Friday, June 30, 2006
A History of Britain - Norman Conquest 1066
We got the 6 Disc Set from the library and watched program 2
HI: Great British Commanders - Cromwell
Profile of Oliver Cromwell, a captain who overcame his inexperience to lead his Roundhead forces to victory over the Cavaliers in the 17th century. Although most famous for deposing the monarchy and founding British democracy, Cromwell was also notorious for instigating a brutal invasion of Ireland
Continued (see yesterday's post)
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Secret Joke Book
Yo Ho Ho
A Lottle Of Fun
The War Game
Directed by Peter Watkins, won the Academy Award as best feature documentary of 1966. This film shows what could happen in Great Britain if it were under nuclear attack and the after-effects its survivors would suffer in a post-nuclear-war world. One of the most powerful anti-war movies ever made.
We watched the 1st 3 scenes of the 1st episode of this series about the history of the Roman Empire as experienced by one of its rulers.
DJ watched a tiny bit of this program - (great medieval kitchen!) - he enjoyed it because he has visited the castle with his dad some time ago and could say "I've been there!"
Horizon - We Love Cigarettes
Exploring man's attraction to cigarettes and attitudes to smoking around the world with anti-smoking expert Allen Carr, nicotine patch inventor Dr Jed Rose, and Dr Chris Proctor who is attempting to make a `safer' cigarette.
Discussion - needless to say, all this watching and listening always involve meaningful discussion of the topics and issues addressed
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Healthy Eating: today we got an organic vegbox + fruitbox home delivered from Riverford. Some of the veg are new to us, so we learned about kohl rabi, globe-artichoves and round courgettes.
ICT: using LimeWire, downloading MP3 music files and putting them on an MP3 player
Analysing yesterday's meltdown: triggers, actions and consequences; the role of attachment and anger; recognising and acknowledging personal weaknesses and identifying alternative ways to deal with not getting what one wants.
GF tuna, cheese & tomato pizza
RE: The Convent
A group of ordinary women are given an extraordinary opportunity to spend 40 days and 40 nights living with nuns. Can the nuns' traditional religious values help them tackle contemporary problems of relationships, self-esteem, and meaning in their lives?
Sex in the 90s
Exploring the decade's sexual liberation and big business operations behind the scenes
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Overall, how good is DJ at dealing with his emotions? 3.5 out of 5
DJ is on his way to become a socially adept and emotionally healthy child. His special strength is his ability to be aware of his emotions. That means his strong point is that he reads and understands his own emotions.
All children have some emotions they can manage better than others. Some children cannot deal with anger. Others find it hardest to cope with guilt. For others again sadness is most difficult to handle. What are the emotions DJ can manage and what are the emotions where he needs support? How well does DJ deal with the following particular emotions in his life?
Anger is the most visible of the emotions. Both adults and children get into trouble for being angry and acting out their anger. But while many adults can control their anger; most children still have to learn it. How well does DJ handle the different aspects of anger? Cool! (2.5 out of 5)
Children are frightened easily. They can be frightened for a good reason (e.g. a bully at school) or for a not so good reason (e.g. a ‘monster’ in the wardrobe). In any case children need to deal with their anxiety in these situations. How well does DJ handle the different aspects of anxiety? Cool! (2.5 out of 5)
Every child gets bored once in a while. Maybe they have to wait at the doctor or they sit in the car while the family is travelling. When bored, some children are able to find something interesting to do on their own while other children need their parents to entertain them.How well does DJ handle the different aspects of boredom?Fantastic! (5 out of 5)
Envy is a common emotion in children. Often children want to have things (sweets, toys or clothing) that someone else has. In general, the younger the children the harder they find it to accept that they cannot get everything they want to have. How well does DJ handle the different aspects of envy? Fantastic! (4 out of 5)
Children can feel guilty for a good reason (e.g. they broke something). Sometimes, however, they may feel guilty for events they have not control over, e.g. they think they caused grandma’s death or their parent’s break-up. Children need to deal with their guilt in these situations. How well does DJ handle the different aspects of guilt? Fantastic! (4 out of 5)
A child's sadness is not always obvious. Children usually withdraw from company when they are sad. However, withdrawing might not be a good thing to do. How well does Daniel handle the different aspects of sadness? Cool! (3 out of 5)
The Skills of Emotional Intelligence
Emotions are signals that something extraordinary is happening. In order to react well we need to be able to recognise these signals. Self-Awareness is the name for this ability. Children with a high level of self-awareness understand the signals of their own emotions; they know when they are angry or sad. Children with a low level of self-awareness have to learn this first; they experience the emotions but they're not sure what they feel or why. What level of Self-Awareness has DJ? How well can he read and understand his own emotions? Fantastic! (4.5 out of 5)
Emotions set off behaviour that may or may not be appropriate. We might do or say things that are not in our own best interests. Children who can manage their emotions can keep disruptive and harmful impulses under control. They, too, get angry or frightened, but they manage to keep calm. Children who are hijacked by their emotions need help in the area of managing their emotions. How well can DJ manage his emotions? How well can he keep disruptive and harmful impulses under control? Cool! (2.5 out of 5)
Empathy is the ability to sense other people’s emotions. This ability needs to be learned. Children don't relate automatically to someone else’s emotions. Some children have a high level of empathy and are very considerate and sensitive; they can take and feel someone else’s perspective. Other children have a lower level and need support to understand what other people might be thinking and feeling. How well can DJ relate to other people’s emotions? How well can he sense their emotions and understand their perspective? Cool! (3.5 out of 5)
The Next Step
In the moment it seems that Daniel finds it hard to deal with his sadness. This may result in being unable to overcome any sad feelings. With a bit of help and support DJ could master this step easily. http://www.kidsemotions.net/
EN / ICT: Blogging
The Roman Way to Building a Career
DJ: "The civil war was known as the year of the 4 Emperors"
Battle of Waterloo: Wellington & Napoleon
ART: Tim Marlow on Kandinsky
Exploring works by Kandinsky, highlighting the work seen as key in the evolution of the abstract movement
Monday, June 26, 2006
Cooking: GF Cheese & Tomato Pizza
History: Mean Machines of War - Machines of D-Day
We watched this documentary about weapons of war. We saw the beaches of Normandy and heard stories of the machines which took part in the D-Day invasions, like transport planes, amphibious landing craft and ships able to unleash a barrage of rockets - some designed especially for that day, which ensured that the invasion succeeded - and ultimately ended the war.
History: The War of the World - The Plan
Historian Niall Ferguson talked about how the US became the envy of the world in the aftermath of WW1, and how the Wall Street crash and the Great Depression changed public attitudes to capitalism and democracy
RE: Buddhism - Forgiveness Meditation by Gil Fronsdal
Science - Mindshock: Transplanting Memories?
Documentaries about the human brain examining cases of transplant patients who have experienced memories and sensations they have never had before. Many believe they have acquired these elements from their donors, and meet the families of the deceased to better understand the source of their new impressions, habits and desires
Saturday, June 24, 2006
I went off to Bristol Lamrim Buddhist Centre and DJ stayed with his friend FKE and 2 other boys next door. They went out to the Rec for a couple of hours, had some food together and played games. It's nice and sunny out there and we booked tickets to the Buddhafield Festival: all in all, a great day. Oh, yes, check this out:
Socialising: DJ spent the day with the boys next door once again - plus: seeing people we hadn't seen for ages and meeting new people
Friday, June 23, 2006
Valiant Vikings: Lindisfarne, where Vikings raided in 793AD & Jorvik, a thriving Viking city now better known as York.
Viking Voyagers: many
Vikings settled in Ireland after sailing the seas on their longboats. Why Ireland was important to Vikings and how Dublin became the centre of a vast trading empire
Writing about Saxons and Vikings: How to 1) produce a chronological account of the different people who came to Britain, from the Romans to the Normans. 2) visit a reconstructed Saxon village and write about village life. 3) visit a dig and explain how archaeologists go about their work. 4) write a balanced discussion about their relative contributions to life in Britain.
Current Affairs - Unreported World: Democratic Republic of Congo
Evidence of UN soldiers supporting the government in the indiscriminate purging of civilians. Survivors share their experiences
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Over the past 2 weeks DJ read 2 Horrible Histories books: The Slimy Stuarts & Rowdy Revolutions by Terry Deary.
DJ also read
Asterix and Obelix All At Sea
Asterix in Spain
Asterix and Caesar's Gift
Asterix and the Actress
Asterix the Gladiator
Asterix The Mansions of the Gods
Pluto is on the brink of being wiped off the solar system map. In a tragic end to a short life, the smallest and youngest planet could be relegated to the status of a mere asteroid. And this is not the action of one rogue astronomer. Some scientists have scorned this 'Disney planet' for years and the discovery of a potential tenth planet in our backyard could be the final nail in Pluto's coffin. As the International Astronomical Union struggles to make up its mind, Horizon asks just how many planets there are in our solar system - and discovers the only thing that's certain is that nine is the wrong answer.
What the Ancients Did for Us
The Ancient Britons: Sun and moon worship at Stonehenge and the high point of ancient British technology - the chariot.
Put Me Together Again
Documentary exploring the work of the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust in Liverpool, which tries to help people who have lost their memory through accidents and illness.
Sat 10th June: Alvor Beach
For JD rabbits are pets, so eating rabbits would be like eating cats or dogs. Portuguese people buy whole skinned rabbits and cook them. It was a mixture of cookery and science session, as we dissected the rabbit and identified its organs one by one: lungs, heart, kidneys, liver and intestines. JD decided not to eat it but DJ loves rabbit. JD was also surprised when he saw 3 whole roasted pigs and the huge variety of fresh fish for sale at the supermarket.
Sun 11th June
In the morning we went to a local market - mercado - where the locals hate having their photos taken! So if you're tempted, don't!
Mon 12th June
In the afternoon we went to the beach and the boys learned all about beach flags. Today there was a yellow flag, meaning 'swimming not recommended' as the currents were strong and the waves stronger and higher - which they loved!
In the evening we went to Portimao's waterfront, a great place for a stroll with lots of different types of boats to look at. DJ found out that his great grandad worked on a boat with 2 masts and 4 sails: "That's why I like Puzzle Pirates" he said.
After that we went to Alvor's centre, where we saw remains of castle walls - the castle has long disappeared but for 2 streches of wall that were once part of the fortress but now have houses built against them - and the house where King Joao II died in 1495.
But Alvor is not just about history. For most people it's all about having fun and staying out late as most places are open until late hours of the night and children seem to be welcome just about everywhere.
Tue 13th June - today we went to Silves and visited the Castle, the Se (or Cathedral) and the Archaeological Museum.
The castelo has great views over the town and surrounding countryside. Inside its chunky red sandstone walls there were archaeological digs going on and we saw a Moorish well and a large pink vaulted water cistern. Below the castle is the cathedral, a stark and fortress-like building from the 12th century. The Archaelogical Museum was built around a 12th century Moorish well, which is now the central exhibit.
Silves was once the Moorish capital of the Algarve. It used to be known as Shelb. From the mid 11th to mid 13th centuries it had a population of 30,000, a port and shipyards. In 1189 Dom Sancho I laid siege to it, supported by a horde of (mostly English) hooligan cruzaders who had been persuaded (with the promise of loot) to pause in their journey to Jerusalem and give Sancho a hand. You can find more information on the web e.g.
Science: in the evening the boys watched a Discovery documentary - Next Wave: The Science of Tsunamis - about how undersea quakes deform the sea floor and create tsunamis, and about the Pacific Warning System.
Wed 14th June
After a lazy morning we walked to Alvor's riverside area, where the local fishermen hang out. On the way there we spent an hour on the internet cafe - hard to live without! We then decided to mingle with the locals and sat by the river watching a couple of boys fishing. JD got inspired and decided to buy a fishing rod. In less then 5mns he caught his 1st fish, and a little latter decided he needed some worms to use as bait. We were told to find Ze Miguel, a local fishermen who had some for sale, and went looking for him. We found him easily, got the worms and headed to the pier. A few minutes later Ze Miguel joined us: he gave the boys 'chumbinhos' (weights), sand and some fishing tips. The other boys offered us some 'salemas' they had caught. DJ tried to save a life by throwing one of them back into the river. The rest we cooked and ate later on.
Today it poured! Wind and rain, monsoon type... We stayed in for quite a while, watching cartoons in Portuguese, playing chess, watching films - Austin Powers, Jackie Chan's Who Am I?, Portuguese comedy and a Discovery documentary 'The Ultimate Zoo' (work behind the scenes at calgary Zoo).
Eventually we managed to go out and DJ took some photos of Alvor.
Fri 16th June: this morning we went to Guia's market and the shopping mall. After that we drove back to Alvor, had lunch and went to the internet cafe, where the connection went down, so we ended up in the local library and managed to get 1/2 hr online. We walked back to the pool and the boys went swimming again. JD learned how to make farofias (www.portoexpress.com/idxd.htm#r8)
and after tea the boys played chess before we went out again to find out how the locals celebrate their saints.
Marcha dos Santos Populares - Popular Saints' Parades
Fri 16th June Alvor's Riverside Area 10pm-1.00am
Festivals play a major role in Portugal's summers. Even though they have religious connotations, most of these celebrations are, in fact, anything but religious. Every city and town has its own festivals. The June Festivities are very popular. These festivities are dedicated to 3 saints known as Santos Populares (popular saints) and take place all over Portugal. The 3 saints are St Anthony, St John and St Peter. A common denominator in these festivities are the wine, sardines, traditional street dances and celebration.
Alvor Beach: swimming (PE), sand castles (art/sculpture) & World Kite Surfing Tour
Science: Discovery Program about the Human Body (including muscle system; skeleton; energy machine: heart, lungs & digestion; brain over pain)
Science: Wildlife - butterflies, dragonflies, caterpillers, wasps, etc - reproduction & feeding
Taliban - American, canadian and British troops against Talibans of Afghanistan
India's salt production - Landless people belonging to socially and economically backward castes and communities are compelled to work on salt pans as seasonal labourers... the Koli community are engaged in everything from transport, loading and unloading, grinding and packaging the salt. They live and work on the salt pans under hazardous conditions, without any reasonably decent facilities of water, health, transport and electricity for eight months of the year, every year.
Film: Around the World in 80 Days, with Jackie Chan
Beach: sand castles (art / sculpture); swimming (PE); health - the boys found a dead bird (bird flu awareness) & DJ buried JD in sand (having fun)
Mon 19th June: we headed to Lagoa's water park. From 11am to 5.30pm it was non-stop slide, splash and running upstairs for more! Non-stop PE day - with only a couple of quick breaks to fuel up with some carbs. But the day wasn't just about PE - after all, the boys were learning about how people relax & have fun in other countries and the pleasure of swimming outside.
Tue 20th June - After the coastal cruise and an hour on the internet cafe, it was time to get ready to celebrate nan's 66th birthday. We went out to a restaurant and had Churrasco, or Chicken Piri-Piri, a spicy grilled dish common in Portugal (piri-piri is a small hot chili). This dish originates from Africa but was adopted by the Portuguese and is now one of their main dishes served in restaurants, cafés, and bars. You can find a recipe on
After enjoying this lovely meal we visited DJ's great aunt.
Tue 20th June: Coastal Cruise
Today we had the opportunity to discover the real Algarvean coastline with its natural beauty of rock formations, caves and secluded beaches which can only be seen from a boat: the scenery was magnificent. The Manguito took us from Portimao to Armacao de Pera and back, through Ferragudo, Carvoeiro and Benagil.
The highlight for DJ was, after taking photos of a 'pirate' ship, having the chance to actually drive the boat for a little while on the way back: he loved every second of it!
21st June: We drove back to Faro's airport through Alte and Loule. Alte was a lovely surprise: it was nice to see that some villages are still unspoiled and great to get a glimpse of the traditional Portuguese lifestyle. The kids loved to see the fish in the river, drink from the natural water fountains and have a refreshing swim in the local pool. It surely helped them cope with the heat!
"Some consider Alte, which has existed since the period of the Roman occupation, to be the village most typical of the Algarve. With their whitewashed houses, windows and facades edged with colourful borders, ornate chimneys and pervasive air of tranquillity, the streets of Alte's historic center have retained much of their original charm.
For centuries the water fountains were a meeting place for the women of the village who would fill their water pitchers and do their washing. Tables and stone benches have now been installed, in the cool shade of the overarching trees; making this an ideal spot for having a picnic or just lazing around."
We then headed to Loule, which was a bit of a disappointment - it has grown a lot and lost its charm. However, the boys got to see the town with its narrow shopping streets, the remains of some castle walls and got to munch an English Breakfast.
Before heading back to the airport we stopped at the Ilha de Faro - which we later saw from up above. It was still very hot so we didn't hang out for long. But boys will be boys, and the sight of topless women at the beach seemed to bring them back to life - how sad is that?