The Beatles – Twist ‘n’ Shout

Today’s Song of the Week is later than it should be, but seeing as I haven’t posted one for months, I figured you guys would let me off 😉
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Sock Monkeys

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I’ve always fancied making sock monkeys. One of my good friends has one as an office mascot (and can be seen here – just scroll down to the bottom of the page), and ever since I saw him (He’s called Alan) I’ve been dying to make my own. So, a couple of weeks ago my daughter and I spent the day doing just that!
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Life and Craft

I’ve suddenly found myself with a lot more time on my hands than I’m used to. This isn’t by any means a bad thing; it is apparent that I’ve been neglecting myself for some time so I will use this time as wisely as I can.

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Fun. ft. Janelle Monáe – We Are Young

This wasn’t going to be my choice for Song of the Week. It just pushed itself into my consciousness over the past week until I’ve got to the stage where I can’t actually think of any other song. Every time I’ve put my iPod on shuffle this week, which has been (I think) 17 times, this song has been played within the first 3. Every time. I think my iPod is obsessed. Yesterday I went to have my nails done, and guess what song was playing when I entered the salon? Yep, you’ve got it.

The chorus is strangely uplifting though:
We are young
So let’s set the world on fire
We can burn brighter than the sun”

Not a bad mantra to have.

I think that the lyrics refer to a relationship that ended badly. He’s sorry, he knows he did wrong and he accepts that if she wants to hurt him tonight he will still be there for him. He knows the relationship wasn’t perfect, but he also knows that the good times by far outweigh the bad.

I don’t know if I’m right and to be honest I don’t mind if I’m not. I just enjoy the song.

I hope you do too.

The Rules

I know we have to have rules. The world would be in (even more) chaos if everybody did whatever they pleased whenever they chose. People would be hurt and a suffering would be commonplace. But what about those silly rules. You know, the ones that don’t really make sense. The ones where you can’t really work out the reasoning behind it. The ones where the only logical conclusion is that they are there to cause misery.

My daughter and I have come into contact with such a rule very recently.

The issue was her hair colour. The school think it’s inappropriate and wanted it dyed back to a ‘normal’ colour. Her hair had been dyed red since the start of term. Not a bright unnatural red, but more of a reddy-auburn that glowed more red in the sun. Apparently it’s not a naturally occurring colour so was against the school rules.

I could understand it if her hair had been a wild shade of green but as it was it looked more ‘natural’ than one of my daughters friends’ bright ginger hair!

Letters went back and forth between me and the school. We progressed to telephone calls. It culminated in my daughter spending a day in the Junction – an in-school exclusion.

The only solution was for me to dye her hair again.

It seems like a silly thing for me to worry about but my daughter’s hair defines her. She is confident with red hair. She is happy with red hair. She is known as ‘Red’ to several kids in others years. She is utterly distraught.

She settled on black and I dyed it last night. She hates it, much as I thought she would. She’s tried black hair before but it never fit her like the red did. She cried after I had finished and shut herself away, refusing to reply to any of her friends repeated messages and video chat requests.

I just don’t understand why it’s such a big deal to the school. She won’t learn any less because her hair was red. In fact knowing her, she’ll probably learn less now because she’s so gutted and annoyed at the school.

The kids are going through puberty. It’s a hard time for them all, trying to create their identities and find their place in the world. I don’t see what the school have to gain from stifling their personalities. I want my daughter to be her own person – to express herself in a way that’s right for her, not to be pushed into conforming to what everybody else expects.

I can only assume that the school like the kids to all look ‘uniform’ for when visitors come in. But surely it would be better for visitors to see classrooms full of happy pupils?

Summers of our childhood

A few weeks ago somebody asked me: “were summers long and gorgeous when we were kids, or are we just remembering them too fondly?”

At first, I thought “Yes, they were glorious; full of endless sunshine and fun”, but I’ve since given it a lot more thought.

I know, I can’t argue with the facts. Rainfall has been a lot higher in recent years, and that’s backed up by the MET Office. But the summers of our childhood can’t really have been perfect, can they?

As a kid the days take forever to pass. Waking up on the first day of the summer holiday, all you can see is summer, stretched out before you, almost an infinite anount of days. And every day is full of possibilities and adventures.

I used to go on countless bike rides, passing through all the local villages, and while I mainly remember doing this in the sunshine, if I really dig for old memories I remember there were times when I was out on my bike miles from home, when suddenly I was caught in a huge thunderstorm. I suppose the difference is as a kid I was exhilarated by it. It didn’t bother me at all pedalling through torrential rain – it was just part of the adventure.

As a kid I didn’t stress about my hair being ruined. There was no worry about mascara running. Not a thought was given to my clothes being wet through. It was just fun. Pure, unaldulterated fun.

As an adult we regard rain as a fun-stopper. We give it far too much importance, so it’s no wonder we dwell on the bad days of summer too much.

Similarly, as a child I used to have days where I played with the huge crate of Lego I shared with my brother, retreated into the world of books, or played on our treasured Spectrum 128k. Looking back, these days spent indoors were probably encouraged by bad weather. But the difference is I found other fun stuff to do. I had different adventures. I still had fun.

As adults, it seems we forget that you don’t have to go out to have an adventure. As soon as the weather turns inclement we grumble about our ruined plans – but don’t stop to make new ones. Often our time off of work is limited; we have perhaps 2 weeks to have a pre-arranged amount of fun completely dependent on good weather. When rain stops play we remember the whole summer as a disappointment.

Maybe the summers of our childhood weren’t as golden as we remember. Maybe we just used them better.

9th August 2012