Thanks, belatedly, to everyone who wished me a happy birthday. I spent the evening in a rapturously enjoyable family activity; we downloaded last year's questions from the Junior Mathematical Olympiad and worked through the easy (short form) questions A1-10; M could do most of them (slowly) with either no hints or tiny hints, but is horrendously stuck on A9 and desperate to do it without being helped. I have told her to sleep on it and if she's still stuck today I'll give her a hint. J needed substantial help with all of them (but he's only 8 and this competition is up to Year 8, ie 13) but really seemed to enjoy solving the problems after being given Big Hints. This was triggered by M's silver in the Junior Maths Challenge; she'd need to pick up both her problem solving and her pace to get an Olympiad invite next year because the top silver score was 71 and the Olympiad cut-off was 100. None of the JMO questions is difficult; it appears to be primarily designed to ease children in gently to the idea of writing out problem solutions.
And then, just as I was thinking of coming on and thanking everyone for my birthday, I was suddenly horribly ill. Very strange. So I'm taking today as sick leave (but BlackBerrying furiously as my work is insanely busy at present).