Lucy's learnings: sucker for Spring, allotment action and pukka portraits



I am feeling very inspired and energetic (let's not get carried away - I didn’t fall asleep next to Kit when I put him down for his nap, only one coffee saw me through the morning and TWICE this week I have stayed up until 10.30pm) because it feels like SPRING.  I have had a few incredible dog walks this week where Sussex has been putting on a very strong show and it has put a definite bounce in my step. I hope it has for you.

We are back in the allotment; unbelievable that it's nearly a year ago that I was typing on here about us getting it.  Last year we grew carrots (questionable shapes), Brussel sprouts (eaten by slugs), sweetcorn (eaten by badgers (!!)), onions, squash and leeks, the three last in copious quantities and they were delicious.  So this year there are big plans and we have all been down there digging like crazy. This year the kids are going to have their own little square each. Nancy plans to grow raspberries and pink flowers, and Sam wants to grow a giant beanstalk and dig a hole that comes out in Australia.  Kit is on hand to help with both. I will let you know how we get on (although you will probably read about it in the newspapers if Sam is successful with either of his endeavours). Plus we have been planting out the peppers and tomatoes and herbs that fill our conservatory all Summer and mostly get picked off the vine by small hands and eaten immediately as they grow.


We got a lovely book from the library recently (I think it's been around a while so forgive me if this is old hat) called Katie and the Mona Lisa by James Mayhew.  It’s about a little girl in an art gallery that goes in to the eponymous painting by Leonardo de Vinci to find out what makes her smile. They take trips in to lots of other famous paintings from different periods of art and they have quite an adventure. There are lots of others (Katie and the Impressionists, Katie and the Waterlily Pond etc) which we will definitely be getting out in the future.

The kids loved the different types of art, Sam loved the fact that two of the paintings were by Mutant Turtles and we talked about the concept of 'portrait' and 'self-portrait'. The next day after school the kids were keen to get involved. I never doubt my children OBVIOUSLY but I wasn’t 100% that they would absolutely boss a classic self-portrait so instead I sellotaped lots of pieces of A4 together and they drew round each other and made themselves! They were all completely absorbed for about an hour and were thrilled with the outcome.  If I'm totally honest the results (life sized paper versions of them with slightly strange faces and no hands) found their way in to the bin earlier than some of their other projects but the whole exercise was a very enjoyable one. I have big plans for a jaunt to the National Gallery at some point but I am not feeling THAT inspired and energetic yet! Maybe in the actual Spring?!

PS Zak Efron, if you're reading this, please could you reply to the letter Sam sent you telling you how much he loves you and wants to dance like you when he grows up?  We are all waiting with baited breath.