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Chapter Three: Nearly Christmas
Monday 2 December
We went to town for a shopping exercise this morning. Mum gave Jude and me ten pounds each and a shopping list each, and then we had to buy everything on the list for less than ten pounds and get the best value for money. Mum said we did very well.
It was so fun to play at shopping! It was hard as well, because you have to do maths to work out which tin of beans or which box of pasta is best value for money. You have to compare the prices, but you also have to compare how much is in the boxes, and if it’s different then you need to divide the cost by the quantity, so that you know how much money one gram costs.
I really like going to the shop we did the exercise in, it’s a giant health food shop, big enough to push a trolley round, called Daily Bread and it has lots of food you can’t get in the ordinary supermarket. You can buy dried apple rings and big bags of peanuts and vegan ice cream and banana chips. And you can buy special organic beans which taste better than ordinary beans because they have oregano and things in them.
It’s a long walk out of town, and once we were allowed to choose a big bar of chocolate each and I ate my whole one hundred gram bar on the walk back. We didn’t do that today though, we took a packed lunch with us and had a picnic while we waited for the bus.
We watched The Simpsons at six o’clock, and ate some of the nice things we got from Daily Bread. I ate apple rings and Jude sat in the big wicker chair and ate a lot of salted peanuts.
Fruit is a lot more fun when it’s dried out. Apple rings, banana chips, raisins, pineapple, mango, papaya. They are perfect for nibbling on. They’re just like sweets.
Tuesday 3 December
I had times tables tests this morning, and then we read Wuthering Heights together. I don’t like Catherine at all, she’s moody and spoilt. I don’t know why everyone is falling in love with her. I suppose they lived in the middle of nowhere, so there was nobody else for them to fall in love with.
After lunch we made treasure maps. We drew imaginary island maps with “X marks the spot” for where the treasure would be, and then we used teabags to dye our paper brown and we baked it in the oven!
A few years ago me and Jude did bury treasure in the back garden. We dug a big hole under the cherry tree with the red leaves, and we buried all our pennies. After a few months we dug them up and spent them on sweets at the corner shop. I could tell the shop keeper thought it was strange that we had money covered in soil, but he didn’t say anything.
Wednesday 4 December
In the morning we read Little Town on the Prairie and then learned some more about Boudicca. That was the final chapter in our book about Boudicca. Nobody knows when she died or where she was buried, but they think she survived the final battle her people had with the Romans.
We have started a new project for science about gardening. We read from books about plants and soil, and wrote things down in our exercise books. After that we went outside and dug a vegetable patch in the lawn. The ground is really frozen in the garden so it is really hard to dig at all. It’s cold outside so we wore our hats and gloves. We also turned over the compost heap and put some of the compost to mix into the vegetable patch.
We had to hand in our essays about chapter seven of David Copperfield. Mum says they are both very good essays. I used lots of quotes and I didn’t say anything in the conclusion that I hadn’t said in the middle. My essay was about David’s friendships with Steerforth and Traddles.
When Dad got home from work we all had ginger cake.
Thursday 5 December
Jude made a fruitcake and flapjacks! I don’t know which I like best, because fruitcake is so sweet and juicy but flapjacks are golden and crunchy.
While Jude was baking I worked on my dress. Mum helped me to sew on the sewing machine and press the seams with an iron. We have a really old sewing machine which used to belong to our great aunt who was a seamstress.
I think being a seamstress would be a great job because I like sewing, and it would mean you could make all your own clothes! People used to make all their own clothes, that’s what they do in Little House on the Prairie.
Friday 6 December
In the morning we went to the shops, we got the food shopping for the week, and visited Button Boutique to look at needlework supplies. I bought some buttons for my collection: I got a pink one shaped like a flower and a green one with a sheep painted on it. They are fun things to get with your pocket money because they are only a few pence each. We also got chips from the chip shop afterwards!
We made papier mâché dinosaurs this afternoon! They are tyranosaurus rexes and they are brilliant. We have to wait for them to dry before we can paint them, so they are in the porch right now.
Tuesday 10 December
We had a history test today. All morning we did revision by reading over our history exercise books, and then in the afternoon we had a test. Mum made the test. She wrote three pages of questions about the things we studied so far this year in history, and we had to answer them. It was quite fun because I like quizzes, but I couldn’t remember some things.
I got sixty percent of my questions right, which Mum said is a B- grade. Jude got seventy four percent of hers right, so she got a B+.
Also we finished Little Town on the Prairie today. Our new morning reading book will be These Happy Golden Years (which is the next book in the series by Laura Ingalls Wilder).
I painted my papier mâché dinosaur browny-purple with greeny-grey stripes. Jude’s is dark green and yellow, and Mum’s is yellowy-green with red eyes and blue spots all over his back. We should make other kinds of dinosaurs, stegosaurus and diplodocus and tricerotops. I think my favourite type of dinosaur is the diplodocus, but I also like the other kinds too. I really like The Land Before Time films, my favourite character in that is Spike, But I don’t know what sort of dinosaur he is.
While I was playing after dinner I found Jude’s lip balm, which is strawberry flavoured. If you twist the bottom the lip balm comes out, like a glue stick. So I was just twisting it to see how far it would come out, and it must have come to the end because it got stuck. So I started twisting it in the other direction, but it wouldn’t go back in. And then it broke off, so I hid it under her chest of drawers.
Wednesday 11 December
It was really sunny but also chilly riding our bikes to the swimming pool, we wore gloves and hats and scarves. My bike is metallic purple, so is Jude’s, and Mum’s is golden.
In the afternoon I did decimals and fractions and adding and subtracting in maths. Jude did mental arithmetic.
We did quiet reading after maths. I’m reading a book called Refugee by Benjamin Zephaniah, Mum says she wants to read it after me, and Jude is still reading Emma.
For cookery we made nut-stuffed mushrooms! They were delicious and quite fancy. They would be great for a tea party. Mushrooms are not like other vegetables, they are special, because they are fungus.
Friday 13 December
Today we did more digging in the garden, which is a lot of hard work, but it is fun to be outside for science.
For lunch we had peanut butter and yeast extract on toast. We’d got a giant jar of yeast extract from Daily Bread which is the biggest jar I have ever seen.
We watched the antiques programme where they have to look around a market and buy things and then hope they are worth a lot of money to win. I don’t like it as much as the one where they look inside your house and sell your old things, but it is still very interesting.
After lunch we worked on our projects. I finished a piece of my pig, which is one side, from the nose to the bottom, with two legs on it.
There was something odd about it, and so I showed it to Mum and we worked out that I had accidentally knitted one of the legs on the wrong side of the knitting, so that one leg is in the right place, and the other leg is sticking out of his back. So I will have to start again from the beginning. But at least now I understand what it is meant to look like.
Monday 16 December
We had a needlework day today, because this is our last week before Christmas so we are going to spend the week doing arts and crafts. I have been knitting my pig because I’d like to give him to Nan for Christmas. I would have possibly finished him by now if only I hadn’t gotten mixed up with the pattern and knitted one of the legs on the wrong side.
Jude was sewing a cross-stitch for Grandad which has a Christmas tree with yellow baubles and red tinsel, and it will be in a frame.
For dinner we made home-made oven chips with beans, and Linda McCartney sausages! I cleaned the muddy potatoes, Jude sliced them and cut off the bruises, and Mum showed us how to drizzle a tiny bit of oil all over the chips in the mixing bowl and turn them over to make them evenly covered, and then we put them in the oven. We cooked the sausages under the grill with some sliced in half tomatoes.
Jude hasn’t found the lip balm, so that’s lucky.
Tuesday 17 December
We made rocky islands out of paper and card! It’s brilliant! We took a piece of cardboard, and then we made rocks out of screwed up pieces of newspaper, and a lighthouse out of a cardboard kitchen roll tube! Once it was all glued down we painted blue and white waves around the rocks and painted the rocks grey. The lighthouses we painted red and white striped. I would love to live in a lighthouse.
In the afternoon I sewed my dress and Jude made scones. Mum says my dress is nearly finished. All we have to do next is put the buttons on and then it’s done. I can’t believe it. I can’t wait to wear it!
We finished reading Wuthering Heights! It’s one of the best books I ever read. It’s so tragic dramatic, all the characters are interesting and I care about them all, even the ones I don’t like.
We have to write essays about the book and hand them in after Christmas. My essay is about comparing the different houses in the story, and who lives in them, and what they are like. Jude is writing an essay about how much the characters hate each other, and why.
Wednesday 18 December
Jude has started drawing a cartoon strip. It’s really good, she’s great at cartoons. I really like the way she does people’s fingers and curly hair. So far she’s drawn seven pictures. I wonder what she’ll name her characters. Naming characters is one of my favourite parts of writing stories. I like to have a lot of characters when I write a story, just so I can name them all.
I sewed buttons onto my dress today. It buttons down the back, and I sewed press studs to button it up, and blue buttons to decorate it. And now my dress is finished! I tried it on and it fits perfectly. I love it! And it’s ready in time for me to wear it for Christmas.I also made some mermaids to live on the rocks next to my lighthouse. I’m really pleased with them. I made them out of some slinky shiny fabric I had in my sewing box. I drew faces on them in felt tip and sewed long pink hair onto their heads. They look beautiful and they love playing in the water next to the lighthouse.
Thursday 19 December
Jude found the lip balm this morning and she’s really cross about it. She won’t stop going on about it, as if I did it on purpose, which I didn’t! I just wanted to see how far it would unwind to. How could I have known that once it had unwound it wouldn’t wind back in? And I didn’t mean for it to break off either. It was an accident. She’s very angry. She says I shouldn’t touch her stuff.
We have been making Christmas decorations out of paper and cardboard tubes and beads and glitter! I also knitted a lot of my pig, but he’s still not finished. He may have to be a belated Christmas present.
We read some more of These Happy Golden Years which is perfect to read in December because it is winter in the story.
Tomorrow is the Christmas holidays!!!
Sunday 22 December
We are on holiday in Wales! It’s brilliant here. We came on the train and then we caught a bus which drove us through these winding roads over huge hills and valleys to this town and then we had to find the key to the cottage! I really expected the bus to fall off the winding roads and slide down the side of the hills, but it didn’t.
It’s great here. Jude and me have a room and Mum and Dad have a room, and downstairs there is an electric fire and a kitchen and a sofa.
We brought our stockings with us. I’m a bit worried that Father Christmas won’t be able to find us because we’re in the wrong house, but Mum says he knows where we are.
Monday 23 December
There are some lovely shops in town, Mum has bought some books for us to learn Welsh when we get home. There’s a Welsh-English dictionary, a book of phrases and a book of Welsh fairy tales. We also went in the second hand shops and the junk shops, and I have started a collection of toy cars. I have bought fourteen little cars, my favourite one is a little red Mini with doors that open and close.Tuesday 24 December
It’s Christmas Eve! I’m so excited! Today we went for a walk up the mountain, it was raining a bit so we wore our raincoats. It was a long way up, so we didn’t go all the way. I think we got to the bottom of the mountain and then it was time to go home. But the views were magical and we even saw a natural spring!
Tomorrow is Christmas! We have never been away from home on Christmas before, it’s really fun! We’ve left mince pies out for Father Christmas and carrots for his reindeer, because they will all be hungry.
Thursday 26 December
Yesterday was brilliant! Father Christmas did find us, and he brought us lots of lovely presents! He brought me a T shirt with a green motorbike on it, and some veggie bears which are fruity sweet jellies! He ate one of the mince pies we left out for him, and took the carrots we left out for all the reindeer.
We had roast potatoes and carrots and beans and sosmix toad-in-the-hole. For a long time I thought toad-in-the-hole had something to do with Toad of Toad Hall from The Wind In The Willows, but it doesn’t. I don’t know why they call it toad in the hole though.
We had crackers and party hats and mince pies too. I had apple pie because I don’t like mince pie. I try to like it every year, because it’s so Christmassy, but I never do. I won a little rubber dinosaur in my cracker!
We had a great day playing games and watching Snow White which was on television. We also went for a walk on the mountain, which was beautiful. When we got back we had missed the beginning of The Great Escape, but we watched the rest of it, it’s such an exciting film.