Friday, 29 June 2012

Level One Piano testing

My kids have just completed their Level One Piano test.  I don't know if this is the procedure in the US however here in England there are required scales and music pieces that the children had to learn.  Then they went before the ABRSM certified instructor and underwent testing.

Outside the music store where the test was held --  Princess chose to play Gavotta by James Hook, A Tender Flower by Felix Swinstead and Vampire Blues by Kevin Wooding

Holding their Level One music book -- Little Man chose to play Andante by Joseph Haydn, A Story from Long Ago by Martha Mier and Vampire Blues by Kevin Wooding

The examination room...I think I was more nervous than the children

ABRSM means Associated Board Royal Society of Music
Before testing each child was given fifteen minutes to warm up and practice their pieces.

Exiting the exam room...Mom was not allowed in so I had to wait anxiously outside listening thru the door to their musical pieces.
Now we have to wait two weeks for the results and move on to begin level 2 skills

Addendum:  Just heard today that both kids passed the test just 3 points away from a distinction mark!

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

M&M Candy Store

While on a trip into London with some friends we ran across the M & M store.  It was a fun store to visit!  Although I paid way to much for a bag of M &M's:(.
There were 4 floors of M&M's merchandise and candy. 

Kids walking with the M&M's

Walls of various kinds and colors of M&M's

The M&M factory filling special orders

A M&M machine telling you your M&M color for the day
Kids loading up on candy
Both my friend and I told the kids not to tell their fathers how much that candy cost!  Some things are best left unsaid.
M&M merchandise for every area of your life, clothes, kitchen, bathroom, living room, you name it

A M&M Swarovski crystal jacket for nearly 3000 pounds sterling...Anyone?

M&M decor every where
A fun store and glad we did it once, but I can honestly say we won't be going again as I will need to take out a second mortgage just to buy the M&M candy!

Monday, 25 June 2012

Scouting activities

This past week the family had 6 days of scouting activities.  First we had my son's cub scout day camp and I volunteered to be a den leader for my son's age group.  My daughter was able to be a junior volunteer for the first time this year.
we worked on our sling shot skills

played baseball...YAY little man hit the ball!!!



gun skills

A talk from the firemen

a fire man demonstration.  UK fire hydrant is underground

lots of water

We arrived at high tide

Took the girls to the Sea life aquarium

Despite the cold the all went into the water. 

Played in the the sand

Took a ride on the Wash monster

Low tide, who would have thought we would be in jackets at the beach near the end of June

Rode the amusement rides

After six days of doing nothing but kids activities I took Sunday off and ignored the housework that has been neglected for the last 6 days, I figure one more day won't matter:)

Friday, 22 June 2012

Orkneys-- Tombs of the Eagles

The main island of Orkney (called "Mainland") is littered with Neolithic historical sites.  You can't drive more than a few miles without seeing evidence of something.  People are finding hidden treasures, big or small,  on their land nearly every day.  So much so that there isn't enough time or resources to excavate them all.  Here is a story of what one man found on his property, and despite telling the authorities and waiting 18 years for archeologists to arrive, did to uncover an amazing 5000 year old tomb.

Tomb of the Eagles

This site is privately run as after the land owner waited 18 years for the local authority to act he decided to hire archeology students on his own to uncover his discovery.  He watched what they did and read everything he could about archeology so that he could continue the work after the students left.  What they found was amazing.

They found several skeletons but interestingly the skulls were kept in a separate compartment then the other bones.  It is believe that these people often left the body out in the open where the birds or other wildlife would pick the bones clean of skin, meat etc.  This is similar to the modern-day Sky Burial practiced in Tibet or the Towers of Silence practiced by Zoroastrians in modern-day India.  Then the bones were placed in the tomb

They found lots of beads, what was interesting at this site was the employee allowed the visitors to hold these items and we were told they were not copies but the original 5000 year old item.  Also found in this tomb, was eagle talons, hence the name.

The tomb is on a cliff and overlooks the North sea

The door way is so small you have to either crawl on your hands and knees or use a wheeled cart to push your way thru.  The entrance is about 4 feet long.
Daddy coming thru

Little Man's method of exiting
Princess's method -- there is no way to do this gracefully :)

Inside the tomb.  Lots of hidden compartments, everything has been removed from it

the compartment where they found the human skulls, these are replicate and behind plexiglass

empty room

After uncovering this site the land owner than found a Bronze Age site that he is still in the process of excavating on his own.  Just another amazing story we uncovered while touring around the island.