Jamboree dreaming


Ollie has returned from 10 days of heaven on earth.  What an amazing time he has had at NZ’s 20th Jamboree, luckily for us just in the next town.




The “Palmy Panthers” had a great camp set up when we visited for a day.



The entrance to their camp was really rustic.  There were some incredible gateways to been seen wandering around.  I liked their homemade, lashed gate with turnstile.




There was such a lovely laid back vibe about the camp, so much fun, so much comraderie, wild activites plus down time and badge swapping galore for Ollie!


IMG_4532Nearly 4000 scouts setting a world record for the most people wearing paper hats at one time!



They had the huge staduim that they used each evening for  events – party at New Years, circus, movie, opening ceremony etc.



IMG_4538Followed by a massive water fight with coloured water and fire engines!

Ollie has self diagnosed PJD – post Jamboree depression and has spent the last few days organising and now sewing badges on to his campfire blanket – he has 164!





He has returned walking taller and seems older somehow.  Here is a cool Australia shirt he swapped with one of his many new friends.  Ollie was just on a high the whole time, he really was.

Scouts is such a big passion for Ollie. I really loved to see him just buzzing, being a great leader, making friends and living like family with a huge bunch of like minded teens for ten days.  It was such a dream he really did not want it to end.  I totally understand that feeling.

Next stop World Jamboree, Japan 2015….




A decade date


One of the things we do with our kids is when they turn ten years old they choose a date with both of us.  Then at 13 yrs it is a weekend away, just mum, dad and them, their choice of destination/activity…

So as Charlie turns 10 this weekend (!!) we have been organised and been out already, with Ollie away at Jamboree it seemed like  a good time…

We have had one part of the date…that is a movie….



Then dinner out…



There is also a part that involves a dog, the beach and a sunset…just waiting fot the weather gods to work with us on this and some dog training…

Amazing that my youngest is in double figures. What a ten years, and now he is all growing up.

Market day magic….


Here is Charlie living his dream!

Yes, the favourite day of the year when he gets to have a shop and work hard in it!


This annual event with our homeschool group has become epic for Charlie.  This year he had lemonade, popcorn, three raffles and a  lucky dip!  Amazingly (as the currency was 10c) he made $40!!

There was also a cake competition, enter by both the boys.  Ollie with a chocolate cake, decorated with lavender blooms….IMG_4361




Charlie’s banana cake won first prize!


There were so many gorgeous, handmade and creative things to buy and sample.  The kids had really pulled out all the stops.


Plants, garden ornaments, biscuits, hair ties, seeds, target  practice, toys, cards, body art, nail painting….


Raffles being drawn caused great excitement!


We also have a shared lunch and a huge clothes swap.  IMG_4376


We are so lucky  to have such a close knot group of like minded friends to spent days like this with.
Creating our own mini community while the kids create their own economy and have a ball doing it….

natural learning milestones


Our life seems so normal, so natural.  I have no inclination to label us or it.  I feel as though questions about how our children learn like this are as if someone is asking us how we eat or breathe.

Just unnesscesary.
We just are.

But I remember the  uncertainty when we began.  I do.  The fear that our children would be “left behind” somehow, not know what others their age knew.
I have realised now how there is a whole set of unwritten milestones in our culture for children.

Sleeping through the night, being weaned, learning to talk, walk, ride a bike, swim, read, write….From birth there is, at times,  a competitiveness about keeping up with the pack.

Now I feel such a freedom from not even being in the pack let alone trying to live by it’s code of conduct..

Realising too that our children will set their own pace, reach their own milestones when they are ready. Most parents can cope with a baby not sitting or walking until months after it’s peers, so why not reading  at 4yrs or at 9yrs instead of 5?

I have seen children learn so easily and naturally when they are ready – be it 4 years or 14.
I just relish  seeing how happy children are in themselves and with their lives when they are left to do things at their own pace.
There is plenty said in spiritual literature about going with the flow, not resisting life.  I have felt strongly that from birth my kids knew what they needed and all I had to do was to meet their needs and help them when required. 

And still it goes on.  There is no difference to a 2 year old saying they do not want to wear something/eat something/ do something to a 12 year old knowing their own mind about what they need to do.

Going with the flow, with their flow, the path of least resistance  is always the happier route and naturally the best one to take.
There is still a lingering philosophy in our culture that life is hard, a struggle, nothing is acheived without pain, hard work, sacrifice…

Thankfully the emerging philosophy of many is that life is a joy.
Life should be fun.
That life should be filled doing the things that light your fire, your passions, the things that make you zing.

This is the very basis of what we do.
How do you teach your children to follow their bliss….?  Let them follow it from birth!  Then they don’t have to spend their adult lives trying to find out who they are, what they enjoy and what makes them tick.
The milestones are there still, but they are set by the kids themselves, not imposed by an outside authority.

So here we are following our bliss….at 10.30pm! The boys hard out wrestling for 2 hours, gloves on, martial arts moves discussed and practised.


Wayne playing the guitar while the boys roll around, dicussions of evolution interspersed with full on fighting…..



Gotta love the fact we don’t have to get up and make school lunches at 7am…
(ooops ,sorry Wayne!)

A gift from a lawn liberator

A gift from a lawn liberator

I love the gifts that arrive in my life.

We won a fruit tree in a raffle!
The woman who was delivering it made a time to come and plant it.  I thought that seemed like a lot of work, but she said that is what she does.  So last week Vanessa turned up with mulch, compost, companion plants, newspaper and a Cox’s Orange apple tree.

I really enjoyed chatting to her as she liberated a patch of our lawn for our prize.  As a busy owner of a garden centre, mother and initiator of a transition town Vanessa decided last year that she would like to donate 30 fruit trees each year.  It is very simple, you just need to ask and she will come and plant it.  (She is based in Taihape, NZ, so within reason!!)
She has an inspiring vision, a sort of spread-out community garden.  She knows that each year she is planting future food sources around the community.  Plus the tree, 30 people (this year) have had the benefit of Vanessa’s knowledge and gardening wisdom.  So in this way her acts of kindness aren’t random. They are well placed, well intentioned and go  a long way to ensure a future of food production and even act as an introduction to gardening.


Our newly planted apple tree.  Thick wet newspaper was put down first, then thick barley straw, tucked around 5 different herbs that will spread out.
I have since surrounded the mini garden with bricks.

IMG_4271Each tree Vanessa plants has its own painted stone identifying it.
Trees for Homes is the  wonderful movement she has begun and you can find her at
GREENHAUS.CO.NZ   and  treesforhomes.org.nz

Vanessa calls herself a “Lawn Liberator” and has inspired me to finally mulch around my other apple trees.  I have surrounded them with borage, calendulas, comfrey, nasturtiums and other bits from my garden.  They are mulched heavily and have a new border which affords them the importance they deserve in the garden…….


My two apple trees in the front garden, with their new companion flower bed, the outdoor bath behind and fire circle on the left….

Thank you!

Living the dream


It has been interesting coming home and settling back in to normal life again.  I have been through several different phases.  The best thing has been the perspective it has brought me.
And guess what?  I am living the dream!

You know how sometimes in life it is good to look around and realise that you have everything you have wished for?  Life can be such a revelation when that happens.  I remember years ago as a young teacher doing this.  One day I suddenly realised that I was –

– teaching
– living by the beach in a cottage
-playing Irish music in a band
– very happy doing what I was doing

The very things I had been dreaming about and wishing for!
So it is good to take stock, look around and check out your life sometimes.

Having been home  7 weeks now I am really appreciating all the good things in my life.  I truly live a blessed life and am so very grateful for it.

One of the biggest insights I have had is about my work.
I have been teaching music, at home,  for 5 years now.  It has always just been a part of our weekly rhythm.  Suddenly, this term, I have been innundated with students, old and new and my two teaching days are pretty full.  WOW!!

I realise how fantastic this is.  I work at home, my kids can just be here doing their own things, I am  doing something I love doing and am good at (teaching &  playing music), it is flexible, fun, I get paid in cash each week, every student is a friend and I have  a relationship with each of them.  I get so much satisfaction working one on one, developing a programme to meet their needs and seeing their progress each week.
I have remembered how much I love teaching and surely private tution is the very best.

What a blessing!



Here is Charlie in the music room – our gorgeous red, instrument-filled room I teach in.  This night Charlie and I were boogying away to Old Crow Medicine show, using ribbons on sticks for extra effect!
“Music gives a soul to the universe,
wings to the mind,
flight to the imagination,
and life to everything.”
~ Plato ~