Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Before We Came Home To Rain....

...we flew in search of sun and dear friends.
All the way to Madrid, where we warmed our bones for a few days, and walked our feet off, ate seafood and sipped cold drinks, toasting the now Official Teenager that is Our Only Girl.
It was probably the first time she has ever had her parents all to herself for more than a few hours!
A brief but welcome escape...

...before we came home to rain....

Saturday, 25 June 2011

The Milkmoon Kittens at Wimbledon.

Just thought I'd share this funny video my brother Chris took the other day of our kittens!
See how they've grown! They are the most ridiculous things. Ridiculously cute. 

Monday, 20 June 2011

What We Did In School One Day.

Mosaic, murals, marbling, weaving, building, drawing, tie-dying, puppets, pottery, printing, jewellery, 
drumming, turf-mazing, juggling, special effects make-up, sugar paste, felt-making, batik.....
and I just know I'm forgetting many more....

I'd like to tell you about something. A place, actually. An incredible, unique place. A place where the word community means something. Where you can see, in action, just what it means when something is truly the sum of what is put into it. For all the human frailties and stumbles along the way, when heartfelt love and the best intentions fill something up it will always sail strong and true, even in squally weather. 

This is our school.
A place where our children learn about democracy, and humanity, and equality. Where they learn, through colourful and exciting practical projects, and hands on experience, just what it means to be a part of this wonderful, magical existence that is being human, being part of this world of ours.

These pictures may be of just one, exceptional day that takes place each year, but it is a sparkling example of just how magical a place it is. After ten years of attending Art Day, this year I was suddenly struck by just how unique it is. This event may be the biggest, funnest and most popular of them all, but it really is just one of many throughout the year where our children are shown that it is not just lip service, that we really do believe in the best of them. That they can be the best they can be. Yes they are children, with all the necessary mischief and shenanigans that are part and parcel of being so, but ultimately they are trusted and respected, and here, given an autonomy I have rarely seen elsewhere.

And in return they give it all they've got, throwing themselves into whatever it is they are engaged in, with unselfconscious, joyful abandon. I cannot think of anything more we could want from them, can you?

Here they are forming themselves into the adults they will be, laying the cornerstones of their future selves, discovering how to be. And this here is also why we drive 12km to school every day.

Because here is a place where exceptional people, the staff and parents, have taken what could have been an ordinary national school and, over years, turned it into something extraordinary. And I do know it is not unique. All over the country, all over the world, there are exceptional people who dedicate themselves to giving our children what very few of us had, to giving them something extraordinary to take with them into their future.
A belief in themselves and the possibility of being The Best Person They Can Be.

But I do feel blessed to be part of something that really does do 'what it says on the tin!' Here is a school that has an ethos that truly is part of the fabric of it's daily life, that holds it high and says, of course we can do this, because we can do our very best. And that, after all, is good enough.

And as the year comes to a close, Our Only Girl is preparing to leave this place that has been a very significant part of her life, that has seen her grow from a quiet, thumb-sucking 5 year old, to the confident, amazingly together 13 year old who is sailing forth without qualm.

And although she makes ready, with great excitement, to follow her big brother on to secondary school, it has been heartening, and heartbreaking, to see these children prepare to say goodbye to one another, after eight years together, every day. 

The bond between them, as a group, is unlikely to ever be replicated again in their lives, something they don't realise, but I do believe is so deeply ingrained in them that it is truly a part of them. Some of them are moving on together, but all is about to change, as I saw with Our Eldest two years ago, and life is about to stretch out it's dewy, tender wings.

So this is my own heartfelt thank you, to all you amazing people, past and present, who have made this place what it is today. So although one more of our Dearlings is leaving, we still have one in midflow, and one more, The Smallest, just about to start. My time is not yet done here. And though at times, the driving in particular seems interminable, I cannot think of a better place to be.

We are blessed. My heart is full.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Shivering Green.

I think it was the rain that woke me,
or someone murmuring through the walls in their sleep,
the sky still light in it's strange pale midnight
where the curtains were not drawn.

The irony that is midsummer.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Did I Miss Anything?

I'm still here, chasing sun and waves and music and time out.
We were not finished with sickness in this house. It's been the worst year ever, but hopefully we have turned the corner now, and everyone is determined to enjoy themselves as the sun comes out, the school year winds down, and thoughts turn to frivolity and fun.
I am having problems with uploading photos, hence the dodgey iPhone shots on this post, which I hope lend a certain nostalgic dreaminess to it.
I have been out, as I said, finding thrills in all kinds of places, such as spectacular live shows like this one.
Sufjan Stevens in the Olympia, Dublin.

I travelled north west, to the wild, wild sea for a weekend of surfing, (yes, you did read that right!), incredible seafood, and the best company. A weekend of switching off and winding down and getting away from it all. Something I haven't done in years and years and years.
I liked it....a lot.

The important things: great company, great food.

And with Jay finally home, we have managed to escape a little too, off into the city, in the sun, for more live music.
Summer in the city.

Phosphorescent, The Workman's Club, Dublin.
And yes, the sun is making a gradual comeback, and we have seized it and run with it, run to the beach.

Silver Strand.
So hopefully normal blogging will resume in the next day or so. In the meantime, in about five minutes I will be off out the door to walk (let's be realistic!) the Dublin Women's Mini-Marathon. And if any of you fancy sponsoring me, it's for a very good cause. Here is the link to my donation page, as well as information about the charity of my choice, CARI (Children At Risk in Ireland)

The sun is shining here, I do hope it is shining wherever you are too!