Here in the UK we are nearly at the end of the summer holidays and it’s been wonderful. We definitely can’t complain about the lack of sunshine and it’s been fabulous seeing the children spending so much time outdoors.
They, like me, have mixed feelings about the return to school. Mostly I think I’ll miss the adventure-filled, long days of summer, but returning to a more structured life does have its up-sides. Things have been fairly quiet on the work front, but only because so many people are on holiday. It’s going to be a shock to the system when everyone is back on line!
Summer highlights? Several lovely family parties; a new Harry Potter story; bike rides, walks and swims; cooking on a campfire; mini-breaks in Devon and Somerset; open-air cinema and shooting stars; village show; National Trust properties; picnics; jam making; Scout Camp; more swimming, biking and walking …
Abiding memory? Inspired by the 1970s Swallows and Amazons film, the children decided to set up camp in the garden. (The fire they first lit three weeks ago is still smouldering, although the tents did have to come down so we could go on Scout Camp.) It brought back so many strong memories of when I was little. The campfire is in almost exactly the same place as I remember ‘accidentally’ lighting a fire aged about ten. I was worried I might be told off and thrilled when my wonderful Dad suggested cooking our lunch on it!
This year’s garden camp was during the meteor shower so in order to fill the time until it got dark enough, Ben rigged up an open-air cinema round the back of the old garage. It was magical. Bats, shooting stars and Back to the Future!
I’m not sure what Titty, Roger, Susan and John would have made of that, but they would have recognised the joyful setting up of the kitchen and organisation of rations; the exploration and mapping of nearby native countryside; and the playful ‘wars’ against the neighbouring Amazons. We watched the trailer for the new Swallows and Amazons film with trepidation. Both children stated categorically that they preferred the old one. We’ll see.
Having read the original book last year, we’ve now embarked on Swallowdale, which we think is the next instalment (although there was some confusion about this). It’s the following summer anyway and the Walker children accidentally sink Swallow so resort to exploring the mainland on the other side of the lake. Perfect summer holiday fodder for my two landlubber children (who are now however absolutely determined to learn to sail – maybe next summer?!).
In France, they have a great word, la rentrée. I’m still pushing September slightly to the back of my mind, with all the excitement, emotion and chaos a new school term will bring for the Leonard-Wright family. But la rentrée doesn’t just refer to the start of a new school year. It covers people going back to work, the rhythm of day-to-day resuming and all the optimism and opportunity this time of year brings. So I hope you are all having a good summer and are looking forward to your own new challenges in September!
Thanks for reading!