Book Bonding at the Lake

I am on a roll! Lake school today just two weeks after the last time! The weather was perfect for it, and I don’t know how much longer it will be warm enough to swim, so I decided to go for it. Who wouldn’t want to learn in this classroom?


We were very annoyed though, to get there and find that the “close” bathroom has been locked, presumably till spring. The only one left open is a lengthy hike away.

This time Jasper and I didn’t have to assemble the grill before using it! And this time the coals actually burned when we lit them. We had our standard breakfast of eggs and sausage before going to work on school. Jasper is getting into more algebra in his math now, and despite his vocal complaints, he seems to understand it quite easily.

We don’t try to cover everything at the lake, but we do make sure to get math done and usually a couple of other things. Right now we are reading a book together that was my very favorite book when I was Jasper’s age. Actually, we are listening to the audiobook so that I can knit! I have so enjoyed sharing this book with my kids as they have grown up. The book is My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell. My family was given a copy when I was 15, and I was enthralled. As an animal lover myself, I identified with young Gerry and his adventures with wildlife; and as an intrepid adventurer, I longed to visit the places he wrote about on the Greek island of Corfu.

I have probably read that book (and its sequels) at least 15 times. As we’ve been listening to it, I’ve realized that I know some passages by heart. We started listening to it the last time we went to the lake, and have continued in between, with lots of time spent listening today.

As a fifteen-year-old, I was so obsessed with the book that I wanted to support Durrell’s zoo for endangered species on the island of Jersey. I wrote to a friend who was on furlough in the U.K., and asked if there was some way she could contribute to the zoo on my behalf and then I could pay her back when she returned to Zambia. I received a very sweet letter back from her mother, saying that they would be happy to contribute on my behalf, and I wouldn’t have to pay them back. However, my mother nixed this plan, on the grounds that it negated the spirit of the thing if someone else contributed for me.

So anyway, it has been such a fine thing to listen to this book being read by a guy that sounds like Rex Harrison, and to have Jasper beside me hearing it for the first time and getting such a kick out of it. Now this book will be even more special to me as it will bring back memories of my son and me sitting in the great outdoors and listening to it together.

We didn’t grill our lunch, but we did grill apples for dessert:


They turned out very nicely and were worth the wait.

When we were all done with our schoolwork, it was 3:00 and time to swim. I had decided to go swimming too so Jasper wouldn’t have to swim alone. The water was perfect—not too warm and not too cold. It felt so good to just hang out in the water for a while. Sometimes I forget how much I love the water.

We were reluctant to leave, but we made ourselves pack up and get into the car, where we listened to more of My Family and Other Animals on the way home. As we were the only ones home, we had a cozy supper in the living room while watching a movie. I got a lot of knitting done.

By the way, I am still sick. I decided I’d rather be sick at the lake than in the house today. Every time I coughed, Jasper rushed over to pat my back.

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