Sunday, 29 June 2014

mad about Dolly

Well Dolly Parton is playing Glastonbury.  She's all over the radio, and Twitter is abuzz about her, and who can blame them.

I don't get the Christianity or the crazy work ethic, but you've got to admire her strength, the sparkle of her personality, which she keeps going come what may, and of course, her immense ability when it comes to song writing.

Apparently Dolly's favourite Dolly Parton song is Coat of Many Colours - here's a video of her doing it back in 1979.  How she plays the guitar with those nails is beyond my ken.

What's my favourite?  There's a few contenders, but I'm afraid I'm going to plump for 9 to 5, because it's so true!  Which is impressive.  Has Dolly ever worked 9 to 5?  That sounds like a day off for her.

Of course, with so many fans, Dolly gets a lot of covers, but having a heart of black I'm tempted to go for The Sister's of Mercy cover of Jolene, sadly I can't find a good recording, so I'm going for The White Stripes instead, it's so incredibly sexy and sad the way Jack sings it here.

Dolly does lots of covers too.  Sadly, I can't find a Dolly cover of Bobbie Gentry's Ode to Billy Joe, so I'm going to go for the sheer joy that Harper Valley PTA instills in me.  It is so brilliantly described, you could see it happening (the video is just one of those annoying picture ones).  

So, what are your favourite Dolly songs?

Other posts you might like:

The book challenge
Words at 1/7/14 - 94,000. Change of tack - just doing broad strokes to get to the end of the story.
54,500 words done since the challenge began! 12,000 last month.
Where I'm at in First Draft - Chapter 23.
What I did last - Planning chapter 24 (everyone going home after an interesting couple of days away).

Saturday, 28 June 2014

tracking the day

Life changes faster than we think.  When we've got kids in the mix we might notice it more, but changes are a happenin' all the time.

To help to remember what life is like at any particular time, I like to do a photo-diary of a day, taking a picture once each hour or thereabouts (I actually set a timer on my phone to remind me).  It doesn't have to be an exciting day, but this year I did it on the last day of term.

Here is what my day looked like.  What do your days look like at the moment? Any good days lately?

7am: The boy and I have been up since about 6.30am.  He's not allowed to get up until then, but he's an early riser.  I'm hoping he'll grow out of it one day.  I know I did.
8am:  This photo has been auto-awesomed by Google and I love what they've done with it.  It's really captured the dreamy feeling I wanted.  Thanks Google.  Between 7am and 8.20am we have breakfast, getting everyone washed and dressed, making sure school stuff is ready, and the children all get a little time to themselves.  Here's the little girl playing in the playroom.  At 8.20, it's time for hair brushing, before we get going to school.
9am: The kids are all at school (the little girl just goes for mornings), and the sun is shining.  It is lovely to have the stress of the school run behind you, and a little bit of time to yourself.  The first thing I do is turn the car stereo to Radio 4.
10am: I spend the first hour of my time off doing housework.  This morning I'd just finished hanging the washing out, and was about to start work on the garden.
11am: Still working on the garden.  On three school days a week I set aside 10-11am for writing, but today I'm killing weeds.
12 noon.  The little girl got picked up at 11.30am.  She'll be in nursery longer after the summer, which will be great!  Today we've popped to a friend's house to borrow some car seats we're going to need later.  I love her doorway, it's so welcoming.  I may have to blatantly copy it.
1pm: In a break from the norm the big kids are finishing school today at 1pm instead of the usual 3pm.  They've been playing games all morning, and are excited about the summer.  The boy is looking miserable because I've just broken it to him that I'm picking up 5 girls today.  Yay!  These are my three plus three of the big girl's awesome circle of friends.  She's a lucky girl.
2pm: We all headed down to the front at Largs and shared a picnic with lots of friends.  The boy was happy at last because one of his friends came too.  Here's Kenny and our friend Emma, who has just had a baby and is looking amazing (and her baby is beautiful too, and slept the whole time!)
3pm and the picnic is done, so ice creams all round, and fun on the grass and the beach.  I'm telling you.  This is the place to be.
4pm and we're back home, the girls playing in the garden in the sunshine.
5-7pm we went to K's parent's house.  We usually have tea with them on a Friday, which is brilliant.   I love not cooking, and the kids love being spoilt.  Plus they have a great garden which is a super playground for all of us. On this occasion we were shown the plants we could take for our garden (update coming soon), which is very exciting.
8-11pm Book Group!  We mainly did not get on with the book (The View from Castle Rock, by Alice Munro), and we all brought books to swap for next time.  We actually did discuss the book, but also drank wine, which is always a bonus.
Midnight: A quick walk home and I'm guided home by the light of our street lamp... I'll have a night disturbed by the little girl and be woken at 6.30am by the boy!  Still, sleep is for the weak. 

Because I love taking photos, now I've finished #100happydays and #10grumpydays I'm going back to Fat Mum Slim's Photo A Day #fmsphotoaday.  Care to join me?  You'll find all the details, plus information on her new app, Little Moments, which looks awesome and is only currently available for Apple devices (boo hiss) here.

Other posts you might like:
The book challenge
Words at 26/6/14 - 93,500.  I'm not sure I'm going to make it!
54,000 words done since the challenge began! 12,000 this month.
Where I'm at in First Draft - Chapter 20.
What I did last - The heroine going home to bed.

having grumpy days

Remember I was doing the #100happydays? It was fun, but it went on and on and on, and it did seem a bit superficial.  I decided to balance it out a bit with #10grumpydays.

This is how it went:

Day 1: and this scene greets me.  Thanks for tidying up then.  Honestly, I think we need more staff around here.

Day 2: Every time we take the kids somewhere they throw a collective hissy fit... ten minutes into the journey it is forgotten, but I could seriously do without it.
Day 3: Every day I give the kids a packed lunch I include carbs, protein, calcium, and crunchy fruit or veg, plus maybe a chocolate biscuit or something.  The lunch comes back with the yogurt and biscuit eaten, half the carbs and protein eaten, and the fruit and veg virtually untouched.  Sigh.
Day 4: Lovely to have fun with friends, but is the screaming really necessary?
Day 5: The cat comes inside from playing in the dirt outside to use the indoor toilet.  Because I needed to clean up more poo.  Grrr.
Day 6: I am being 'helped' in the garden by the little girl.  One teaspoon of earth at a time.  AAAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHH!
Day 7: Dodging the poo in town.  Why can't dog owners pick up after their dogs?  I get that I was just complaining about cats pooing inside, but at least they bury their poo.  Our town council have taken to spraying poo with red hair spray in an effort to make dog owners think twice about it.  Just goes to show that you can't gild a turd, but you can roll it in glitter... which would be just about as useful.
Day 8: And I am still sitting at the kitchen table watching the little girl wave a carrot stick long after everyone else has left the table.
Day 9:  I need to photoshop this picture so it has one of those handwritten signs, like dog owners use to shame their dogs.  What would it read?  'When I get directions wrong I blame my wife'.
Day 10: There are plenty of other things to do, but I really wouldn't mind catching up on The Good Wife, but there's wall to wall football/cricket/tennis.  Football in particular is awful to watch.  They hardly score any goals, but seem to spend most of their time rolling around on the floor because they've stubbed their toe.  Instead of giving them extra time they should go into time out.

It is actually kind of lovely to have a little rant every day.  It also made me realise that I actually spend a lot less time being grumpy than I thought I did.  I don't think I'd want to do it for more than 10 days though.

Have you done your #10grumpydays yet?

Find more on my #100happydays posts here.  More photo projects are coming up soon.

The book challenge
Words at 26/6/14 - 93,500.  
54,000 words done since the challenge began! 12,000 this month.
Where I'm at in First Draft - Chapter 20.
What I did last - The heroine going home to bed.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

slacking off before the summer

Bring on Alice Cooper! Tomorrow is the last day of term and at 1pm school will be out for Summer!

Wow!  That song is older than me!

Anyhow, we have had a topsy turvy week this week, as the school has given up on its regular programming to bring films and games, and leavers assemblies, and all sorts of nonsense.  It's fun, but it's also kind of hard work for the kids (mine do like a routine!), and my boy is really annoyed that they're not doing enough maths (takes after me).

A few of their classmates have already gone on holiday, their parents either taking advantage of cheaper holidays, or booking leave when everyone else has not already booked it, and taking their children out of school.

This is how we felt on the last day of term last year
Personally I don't have a problem with kids being taken out of school for holidays.  I kind of feel like everyone should get a week during the year to take off as they see fit.  That said, there are caveats around that.  Taking kids out of school at the beginning of a school year can be detrimental, as can taking them out when they're in the middle of an important project, or nearing exams.  To be honest, the last week of term is just perfect.

I remember taking a couple of weeks out of school as a kid, for the family to go along with my stepfather while he was delivering a canal boat.  It was brilliant.  We helped with locks, tracked our route on a map (and in doing so learned lots about different kinds of maps), and worked through the work books the school had given us at the galley table with Mum.  We also made regular stops to look at museums, find out about witch trials, and to visit Wedgewood.  We learned so much, and handed it all in to the teachers, who were not remotely interested, but we had jumped through the required hoop.

Now, in England it seems that the required hoop is plated with gold.  If you take your children out of school for a holiday, you have to pay a fine.  A fine!  They can only do it because if you do choose to send your child to a state school then attendance is mandatory.  Fines work as deterrents.  I know people who won't attend family weddings because of the risk of fines.  But really, they're not there to be a deterrent.  Rather it is an income generating scheme, which I hope they don't decide to take up in Scotland.

It is supposed to be at the Headteacher's discretion whether kids can be taken out of school in term time, but in reality many councils have policies whereby headteachers cannot grant permission.  Before now we have been advised not to ask, because taking a child on holiday without permission from the Head is preferable to taking them on holiday when the Head has refused permission, which they often must do.  It's a shame, because you can learn a lot when you're not in school, and that learning is not being encouraged.


We're hanging on in there until tomorrow afternoon.  Can not wait.

What are your thoughts on taking kids out of school for holidays?

Other posts you might like:

The book challenge
Words at 26/6/14 - 93,500.  
54,000 words done since the challenge began! 12,000 this month.
Where I'm at in First Draft - Chapter 20.
What I did last - The heroine going home to bed.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

loving New Model Army

I'm a big fan of New Model Army.  They're from my bit of Yorkshire (as are the Kaiser Chiefs - also a good band), and I grew up dancing in clogs, arms flailing as I sang along with classics like Vagabonds, Betcha, and, my favourite, 225.

New Model Army are most famous for their song Green and Grey, which considers a friend's leaving the North to live in London, and get a good job.  The conclusion is that they're letting the side down, which was a fair point, coming from Bradford at the time.  Although maybe a little defeatist.

Mind you, I don't think New Model Army could have forseen in their wildest dystopian imaginings what was about to be done to Bradford, by its own council.  The heart of beautiful city of faded industry was ripped out, and while it lay dissected on the operating table, the money ran out.  They've made some efforts recently, and I'm a big fan of the water park (although it might not have been best to only provide something that vast swathes of Bradfordians wouldn't be able to use for the sake of modesty), but with all the money that has poured into Leeds of late it doesn't look as if Bradford is ever going to be more than the poor relation again.

For more upbeat New Model Army, my friend Mary reminded me of the sheer unadulterated joy of dancing to Vagabonds with friends.  Legs set wide, hands crossed at the wrists, head turning side to side.  And the added bonus of the very lovely Ed.  Ah, I remember when all the lads wore army surplus boots.

And finally, I've just got to share my favourite song: 225.  It's dated horribly, but I love the luddite ethos of it (even though I've never been that way inclined myself).  This one's recorded more recently, and it's another great one to dance to.  I don't know the new guitarist I'm afraid, and I'm not sure what's up with Justin's crazy eyes.  It's filmed in Atlanta, and it looks like it's pretty hot for a Bradford boy.

So, which bands come from near you?  And what are your favourite songs?

I don't know much about bands from Largs yet, but no doubt I'll find out this weekend at Largs live.  Bring it on.  Apparently this is what I've got to look forward to (Brownbear):

I just hope it encourages the kids to practice their guitar playing!

Other posts you might like:

The book challenge
Words at 26/6/14 - 93,500.  
54,000 words done since the challenge began! 12,000 this month.
Where I'm at in First Draft - Chapter 20.
What I did last - The heroine going home to bed.

Monday, 23 June 2014


Last time on the blog I was talking about surviving adolescence.  For me, I gained strength from being a Goth.  Question is, why?

Polly and I, gothing it up (ish)
The first time I dressed up like a Goth was at the behest of my friend Polly, who was visiting from down South, where her family had moved.  Polly was much cooler, and much more confident than me, and she'd seen an article in a magazine about the goth look.  She wanted to give it a go.  She didn't just want to give it a go though.  She wanted to get dressed up, and then catch the train to Leeds - then famous for being the home of Goth, to see if we could pass.

I was terrified, but I went along with her plan, wearing lots of dark makeup, and black clothes, dripping in jewellry.  I didn't stop being terrified the whole time we were out, but I did notice that people looked at me a different way.  They weren't really looking at me as a blandly normal girl any more, they were looking at yet another Goth.  It was good.

Later, while I covered all my mirrors and dieted, I took pleasure in dyeing everything black.  Including my hair.  The hairdresser was not sure about taking my long hair from dark blonde to blue black, but she did it anyway.  It looked shockingly dark.  My skin looked shockingly pale.  I loved it.

My Dad offered to buy me some music to go with my new look.  I'd been reading Q magazine, and thought I'd like to get something by Fields of the Nephilim.  We travelled into Leeds (in black, but with less makeup), and went to Crash Records where I found the Fields of the Nephilim album I wanted.  Dad thought I should listen to it first and so asked the man in the shop to put it on.  I was so embarrassed.  Didn't he realise that it didn't matter whether I liked it or not (and I can't remember if I did when I first listened to it, but I listened again and again, until I was a proper floury Goth (not a flowery Goth - they liked The Cure).

I started going to Goth clubs, and loved the ritual of Goth dancing.  As an added bonus, when we could make them out through the dry ice, there was a certain young man in skin tight black trousers, and a Bauhaus T shirt cut down the sides, as well as over-long braces who would dance rather beautifully, while his clothes fell off to the appreciation of his audience.

I loved watching the couple with amazing clothes who would hit the dance floor only for the songs they had practiced all week in their bedsit, striking dramatic poses, and doing occasional midair splits.  And I loved the irreverant dancing we floury Goths did, riding our horses around the dancefloor, miming the lyrics for Circle of Time (which I can't find anywhere - was it called something else?).  Mishaps like walking into the pillar in the middle of the dancefloor, or getting some jewellry caught in someone else's hair.

And the black.  I loved all that black. I'm still a big fan.  What about you?  Were you a member of some sort of tribe?  Got a photo?

Other posts you might like:

The book challenge
Words at 20/6/14 - 92,000.  
53,000 words done since the challenge began! 10,500 this month.
Where I'm at in First Draft - Chapter 20.
What I did last - A seedy scene at the party.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

surviving adolescence: 5 things I learned.

I was thinking recently about my experience of adolescence, for a project I'm working on. I know that everyone's experience is not the same.  Some people seem to skip through it, but my experience of adolescence was visceral, emotional, and awful. 

I would only wish it on terrible criminals, as a punishment; but I would not wish it on my own children, whose process of changing from chubby-cheeked children into amazing adults I would wish to be smooth, and cheerful... I can wish.

I wonder now if I might not have become mentally deranged. I could certainly have used more help, but would I have accepted it?

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

getting the kids out

I'm trying to make sure, that before the school holidays start next week (YAY!) I am fully armed with ideas for places to visit and things to do in the summer holidays.  I thought I'd share my list with you, and see if you can come up with any other ideas?

So here goes:

Out and about:

Exploring local history.  There's bound to be something interesting to go and have a look at in your local area.  If you don't know what it is, then head to the Tourist Information, the Library, or a local museum.  Personally, I'm looking forward to visiting Largs' Museum and Skelmorlie Aisle (a local graveyard which is generally kept locked), and the Ancient Burial Site.  I must admit though, I still haven't found the Museum.  Where is it?

Kelburn castle
Local walks.  Even if you live in a city centre there is bound to be a nice walk not too far from you.  Going with kids will no doubt make your walk longer than without, but it can also make you look at things a whole new way.  Over the holidays I'm looking forward to going for walks around the Kelburn estate, up to the viewpoint, to Greeto Falls, and up Knock Hill (I'm going to attempt to not get scared off by geese this time).

Off to the park.  Our favourite park in Largs is Makerston Park.  But all parks are a good way to keep the kids entertained and active for a while on a nice day.

Swimming.  We love to go swimming, but I need another grown up to take all three kids, so it's not an everyday activity.  That said, I'm planning on regular trips to Vikingar! swimming pool, as well as occasional trips to Hamilton Water Palace.  I've also still not been to the Time Capsule, because the queues are horrific, but we might remedy that this summer.  I'm sure I read something that said that kids swimming is free in North Ayrshire during the summer holidays, so it's a great way to cool off.

Having fun at Finlaystone (thanks to Gillian for the pic)
Active days out.  I think most places have somewhere not too far away with places to play outside and explore nature, and some have the added bonus of a castle.  We have a few.  To start with, we are so lucky to have Kelburn Estate on our doorstep.  They've got lots of things going on in the holidays, and there is so much there to do, indoors and out.  Further afield there's similar at Finlaystone, Eglinton (for free) and Dean Park (again, free).  I've also had Balloch Castle Country Park, by Loch Lomond, recommended. Of course, you don't need to head to a particular destination for an active day out.  You can get on your bike and head off for a picnic, or even take the family to cycle around Cumbrae.

Museums etc.  I'm talking about big ones here.  Many museums are free (you hear that, York), and can provide a great day out.  In Edinburgh there's the National Museum of Scotland (free), which is fab, plus lots of other museums and Galleries.  In Glasgow, again, there are loads, but special mentions must go to the Glasgow Science Centre, the Transport Museum (free, but do pay for your parking or you'll get a hefty fine), and The Lighthouse, because it's unusual, and a nice space in the city centre (plus you can do a double whammy with GOMA).

Pigs at the Museum of Rural Life (see my blog post
about it here)
For more outdoorsy museums check out the Museum of Rural Life in East Kilbride or Sumerlee (free) in Coatbridge.  Then there are farm parks.  We don't have many around here, but I've heard that Heads of Ayr is good, and I intend to go there over the holidays.

Castles.  My kids have told me that they're not that interested in castles, which is a shame, because I am.  Here are a few on my list for the holidays: Newark Castle (Historic Scotland, Port Glasgow), Mount Stuart (privately owned), and Rothesay Castle (Historic Scotland), both Isle of Bute; Bothwell Castle (Historic Scotland, nr Glasgow), Dundonald Castle (Historic Scotland), and maybe a biggie like Stirling Castle, Edinburgh Castle or Linlithgow Palace (all Historic Scotland).

Walks further afield
I asked around to see what walks were recommended, and here's what I've got.  I've not checked them out yet.
  • Start at Cardwell Bay garden centre, and walk the path along past Lunderston Bay at Cardwell heading towards Inverkip. Good for a family amble and the beach and rocks are fun.
  • Head over to Arran. Leave the car behind and get the open top bus to Brodick Castle  (National Trust) or walk along the beach path. 
  • Around Ayr there is Belleisle park and Rozelle park in Alloway, Greenan beach, Croy beach and Dunure Castle all three just past Ayr. 

Rainy days.  In the extremely unlikely event that you get a rainy day in a Scottish summer, there are still lots of things to do.  Museums (see above), Soft plays, Swimming, Ice Skating (Scotland has loads of skating rinks), Cinemas, or, and this may well be a popular option after you've been on all the day trips I've suggested above, you could just stay at home!  You could have a PJ day and watch films, or play computer games, or get out the Scrabble (if you don't have a little girl who likes to hide the tiles), but personally, I'm looking forward to popping the mattresses on the stairs and seeing if I still have the courage to slide down!

Phew!  I'm sure we're going to run out of things to do though.

What about you?  What have you got planned?

Other posts you might like:

The book challenge
Words at 20/6/14 - 90,500.  Yay!  I've broken the 90,000 barrier!
51,500 words done since the challenge began! 9,000 this month.
Where I'm at in First Draft - Chapter 20.
What I did last - The heroine at a party.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

hearing ourselves speak

Some people are really good at accents.  I don't think I'm one of them, although I'll give it a go for children's stories.  For some reason my foxes are always cockney, and sheep are often from Birmingham.  What about you?

Andrew Jack is a professional accent and dialogue coach.  He is very good at accents, and you can hear his brief vocal tour of the British Isles in the video here.

I come from Ilkley in Yorkshire.  It's a very nice town, and doesn't have much of an accent, but I did pick up some things, and it seems to me that they've got more pronounced as I've got older.  I cannot stop saying envelope as 'onvelope', which is not just Yorkshire, it's old-fashioned Yorkshire!

I thought that while I might choose to speak with an accent at times (especially if speaking with other people from Yorkshire), I didn't really have an accent the rest of the time.  However, when I lived in Edinburgh, on a work night out a Scottish woman told me she didn't have an accent.  She did.  It made me realise that I did have an accent, just not a very strong one.

It's also a bit mixed up.  My parents are from Lancashire, so I've got some influences from there as well.  I've also lived in a fair few places and picked things up along the way.  Now I've lived in Scotland for a while I've adopted a few words - wee is generally the first one that English people in Scotland pick up, but I now also say weans, and ask where people stay rather than where they live.  I also feel better now about my glottal stops.  I lost them years ago, and would drive my mother mad by not pronouncing my 't's.  Happily Glasgow doesn't do 't's, so my glottal stops fit right in.

Scotland.  Not a bad place to live.

I can sing, but not as well as I used to, and I find it tricky sometimes at my local choir to understand what the words are (sometimes I've had to ask for things to be spelled).  We had an American choir leader once, and he was great, but it was really interesting that he said in Scotland people annunciate more than he's used to.  In my choir they don't annunciate as much as Yorkshire folk!

I don't like the sound of my voice when it's recorded - I sound more hesitant and girly than I think I should.  I ahve a friend with a very girly voice.  It always limits what people expect of her, and she gets to surprise them.  She is very clever.

I used to do Manx Gaelic, so I've not really been able to wrap my head around Scots Gaelic - I can usually translate it adequately if given long enough, but I'm happy enough speaking English.

One thing that drives me crazy is the Scots poetry that all Scottish children have to memorise annually.  I don't have a problem with them doing Scots poetry if it's good, but there's lots of good English poetry, and why not learn that too?  Getting the children to speak Scots is pushed again and again at schools, but I can't see how this will be beneficial in their lives.  I have no objection to my children having Scottish accents, but speaking in Scots will make them less employable and seems like a daft gimmick to me.  There are so many other ways to embrace their Scottish heritage.  For example, my son is studying The Tudors at the moment at school.  Great.  I love the Tudors.  They were a really interesting royal family of England.  But why study an English royal family that did not rule Scotland?  Especially when the Stewarts are just around the corner?  Surely Queen Mary would be much more interesting?  Nothing wrong with studying English history, but I don't think English kids are studying Scots history.  

Rant over.  And apologies if I've annoyed anyone about the poems.

So, what do you sound like?  Also, did you do dialect poems at school?  What are your thoughts on the matter?

Other posts you might like:

The book challenge
Words at 16/6/14 - 89,500.  
50,000 words done since the challenge began! 8,000 this month.
Where I'm at in First Draft - Chapter 20.
What I did last - The hero and heroine arrive at a party.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Happy for 100 days: The last ten days

This is the end, beautiful friend...

That's enough of that isn't it!  I have come to the end of 100 happy days.  Finally!  And yet it seems to have slipped through my fingers and I'm slightly at a loss for what to do without it.

That's not true.  I've got the next thing lined up.  #10grumpydays, to provide a bit of balance, and in the hope that we'll find something to laugh at if we share our grumps.  

If you fancy taking part in #100happydays you can find out more here.  If you fancy joining me for #10grumpydays then take a pic, hashtag it, and post on Instagram or Facebook.  

Here are the last ten days of the 100 day challenge.

Day 91, scooting in lovely Largs.  I love the hardware shop on the left, they're always so incredibly helpful.  When the little girl's bike fell apart in town they fixed it, and charged me 9p for the new part.
Day 92.  Work in the garden continues (still)
Day 93 found us hitting the road to set off for a weekend of family fun.  Yay!
Day 94.  This is our family, with which we had fun.  So good to catch up with everyone, and meet a new girlfriend.  You've got to feel sorry for the poor lass, what a way to meet everyone!  I remember when I met the family - 26 of them in one day.  It's like marrying into the Waltons.
We went for a lovely walk beside the Tweed on day 95.  A beautiful day and a gorgeous spot.  So spoilt to be in Scotland in the summertime.
Back home and on day 96 the big girl reached the end of Rainbows.  She's absolutely loved it, and is really excited about being a Brownie after the summer holiday.  I'm a very proud Mum.
Day 97 found the little girl not well.  She's still not fully recovered from the nasty cold with a temperature, but I was very relieved to find that there was a reason for her truly horrible behaviour the day before.  I also think it's funny that she's climbed into my bed to sleep and positioned herself in the centre of the bed.  Thanks then.
While she was ill the little girl felt quite well in the mornings, and then got progressively worse, sleeping for a big chunk of the afternoon.  So I tried to take her out in the mornings for some leisurely fresh air.  On day 98 we explored the secret forest.
On day 99 we started the planting in the garden.  Many thanks to Granny for donating plants.
And finally, day 100 was pretty tough - everyone was tired and grouchy, and it was rainy.  The big girl came up with a design for a loom band and then set me to work making it while she got on with her car park designs (seriously NCP could learn a thing or two).  I was half way through doing it before I realised she'd given it me as therapy!
If you'd like more of my photos of happy moments, then check out days 1-1011-20 21-3031-4041-5051-6061-70, 71-80 and 81-90.  

The book challenge
Words at 7/6/14 - 85,000.  
45,500 words done since the challenge began, 11,500 last month.
Where I'm at in First Draft - Chapter 20.
What I did last - Killed the love triangle mwa ha ha.