Precious Memories

So, last Saturday we went aboard the ferry home, crossing from Belfast to Liverpool overnight.   Gary slept with the older ones in a cabin, I slept with the littles in another cabin.  It was a stormy night, which the little ones slept dead to the world the whole way through.  Unlike their mother and father.  Gary slept on and off but assured me he had not been scared (Uhuh).  And me?  I was awake all night clutching onto my mattress praying my little heart out as the boat went up and down at an alarming rate often coming down before my body had caught up.  I’m not entirely sure what help I thought my mattress might be if we did suddenly capsize but it was nevertheless comforting to hold on to anything.

It also crossed my mind that if I was left suspended mid-air due to the rockiness of the boat, what on earth was happening to our car, which was parked on the top deck.  I had images of it bunny jumping over board.  I even looked up on the ipad whether a Stenna Line ship had ever drowned, figuring I would work out the probability that we, also, would drown.  It was probably a good job that the free WiFi wasn’t working at its most efficient at that moment in time because being ever so slightly of the impatient disposition I gave up after half an hour of waiting for it to connect me to the last twenty ships to go down in modern times.

I have one thing to say.  Never again.  Ever.  Never ever.  Ever.  I don’t care that it was only a small storm.  And equally it matters little that the cars are belted onto the deck and so the likelihood of them bunny jumping to their demise is even slimmer than it had been in my mind the night before.  I will never spend a whole night on a ship ever again.  Ever.

We then had a five-hour drive home.  I found it slightly disturbing that I was still rocking even after disembarking the boat and driving for a couple of hours.  It was a weird sensation to attempt to attend to the most basic of hygiene needs with a toilet that kept moving.  At that point I told myself to pull it together and man up.  Nothing was moving.  Not even the loo.  Five hours later we arrived home, ate and went to bed.  Even I was in bed by 8 and slept right through until the next morning.

And it was due to the aforementioned diatribe that I decided on an unschooling week.  I needed a holiday.  That said we had a lot which needed to be done, y’know chore-wise, and not one to selfishly keep things to myself I happily split them with my children.  I know, how great a mother am I?

The house stank of dog due to no vacuuming being done whilst we were away.  My mum very kindly looks after the dog, cats, rabbits and chickens whilst we’re away.  She had little spare time in which to vacuum.  So I did every room.  The smell was still there and it was revolting.  So I went a bit mad and spring cleaned the whole house (dragging the children into it as well, of course).  After opening all the windows, we took all the rugs out for an air; stripped the sofa of all the washable covers (Oscar had obviously been using it as a bed, if the hair was anything to go by); bleached, yes bleached all the tile and wooden floors; carpet cleaned the rugs; washed and dried the sofa covers and lit a few candles.  Soon it was all smelling like roses again.  Actually it smelt of a mixture of apple and cinnamon (candle), bleach and cleaning fluids, but anything was better than the smell of dog, so I was happy:

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It was kind of lovely to watch the children disappear off into various corners of the house to pursue their own fun.  L and C decided to ‘put up a shop’ for the victims of Ebola.  L began making some octopuses (or should that be octopi?) from wool and painted some cards to sell:

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In contrast, her sister used some material from our rather large stash and sewed a pillow case just like that, which she then proceeded to place on her bed, followed by a second one which she placed on L’s bed.  Either she had forgotten about the Ebola victims or there was something they weren’t telling me about their health!

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T spent hours in his bedroom planning world domination.  Actually he was in the depths of planning his car washing business but one gets the feeling if he wanted to pursue world domination he might just have the determination to succeed.  Any time he needed to blow away the cobwebs he sauntered outside, after throwing on his new gardening overalls, to tend to his beds:

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The picture bottom left show our rather lovely stack of logs for burning in our log burning stove.

We have also been spending a few sessions in the garden with the sole aim of clearing it.  To be honest, no one is desperately enthusiastic about the gardening delights which await them but everyone is pleased once they are out and working and we all love looking at the results which occur quickly when there are seven people working together:

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Our goal is to have the whole site cleared of rubbish, wood and anything else which is cluttering it up by Christmas so we can start our back garden nature study in the new year.

I also had the pleasure of my two youngest asking to play dressing up.  It brought back incredibly fond memories of my older three who spent their entire childhood in one make-believe world after another.  My younger two had not shown much interest in spending their young years doing the same and my older three have long since grown out of dressing up.  So you can imagine my delight when I overheard the four girls deep in make-believe play:


They chatted, danced, taught their younger sisters all they knew and all four were in dress up the whole time.  Ah, be still my beating heart.  Childhood is such a blessing:

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Last but not least a couple of photos which I included because I thought they were gorgeous:

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Life’s kinda fun, don’t you think?

Homegrown Learners photo 50ee37ee-4f60-43f2-83eb-bb7deb75fd49_zpsbacda61d.png


  1. I love how your whole family got involved with the house cleaning and the garden work. Make beliefs are such fun so I’m really glad to see the little ones starting to get into it, with the keen support of their sisters.

    The night on a rocking ferry must have been very frightening. We would have been thoroughly ill from all that rocking, so you’ve all done very well considering what you had to go through to get to N. Ireland! The 30-minute crossing to Calais was as much rocking as we could take. 🙂

    1. I was scared, really scared. I sail well usually but I have never sailed when the sea was rough and it was pitch black outside. Brrr! never again!

  2. Those dressing-up photos are great! I sort of miss that. I will have to find myself a family with girls in it (boys don’t seem as mad about it, in my experience) to nanny for, so that I can join in!

  3. Love the dress up photos!! Monkey spends many of his days in one costume after another :-)…I can totally relate to the Spring cleaning mode. Once I start cleaning (which is rare), sometimes it mushrooms into everything!!

    1. I really hate a doggy smell, and my sense of smell is really acute. I was almost sick when I entered our house. I hate cleaning but had no choice – Oscar had stunk the place out!!

  4. Travel by boat sounds like a nightmare! Love the dress up photos. We’ve never been able to jump back into school successfully after a vacation either.

  5. You make even clean up a stinky house interesting to read about! I love the fact that your kids are enthused about their separate activities. My kids have trouble coming up with their own projects to be enthused about. It sounded like it was a wonderful vacation. I hope the awful boat ride did not take too much away from the wonderful memories. As always, thank you for sharing a bit of your lovely life with us.

  6. I am right with you! I have no desire to cross on water – especially at night! When we took our trip to the northeast, I did everything I could to avoid crossing water. I just DO NOT like doing it. (How will I ever get to England?)

    All the photos are just wonderful. As you know, your family is lovely – inside and out.:)

    I hope you enjoy a wonderful weekend. Hugs your way.:)))

  7. What a scary ship trip. I am glad you all are fine. I love that your family does everything together.
    Blessings, Dawn

    1. I love that part of being a family too, although I am certain my children would say there are some things they’d prefer if we adults did without their help. Cleaning dog scented carpets comes to mind!

  8. I love the age when they start coming up with their own project ideas. Sounds like an unschooly week worked well for you. Thanks for sharing a glimpse into your week. It’s always so much fun.

  9. Okay that’s decided me, we’re definitely not making an overnight ferry crossing when we go to Spain!

    Your time in NI sounds absolutely gorgeous. I love the photos of the stunning scenery and your joyful, beautiful children. The twins’ new haircuts are very pretty. Have a lovely weekend in your clean, fragrant home!

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