This time of year always catches me out. For some reason I imagine the last few weeks of the summer term as a gentle stroll towards the holidays. In my dream version of June into July, it is comfortably sunny, meals can be eaten outside, everyone is in a permanently good mood, the house is miraculously tidy and children skip happily to school. There is no homework, there are no lost shoes or jumpers, packed lunches are not found squashed at the bottom of school bags. Nits have been eradicated from the planet.
The reality is of course quite different. Over the last month one child has been to camp and back, returning with a sack of muddy clothing, a headful of nits and totally knackered, but happy; another child has been to Germany and back, returning with broken walking boots, muddy trainers and clothes which look as though they haven’t been worn at all (v. strange and concerning), she too is knackered, but happy. Admits that she got lost for an hour in a vast theme park and didn’t speak a word of German all week - apart from mumbling something as she fumbled for the card she’d been given by her teachers on which was printed “the bearer of this card is a foolish english school child, who is no doubt scared and lost, please can you guide them to the nearest phone and dial this number….” or some such, but I can’t be sure as it’s all in German.
The youngest has been in a swimming gala, “it was rubbish mum, I came last in everything, I’m glad you weren’t there. Why weren’t you there?”, not so happy. The middle one, who was in the same gala, thought it was all hilarious, as woggle races tend to be, and had to borrow swimming things from a friend because her older sister had taken her swimming costume to Germany. Yup, that’s right they share a swimming costume.
Tomorrow the youngest has a big school trip requiring spending money, “remember, mum, £3. You promised you wouldn’t forget like last time”. And the eldest has a big exam, which we all thought was today, but mercifully wasn’t as she hadn’t really prepared – she went to bed last night saying, “just wake me up really early dad, I promise I’ll do some more in the morning.” She was found up and dressed at 6am today, back in bed and unconscious at 6.15. To my every enquiry as to her progress with revision this evening she has answered, “yeah, yeah muuuum,” which I guess translates as “whatever, shut up”.
And as for me, I am meant to be chasing some feature ideas, and finishing off the DIY projects that I so unwisely decided to tackle in the middle of all this mayhem. The DIY stuff is now officially on hold, which actually means that three paint brushes have dried solid in their pots. But I will continue to chase the work, even though I know that a deadline in August is the last thing I really need. Hey ho.
On the upside, the garden is looking good in spite of evil slugs and my total neglect. And James, my other half work-wise, and I have a nice feature in this month’s Homes & Antiques – a crazy Georgian town house stuffed with dolls.
And I will finish by apologising for the rather random and unrelated photographs – the cable which connects my camera to my lap top has vanished, the vaguely relevant photographs which I was hoping to use are currently trapped on my camera. I should add, the first photograph, a road sign in Wales, pretty much sums up my current state of mind.