We're right in the middle of planning a journey to Europe - a trip that started as a visit to celebrate my Father-in-Law's birthday, but has become much more than that. And so much of it has been tainted by Charlotte Mason.
We've been arranging a visit to her birthplace, Ambleside, with some lovely AO friends - we've been booking a cottage, organising a visit to the Armitt Museum, discussing walks. I've been rereading her biography so that I know what we need to see, and discussing with a dear friend who has just returned home from a visit herself, how to make it all fit together. It's a highlight of the trip already.
From there we're heading north for a week long Reformation Tour of Scotland. We'll be visiting the 800 year old Covenanter Oak in Dayzell Park, where the Covenanters held services under the shade of its branches. We'll see where George Wishart was executed, John Knox preached, Patrick Hamilton died and Samuel Rutherford was buried. We'll visit Bothwell Bridge, Drumclog, Airds Moss and Glassford - the killing times come to life. We've even manage to fit in a visit to Wigtown - Scotland's book town, and the town where the two Margarets were martyred, as well as the site of the Battle of Bannockburn. A trip like this needs preparation, so we're busy reading, reading, reading - about William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, Margaret Wilson and John Knox. We need to know the history and the context.
Later in the trip we're visiting France, and so our evenings are filled with websites of accommodation in Normandy, while we read about the Norman invasion and the battle to keep control in history in the mornings. The place we hope to stay in was built in 1620. Imagine what sights it has seen! We've been researching a visit to the Bayeux Tapestry, while we study the Battle of Hastings. How that brings things alive. We've been organising visits to old friends - and practicing our French. We've been looking at old photos and reliving memories, and renewing aquaintances.
In maths, Jemimah has been learning about conversion rates, and commission rates - is a percentage rate better, or would you prefer a fixed rate? What do Buy and Sell rates mean? How do you write a £ symbol, and how many Euro will you get for your birthday money? Now this is living mathematics.
All this stuff is fun. Not so much, budget and keeping within it - or within cooee at any rate. We're faffing around with insurance paperwork, and pre-existing medical conditions. And car hire. And interconnecting flights. Add this stuff to the totally out-of-control computer - which has just been in the hospital for a week, and needs to be readmitted, and you can see why we are in need of a holiday.
In fact, whether we're ready or not, I vote that we fly out tomorrow. I don't think I can cope until July.