Sussex columnist is back from her summer getaways – and straight into the back-to-school madness
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It feels like ages since I last wrote a column, but at the same time, the summer holidays (and I use the term ‘summer’ loosely) seemed to fly by.
So, what have I been doing, you might ask? You might not, but that seemed a natural start to this paragraph so I’m going with it.
When you left me back in the monsoon season that was July, I was packing for our first family beach holiday abroad.
You’ll be pleased to know it was an absolute success, and the stress of being an over-packer, an over-thinker and a general worrier was totally worth it.
We went to Tenerife. I’d never been there before and it was absolutely brilliant. It’s beautiful, full of fun things to do and I could fill about three columns on why it’s worth taking your family there. But that’s probably for another day.
What I will say is despite my husband being adamant I was packing too much for our holiday, he would probably now have to concede that having a wife who is firmly in the ‘more is more’ camp is useful at times.
Take the day we took a coach tour to go and see the volcano Mount Teide – the summit of which is the highest point in Spain (just a little bit of extra info for all the fact fans out there).
As you might imagine, the drive up there is steep and winding.
When we stopped off for a toilet break, my husband said he felt a little queasy because of all the turns on the coach. So, it was with a flourish of great pride that I produced a pair of motion sickness travel bands from my bulging rucksack full of ‘just-in-case’ items.
And when he had a twinge in his back the next day, the ibuprofen I was carrying around was well-received.
And don’t get me started on the bags of dried fruit and biscuits I bought as snacks for the room – because nobody should want to mess with a child who comes back from a couple of hours in the pool and declares themselves ‘starving’ and incapable of not eating something ‘now, now, now’.
I could go on, but all you really need to take from this is that I am great, and I rule at holiday prep, planning and delivery (insert crazy laughing emoji here).
And aside from the copious amounts of fun we had in the stunning Canaries, I couldn’t be more grateful that we picked this year to go abroad. Because what was that weather here in the UK?! I know Mother Nature is pretending she’s done nothing wrong, by throwing us a bone of some sunshine and high temps the last couple of weeks, but the ‘summer’ was absolutely abysmal. Possibly the worst ever. I probably would have been inconsolable had we not gone away, but for future reference, oh gods of weather, that was not ok!
Said trips also meant I couldn’t really put the suitcases away for the whole six weeks. So we’ve been living in a ‘half-packed’ world all summer.
While I love being prepared, I didn’t love the constant packing, repacking, loading and unloading of the car, so I was kind of glad when we were back from our third and final trip.
What I probably wasn’t ready for, however, was the back-to-school madness.
When it comes to getting back into the school run, six weeks off from it may as well have been a lifetime. Getting up, ready and out the house for just after 8am feels so early.
It seems almost inconceivable that I’ve been doing it for years already.
And while I appreciate that schools need to communicate with parents, the sudden and fairly rampant return of emails and reminders from my children’s educators came as a bit of a rude awakening.
I almost found myself longing for a return to the heady holiday days spent fending off my children as they requested their 15th snack of the day. Almost.