lundi 27 juin 2011

old garage falling down

At the top of our garden, there is an old garage, well it's supposed to be one, however as there's not enough space to fit a car through the entrance. It's quite big though, at least 40m2. I think it was used to house hens, but way back, well before Mr H lived here.

Our neighbour Edith told me it was there when she moved back here to look after her parents, in the early 50's, and probably was over a 100 years old.
Sometime recently (didn't notice at first), one of the beams gave way and we have had to take off the tiles that were hanging precariously, ready to fall at any time.

Now we have a dilemma on our hands, either to redo the timber and re-tile or take it all down, sell or give the 40m2 of very old terracotta tiles away and put something like this in it's place
Not in the same colour and not exactly this model, but you get the idea.

vendredi 24 juin 2011

Oral over

Oliver just called, he'd just left the Lycée in Le Vesinet where he has just passed his oral French bac. The good news is, he had Candide, the one we worked the most on (along with Paul Verlaine's poems) and he feels quite confident that he did well. The examiner wasn't strict, so maybe that's a good thing too. We'll know soon.

mercredi 22 juin 2011

Back after the Bac

Busy helping and organizing my son's work so he's ready for his French Bac (A level) oral this Friday at 8.30, only 6 sequences with 3 themes for each one to master, this boy has his work cut out.
He is way behind on the sequence on Manon Lescaut and last night things were so good when he was tested on Candide...

Other possible sequences he might be tested on are

Le Cid bu P. Corneille
3 Poèmes saturniens by Paul Verlaine (Mon Rêve Familier, Angoisse, Effet de la nuit)
Don Juan by Molière
Le Père Goriot by Balzac

results due the 11th July, the day he leaves for a 3 week trip to the USA

lundi 20 juin 2011

Sunshine and Showers Fête de l'école

on the way down to the school fair

After months of blistering heat, the weather has returned to normal, not hot, just warm, and lots of well needed rain.
Saturday was a typical sunshine and showers day and also the annual Fête de l'école.
Alain and I helped set up the stands and we returned later with the children who were performing with their classes.

Marie-Kate's class have been working on Africa during this term, so what better way to end the year, but by an African dance. Marie-Kate who is very shy, forgot she was, and really had great fun with her class, in-front of at least 100 people!
A little later Alexis' class performed two dances, one from Portugal and the other from Vendée. Alexis remained serious throughout. He had been showing us the moves for weeks before, and it was really great to see him dancing with his partner.

After the children had fun playing fair games (it did take ages to get MK to stop being shy and have fun)

This is the first time I have seen this game, it's called tire à la ficelle. There are lots of strings attached to donated cuddly toys, and the children have to put on a string and on the other end, up and through the pipe, one cuddly toy will get pulled up, for them to take home. This was MK's favourite game by far, she bought home at least 5 new cuddly friends.

Back at home, I tried twice to get a nice shot of Alexis in his nice clean white shirt, but I didn't manage...maybe next time.

mercredi 8 juin 2011

Wednesday's Art

Most Wednesdays we try to do a little art, this usually ends with someone unhappy because their picture/painting hasn't worked or they didn't want to work to a theme

Today, Alexis and Marie-Kate made some cityscapes using newspaper for the buildings, and fabric for the doors and windows. Alexis had a hissy-fit over his and stormed off. The problem is, if you try and give either of them a suggestion, they just hate it and will do the opposite, then to often regret it.

Last week we worked on monuments and Gaby joined in after seeing MK's picture of l'Hotel des Invalides that she drew using a ruler, well Gaby hates rulers as it takes too much time, so this is her picture that took all but five minutes to draw (found it again this morning and just added it to the collection).

The photo at the top is one of the two doors in our kitchen, one is orange (Charlotte's locks) and the other, this one, is almost back (railings). Here, there are old and new pictures, the old ones being self portraits by Oliver and Charlotte from way back, when they were at nursery school in the UK. The biggest picture is of a Manga character drawn by MK. She only learnt to read this year and is already an avid Manga reader.

mardi 7 juin 2011

Somethings to brighten this grey day

Friday, I received four boxes from the US, with something amazing to assemble.

Paintings from Germany (just need two more I think, better in fours here)

Yesterday, another package from Germany, and today, one from London.
Ian Stevenson prints from London( It's been in a tube and I'm flattening this one, which is destined for our stairs)

Needless to say, I'm one extremely contented person, and I'm not the only one, as Marie-Kate got a painting for her last milk tooth (I'm a bad mum and forgot to inform the tooth fairy to pick-up her tooth for the umpteen time.
Now she's trying to get another tooth to wobble, so she can have another painting from the tooth fairy or is it the little mouse...
And after months of looking for a frame for our Paris metro map, I got impatience and put it up with some drawing pins, and there it's going to stay.

back to square one

I have been working on our stairs on and off for weeks, it's been hard work stripping off decades of wax.
I have also been trying to lighten the wood, which has worked a little, but not enough for my liking, so yesterday I tried the exact opposite and I stained the wood (not on photo), and guess what, I hated it, thankfully I only did the first flight of stairs. When MK came home for lunch, even she said it made them look dirty. So after a morning staining, I spent the afternoon removing it.
Now I can either give the stairs a coat of clear varnish, or lime wash them, then varnish, or wax...oh no, or paint all the stairs which I'd be really scared to do. I think I'll be spending the afternoon scouring the internet for inspiration.

The stairs are wax-free and lightened, whereas the landing you can see has just had the wax taken off...maybe I shouldn't have lightened the wood after all.

dimanche 5 juin 2011

Paris Grand Palais and Petit Palais and Winston C

Another hot day, 30°c in the shade. The warmest spring since records began, hardly any rain (I talking about about here in the Yvelines) for months.

We'd been planning for ages to go to the nearby Chateau of Versailles but opted for a visit to the Grand and Petit Palais in Paris before two expositions finished that we really wanted to see.
Monumenta 2011 Leviathan by Anish Kapoor at the Grand Palais

When you first arrive, you have to go through some turning doors (one at a time..) and you end up here, inside the artist's work.

Afterwards, we went into the immense nave to see it from the outside.
It was quite spectacular and well worth the visit. It leaves me wondering, what are they going to do with this work when the exposition finishes? Recycle it?

Over on the other side of the street we visited the Charlotte Perriand exposition, passing Winston Churchill on the way.

I love her work, her photography (a part from the industrial ones, metal and bolts) and the children actually enjoyed visiting this exposition too, in fact they preferred it, especially the main hall consecrated just to her work. Our children really are getting to like design.

mercredi 1 juin 2011

Gaby's begun and paintings hung

Here'a a glimpse at Gaby's manga art that will, once finished, join the water lilies and sunflowers

She's part of the picture, towards the middle, this work is going to take some time to finish

And here's another part of the picture. I like the 50's style man with the big hair.

Alexis' Earache and Vincent Van Gogh's Sunflowers and Marie-Kate and her Lilies

Alexis' ear started to ache Sunday night, all night, he's rarely ill and hardly complains when it comes to pain, but not this time.
Luckily here, our doctor surgery is open and 7.30 and there wasn't any waiting. He has a bag full of medicine(we do live in France), and an eight day course of antibiotics and some ear drops ( which he hates).
Good news, he only missed one day of school which was yesterday and now it's a long French holiday weekend until Monday, so lots of time to have fun and relax.

Time enough to get on with some art and get paint everywhere.

Alexis chose to paint Vincent Van Gogh's Sunflowers and Marie-Kate, Monet's Lilies.
Alexis is a perfectionist and got grumpy soon as he started painting, moaned and cried that it wasn't how it wanted it to be, wiped paint on his trousers, face and just about on every wall between his painting spot and the bathroom and moaned that his ear was hurting really bad again.
A couple of hours later, this is what it looked like ( his painting I mean, and not his ear)

I used Art Projects for kids website to inspire them, this site is an excellent resource for art. You can see on the computer how maybe his sunflower could have turned out, but Alexis preferred using black to go with his mood and red with his temper

And in between time, cool as a cucumber Marie-Kate painted some Lilies and used the zen approach with Alexis that didn't help his mood one bit.... But a couple of hours later, they're best friends again...until they paint together again.
Marie-Kate's almost finished Lilies... Just need to get Gaby to work on her "Eboy" style manga people canvas to join these two on the the top floor stairs.