Wednesday, 5 September 2012

New term. New Start. New shoes.

Daughter #3 left for her new school very early this morning (at least 20 minutes before her older sisters, who both go to the same place) looking unrecognisably smart and grown up in her new uniform and shiny shoes. Watching her go, I experienced one of those crystal-clear flashbacks that occur often in books but rarely in real life, of watching her walk down the lane to nursery in the autumn that she was 3 years old, wearing her purple coat and holding her daddy's hand, looking up at him. It caught me so off-guard I had to blow my nose hastily on a tea towel.

So the plan was that the moment the daughters were all out the door I'd be up to my office like a rat up a drain, typing away frantically and trying to get down all the fabulous, sparkly words and ideas that have glittered in my head all summer when I've been far away from a computer. Instead I spent the first hour wistfully sorting washing and feeling teary-eyed and nostalgic for the happy weeks of freedom from routine and time spent with lovely people. This year we timed our own prestigious Family Olympics to coincide with the similarly-named event in London, although as a member of Team GB I have to report that we didn't do nearly as well as the official team, despite my own gold-medal performance in the Sock Sorting event. After that, with scarcely a washing-machine-cycle's turnaround, we went off to St Ives, where the evenings were warm, the sea was clear and the surfers were plentiful. We'd chosen a house right in the centre of the town so the teenagers could come and go (and stay in bed) as they pleased, which seems to be the Shape of Holidays to Come. Am fleetingly sad about the passing of the sandcastle-building years, but on balance think that the going-out-in-the-evening and drinking-wine-on-the-beach years will have much to recommend them.





Back home again, the days settled into an easy routine of waking early and writing before the daughters roused themselves from their beauty sleep. I've been writing something a bit different which has been both challenging and fun, which I usually find a contradiction in terms. (Not sure whether the fun element was due to writing in bed, which adds a certain holiday atmosphere. Also, on the downside, a certain amount of toast crumbs. Impossible to write without devouring mini-breakfast, to boost creative energy levels.) The afternoons were given over to entertainment and adventure, and a good deal of extremely messy baking, so that the kitchen has become so covered in drifts of icing sugar it looks like Miss Havisham's dining room. It was only the prospect of cleaning it that finally sent me hurrying upstairs to blow the dust off the computer and locate the 'on' switch... (after which I spent a pleasant hour browsing the internet for new shoes - which are surely an essential compensation for the end of summer and onset of autumn?)

Hope everyone else has had a lovely summer and made a few more memories to add to the precious store we each carry with us. If there are any that you'd like to share I'd love to hear them...

12 comments:

Abby Green said...

Your summer sounds idyllic. I want to regress to 10 years old and be brought to school by you! Or maybe not...the conversation would be too adult and weird :)!
x Abby

Sharon Kendrick said...

I ate some amazing lunches (and dinners!) al fresco on an Umbrian hillside while a giant white moon rose high in the sky. I swam in an infinity pool which overlooked Lake Trasimeno, while scarlet pomegranate blooms stirred in the faint breeze. A quick trip to nearby Perugia to listen to bells and walk through ancient, cobbled streets.

Oh, and I went to Derbyshire - which was gorgeous - visiting a place where i hadn't been since I was little. I was on my way to a Writing Summer School in Swanwick where I had to speak to a packed hall of lovely writers and ate delicious puddings - with CUSTARD!

India said...

Abby, I can't imagine a situation in which you wouldn't be corrupting me with your wickedness, even if you were 10 years old! So yes - defintely weird.

Sharon, next year I'm coming to stay with you for the summer. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. Every detail of your summer sounds PERFECT... (especially the custard!)

Brigitte said...

I SO hear you with the "in-sleeping teenagers"! Have got one of those, as well. Drives DH nuts, he who rises with, or even before!!, the sun.
This summer has been spent in our weekend house, lazing around the pool, reading, entertainig our friends, transforming my neighbour's harvest, glut, really, into jams, fruit compotes, soups (then frozen, ready for winter) and other delicious veggie dishes.
And nearly forgot, spent 4 days in Prag without the "in-sleeping" ones. :)

India said...

Brigitte, the house and the summer sound idyllic - even with the lazy teens! Do you have lots of photos (that I can look at for inspiration/envy?)

My husband gets frustrated with the girls too - especially as, once they're up there's the hours of showering/hair-washing and drying and 'getting ready' to factor in before we can go anywhere or do anything... The joys of having daughters!!

Brigitte said...

Yes, there are some photos on my FB page, mainly the ones with the "view", as we have a "house with a view". :) I can also send you others, I do not wish to put up on FB, if you so wish.

India said...

Ooh, I'd love to see them, Brigitte. I'm the last person in the known world not on facebook, so I can't see them there, but it would be wonderful to see the house and think wistfl, envious thoughts as autumn really settles in. I'm away in London at the moment but will catch up when I get back xx

Catherine J said...

Hello.

St Ives looks and sounds lovely!

I swam in the sea in Majorca, went to a ve-ry inebriated birthday party at the Scotch Malt Whiskey Society in Edinburgh, and went "home" to lovely Northern Ireland where I freaked myself out watching my daughters cross the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge.

I hear you on taking forever to get ready to go anywhere!

I hope your youngest is settling into big school - I gave a friend's Year 7 a lift home yesterday and she looked awfully cute in her slightly-too-big-cos-she'll-grow-into-it uniform!

All the best, Catherine

Brigitte said...

OK, will send you photos next week. Does your mail box accept photos? Can you open zipped files? Do you want interior as well? Questions, questions.....
Say hi to London for me. :)
B. xx

India said...

I think I can get photos - let's give it a go! And I want to see every lovely detail! xx

India said...

Catherine - sorry I missed you there!

You had a pretty busy summer! I totally admire you swimming in the sea, for that involves the sporting of a swimsuit. On a beach. *has mild panic attack*. The inebriated birthday party sounds like my kind of thing, but I don't envy you the extreme-daughter-activity. Why can't they stay indoors on the internet all the time? (oh yes, mine often do...)

Youngest is happy, but doesn't like the swearing in the corridors. *sheds small tear*

Eldeco said...
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