Fathers Day Weekend & Hazel's 1st Feis

Yes, it’s true; we had a whole weekend devoted to Michael. Well, mostly Michael and a bit of Hazel.

Last year we didn’t really do Father’s Day properly. The kids had wanted to take Michael for a hill walk and a picnic, but we put it off as we had guests that week. Then we had such horrible weather last summer that it got put off for ages. And to add to the difficulties of making it a real celebration on the actual day again this year, the kids were signed up to do a feis on Fathers Day this year. So to redress last year’s situation, and not to repeat it, the kids and I came up with a plan. We would celebrate a little bit each day of the weekend.

We baked banana and blueberry muffins on Thursday so that we could start the celebrations as soon as Michael came home from work on Friday. (Was supposed to be a ½ day, but work intervened.) When he got home the first thing he saw (after I told him to go back in the living room and look for something!) was this banner.

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Hazel had come up with this idea, all on her own, and designed each letter. I was surprised at how well they came out. A clever use of the zillion Hama beads we still have. Then the children gave Michael his first present-a box of mint chocolates. I do think one of these days I’m going to have to redress this giving of a gift that ‘must’ be shared with them.

Saturday morning had them in bright and early with the next batch of gifts. We bought him two shirts for golf and a bright red golf umbrella. I wanted to make sure he could be seen. Then Hazel & Kieran gave him a recorder. Wonder if he’ll ever use it? Then we had a very relaxed morning-which I guess was a treat for me as well! When we finally decided to get up, we made a quick trip to the supermarket and then the rest of the day was spent on the garden. The kids played and we worked. It’s been hard work, but it’s really great to see the progress, and hopefully we’ll soon be done with the hard work, and just get down to the ‘maintaining’ bit.

Sunday we were all up by 6:50am, which was good as the alarm was set for 7am. The kids came charging in with the last of the gifts for Michael. A couple of weeks ago I took them to one of those paint-your-own pottery shops and they each painted Michael a mug. They are ever so proud of them. We’d been looking for a mug for him for ages but couldn’t find any we liked, so we decided to do our own. I took the kids to the shop to choose a style of mug and then we came home so they could work on their designs. We managed to have them painted and in the house with 6 days to spare-so I was happy that I didn’t procrastinate on getting back to the shop. I had no idea it was going to take a week to get them glazed.

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We all quickly showered and dressed and were driving south by 8:10am to get to the feis. It was the 1st proper feis for the kids, and Hazel was really excited. We had only put Kieran down for one dance to compete in, basically because if we were going to be there, he might as well participate. But when I got the schedule during the week I realized his dance wasn’t going to be till the afternoon. I just assumed they’d be in age order and would start with the youngest. When I mentioned this to Kieran I said it would be his decision to stay or not, but he didn’t have to decide till the day. He had never been overly keen on it, and so I knew he’d decide not to stay-especially as that meant when Hazel was done we’d go to a National Trust garden.

When we were in line to get her number, just as we were told someone else had picked it up, her teacher showed up. She was great with Hazel and did a quick run through, and she stayed with Hazel’s group the whole time. The teacher did run over to the next stage once in awhile, but never when one of her girls in Hazel’s age group were dancing. I think there were 4 other girls from her other class and Hazel all competing in the same group. We had seen them all in a practice session the weekend before-and we would have been surprised if Hazel placed as well as the other 4-especially 2 who were very good.

When the girls first lined up before it all started I was watching Hazel and she looked so nervous. I went up to her to see what was wrong; as Hazel loves to perform I knew it couldn’t have been stage fright. She just looked at me and said ‘What am I supposed to do? Which dance?’ I should have known-she didn’t know the feis routine and how she would know where/when/what she was supposed to do. I explained the first dance would be the reel, etc… and then asked the girl in front of her to help her through the first dance. The girl was very nice (and the best dancer of the lot!) and she guided Hazel through the procession process. Once Hazel got through the first dance-there was no stopping her. She placed: 7th, 5th, 4th, 5th and then 3rd. Mind you-I think the first 12 always get a placement medal-so if you’re not in a huge group, you will get a medal just for dancing. There are ‘dances’ and then ‘trophy dances’. This basically means you can dance the reel-and everyone gets a medal. If you dance the ‘trophy reel’, then trophies are given to the top three dancers. She did 3 different dances, but placed 4th in the trophy reel, and won 3rd for the light jig. She now wants to enter every feis possible to have the biggest trophy display ever. I think we’ve created a monster! But a cute and talented one!

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After Hazel danced we had our picnic lunch so Kieran could decide what he wanted to do. He decided he rather go than wait another 3 hours to do a dance he wasn’t all that bothered to do.

Off we went then for Michaels Father’s Day treat. We went to Mottisfont Abbey so I could see the rose garden. Ok-he likes it to-but I really wanted to see the garden and it’s normally at its best in June.

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We had a lovely walk round while Hazel and Kieran played photographers. When we finished with the rose garden we stopped for a drink and a treat. The kids absolutely loved the rose ice cream-and want to go back for more.

Photos by Hazel:

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Photos by Kieran:

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(I feel in love with this rose- Graham Thomas–wonderful colour & scent.)

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It was a lovely wander round, and then we just came home for a nice evening of gardening. Hazel had a successful day, and I believe Michael had a good weekend.

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