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I’ve been thinking since I’ve taken a break from blogging and decided I want to change the direction of my blog.

My life has become much more settled recently, since I’ve moved.  Car has gone to a new home (realising that I’d hardly get any more back for it than it would cost to valet, I gave it away on Freegle to a family from a nearby village).

Life is simpler and I have lots more energy and time to read and write.  Rather than being disturbed by issues around my own life, thoughts bubble up all the time in response to what I am reading and watching.

I would like to get back to what I originally intended – to have somewhere to set down all my thoughts, and especially to record all my thoughts on the things I have read.

On the family front, LD#1 is more than half way through her GCSEs.  Most of them have gone well, apart from maths, her best subject, where she freaked out because some of the questions were a bit funny looking.  Edexcel have been criticised repeatedly (by other boards, and then warned by Ofqual) over the years for setting GCSE papers that were too easy, so they responded this year by putting out a much more difficult one.

LD#2 has just chosen her GCSE options.  She wanted to do Art, History, Triple Science and Spanish, but those options wouldn’t fit into the teaching blocks, so she is doing Food Tech instead of Spanish.  I discovered that Oxford and Cambridge dropped the entry requirement for a GCSE in a language in 2008, so if she wants to apply, that won’t be a problem.  However, because schools are judged on how many pupils get the eBacc (ie a language, maths, English, a science, a humanities) they would like her to do a language.  We have decided to have a go at me teaching her French.  Since she has spent three years learning Spanish at school now and is still struggling to remember the words for I/you/he/she/we/you/they and doesn’t know the words to buy a train ticket. So I think I probably can’t do much worse than that. :-/



  1. Congratulations on living the car-free lifestyle. I’ll be curious to know how it goes for you.

    I’m glad to read you’re all settled in your new home now and that the GCSEs have so far gone well. Good luck teaching French!

    • I’m loving the car-free lifestyle more than I realised I would. I worried that I would be more tired, as journeys take longer. However it frees up my energy – driving can be very draining. It will be interesting to see how I fare when it gets colder and wetter though! And it’s only possible because it’s OK to leave the kids at home for longer now that they are nearly 15 and 17.

  2. Lovely to read an update from you Denise, you sound so settled and happy. Giving things away feels really liberating doesn’t it? We gave away our five seater huge L shaped sofa at the weekend and have two old chesterfield armchairs being delivered this week… Apart from anything else it’ll save so much space 🙂

    I find it shocking that your daughter is struggling with the basics after three years of learning Spanish, I’m sure you’ll do heaps better with teaching her French!

    • Your five seater sounds nice! But sometimes things don’t fit the space any more and aren’t working with it…
      I do feel settled and positive. And your blog is looking amazing, I hope you are also feeling happy.

  3. Everyone seems to be taking a break from blogging – it must be catching! Like your idea though of the thoughts and ideas and good luck with teaching the French!

    • I hope you don’t stay away too long! Still love your Flipboard – I really enjoy the collection of articles on the artistic process, and also artists’ own thoughts.

  4. I’m glad to hear you’ll be spending more time reading, writing, and blogging. I’m sure you’ll enjoy this kind of a lifestyle. And good to hear your LD#1 is doing ok for her exams. This is another great advantage living in your country, that your children can go to Oxford and Cambridge. How I admire you. 🙂

    • I really am enjoying life! Who knows which University the daughters will go to? I just hope it’s not too far away, in a nice place, and that they make lots of friends when they get there.

  5. Gwen Stephens

    I would give anything to return to a car-free lifestyle — you lucky duck! We live with the minimum, one car, and it works well enough. Glad to hear how well everything’s going. Good luck with those French lessons! 🙂

    • Lots of families have 2 cars, so even 1 car is a step. It’s just difficult when you have kids that want to go around to places.

  6. There’s nothing nicer than feeling that life has become more simple, I think. Simplicity is grace. And it will be great to have you back blogging more regularly. Good luck to your older daughter for the rest of the GCSEs (I hate it when the exam boards decide all of a sudden to create an impossible paper – and they do it often, when they feel criticised) and bon courage for teaching French. Your local bookshop should be able to recommend a good textbook + cd that you can work through with her, and that will be more than enough.

    • Yes, we got a very blase email from Edexcel at work, which said that they had mentioned before that the paper would be testing students on their understanding rather than their ability to rote reproduce techniques, as if they couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about.
      You’re right, there are some very good textbooks out there, which I discovered a bit late, eg Science books that give much harder examples than the actual GCSE papers.

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