Friday, 6 September 2013

folly four

As the children of our family grow older it seems to become increasingly difficult to achieve a day out as a family.  Yet we continue to plan, wait and plan again.  Finally last Friday we felt we could wait no more. 

  • The forecast was good
  • Mr Folly was desperate to go out boating 
  • and we had Follies 2 and 3 without social commitment or organised activities.

Thursday night we put together our picnic, sorted clothes, found camera, and set alarms.

We set out on the RIB and headed into the Solent, stopping the engine off the coast of the Isle of Wight for our picnic. 

After an Enid Blyton style feast we continued to Alum Bay where we dropped the anchor enjoying the sunshine.  

After weighing anchor we investigated the Needles, before turning back towards Yarmouth where we moored.



The harbour was full so we had to tie up to a buoy and travel by water taxi to the land.  Another note self here is to swot up on my knots.

There were lots of festivities occurring in the town, many from a bygone era ...


About 5:30pm we set off back towards the Hamble but along the way we saw not one, not two but three cruise ships setting off from Southampton.  We were able to get a fantastic view of Ventura, Aurora and Oceana - it is amazing just how huge these ships are.


Certainly another day of adventure for the Folly four!

Wednesday, 29 May 2013


Usually a holiday weekend instantly signals bad weather in Britain but we have been lucky this year and today is feeling most summery here in Hampshire.

Our family signs of summer include...

Dips in the splash pool

Homemade ice lollies.

Washing drying on the line.

Gardening opportunities.

And sadly for some the inevitable revision with exams continuing next week.

Are any of your family signals of summer appearing?

Thursday, 25 April 2013


  Spring has certainly sprung here in the south of the UK with light mornings and evenings, as well as warm and sunny weather. 

This has resulted in a few signs of the turn of the seasons amongst the Follies ...

Folly 4 has dug out the gingham school dress

I am fast out of my boots and into sandals

Folly 1 is daring to go without a coat 

but for Follies 2 & 3 the big debate - tights or not - is ongoing, partly as a fashionable alternative is hard to find.

Mr Folly has been spending time in the garden and has followed Monty Don's steps to a mini meadow.  He is trying to pursue his dream of an immaculate lawn but I feel this is fated to be one summer dream that does not happen!

Friday, 22 March 2013

a farewell

... it's been a strange few weeks here at the follies and we are all feeling a little sombre.  The events of the last three weeks culminated in the funeral of my grandmother in Manchester which we were all able to attend.

It is amazing to think that we all knew someone who was born as World War I began, who was 14 before women in Britain gained voting rights on the same terms as men and we have been lucky to have her in our lives for so long.  Although I didn't see her very many times a year in recent years, just knowing that I can no longer talk to her does leave a feeling of emptiness.

I do have a few of my grandmothers belongings around the house and a some projects in mind as I have a number of her embroideries, but these will come later.  For now I am spending a lot of time thinking of the part she played in our lives.

Monday, 18 February 2013


I managed to squeeze a new job into the weekly schedule.  Nothing big and exceptional.  I was offered the job by a specialist school close to home who wanted another invigilator/scribe/reader to add to their bank of staff. It is purely on an as needed basis but that suits me.

It is much more fun than expected.  The teenagers are most polite and I have a few moments of seeming respect such as I NEVER receive from the Folly teens.  

  • Would you like a drink, miss? says one and I turn around to see who's behind me.  No-one, she's talking to me - haven't been called miss for years. 

  • There's the one who seems to have fallen asleep at the computer and perhaps needs a prompt? No - he's just finished the exam.

  • There's the one whose hand seems to hover at shoulder height - perhaps a question?  No - just a half-hearted stretch.

  • The one who doesn't want to use the computer provided - you will have to write your answer on the paper then and yes we have got a pen you can borrow.

  • Then there are those who don't turn up - ill, forgotten, habitually late, suspended - on go the theories.

I wonder if this is how the Follies Four work their way through the trials of their own tests.  I find myself with a greater understanding of their struggles through the complexities of exam questions, controlled assessments and mocks.

Sunday, 3 February 2013


It was a brief get together with friends over a weekend.

 - an unexpected meeting organised over Christmas as we decided we needed something to look forward to during the dark days of January.

 - unexpected in that it is only 6 months since we were last together and we are usually much more remiss at planning events this close together - usually a year or more apart.

- unexpectedly the bad weather of the previous 2 weeks settled and so we did not have to  negotiate snowy conditions to meet.

 - unexpected that thanks to the wonders of Skype we managed to connect with another friend living in New Zealand and so for about 30 minutes we were transported back 25 years to the fun and chats enjoyed in a kitchen.

 - we shared the details of an unexpected award for one - certainly very much deserved.

 - we shared information of an expected and imminent house move of another.

- an unexpected sharing of gifts at the end of our weekend together.

most certainly well received in this year of non-magazine buying!

Friday, 25 January 2013

learning curve

Today as I sat and read Soulemama and her post concerning the stumbling journey of parenting her first born I thought back to words I had written in the autumn but never actually got around to sharing ...

I'm finding there's lots to learn about parenting a 16 year old who has just started sixth form college.

An undisclosed number of years ago when I was 16, there had to be a certain permanence to arrangements.  Without mobile phones it was difficult getting in touch with large groups of people to arrange and then re-arrange plans. Not anymore. I never quite know with any certainty when Folly 1 will be home.  As we get in the car to drop Folly 1 at her meeting point I never quite know exactly where I am taking her. No worries when there's just yourself to think about but as I'm co-ordinating activities for 3 other Follies as well I'm finding all this flexibility rather difficult.

In order to circumvent the problems of providing a proof of age the 16 year olds today seem to have parties. There seem to be a steady supply of teenagers with available barns or sheds who host these parties (or gatherings as they euphemistically have become known). This then leads to the conundrum of drinks to take to these gathering and so it goes on ...

We have had a sudden re-analysis of our boundaries here at the Follies and also the reasons for these boundaries.  

We have also come to realise that by the age of 16 our job is almost done.  Folly 1 is Folly 1 with all her lovable and not quite so lovable idiosyncrasies.  

We love her and will always do what we can to support her when she wants our help, but realise that our way may not be her way.  So now we must try to advise only when asked, recognise that her choices though different from our own are still viable and allow her to make and learn from her own mistakes.  

Oh, but it's hard and toddler temper tantrums seem so much more manageable!

Sunday, 20 January 2013

the next generation

last weekend we had a family get-together as we all gathered in the charmingly named village of Giggleswick to celebrate a Folly cousin's wedding.

Many years ago I attended family weddings and it was those of the generation of my parents. More recently things moved on to my own generation of the family and my friends. This weekends wedding was the first that I have attended of the next generation.  The whole weekend seemed to go smoothly from our point of view. My sister-in-law and niece clearly put a lot of thought into their organisation. 

The wedding became not just part of the social scene but a time to reconnect with those family members we rarely see. 

The young Follies got to know more about their aunts and uncles and learn the family stories that always pop up at such events. They made new friends as they met cousins of cousins for the first time.  

Parents felt a sense of freedom as they knew there was always someone around to look out for the children. 

Equally the youngsters felt a blurring of rules as they roamed with confidence around the hotel or accompanied grandparents and other relatives at their tables.

A weekend was a perfect amount of time - hopefully the uncle and aunt hosting the six of us did not feel too overwhelmed and there was no time for anyone to get bored. 

A big thank you for inviting us all to share the day.  We all returned home with a warm glow which will be rekindled whenever we look at the photographs, I am sure.

Thursday, 3 January 2013


We don't go all out with resolutions here at the Follies.  Perhaps it is that we are all so bad at keeping them that generally we don't want to bother.

Personally, I quite like the idea of resolutions. It's that same feeling as going back to school in September when you anticipate that need for new stationary products to make you ultra efficient.  That never works either, but it's a great feeling.

So this is what we've cobbled together for 2013:

  • Mr Folly is aiming to get back on track with the walking and healthy eating. 
  • I am cutting out buying magazines (but may possibly introduce more visits to dentist or doctor to catch up with my reading) and trying to become more organised with the use of lists.  This includes trying to organise my blog posts into a little more regularity.
  • Folly 1 aims to spend more time with the family. (Based on the persuading needed to get her home for roast dinner tonight I think this could have limited success.)
  • Folly 2 won't say.
  • Folly 3 isn't going to bother.
  • Folly 4 wants to try harder and not give up if she isn't successful first time around.

I think perhaps we could all do with working on this last one ...  

... even the dog!