art teacher, but the concept and original drawing were mine. I am a bit sad that I wasn't able to organise any 'lean-tos' on stage, and it was also a shame we couldn't stretch the production budget to include a data projector so we could project scenes onto the back cyc; still with the lighting (which is washed out here) it looked very shadowy and atmospheric.

I have to draw your attention to the hobo stove at the front there. It was designed and constructed by Himself and contained 4 torches suspended on wires with a whole bunch of red and yellow cellophane and aluminium foil. The overall effect, in the low light, was of flickering coals in an old metal stove. You don't get it here but I can assure you that it was VERY cool. Well done Himself!!!!

This was NYC, the showstopping tribute to New York City. Once again the costumes are a mix of outfits assembled from the costume store, items trawled from op shops and a few custom made jobs. The art work by our Art teacher was again a stand out. It made me wish we had commissioned more panels to fly in for other scenes but really, she gave up her holidays to paint these as it was!

Back to more up close shots; this is a scene in Daddy Warbuck's mansion. It is so sad I can't show you their faces as they are all so gorgeous and acting their little socks off here. We borrowed the blue and white costumes on the right from another school which had done 'Annie' before. I had planned for all the servants to wear these but as more 'best laid plans' were rent asunder, it became evident that only the smallest of our girls would fit them. The cook at the front is wearing only the apron from the original costume, the rest I cobbled together from our costume store. I think it worked. Anyway, as a result I had 7 men and 6 women to dress as servants. You can see three of them in the background. I had to cut out a range of sizes of those black dresses, starting at 10s and going up to 18s, as well as a number of black vests when it became evident that they are as scarce as hen's teeth in op shops. I also made the bowties in the same blue as the kitchen staff's dresses and bought matching blue ribbon for the female servants in black to tie around their necks. This is a dress rehearsal shot so I notice the girl behind doesn't have her ribbon on. I was really happy with the way these scenes looked especially since it was murder cutting out black gaberdine fabric at 2am!!!

Finally, for now, a few more orphans. I really want to get a shot of them all together because I think the palette of fabrics worked really well. Once again it's a shame I can't show you their faces as they are really beautiful! The dress nearest to the camera is the one I made. I also ended up top stitching all the necklines on the pinafores to give them a better finish.

Oh alright, I couldn't resist a shot of them altogether with the orphanage 'set' in the background. That was my vision too although again I left the actual painting to far more talented people. I hesitated on including this shot because there are a few anomalies. It was dress rehearsal; the young lady in black leggings was told to get cream or lose them altogether and there is one lass with no pinny (another job finished on that all night stint).

So there you have it; a whistle stop tour of costumes and sets for The Musical 2009. To see some other crafty offerings, click over to Barely Controlled Chaos and see what other crafty bloggers have to show for Crafty Tuesday.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Its A Hard Knock Life For Us!

It is over.

Months and months of planning and rehearsal culminating in a brief week of furious activity and four performances.

Throughout this glorious week I wore a number of hats. I was still responsible for costumes and, in particular, finishing the infamous Annie 'red dress' but I was also stage manager which meant I 'ran' the show from a position in the wings, co-ordinating the lights, spots, sound, orchestra and backstage crews. A perfect job for a control freak :-D

We moved into the theatre last Monday in a process known as 'bumping in'. It is well named. It is rarely a smooth process. There was a truck and several trips back and forwards to bring all the sets, props and costumes from the school. There was a trailer and another trip to bring instruments. There was the whole 'costume rack falling over on the way and all costumes falling onto the floor of the truck and losing their labels' to deal with. There was the problem with the staircases.

These monoliths, our main set, were produced for us by the Tech Department at school. They had been fitted with carpet squares underneath so that they sat flush with the ground and slid along the polished floor of our rehearsal room. Of course, as the best laid plans of mice and men flew frantically awry, we discovered that the stage in the theatre had been painted with a slightly textured paint to prevent actors slipping. Unfortunately, this also applied to staircases. There was some intense consultation and experimentation. It was evident that we would need double the number of crew members to move these things in anything close to an acceptable time frame for set changes. Quick rethink. Trolley trucks were provided and with much groaning and sweating the ends of the stairs were hefted aboard. Still too slow. And too noisy! Eventually the Tech boys were brought in from school and fitted both sets of stairs with multiple castors. They no longer sat flush to the ground but at least we could move them.

There was also the problem with the dressing rooms. Two were provided, one for men and one for women. They were of approximately the same size. In our production there were approximately 40 girls and 6 boys. I made a snap decision; the girls were spread between the two woefully inadequate dressing rooms

and the boys were relegated to the loading dock at the back of the stage.

The strange looking table in the foreground here is the mic table. We used 10 radio mics which were swapped between cast members as they came and went from the stage. This grid formation was essential for keeping things under control.

Tuesday was the Tech rehearsal, a tedious process involving; setting lights, practicing set changes and running sound cues. Microphone levels needed to be checked and the orchestra practised with fold back. Our young cast were remarkably patient and co-operative and our backstage crew phenomonally organised and committed. If a little inexperienced.

I asked the prop girls if they had prepared the props table with labels for each item (rather like the grid for the mikes). "Sure," they reassured me and indicated a table marked with two strips of masking tape. One said 'orphanage' and one said 'mansion'.

Me: OK, that's a good start but it's a little bit vague.

Crew: What do you mean?

Me: Weeeeell, you would be better off dividing the table up into a grid and giving each prop a particular space and a label.

Crew: But we are the only ones taking things off, we'll know where they are and where they go.

Me: Uh-huh but in the excitement of the live run you're gonna find that you are working under huge pressure and things will just get put down where-ever. It all looks simple there now, but if I took one item away, would you know which item it was? You should be able to look at your table and know immediately if anything is missing. If you have a space for everything, the gaps will be obvious.

Crew: Hmmm (unconvinced)

Me: Well, I'm afraid I'm going to have to insist on this one. Just trust me.

They grumbled and made faces but they did what they were asked (a blessed change from my normal classes).

I asked them about it again after the run and they looked at me like I was stupid to suggest it could occur any other way!

On Tuesday, 'Annie' once again asked me if her red dress was ready. Once again I answered 'no'.
That night I went home to complete it. OK, actually I went home to cut it out first! The problem was that patterns suitable for adapting to make the 'red dress' were in sizes 2yrs-8yrs. Our Annie was a very well developed 15. I had managed to work with one of our more talented staff members to draft a pattern for the red dress but it was all guesswork. On Tuesday night I crashed onto the sofa for a few hours before waking at 1am and starting to cut and sew. When the BA got up at 6am, I was still there. The machine had decided to play up and was constantly jamming. Trying to sew two veeeeery long gathering lines for the sleeves was proving impossible and anyway, I needed to know whether what I had done so far actually fitted the girl in question.

I went into the theatre on Wednesday having worked through from 1am. The dress was still not finished. Once in the theatre I had to stop sewing and start stage managing. Annie wore her dress that afternoon for dress rehearsal complete with pins and no sleeves. I took it home Wednesday night and tried to finish it but my exhaustion defeated me. I got up at 7am and took the unfinished monstrosity into the theatre to complete. The machine continued to play up and the final stitches were put into the dress in the interval before it was worn on stage. Nothing like cutting it fine.You can see the offending, incomplete article in the mirror in this shot.

And so the show got underway.

This is my favourite story.
My lighting 'boys' were two very sweet seventh graders . They had been shown how the desk worked and which buttons to press and we had explained that I 'called' the cues for them to execute. As we worked through the dress rehearsals and the first two live performances, there were a few hiccups in the timing of the lights. Some were my fault but some just seemed to be a general slowness in response from the lighting room. But come on, they are only year sevens!

There was one cue in particular which we had consistently messed up. At the end of the cabinet scene where FDR and his cronies are all singing 'Tomorrow' we had consistently blacked them out too early. By the third performance I was determined to get the timing right. I held off, I called the 'stand-by', I watched intently....and to my horror, the lighting boys blacked the stage out with NO CUE FROM ME!!!!!!!! The cabinet once again finished singing in the dark and after my string of invectives I determined to find out how this had gone wrong.

I fronted my little lighting friends.

Me: So what happened with that black out?
Boy 1: Well, I gave a hand signal to Him and he thought I meant something else so he just 'went'.
Me: hang on........what do you mean you gave a hand signal to him and he 'went'....??????????????
Boy 2: (guilelessly) Well we decided to share the job so in one half he wears the headset and I press the buttons and in the other half I wear the headset and HE presses the buttons!

My carefully timed lighting cues were being passed from one set of ears across the room to another set before being implemented.
No wonder my cues were slow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Me: Did you never think of sharing the job by ONE of you wearing the headset AND pressing the buttons in the first act and the other doing it in the second??????????
Boys: Er...no.
Me: Well that is what we will be doing for the last show!

And the lighting was perfect.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Status Check: Near Exhaustion

Last night I fell aslepp ont he sofa around 9pm, slept til near one and then sewed through until dawn. As of this point in time I have been awake for 21 hours.......

I am off to sleep on the sofa for a couple of hours and then finish the iconic Annie dress before dawn. Tech and dress rehearsals have gone very much as these things do. Hoping the kids 'lift' with an audience.

Wish us luck!

Crafty Tuesday: Baby Vests

Got to be quick because it's 12.40 and I'm about to make a dress for Annie in time for dress rehearsal tomorrow. Nothing like cutting it fine :-)

Here's my Crafty Tuesday offering, the vests I made for baby Not Max last week. I was so slack about delivering them that I couldn't post them til now! To be fair, I didn't make the vests (onesies I believe they're called in the US), I just did the embroidery, but I was quite pleased with the overall effect. In an anally retentive burst of realism, do you notice how the ground is plowed behind the tractor and flat in front of it? You don't get detail like that in the baby section of K Mart.

The only thing I might have done differently is the little green leaves at the neckline of the tractor vest. I chose a grass green to represent spring growth but now I wonder if I should have just stuck with the British racing green, as in the body of the tractor. What do you think?

Anyway, as I said to Dr O'C, don't look too closely and especially don't look behind the embroidery! This ain't no Royal Show entry :-D.

For more inspiring crafts, join Carrie for Crafty Tuesday over at Barely Controlled Chaos. I'm off to start sewing. At least I can 'sleep in' til after 7 am tomorrow.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Devastation or: Let Me Eat Cake or: You Can Never Have Enough Diggers

Did A Free Man claim that the 2 year old Boy Z was 'devastated' when his sensational Digger birthday cake was cut up and served? Let me tell you, you cannot believe everything you read on the internet. Photographic evidence now, that is a different story!

Firstly, I give you the sensational Digger cake in detail. Well done Dr O'C. If this was a 'first effort' I can't wait to see where your skills develop!

Next a slightly worried Boy Z, but that was only because a number of strange people were singing him Happy Birthday.

Now, a tentative 'try'.

What is this orange stuff?

I think he likes it!!!

Hmmmm....these supporting struts taste pretty good.

I wonder what happens if you put it in this way.

OK, this could be a knife and fork job.

Huh. I've had enough of this. I've got more important things to get on with, like.....

.......opening presents!!!!!

Happy Birthday Boy Z!! Thanks for having us :-)

Saturday, 12 September 2009

SOOC Saturday: The Telephone

Did I mention I was involved with The School Musical? Well, next week we are 'in the theatre' and the pressure and job list is mounting. One of my responsibilities is to acquire props, preferably in keeping with the period of the show; in this case The Depression, circa 1933. We needed a telephone. Well, I knew exactly where to go. The BA's best friend's father is a phone-o-phile. I just knew that he would have exactly the right phone for the period. And I mean exactly!

Me: Please say no if you don't feel comfortable about this, but I was wondering if you would be able to lend us a period phone for the musical. Just a for a week. We'll take really good care of it.

Him: Hmmm. What period?

Me: 1930s, Depression.

Him: Australian or American?

Me: Well American but it doesn't really ma-

Him: Wall phone, table phone or desk phone?

Me: Errr... desk...

Him: Operator connected or dial phone?

Me: (thinks: what???????) ...ummmm, I'm not sure.....I'll have to check the script...

Him: I think I can help but I must tell you that these phones are not museum pieces, they're historical pieces but they're not in mint condition.

Me: Really, it's not a problem..

Him: hmm yes, well, they are made of bakelite which becomes more brittle with age so they can break easily if dropped.

Me: I can assure you, our stage hands are the most delightful, sensible kids(this is true). They will take really good care of it.

Him: Alright then, come and pick it up tomorrow.

When I arrived the next night, this gorgeous old phone was waiting for me along with a few apologies ("I've changed the handset to a more easily replaceable one if it breaks so it's not actually completely authentic") and a print out of a similar model being sold on ebay.

The model on ebay went for US$1325.00

So, no pressure there.

Later that day, by email, he also helpfully included dialling instructions.

It's Straight Out of Camera Saturday/Sunday over at Slurping Life. Click over and join in.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Theme Thursday: Fall

Of course, it's not Fall here. In the annual seasonal anachronism, Australia and the States face weather patterns at opposite ends of the spectrum and themes which prove perennially difficult to work with :-)
So as Amy Jo and her fellow Yanks produce beautiful, whimsical shots of the last apple on the tree and the leaves changing from green to gold, I give you "to fall". The verb.

This is a picture of my child falling. Yes, she is in there somewhere. She who howled so insistently at Tokyo Disney that we had to hand her to an assistant whilst we went on the 3 minute simulator ride without her (remember headbang?); and similarly at Thorpe Park when faced with the Tidal Wave (oh by the way, watch the video right to the end..it is an awesome ride!!! The bit at the end is the ONLY bit the BA would be involved with :-D). She who never forgave me for making her go on the log flume at Paulton's Park in 2001. The very same girl, this year, without further ado, very little thought and a bevy of friends, went on XXXL! (I'm sure there's a way to pronounce that but I can't be thinking about it now).

This shot gives you a better idea of the size of the ride and the action of the 'carts' as they spin.
I stood underneath ( braving the danger of falling vomit) snapping furiously and trying to 'catch' the carts as they 'fell' over me. The top shot was the best I could manage.

By the time the BA emerged, flushed, breathless and swollen with excitement at her own bravery, I had almost forgotten she was up there amongst the lights and smoke! This of course did not go down well. :-) I made amends by taking the obligatory 'group shot'.

The whole Royal Show experience this year is one of those milestone moments in the gradual move toward independence that marks the passage of 'growing up'. Last year she went with a friend in the company of his parents and they wandered the show making intermittent connections with the parent body. At about 5.30pm I arrived and she abandoned her 'mate' in favour of mum and we had a grand old time together.

THIS year we did the whole 'why can't I have a day off school to go? ' thing (don't worry I held my Flaming Sword high!!! >:-) and we compromised over an after school excursion with a group of friends and me meeting them after my musical rehearsal and doing the whole 'drop everybody home' thing. The BA said she would do the rides and all with her friends and then, like last year, join me in the gadget hall and petting farm.


From the moment I arrived and tried to ring them I was confronted with unintelligible, screamed, giggly phone conversations, promises to meet 'in a few minutes' and a group of very excited, very happy teens.

Having taken her photo on XXXL it was evident that I was superfluous to requirements and so I meandered off to see the baby animals and cake decorating on my own. This was not before the following conversation ensued:

BA: flinging herself onto my back and shrieking in my ear over the noise of the fairground
rides.Muuuuuuum!!! HI!!! OMG! What is that on your head??????

Me: referring to the perfectly conservative leather cowboy hat I had purchased on special from the Scouts
Outdoor Sports shop. What? This?

BA (and friends): YES!!! Hahahahahahahaha. You are SOOOOOO funny Mum!!!!!!!!

Me: That's rich coming from people wearing halos, devil horns and flashing bunny ears on their

And so I felt it neccesary to move away from my chick as she spread her wings in a (relatively) safe environment in the bosom of her friends. And of course it was FINE and I/she survived perfectly well, but nonetheless it was a change.

As are these laughing clowns. Now I don't wish to be politically incorrect but was it necessary to paint them brown?

And what about this handball competition game?

Could you get any more sexist?

Or this; possibly the most tasteless super slide in history?

But the petting zoo was as good as ever. Look at these beautiful baby emus....
and those sweet chicks and their interloping bunny friend.

The beautiful flower displays were as good as ever and sideshow alley hasn't changed much. And of course we ended with fireworks.
Which I watched alone.
By the time I had met up with the gang and dropped all the girls off home, the BA was asleep in her seat. Not so grown up after all.

I wonder how we'll 'do' the show next year?

For more interpretations of 'Fall' click over to Cheese Party and join us for Theme Thursday.