Tuesday 12 September 2017

The Above the River ethos

I seem to be short of photos at the moment. There are none from the weekend and there are none from this week so far. Maybe because I haven't been anywhere very exciting. Life can be a bit like that sometimes can't it. It would have been fun taking skateboarding photos at the skatefest at the weekend, but we didn't go - puppy, rain, no car, six hours of standing in said rain with said puppy etc. In the end the sun shone, but it was too late and we missed it. And now of course it's dark. Once the sun comes up tomorrow I'll take a photo of a mug or something just to have a recent picture. It doesn't feel quite right otherwise. The above picture is of Bristol Central Library, the bit where you can sit quietly and work. I used to go there when I was doing my law degree. Now I'd go there and write if I had a chance. There's something energising about being somewhere like that. The quiet swirl of thoughts and curiosity. Everyone beavering away at bettering themselves or creating or planning. Surrounded by all that knowledge and information. It's all there.

I was going to do a Day in the Life post but I failed to take photos. It was a bit of a failure of a day in some ways anyway. Zero work accomplished, but I do have a clean and tidy house, almost nothing in the laundry pile, food in the fridge and I finally got an electrician to come and sort out a phone thing and a dodgy socket. I told him, It fizzes and cuts out a bit and one of the prongs gets really hot, but I find if I kick it hard the power comes through again. He looked alarmed at the recklessness of it all. Later on I had a conversation with the littlest boy on the way home from school. A boy was threatening to jump off a high wall. Girls were screaming and worried he would break a leg.

Littlest boy: Girls are like that. They're so sensible, they don't like anything wild and crazy. 

Me: I wasn't, I liked wild and crazy. 

Littlest boy: I'm like you then. But you're not wild and crazy now.

Me: (with a touch of melancholy): No, I'm all grown up now.

I guess it's his turn to do the crazy stuff now. And I can be a girl and worry about it all.

I picked up a Home School Agreement for him to sign yesterday. It's basically a page setting out what the school expects from him and me and what they will provide in return.

Me: Can you sign this baby, it's just the Home School Agreement?

Littlest boy: Can I read it first?

[This is the child of lawyers indeed.]

Me: Okay.

[Pause while he reads it carefully.]

Littlest boy: What does ethos mean?

Me: Um, oh, you know, what the school would like to do that is, um, good, and, um, that sort of thing...

Littlest boy: Do I have to sign it?

[Awkward squad - that's from me I fear.]

Me: Well, they'd like you to, it's your education agreement with them.

Littlest boy: What if I don't agree with it, it's like they're forcing me practically.

Practically is one of his favourite words. Probably gets that from me as well. The form disappeared. I'm assuming he signed it, but maybe he's returning it for further negotiation. Perhaps he has an issue with their ethos, particularly after I explained it so beautifully.

So that's all from around here. No pictures, no adventures and a damp squib of a day. The Above The River ethos if you like. I have a load of writing to do so I have very high hopes for the rest of the week but of course there will still be no pictures and precious few tales of derring-do. I am making a note to have an exciting weekend.


  1. Sounds about right to me. At our school, they only make the parents sign an agreement, a "recommitment" at the end of each school year for the next one. I would really appreciate more accountability for the kids, but what can you do. I just act like a drill sergeant at home and they get the idea. :)

  2. Well I guess he is right that he shouldn't sign something if he doesn't agree. What is the penalty for refusing to sign?

  3. Oh I love the lawyer discussion. We have similar agreements every year. We used to discuss them in terms of expectations of the school culture and commitment from their school/family community. They usually go in for respect and work ethic, non? I love he questions things. He's a sweet boy. Reminds me of days gone. My son used to like to "clarify" using the word, "Actually" all the time -- even when he was wrong, ha!

  4. Love the discussion with your son, definitely going to be a lawyer.

  5. What a neat library that is.. almost like in a movie! Hogwarts, maybe! I enjoyed your sharing your chat with your boys.. what a fun kid he is. I just ordered a new fountain pen that has a soft nib that does thin and thick lines. I can't wait to try it out. I see some letter writing in my future. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  6. I think your littlest has a great future ahead! I hope he continues to ask questions until he gets the answers.

  7. I think there is beauty in a mug. Or plant. Or bathroom sink...haha! Life is not full of perfect moments, sometimes the most simple are just enough. I, for one, would love to see your day. More so because we live in different countries.

    Your son is very thoughtful. It seems he ponders things thoroughly, which is a quality. Some children might have signed the form mindlessly. I believe we have choices and that's a wonderful thing we should pass on to our kids. You are only a child once...be wild and crazy! Later, it will be frowned on.

    Much love,


  8. Sensible boy (but perhaps don't tell him that as he's into wild and crazy right now). He'll be nobody's fool. X

  9. I signed the agreement without pointing out the grammatical errors. That took some resolve. No photos is no hardship; your writing is just as entertaining.

  10. Well, that made me laugh! I would love to be a fly on the wall in your house. He has a point, your youngest, don't sign any contracts without knowing what you agree to. It is damp here also, no photos, no adventures, no motivation, no nothing. Thankfully not all days are like that. Have a good second half of the week. xx

    1. I forgot to mention that my youngest also loves to use the word 'practically'. x

  11. We had the school agreement but the other way round - I asked my daughter what would happen if I didn't sign it because I wasn't sure about a couple of points. She promptly looked very alarmed indeed and said she would get into trouble.... I totally agree with the Littlest Boy! Vicky from Brum

  12. All in all I think that's a good ethos to have. I'd be happy to sit quietly in that room. Your conversation with Littlest boy had me smiling. xx

  13. Sounds like he'll go far – a bit of wild and crazy plus a healthy scepticism for forms :-) It's interesting that you think your day was a damp squib and bit of a failure. You did a load of housework, laundry, filled the fridge, sorted a electrical problem, spent time chatting with your children – that sounds like a positive day to me. S xx

  14. Oh I love the "practically", and I love his thinking. And that library space is just wow. I worked from our local library this morning, and it looks nothing like this, but surrounded by books seems to be my everything. I love it there. X

  15. Hey CJ,
    I've never had to sign a school agreement. I'm very impressed that your boy takes his time; for all you know they might be asking him to give his lunch money to the teachers xmas party fund.
    Leanne xx

  16. He is a wise little one isn't he? Frankly I might not sign it either as a student or a parent.

  17. I have a lot of time for your littlest boy... wise beyond his years I'd say. Hope you've found some time to write. I've been trying to find time to sew all week and finally did an hour this afternoon. But I do have a very tidy living room!