It's been a while since I've posted some Thoughts from the Washing Line. But laundry still happens and I still stand there, hanging up my clean, damp and fresh-smelling linen, contemplating the world.
This past week, there's been a lot of laundry - the sun has been shining, but the forecast threatens rain, so I've been washing things that I might have left until later in the week - or next week - and hanging up three or more loads a day. It gives me plenty of time to think thoughts in the sunshine...
Such as the way things are changing around here...
Last Friday, this man turned seventeen. Somehow it seems a more significant birthday than last year. Seventeen seems more "grown up", perhaps more serious, than sixteen.
James sat his GCSE exams this summer and the results came at the end of August. He did really well and now has eight A*'s, four A's, a C (for Art which he chose as a relaxation and something different to all the academic stuff), and a Distinction (A^ - for his extra Further Maths GCSE), plus an ECDL/BTEC Computing as well. That's a lot of qualifications...
He started back at school a month ago and has thrown himself wholeheartedly into a busy VIth Form timetable. He is studying five subjects to "AS" Level (A-level year 1 exams) - Maths, Further Maths, Physics, History and something called Extended Project Qualification.
For the EPQ he must choose an area of study, research it, compile information and produce a "thing", such as a presentation, a paper, an essay, a report, a short thesis - whatever is appropriate. It's examined at A2 Level (2nd year A-level) standard. As he had a lot of heart-searching when choosing his fourth A-level, between History and Music, he has chosen to study an area of Music for the EPQ.
Next year, he will continue all but the EPQ to A2 Level and hopes to gain a place at university, to study Engineering.
So, you see that maybe turning Seventeen does seem so much more significant. He's nearly grown up. Almost A Man. He even has a 'tache - almost - and refuses to shave it off... He's not always finding it easy, but he is growing up all the same and starting to look towards the world beyond school. Time is whizzing by and I'm sure it won't seem long, before he's packing up his books, clean socks and various musical instruments and heading off to university.... Sobering thought.
Oh yes, speaking of Musical Instruments - look what we bought a few weeks ago!
James actually asked for a piano for his birthday - though I think it was a bit jokingly. But we'd wanted one for so long and now we have a space for it... Two visits to the piano shop, then it was soon delivered and we are so delighted with it! I'm polishing up my skills again and James just seems to be a natural - he plays away as if he's been learning all his life, but he's never had a single piano lesson!
Me and James are in love with our new pet... Dave is less impressed. He wonders why we didn't buy an electronic piano, with a socket for ear-phones - for silent practice. That's what he says anyway, but I notice he doesn't seem to mind much when James is tinkling away in the Music Room (formerly the "Snug", but there are nine instruments in there now...).
It's proving a hit with visitors too - here are James and Keri-Anne last weekend, enjoying a bit of together-time. The weekend before, we had some friends up from London and they - and their little girls - enjoyed bashing away on our piano too. It seems that quite a few people can "play a little bit" and they're delighted to get the chance to make a bit of noise.
The cake was a bit small for 17 candles - so a 1 and a 7 were found, lit and duly "huffed" upon...
Happy Birthday James. We all wish you a very successful and happy eighteenth year!
And, now that James is in VIth Form, with no more black-trousers-and-blazer school uniform, the laundry I hang out these sunny days is a lot more colourful than it used to be!