HALLFOLK OR VILLAGER - Which would you be?

Discussions about the Stonewylde Series of books

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Postby cornmother » Wed Nov 12, 2008 2:07 pm

Got it in one, Kit
:)
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Postby MPoppins » Wed Nov 12, 2008 3:18 pm

Well Kit if you ever fancy branching out and setting up some sort of society/charity that goes into schools let me know! One of my dreams is to one day go round to different schools with a van full of resources doing exactly that. Schools are gradually introducing gardens and teaching children to recycle but there is much more to it than that in my opinion. How many of them think about moon cycles? or think of wrapping up and going out in the rain? How many children think about the position of the sun in the sky at different times of the day? there is so much more we can do, reconnecting science and nature as it used to be is a big part of it I think. If I had millions i'd set up a self sufficient community that runs workshops where people can either stay, like at Stonewylde, or send out teams to schools and colleges.....ahh it's a shame that I don't agree with the national lottery and will therefore never find that kind of money :) never mind, soon i will have an allotment, that's a start.
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Postby kit » Wed Nov 12, 2008 3:36 pm

What a truly wonderful idea, MaryP!!!! :D :D :D If I ever make it big and have money to burn, we'll get together and do something on those lines! I'm actually in the process of arranging a two day visit to a Berks secondary school to teach all of their Year 10 in groups. It's meant to be to help them with their creative writing GCSE coursework, but maybe I'll just talk about the moon, the seasons and honouring the Goddess!! If that doesn't inspire their creativity, I don't know what will! :lol:
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Postby Beantighe » Wed Nov 12, 2008 11:21 pm

Ooh Kit! What a super opportunity to get your hands on a whole group of potential little Stonewylde children!! :twisted: If you can't inspire them, no-one can!

Isn't this sort of thing marvellous, going into schools and teaching the kids about how wonderful the natural world is?

The funny thing is, this is full circle come round again, after about 40 years.

When I went to our little Dickensian village school in the 1950s, the school had a garden, and we used to have gardening lessons (I don't know how many times a week). Even the girls! I remember that, because I used to be envious of the boys being able to take their shirts off when it was hot, but of course we girls had to keep our tops on!

There was a very funny story about some boys who were sent out to plant some lupin or delphinium seeds one day. They were ages, and when our headmistress went out to see what was taking them so long, she found them labouring away, drenched in sweat, digging a trench 3 ft deep! They'd misread the packet and were busily digging the height which the plants were meant to reach! :lol:

We used to go on nature walks too, when the weather was fine. There was a gravel road opposite the school, which led for about a couple of miles up to a big house called Melchet Court. In my young days, it was occupied by Catholic priests, and then later on it became an approved school for boys. But the road leading to it was a naturalist's paradise.

We used to leave the school in a crocodile, walking two by two, but once we were across, we were more or less free to break ranks and explore along the sides of the road. We picked wild flowers to press and identify (you could do that then, they were much more plentiful), made tree-bark rubbings, collected fallen leaves to make collages with and copy for artwork, looked for objects to put on our nature table, like bird's nests (discarded, of course) and the occasional small animal skull, as well as owl pellets and anything else of interest. We fished for sticklebacks and minnows in the deep ditches at the roadside, and collected frogspawn to take back to school and observe until the tadpoles turned into frogs, then we set them free again. This was a beautiful walk, and I also remember a huge lake which was covered in waxy white water lilies.

In school we grew peas and beans in a jam jar with blotting paper, and had sunflower-growing competitions. We made papier mache plant pots and decorated them, and then we each planted a tulip bulb and watched it grow.

In the school playground, we had one square of tarmac right by the school for games, but the rest of the school grounds were bare. There was a large, dusty area for rounders, and then the land sloped away to the bottom, where there were three massive sweet chestnut trees, which formed the backdrop for innumerable inventive games. We girls used to sweep the dust and soil from between the roots of the trees with bunches of twigs or leaves and play shops. The 'goods' were provided by different sized leaves which we picked from the hedge. Laurel leaves were good to use as shopping lists, or letters, if we played a postman game. You could write on the back of them with a twig for a pencil. The boys used to pile the dusty soil up with their bare hands and make dirt tracks to race their Dinky toy cars on.

It was only a tiny little village school, a law unto itself, long before there was so much interference from central government. When I started there, children started school at 5 and went there right the way through until they left at the age of 14 or 15. No exams or anything. The secondary school in Romsey, Hampshire, where I went, was only built in 1956, when I was 7. That was when all the children in the village school over the age of 11 were sent there.

In the intervening years, our secondary school garden was dug up for a swimming pool (I've seen bigger duckponds!!) and since then many school playing fields have been sold off to build houses. Nature was relegated to the classroom and dry text-books. No wonder we've produced a generation of children who think their food comes out of a freezer, a packet or a tin.

Now the wheel has turned full circle, and we are seeing a renaissance of school gardens once again, and trips to the parks to hunt for 'mini-beasts'. Children are once more learning how to grow their own food, and following its progress from the seed packet to their plates, which in turn is making them far more eager to eat it.

We have truly arrived back at the point where we lost our way all those years ago, and now it is wonderful to think that Stonewylde can really spread its sylvan influence into the hearts and minds of the next generation. There is still hope for us all!

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Postby Sujee » Wed Nov 12, 2008 11:29 pm

Beantighe, your post made me think of the 'Miss Read' books about a village school teacher in teh 50s. The author lives near here but I am not sure if she is still alive now...

We used to grow beans and peas on blotting paper in a paper cup but that was in bristol so not much in the way of countryside there! I have always loved the country and was lucky enough to have an 'aunt' with a farm in Gloucestershire, I used to spend so many happy days there. Herding the cows for milking time, learning to milk by hand, feeding chickens, eating little green apples and gooz-gogs (and getting an upset tummy to boot) and the perilous journey to the privy!! I hated it, it was dark and narrow and had the hugest spiders! Almost as bad as the Farmer and Stockbreeder on a string for afterwards.... :oops: :lol:

When we moved here, I was in heaven! Countryside and a town all in one! I like to go on the Common for walks when the sun sets but I am still at work when that happens now... have to save it for the weekends I guess in the Winter.

I used to take Claire on Nature rambles and we both learned to identify what was growing around us. As a child we woudl pick armfuls of bluebells but you are not allowed to now. And primroses too in the Spring... a bit off thread but you did inspire me to remember all this!

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Postby Beantighe » Thu Nov 13, 2008 12:24 am

That's what it's all about, hon! Remembering those halcyon days when we were kids, when we had no worries and there was fun to be had in every season. And most importantly, when we made our OWN entertainment and used every ounce of imagination, and there was wonder in everything we saw! Don't you remember how that felt?

Oh, the spring flowers! We had acres of bluebells in the woods and hedges, but the gypsies used to come and pick so many of them to take to market and sell. They used to wilt so quickly too, once they were picked.

There was also a big old holly tree just down the cart track right next to the old disused shepherd's hut (it was on wheels so it could be drawn from field to field, but even when I was little, it hadn't moved for decades, and the brambles had welded it to the spot, and the wheels were covered in rust.) The gypsies also used to come every year at Christmas and cut all the holly too, again to sell in the market. :( They weren't Romanies though - my parents always called them Diddycoys (from a Romany word meaning half-gypsy) In my day they were looked down on by Romany and Gorgio (non-gypsy) alike. I went to the village school with many of them - they were a huge family, about 10 children.

All my best memories come from before I was 11 years old. I still smile at them to this day.

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Postby Sujee » Thu Nov 13, 2008 1:51 pm

We had Diddacoy in Bristol too, I was at school with one girl and she called herself by that title. My Romany friend in Sheffield does not like it, I think it equates to Irish Tinkers (but I am not getting into that race argument!!!)

We used to play out for hours and we knew it was tea time by some form of osmosis or an older child having a real watch! :D

We used to play cowboys and indians with our cap pistols or cops and robbers, hop scotch chalked on the pavement or the path if my Grandad was not looking :wink:
I had a blue Triang three wheeled bike with a boot! I used to put my dollies in there and go for rides and sometimes my friend's rabbit on a bed of grass! My cat used to run away if he saw that bike - I think he knew he would be next...

Funniest thing was my little sister in the paddling pool - my grandad gave her an onion bag and asked her to fill it up for him! She was sitting there for ages trying to stop the water running out :lol:

Ahhh, am enjoying this - maybe we need a Reminiscing thread too!
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Postby Beantighe » Thu Nov 13, 2008 5:16 pm

Yes, isn't it amazing what we can remember once we start reminiscing?

More later, I've got to start tea now...................................

Hey, who knows, this could be the start of quite a chronicle! :D

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Postby Sorcha » Tue Dec 09, 2008 11:37 am

Yep. uploaded my first photo!! do not need Ebany any more to do it for me!! 8) 8) 8) Thanks Felicity for explaining on the altar thread! I posted this here, my daughter as villager at the Midsummer camp this summer, in front of our Wickerman!:

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And yes!!!!! managed to make it smaller as well :P :P :P :P :P :P :P
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Postby Ebany » Tue Dec 09, 2008 3:45 pm

Well done dear - looks like I'm out of a job!!! :D :D
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Postby Sorcha » Tue Dec 09, 2008 3:52 pm

Ebany wrote:Well done dear - looks like I'm out of a job!!! :D :D


We'll find other jobs for you to do dear!!! 8) 8) :wink:
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Postby sea sprite » Tue Dec 09, 2008 8:32 pm

What a great photo Sorcha :D And well done for uploading it yourself :D [smilie=eusa_clap.gif] :lol:
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Postby Sorcha » Tue Dec 09, 2008 8:46 pm

Thanks Sea Sprite!!! If we had a bowing smiley I would have used that! :P :P
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Postby Carprimulgidae » Wed Dec 10, 2008 1:14 am

Sorcha wrote:[color=olive]Yep. uploaded my first photo!! do not need Ebany any more to do it for me!! 8) 8) 8)


Poor Ebany, now Sorcha can do it on here own you are redundant, dont worry so am I :?

:lol:

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Postby Felicity » Wed Dec 10, 2008 10:33 am

I have a season table at school for my inner city Birmingham Year 5 children.

Last term I set it up for Autumn with key words like tractor, corn, scarecrow and photos of the farmland near me.

It came from a session where I had casually asked them for animals they might see locally. They said cats and dogs, so I asked for 'wild' animals. They couldn't name a single one - giraffes, tigers and elephants were mentioned by those who had been to the zoo and I tried to explain that they were not 'local' to England. They couldn't even name any birds that they might see on the phone poles!

I know we're all different, but lots of kids I have taught seem to have big chunks of life experiences missing - going to the farm, walking out and choosing big walking sticks, picking up funny shells and stones. I did all these things and as a teacher I just want them so much not to miss out.
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