Friday, 26 December 2008

Happy Christmas

The top picture shows Julia in her spotty skirt and waistcoat- both made by me!
Then you can see Lydia and her ukele- a christmas present.
Then the four of us on Christmas Eve before going to bed!
Phil is still not quite well but we have had a lovely time so far- although we haven't played Classical Top Trumps yet! But I'm sure we will!!!

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Ready for Christmas!

This is our Christmas tree,rather taller than we've had before!
I marzipanned the cake this morning and will ice it later today or tomorrow( should have done this last week!)
I finished sewing Julia's spotty skirt ready to wear on Christmas day, now I can make the curtains for Phoebus and start knitting Phil's jumper.
Phil is in bed with flu-it must be bad for him to not get up, poor thing. I'm off to Sainsburys in a mo to get last bits of food.
Looking forward to Thursday.
Happy Christmas to you all.

Joy has dawned upon the world,
Promised from creation—
God's salvation now unfurled,
Hope for ev'ry nation.
Not with fanfares from above,
Not with scenes of glory,
But a humble gift of love—
Jesus born of Mary.

Sounds of wonder fill the sky
With the songs of angels
As the mighty Prince of Life
Shelters in a stable.
Hands that set each star in place,
Shaped the earth in darkness,
Cling now to a mother's breast,
Vuln'rable and helpless.

Shepherds bow before the Lamb,
Gazing at the glory;
Gifts of men from distant lands
Prophesy the story.
Gold—a King is born today,
Incense—God is with us,
Myrrh—His death will make a way,
And by His blood He'll win us.

Son of Adam, Son of heaven,
Given as a ransom;
Reconciling God and man,
Christ, our mighty champion!
What a Savior! What a Friend!
What a glorious myst'ry!
Once a babe in Bethlehem,
Now the Lord of hist'ry.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Here is a picture of my lovely man on the beach at Bantham, overlooking Burgh Island.
This was our first outing in Phoebus and the first time we cooked!
On the way home we bought a Christmas tree that turned out to be way too big for our lounge! It doesn't look too bad now we have trimmed it a bit, and moved the furniture around.
This is our last week of school before the Christmas festivities. Just the four of us this year, I don't think that has happened before, but Hannah is working up until Christmas Eve and Daniel will be moving away from Portsmouth in February, so is spending the holiday with Crystal, but at least they will be in the same town this year.

Thursday, 11 December 2008


I am sitting at the computer next to Julia's desk where she is doing maths. Maths is a bit of an issue with Julia and she has moved from leaving it till last in her schedule to wanting to do it first to get it out of the way!Having said that I think the only problem is in her head, and once she concentrates is perfectly able!
She has settled into quite a nice programme of study and the only change I am making for the new year is her history book. I want to whizz through British history this year as I am keen to study Australia before we get stuck in exam work(in a few years time I know).
Lydia continues with History,Biology,English Literature and Music history/theory with Phil.She is still considering her future and we wait for an appropriate time to discuss it with her!!

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Trip to Portsmouth

We have just returned from a lovely weekend in Portsmouth.
We travelled up on Friday in our newly converted Phoebus- very comfy!
Phil attended a retirement lunch whilst the girls and I shopped and waited for Hannah to get off work. We then lost Lydia to her St.Edmunds friends and helped Hannah with Tesco shopping. That evening Daniel and Crystal came to tea,it was lovely to be all together.
Saturday saw us visiting friends,seeing Daniel, more shopping and a lovely Thanksgiving Dinner with our friends in Chichester-Ian and Cindy.
Sunday we were at Eastney and Becky and Abigail came to lunch- well done Hannah on a delicious roast.
Monday took Phil and Lydia to the School of Music for a visit.Then back to Dartmouth!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Carrying the flag.

This sunday saw Julia participating in the Remembrance Sunday parade, continuing a family tradition amongst the girls of carrying the standard. She discovered that it is quite heavy!

We have heaved a collective sigh of relief as Lydia has now finished this year's exams!! Hooray! She needs to knuckle down and get on with the other three, ready for next year.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Shame on me!

Haven't posted for a while-half term has come and gone,Lydia only has two more exams to go(maths...aarrgh!), progress is being made on Phoebus,the wall is completed,
Lydia and I had a nightmare trip to Bristol on thursday for her second english paper- cancelled trains, caoches and a delayed start to the exam...we were very glad to get home.
We had a light party at church on friday which was enjoyed by all who attended, mostly church kids but three from Top of The Town club.
I took photos of Hannah and Dan's bikes while we were there for the wedding and have been meaning to post a picture for you to see, they are so cool!

Monday, 27 October 2008

Daniel's visit

It was lovely to have a visit from Daniel and catch up with his plans and his canoeing achievements!After a couple of pool sessions with the PCC he can now roll!
He has had a couple of job offers, but is still waiting for his interview at Haven Banks, this will mean living apart from Crystal for a time and also having no income while on the course:both considerable challenges!
It was his 24Th birthday on Sunday!Hope he had a good one!

Friday, 10 October 2008

More of the same

Things are plodding on pretty much the same. Lydia's exams draw ever closer and the wall gets ever higher( well not really!)-they are now working on the second row of baskets and Phil is helping with the manual labour- he is not very good at sitting and watching people work!
Julia is back to her usual round of activities, although I'm not sure that the Saturday morning drama is quite the success I hoped it would be,I am trying to encourage her to branch out and make direct contact with friends herself.
Daniel is coming down next Sunday for a few days and the train he catches back to Portsmouth on Wednesday is the same one that Phil and Lydia take to Bristol, we have been very kindly loaned a car for next week so getting to the station won't be such a problem.
Phil met the editors of 'By the Dart'( a local magazine) on the yacht taxi the other day, they asked what he did when not driving the taxi- so expect a piece about 'Phil the Composer' soon!You can't escape fame!

Thursday, 2 October 2008


This is the month when Lydia has her first IGCSE and 'O' level exams. The exam centre is in Bristol and as we are without the van(at Calypso Campers being converted) that presents a few challenges. She has done well in the english and maths mocks- we have yet to attempt an RE one yet!But I'm sure she will do okay.
In a couple of weeks Daniel is coming to visit,(he has an interview for a training course at Haven Banks in November- something we are praying about).
If you read Phil's blog you will know about the wall! Suffice to say that work continues and once finished will give us a good reason to redsign the lower part of our garden- Phil wants room for a new,larger shed to house his boat-building project!

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

More Wedding Pictures.

Here is the cake, complete with Lego Princess Leia and Hans Solo!

Mr and Mrs Durdin!!

This is the happy couple,best men,bridesmaids and both sets of parents.

Hannah's bouquet was red roses with pearls in the centre of each rose.

Monday, 22 September 2008

My daughter-the bride!

Here she is, just waiting to go into the church(many thanks to Becky for the photo-I was already sitting down inside).It was a lovely day, both the service and the reception exceeded our expectations.The sun shone and the food was great! more photod to follow.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Wedding Preparations

As I write this post my feet are feeling very soft and smooth with the nails painted- Julia decided that she wanted to give me a pedicure before I left to travel up to Portsmouth. I am spending the week with Hannah, to help in the final preparations for her and Dan's big day next Saturday. Phil and the girls will join us on Thursday, in plenty of time to help decorate the marquee.
We can't believe that the wedding is nearly here! Phil has just bought me a new camera- so once I return to blogging after the wedding there will be lots of photos to share!

Monday, 8 September 2008

Quote from C.S.Lewis

We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

C. S. Lewis

Phil and I are using a book of excerpts from C.S.Lewis for our bedtime devotional reading.
I saw this quote on another blog and wanted to make a note of it.


Now I know that I shouldn't call it school, but it is difficult to know what else to call it without sounding pretentious!
What I mean is that academic work has resumed. Lydia is revising for exams in October and November, as well as continuing the subjects for exams next year.Julia has picked up where we left off, but hopefully with more focus.She got a bit too laid back before we stopped for summer. Guides starts again this week and hopefully gymnastics.We have signed Julia up for a drama course which starts this Saturday- it will keep her busy while Phil and Lydia are at orchestra.

Julia's prize

At Regatta Julia was part of one of the teams of Guides who took part in the rowing. Considering that most of them had done very little rowing until about 3 weeks before the event they all did very well!
The plan next year is to get them rowing much earlier in the year. As it was the Guides beat the Scouts- so it can't be bad!

Saturday, 30 August 2008

New Bookshelves

In an effort to make our music room/study/school room more inviting Phil has built some shelves to house all the school books and to make space for an easy chair( when our Ebay settee arrives!). It also means that I have had a sort through our book shelves(yet again), and found a new home for the DVDs.I have been reading quite a lot and making plans for the new school year.
We have Hanah home at the moment and Lydia's friend Molly staying. When I get photos I will post more.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

All Home Again

On Saturday amidst driving wind and rain we drove to the CYC site and collected Lydia and Julia, we hung around to help pack things up, and were very glad to have only a 10 minute drive home rather than 4 or more hours back to Portsmouth!
They had a great time despite the wet weather, and brought home a large pile of dirty washing.We are now back into some kind of holiday routine- revolving around Phil working, Lydia revising(reluctantly!),Julia rowing( getting ready for Regatta) and the Olympics.We are all going to see 'Mamma Mia' on Thursday and have a TOTT trip on Friday to Decoy Country Park.
Hannah will be down for Regatta weekend and Lydia's friend Molly is coming to stay for a few days.

Friday, 8 August 2008


While the girls have been at camp Phil and I took the opportunity to visit Daniel and Hannah in Portsmouth. Phil took Daniel out in the kayak and we all had dinner together at Hannah and Dan D's flat. Lovely to see Han and Dan, and Daniel and Crystal.
We also caught up with friends at Eastney and had the pleasure of staying with Jonathan and Becky.
We left Portsmouth on Tuesday and drove to Folkestone where we had a very pleasant afternoon/evening and stayed in a B&B.
Wednesday morning saw us in Deal for a very sad occasion- the funeral of John Kelly, a friend and colleague of Phil's. He was taken ill and died very suddenly from a rare brain illness.He was only 46 and has children of a similar age to Daniel and Hannah
Our thoughts and prayers are with Wendy,Sam and Jade.

Oh Dear!

I have just realised that it is rather a long time since I last blogged. Phil is putting me to shame, but my excuse is that he has a camera and I don't(yet!). I have been promised one for Christmas/ my birthday and am looking forward to entering the world of digital photography.We said farewell to Richard and Sam on the 30th July and then kicked into 'packing for camp' mode! We deposited Lydia and Julia at CYC on 2nd August. I'm sure they will have had a great time even if the weather has been a bit dodgy.We go to pick them up tomorrow, and Phil has volunteered to help pack things up, as they have to be off the site by 12 noon. I just hope the girls don't lose anything- Lydia has come home minus items in previous years.

Sunday, 27 July 2008


On our way back from Hannah's graduation we called in to Calypso Campers to talk to them about converting our van into a camper.
They had examples of their work in the workshops so we could see what they did and we were able to discuss layout options with John, the owner.
Suffice to say it will cost more than we originally thought! But we have now paid a deposit and booked the van in for the work to be done after Hannah and Dan's wedding.
It will be great to have the work done and to be able to camp in the van properly.
We were asked what the van was called- when we tentatively said 'Buttercup' we were told that a T4 is a masculine kind of van. So we have decided on 'Phoebus'.Not sure that everyone likes it but I think we'll get used to it! The name came to mind because of a quotation from 'Romeo and Juliet'
Gallop apace, you fiery-footed steeds,
Towards Phoebus' lodging: such a wagoner
As Phaƫthon would whip you to the west,
And bring in cloudy night immediately.

(Phoebus had a fiery chariot which his son Phaeton borrowed with disastrous results!)

Lovely weather!

The sun has been shining down on us for the last few days. Not sure that it will last until the Guides' fundraiser in the Avenue Gardens on Tuesday! Lyn R. and I are helping at lunchtime whie Julia and Naomi do their stint.
Friday saw us at the Flavel with a few of the Top of The Town kids to watch Prince Caspian- very enjoyable, although not sure about the kiss at the end!!!
Both Lydia and Julia took advantage of half price tickets and went to Billy Smart's Circus which was visiting Dartmouth.
Talking of visits- I am writing this as I await Phil and Julia's return from Totnes with our friends Richard and Sam.We met them in the Philippines when we had a day at the Bee Farm while figuring out what to do next. They live in North Dakota. If we make our epic trip to the US next year we might go and visit them.
Next year sounds like a good time to visit Mum and take in some US history- if Lydia goes off to do A levels we will have a couple of years of restrictions on our holiday timings. We will have to wait and see- the van conversion is going to cost more than we thought, so we might not have enough money for a trip next year.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Our daughter the graduate!

We drove up to Portsmouth on the 16th July to attend Hannah's graduation ceremony.
It was a lovely sunny day and we felt very proud!
We went out for a curry in the evening with Hannah and Dan,and Jonathan and Becky.
We also saw Hannah and Dan's flat which is very nice. Dan is living there at the moment and Hannah is lodging with Helen Marshall, but they will both be there once they are married- with the rats Emily and Poppy!

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Back Home!

We had a lovely week in the Lake District- which was true to form, and very wet!!
Saying that we had two lovely dry walks, Walla Crag and Castle Crag.
I discovered that my boots were too small and so we spent a lot of time in Cotswold Camping and ended up with a new pair of boots. I am also the proud owner of a new daysack, all ready for our next expedition. Although I have still got to try out the boots in the house before deciding whether to keep them for good.
While at the campsite I picked up my new kayak- a bit more of a challenge than the ones I am used to, but very comfortable.
We had a great weekend with Phil's Mum in her new house. We had tea with Hazel- and saw Ben (the pilot), Katy and her children called in on Sunday afternoon- next time we see all these folks will be at Hannah and Dan's wedding.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Phil's blog

Phil now has a blog! Watsonatsea will no longer be updated so Phil is going to blog instead!
He will probably have more photos than me- until I get my camera!!


Tony was back in church on sunday and looks to be making a good recovery from his operation- thanks be to God!

Getting ready for holiday!

We are off on saturday to the Lake District, taking the canoes with us. My new canoe should be waiting for us at the campsite1 I'm looking forward to trying it out.
We had a trip to Plymouth a couple of weeks ago and bought new spray decks etc.
Phil and I took Julia out for a paddle at Dittisham yesterday- Phil forgot his camera
so no pictures! I have made a request for my own camera for Christmas! That way I can put more pictures on the blog.
Hannah and Dan D. have found a flat on the seafront at Southsea, Dan hopes to move in quite soon but Hannah will stay with Helen Marshall until the wedding.
The sun is shining and it is quite hard to focus on academic stuff!Lydia has nearly finished Maths and RE- once we get back from camping she can get stuck into revision.
I have lots of ideas for Julia , hopefully will put them into practice come September.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Told off!

Well, not really told off!! It is just that Hannah commented, when she rang tonight, that I haven't blogged for a while!
We seem to have had quite a busy week.Julia and I went to town Monday p.m. and had to rush back for Christian dance club! After thinking that CYC was off, Phil had an email from Elaine to say that the girls can go after all! Huge sighs of relief and many grateful prayers of thanks all round! Forms and deposits have been posted, nothing to do but look forward to camp!!
Well not quite nothing- Lydia still has to finish her maths text book! Then she can revise and do the mock exam when we get back from the Lake District.
Tuesday was another busy day- Phil and I went for coffee on a yacht upriver and only just got back in time for more Christian Dance!
Wednesday saw me helping at Guides and today I visited Lidl!! Can't wait for Sainsburys to open.
Hannah will soon be moving into Helen's house- first she and the boys have to clean the student house! They had better do a good job or they won't get their deposit back! Hannah and Dan have lined up some flats to look at- all very exciting.( Sorry Hannah- some of this isn't news to you!!!)
Tony and Lyn have gone to St. George's hospital in London for Tony to have his heart operation- if it all goes to plan he should be back home on Saturday.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Take the Test!!!


As a 1930s wife, I am

Take the test!


Here are the details of a competition to win a free language course ( worth £145). The details are as follows:So, the question is…….is there anyone out there who’d be interested in winning a one year, level one language course in one of 14 languages??? (They actually do programs in 31 languages, but only 14 are available yet in version 3)

Here is a bit more about the program in case you aren’t familiar with it.

‘In case you've not heard, Rosetta Stone has just launched the first 14 languages of its new Homeschool foreign language curriculum in the UK. The new curriculum is available in three levels for each of the 14 languages released. This is not just the same Rosetta Stone program redone, it's an all new curriculum. Rosetta Stone Homeschool Version 3 includes a headset with microphone, and students must participate in lifelike conversations and actually produce language to advance through the program. Of course Rosetta Stone still incorporates listening, reading and writing as well in addition to speaking. Many homeschoolers requested grammar and vocabulary exercises, and with Rosetta Stone Homeschool Version 3, they're included! For parents, the new Parent Administrative Tools are integrated into the program and allow parents to easily enroll students in any of 12 predetermined lesson plans, monitor student progress, and view and print reports. Rosetta Stone has been the #1 foreign language curriculum among homeschoolers, and it doesn't look like that's going to change any time soon.’
You can also check out the Rosetta Stone website at to read all about the program and to see the full list of languages available. To mention a few though, you can get a course in Irish, or if you are interested in a course in English you can choose if you want ‘American’ or ‘British’ English! LOL! Maybe I should get the course in British English! Also the traditional languages studied in schools like French, German and Spanish.
This course usually costs £145, but to the winner of my contest a level one course in the language of their choice will be absolutely *FREE*! (And you all know how much I love that word!)
So, what do you have to do to have a chance of winning the fabulously amazing prize? First of all you have to leave me a comment on this post(, and just to make it more fun tell me what languages you have studied or can speak (or not as the case may be!) Be sure to include your blog address where you can be reached or if you don’t have a blog, an email address so I can notify you if you are the winner! AND if you enter and leave an email address and you don’t win you will receive a special offer from Rosetta Stone! How cool is that? So everyone who enters and leaves an email addy wins!! Whoo Hoo!!
You can double your chances of winning the full program and get two entries to the contest if you leave me a comment AND copy all of the highlighted (green) information and post it to your own blog, then post a link back to my blog at ( to show where you blogged about it and to complete your entry.The contest will close at midnight on the 28th of June. The winner will be chosen at random (out of a hat!) on Sunday the 29th. Hurry up and enter everyone and be sure to spread the word!
I'm not sure if that is more than I needed to copy, but ,hey! I'd quite like the chance to win and this way I get two shots!
Deedee's blog is
I enjoy reading it, she also does a homeschool one for the UK.
I had the pleasure of meeting her at the Home Service conference in Bath.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook

This is where the day book comes from

Outside my window....the sun is shining and the breeze is blowing.

I am thinking...about Daniel.

I am thankful for ....the love of God

From the kitchen....home made bread for lunch.

I am creating... a summer skirt from fabric from Malaysia.

I am search for books for next years studies.

I am wearing....a pink t-shirt and crinkle skirt.

I am reading...'Real Learning' and Charlotte mason summaries.

I am get camp sorted soon.

I am hearing...Julia singing.

Around the house... I have washed the kitchen floor, I need to do the bathroom floor!

One of my favourite things...reading blogs.

A few plans for the rest of the week.... prepare for Sunday school( it is my turn this week), finish the skirt and my knitted muffin.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you.... the chapel where my brother was married.

Friday, 13 June 2008

A,B,C, easy as 1,2,3

Saw this on another blog, and thought I would join in!
A is for age..
next year is the big 5 0!
B is for burger of choice..
Not sure about this one, but it won't come from MacDonalds!
C is for what kind of car you drive..
Yellow VW T5 van- soon to be converted into a camper.
D is for your dog's name..
Don't have one!
E is for the essential item you use everyday...
Hum, Bible, Computer, Cooker!!
F is for favourite TV show at the moment..
Was The Apprentice but now is Location,Location,Location.
G is for favourite game..
Sunga, or Othello.
H is for home state..
Born in Kent, but now in Devon.
I is for instruments you play..
Have tried violin,piano,guitar, recorder and now I have an AutoHarp.
J is for favourite juice...
K is for whose butt you'd like to kick..
My own!
L is for the last restaurant you ate at..
Royal Selangor Yacht Club, Port Klang, Malaysia.
M is for your favourite muppet..
Animal, Swedish Chef.
N is for number of piercings..
O is for overnight hospital stays..
Four babies and numerous stays for my prolactinoma treatment.
P is for people you were with today..
My husband and daughters.
Q is for what you do with your quiet time...
Read my Bible, surf the net, sew.
R is for your biggest regret...
Not doing things differently when Daniel was in Sixth Form.
S is for status
Married- nearly 30 years.
T is for the time you woke up today...
Not sure, about 6.55 am I think.Phil forgot to press snooze!
U is for what you consider unique..
My children!
V is for vegetable you love..
W is for worst habit...
Not finishing one thing at a time, easily distracted.
X is for x-rays you've had...
Y is for yummy food you ate today...
Home made pizza.
Z is for zodiac sign...
Aquarius( not that I go in for this sort of stuff).

There we are,these things are good fun!

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

The sun is shining!

Yesterday afternoon found us aboard Jireh, making for Newfoundland Cove, just outside the river. Lydia and Julia took it in turns to be at the helm on the way down the river. Once we got there we all donned swimming costumes. We had the beach to ourselves .Phil, Lydia and Julia all swam in a slightly chilly sea! But I stayed dry! Julia and Lydia then had a go rowing the dinghy once we had returned to the mooring.
Today is sunny again and we are off to Torquay to sort out the mortgage( yes, the Pumpkin money has arrived!) and do a bit of shopping.
Julia is making muffins for lunch and Lydia is nagging for a go on the Nintendo- Julia now has Cooking Mama 2 ! I think Julia's efforts with real food will be appreciated more!
Lydia's IGCSE work is keeping on track, won't be long until November and some of them will be over and done with-hurray.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008


I have been on a bit of a book buying/borrowing spree! From the library I got 'The Golden Notebook' by Doris Lessing, but have abandoned it in favour of 'Rhett Butler's People' a novel about Rhett Butler and the events of 'Gone with the Wind' from his point of view. I thought it would be good background for when Julia and I reach slavery and the civil war in our American history.
I am waiting for 'Real Learning' by Elizabeth Foss but the 'Charlotte Mason Summaries' have arrived. I haven't started them yet as I am still reading 'Shepherding your child's heart' by Ted Tripp( bought from the home ed bring and buy site).
I probably have enough to keep me going for a while!

Back on track!

After a very wet week , a visit from Phil's sister, a trip to Bath for the Home Sevice day conference, Hannah's 21st birthday and the safe return of Lydia, we are back to some kind of normality(I hope)!
Lydia spent half term in Portsmouth with Hannah and shared her birthday celebrations. She also caught up with old friends.
Julia had a sleepover with Naomi and helped me entertain her Auntie, we even had a trip round the harbour courtesy of Phil.
Julia and I took the train to Bath and really enjoyed the conference, although in different ways! Julia made friends to play with and I always appreciate meeting other home-eders and hearing from them- particularly those who have been on the road a lot longer than us. i even met a lady whose blog I read, you see bloggers are real people!

Monday, 26 May 2008

Bank Holiday Wetness!

I was surprised to see that I haven't written for a week!
Phil complained that I haven't talked about him and his river officer/water taxi work. He is really enjoying being paid to drive around in a boat a few times a week, and doesn't mind being back in uniform at all- Dart Harbour uniform!
Lots has happened recently and I think each one needs a separate post really. We have just got back from a weekend trip to Margate for my brother's wedding, when we get the pictures I will post them. It was really nice to see most of the family there and the sun shone for all of the wedding despite raining the rest of the time!
An outbreak of Ebay-ing has resulted in an oboe for Phil and an Easky 15 for me (complete with new paddle), a set of double ended knitting needles and a personal trimmer for scrapbooking!
I also now have my outfit for Hannah's wedding- all very exciting!

Monday, 19 May 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook

My daybook entry has been posted with the date that I saved the template rather than today's date! If you want to know more take a look at
I discovered this blog by followin a link from some one else's blog and I love the idea.
I have't quite worked out the permalink buisness, but I'm sure I will.
On a sadder note Crystal( Daniel's girlfriend) lost her father last monday- she and her family are in our thoughts and prayers.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Home education

I said that I was going to try and write a bit about our educational efforts!
I find there is plenty of inspirational stuff on the net about home-ed and lots of books to read.
Charlotte Mason describes education as 'an atmosphere,a discipline,a life'. Having left school behind us it requires a real change of mental attitude to resist recreating school in our home!
Unfortunately Lydia's education seems to consist mostly of working towards her GCSEs but being at home means plenty of time for music-singing,clarinet and theory. Having Phil around is very useful on the maths and music front! Starting home education so late in her school life means that there are lots of things that I would have liked to do with her had we started when she was younger. Julia will benefit from our experience with Lydia and I really want her to develop her own interests and pursue them as she gets older. Julia and I have been reading some American history books, and will move on to Australia later, before returning to English history. Julia and Lydia are doing a bit of Latin,when those books are completed, and Lydia has some of her exams out of the way, Lydia and I will do some more in-depth study.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Simple Woman's daybook

FOR TODAY 19/5/2008
Outside My Window... The sun is shining.
I am thinking... about Daniel and Crystal
I am thankful for... the chance to talk to him.
From the kitchen... I can see Shelia busy in her garden.
I am wearing... blue skirt and stripy top.
I am creating... aprons and skirts.
I am going... out in the garden to enjoy the sun.
I am reading... Homeward Bound.
I am hoping... that the weather stays nice for Philip and Syanne's wedding.
I am hearing... Clarinet practice!
Around the house... I feel the urge to rearrange- but not yet.
One of my favorite things... spending time outside.
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: get Lydia to finish her assignments before the holiday. Pack for camping.
Here is picture thought I am sharing...Phil and Daniel on Pumpkin.

Christian Aid Week 2008

Christian Aid Week 2008

Christian Aid Week

This week is Christian Aid week. We are off to the church coffee morning in a bit- the proceeds will go to Christian Aid.

On Saturday Julia and I took part in a sponsored walk in aid of Christian Aid. Four and a half miles through beautiful woodland in lovely weather- a real pleasure.

I have tried to add a link from Christian Aid but not sure if it has worked!!
It has! Just click on the above post!

Friday, 9 May 2008

South Pacific

Wednesday saw us in Torquay for the matinee performance of South Pacific! All part of our education! We were a bit surprised by the length of the show but managed to get back to Dartmouth in time for Guides.
Have been inspired by the warm weather and the garden to get some tomato plants, runner beans,a courgette plant and some 'cut and come again' lettuce. If I can remember to water and feed them we should enjoy the produce, it might also encourage the girls to be outside more. Maybe we will get a gazebo and a new picnic table to work outside on!?!

Sunday, 4 May 2008


Having mentioned Phil's birthday painting I thought I had better show you all the framed result!
I should maybe explain that 'Jireh' is a Drascombe lugger ( the second that we have owned- we sold the first to buy a settee!!). Before we ever bought the first lugger someone introduced Phil to the books of Ken Duxbury who(with his wife) took a lugger to Greece, sailed around the Greek islands and then back to England via the canals of France. He also sailed around the Isles of Scilly and some Scottish islands. All this appealed greatly to Phil, so the chance to have a painting of our lugger by Ken Duxbury himself was not to be missed! The painting shows her sailing out of the river Dart past Dartmouth castle.
If we can get a mooring 'Jireh' will soon be on the Dart ready to re-live the painting.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

School or rather the lack of it!

It will soon be two years since we took the girls out of school! Moving house and planning to live on a boat gave a perfect opportunity to move out of the world of school. I can honestly say that I wouldn't want to go back, despite the huge adjustments needed.
I want to try and say a bit more about our educational endeavours in future posts.
Julia and I are going to the Home Service ay conference in Bath at the end of May, I am looking forward to a day out and a chance to meet some fellow home-eders.

A Busy Week

We have come to end of quite a busy week. Phil had a meeting at church on Tuesday, then we had the AGM on Wednesday! Phil is now a deacon, once again, with two others.He is pleased that the church now has a proper leadership team.Phil had more river training on Thursday then did a stint as River Officer on Friday to cover for sickness. Saturday saw him supposedly walking to Brixham with a friend- but I had to go and pick them up brfore they got there!
Julia has been trying out the small bedroom(she wanted a change) but has now been persuaded to stay in her old room after some remodelling! Phil is going to remove one of the beds, build a new bookcase and repaint. I'll post a picture of the finished room, once it is done!
Phil had to step in for the morning service at short notice- he did a family service with dance, puppets and sword drill! He is also taking the evening service. All in all, a busy week and weekend; perhaps this coming week will be a bit quieter!

Saturday, 19 April 2008

More new things!

One of the fun things about reading other peoples' blogs is finding all the little additions that are available! So I now have a clock and a Bible verse on my blog.
I also revisited Elisabeth Elliot's website and found the following, which seemed so apt for our life at the moment!

Elisabeth Elliot's Daily Devotional
Title: No Evidence of Progress
Author: Elisabeth Elliot
At times nothing seems to be happening. So it must be for the bird that sits on her nest. Things are apparently at a standstill. But the bird sits quietly, knowing that in the stillness something vital is going on, and in the proper time it will be shown. It takes faith and patience for the bird, and such faith and patience never seem to waver, day after day, night after night, as she bides the appointed time.
Restless and doubtful we wonder why we have nothing to show for our efforts, no visible evidence of progress. Let us remember the perfect egg--unchanged in its appearance from the day it is laid. But while the bird waits faithfully, doing the only thing she is required to do throughout those silent weeks, important things are taking place.

I wait for the Lord. My soul waits, and in His word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning. --(Ps 130:5, 6 RSV)

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Painting of Jireh.

From time to time Phil returns to his books by Ken Duxbury about another Drascombe Lugger called Lugworm. So when Phil had the chance to commission a watercolour of Jireh by the same Ken Duxbury he was very excited. Now gracing a wall in the lounge is a painting of Jireh sailing out of the Dart past the castle. A much appreciated 51st birthday present!

Birthday girls.

Lydia by candlelight!
Julia with Daisy(her puppet) and new bible cover.
I just need a picture of Phil now to complete my birthday trio! I feel as if I have overdosed on cake with all these birthdays so close together.

Sunday, 6 April 2008


This is a busy time of year with Easter and birthdays! Lydia's has come and gone.Julia's was on friday and it is Phil's on Thursday. Lydia has gone to Cornwall with Molly (no competition for the computer!!), Julia is going to China Blue with Naomi on Tuesday(birthday treat) and Phil is looking forward to the 10th( I think!), We need to get his birthday painting framed before it gets bent or spoiled in some other way. When I have all the birthday photos I will post them.
Phil thinks i should change the name of my blog- Pumpkin is nearly out of our life, but I think we will always remember her, and if it wasn't for her I wouldn't have discovered the joy of blogging!
I'm not sure if anyone but the Watsons reads this! but I have put a counter on the blog, perhaps I should share it with more people? It is surprising how compulsive this whole blog thing is!

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Goodbye Pumpkin?????????????

We have had an offer for Pumpkin! Nothing is settled yet, we wait with anticipation to see the outcome of negotiations. I'm not sure if Phil is bothered one way or the other but I can see lots of positives to a quick sale. E.g. no mortagage, a converted van and a new oboe for Phil- to name but a few!
Lydia is off on Friday for a week in Cornwall with Molly- better start packing soon!

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

A new look!

Thought I would try a new look for the blog with a boaty theme!

Phil has had two stints on the water taxi now, he is loving it!

The tent and inflatable canoe sold on Ebay and the new awning for the van has arrived, now all we need to do is sell a house or a boat so we can pay to get the van converted, has lots of examples and we are firming up our plans for the interior!

Still no news from the watermaker, if we get some money back from that I can have a new canoe! The favourite at the moment is an Easky 15, seen above! Though I might go for green seeing as we already have a blue boat! And I won't grow a beard!

Tuesday, 25 March 2008


Easter began for us when we collected Hannah and Dan D. from Totnes station on Thursday afternoon,lovely to see them again! They were with us until Monday when they moved on to Wales to see Dan's grandparents. There was a lot of wedding talk, which was good and I hope helped to get things clearer for the two of them. Having a DIY reception inevitably makes for more work but I'm sure the end result will be great.
Friday found us up at church for the Good Friday communion service, then down to town for the march of witness around the town- there was a good crowd with readings at every stop and 'There is a Green Hill' sung in Foss Street. Good Friday ended with Top of the Town and the children preparing for Easter Sunday morning service.
Phil and I joined Hannah and Dan in town on Saturday morning - a visit to the jewellers to finalise wedding ring plans.We played cluedo after lunch, Hannah and Dan went for a walk and I took Julia to Naomi's for friendship club, while Phil and Lydia went to practice Lydia's song for Sunday morning.She sang 'Hope's Song' from Veggie Tales An Easter Carol.
Sunday morning in church was a great time with contributions from lots of people and lots of parents and family from TOTT- the message of Easter was clearly told!
We had a walk on Blackpool Sands in the afternoon, then home for tea.Phil took the evening service.
Monday we dropped them back at the station and went home to clear up!!!
Back to work tomorrow!!!

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Other blogs.

I have found the world of blogs to be a fascinating one. As well as the short list of 'blogs I visit', I keep finding other blogs which are great to read.
I have found some Australian home-eders blogs, I have been inspired to do some Australian history(Our Sunburnt Country by Arthur Baillie) with Julia once we have finished America( The Light and The Glory, and From Sea to Shining Sea, both by Peter Marshall). If we can do this before September then we can start the new school year( year 7) with English history using the english history Sonlight-type list.

Easter is nearly here!!

Maundy thursday today, Hannah and Dan D arrive this afternoon, will be great to see them.
We have had another drain problem and are awaiting a visit from Dyno-rod to get it fixed. It means that all three girls are sleeping in Julia's room!! Should be cosy! I didn't think that it would be covered by the British Gas contract but apparently it is!
We enjoyed our trip to the aquarium, Phil took the opportunity to get some passport photos(a bit scary!) for his ABRSM application so will send that off soon.
His first experience of the river taxi was harder than you would think!He has more training next week and is on the part-time river officer rota until September!Humm!?!
Phil and Lydia sang in Stainer's Crucifixion last night and enjoyed the experience- Lydia is now practicing for Easter sunday.
I rang the estate agent to warn them about the drain and they said at the moment they have nobody wanting to look round.

Friday, 14 March 2008

My new title!!!!!!

Saw the link to this on another blog and Lydia encouraged me to get one and put it on my blog!!!
No news from the Estate Agent! We are waiting and trusting ( not easy!).
Phil has his introductory session with the river taxi on tuesday- so even if we don't move , we won't starve.
We have a discount voucher for the aquarium in Plymouth so are off there on Monday.
Hannah and her Dan comr to visit next week so I can see not much work being done!
Lydia is pressing on with her assignments but we need to pick Chris B.'s brain about composite functions!! Good to have a maths teacher on hand.
She has also been roped in for the Top of The Town Easter drama! So I think we will all be up at church tonight.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Birthday girl!

Thursday 6th saw the dawn of Lydia's 15th birthday!
The new phone(Motorola U9) is a great success, complimented further by extra memory so that music can be down-loaded onto it. The Ryder's present was two very sweet mobile phone charms- very girly!
The I-Karaoke from Daniel, Hannah and Crystal also promises to be a lot of fun!
Lydia chose a birthday menu, which everyone enjoyed and then we watched 'Ratatouille'after tea, very funny!!

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

The Lighthouse

Friday morning found us enroute to Plymouth! We visited the canoe/kayak shop on the way into the city and spotted a potential repacement kayak for me ( Julia has graduated to the Capri, Lydia is attached to the Manitou, so we need to replace the Blast), we need to keep looking and also sell the Stearns inflatable and the Blast to fund it!!
No takers for the tent in the Chronicle, so we will try on Ebay. Phil's mast climbing harness sold okay. We may try the canoes there as well.
Once in Plymouth city centre we went to the Orange shop and bought Lydia's new phone, a very funky Motorola U9, then Claire's (arrghh!!).
Grabbed lunch on the wayout and headed for Tamerton Foliot and the home of Laurie, Lighthouse coordinator. We were the first to arrive and only one other family turned up so we didn't meet that many people. But it was good to make contact and we will probably go on the Dartmoor hike later this month.
Monday saw us swimming at Totnes- Phil's push to make us do something active every week!

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

House for Sale-nearly!

Not only do we have a boat for sale, we nearly have a house for sale!
The estate agent visited on Monday to measure up and take details, and then sent two of his staff today to take photographs. So by the weekend it should be officially for sale!
He gave us a little talk about the state of the market/Northern Rock/ credit squeeze which we took to be a veiled warning not to expect anything to happen in a hurry! But..'If God be for us, who can be against us?' I'm sure that this can apply to selling a house in an uncertain market if it is in His plan! We remain prayerful about the whole situation.
I have made contact with The Lighthouse group and we are going to their craft afternoon this week. Don't know who or what to expect- hope it won't be too babyish- especially for Lydia.we are combining this with a search for Lydia's new mobile phone- a birthday present!
Tomorrow we have a rehearsal for the Women's World Day of Prayer service, me reading, Lydia singing, actual service next week 7th March. Day after Lydia's 15th birthday!

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Half Term

Half term is nearly at an end! Lydia appropriated the portable TV and has spent most mornings watching in bed after she got back from her paper round!
We dragged them both out on Tuesday for a visit to Dartmoor and a walk up to the Avon Dam.
Wednesday saw Phil, Julia and I at the churh coffee morning, in the evening Julia went to another sleepover. Fortunately when I collected her on Thursday morning I discovered that they had actually slept! Friday brought Phil's new laptop and a wireless connection so he can go online even if Lydia is hogging the desktop.
The new laptop also means that Phil can get on with his music writing, something which we want to plan into our week. He has a medical this week so that he can get a boatman's licence and drive the water taxi,and an application form for ABRSM examiner to fill in- he won't have much free time soon!
We have made contact with a Home-Ed group in Plymouth and plan to join in their activities where possible,should be good!

Sunday, 17 February 2008

We are back!!

Last time I wrote I was on my way to Malaysia to se Phil. Well, now we are both back in England. We flew back in on 14th February and are just about back to normal (although we were both awake at 6am today!). We had a few days together on board Pumpkin alongside a pontoon at the Royal Selangor Yacht Club, then on Monday 11th Pumpkin was craned out of the water and put in the boatyard, where she will stay until sold ( we are praying very much for this!).I was able to help Phil clean her up and leave her already to be viewed/sold. we had a new cover made to protect her from the sun and dust.
Lovely to be back with Phil and the girls.

Monday, 4 February 2008

On my way!

Flights are bought, the girls are organised,I fly out to Kuala Lumpur tomorrow morning!!!
It will be fantastic to see Phil again although I shall be sad to leave the girls behind, but I'm sure we will all benefit from the trip! 'A Change is as good as a rest' as they say.
I have been reading lots of other blogs lately and have been inspired to improve mine. So when I get back( with Phil) I will be heavily into blogging!

Thursday, 31 January 2008

A visit to Malaysia

Phil has got to wait until after Chinese New Year to get Pumpkin lifted out, so I am hoping to go out for a week and fly back to England with him!
Flights seem to be available for less than £500 return and our very good friends Lyn and Tony have offered to have Lydia and Julia to stay! It is a chance for them to see Home-Ed at first hand, although Lydia studies independently mostly I will need to organise a schedule for Julia to follow with a minimum of help.
It is all very exciting!

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Coming Home!

Well it is finally decided, Phil is going to get Pumpkin lifted out of the water and put in the boatyard at the yacht club in Klang. The trip is officially called off, Pumpkin will be put up for sale with Scott Brown, and Phil will fly home!
It will be lovely to have him home again but things can sometimes be a bit tricky at first as we all get used to a new chain of command!
There is an English couple in Klang that Phil has made friends with, and they are going to keep an eye on Pumpkin and maybe even show prospective purchasers around.
So we will see what happens next!

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Another Birthday!

Yesterday was my 49th birthday and although Phil is not here I still had a lovely day with the girls, and coffee with Lyn! ,Hannah will be home on Monday but has lots of dissertation work to do- the joys of Uni 3rd year!
Phil phoned yesterday for a long chat which was fantastic. He and Daniel( and Pumpkin) are safely installed in the yacht club at Klang. Daniel flys back to UK today and hopes to rendezvous with Crystal at the airport on her way back from Dublin!
The yacht club would be a much cheaper place to leave Pumpkin while we try and sell her- we could even get her lifted out into the boatyard-much easier for prospective buyers to view.Still no word from the crew for the next leg. Phil really doesn't want to continue to Sri Lanka, he would like to leave Pumpkin where she is and fly back to UK. Selling Pumpkin would mean we could pay off most of the mortgage and convert Buttercup into a full-blown camper. Watch this space!!

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Here we go again!!

The Pumpkin saga continues! The name of my blog - Thoughts on Pumpkin - is very appropriate for Phil at the moment. All those lonely hours on night watch have given him plenty of time to think about what he is doing and why!! He is missing us all very badly and wants to sell Pumpkin and get back to England. The folks joining him in Klang have booked their flights for 9thFeb. They had asked about buying Pumpkin at some stage so I have emailed them to offer Pumpkin to them but have heard nothing back ( probably a bit of a shock!). Adrian ( crew for Sri Lanka to Oman) fortunately hasn't bought a ticket yet. It is all on hold at the moment really.
Phil and Daniel are passing Singapore as I type, scary and at night, so lots of prayer needed. Once they get to Klang we can try and sort things out!
I have to say it will be lovely to have him back home!

Thursday, 10 January 2008

On my own!

Well I'm not really on my own! Lydia and Julia are here with me and Hannah phones regularly.
I'm getting the hang of waking Lydia up for her paper round, the only problem is that the weather has been so cold and gloomy that no-one feels like getting up in the morning!
Phil and Dan are on their way now so there will be no emails until they get to Malaysia. But hopefully they will be back in mobile range soon and they will text so I know they are okay.
Home ed keeps up fairly busy and all the activities are starting up again, Guides,Gym, Top of the Town and Orchestra.
The thing I miss most is being able to run things past Phil, usually when he is away we talk on the phone nightly! Two heads really are better than one!