It is just a year since my last visit to the Notting Hill Carnival. Put another way, it is a year since I last visited the Notting Hill Carnival. The sheer exuberance of the event, along with the unbridled joy and dogged perseverance of the performers, has the makings of good lesson for our eleven plus children.
There has to be planning of costumes, dance routines and the float.
The participants have to be fed and watered.
Back up vehicles have to be organised.
The dancers need to be shielded - yet be on display.
Most of all, all concerned need to put `their best foot forward'.
There was a long queue for the jerk chicken. The rice and mutton, which I had, made a very tasty meal. There was, however, some dissent. A young mother was trying to coax her daughter into sharing a tasty looking goat stew. The child wanted crisps.
No amount of bribery and pleading could change the child's mind. "I want my crisps!"
We all think about crisps being a thin potato based `food' we eat swiftly from a packet.
We also think about crisp as in `Deep and crisp and even.'
So in eleven plus terms does the word crisp mean brittle and crunchy?
After all most of us like roast pork to have crisp crackling.
The whole Notting Hill experience is designed to be a celebration of culture - yet there will always be someone who wants something different - as in the little girl who chose to reject all the tasty offerings and crave a familiar food.
If you want your child's mind to be crisp on the day of the examination take into account your child's personality. If your child is likely to be cheerful and positive - then rejoice. If your child is likely to want to be tearful and worried, then commiserate but just be glad that he or she has made it to the examination. Stick to the familiar and the tried and tested. Curried goat is not for everyone - but it makes wonderful meal.
In the days before the examination start taking the pressure off. Your child and you have done the hard work. You have done your best. The word `crisp' in eleven plus terms should not mean flaky but it should mean bright and alert!