Wednesday, September 22, 2010

You’re gonna make me lonesome when you go

Summer has ceased abruptly, reminding me of that Peanuts cartoon where all the leaves fall off the trees in one mighty ‘whump.’ As the mercury sinks so the mind turns to quintessentially autumnal questions: is it environmentally wrong to pop the heating on yet? Must I wear a jumper instead? Where in fact are the jumpers anyway? Oh please can I put the heating on? When then? All right, can you pass me the duvet?

September’s metaphorical back-to-school vibe is compounded this week by Thing Two’s actual start at school, a fortnight after everyone else for doubtless excellent reasons known only to reception teachers. So from Friday all my little chicks will have flown, and with a whump my seven years of the pre-school round will end. Gone, the familiar weekday routines: hanging out in an empty Grange, watching Thing Two make mud pies amongst the primroses; performing resistance tests on playground equipment; wiping apple juice off our seats in Neros; trotting round the shops when they are quiet.

I think we might have outstayed our welcome in some of the shops though. This week Thing Two and I were told off in both Wickle and Bright Ideas. I like an independent shop as much as the next person (unless the next person is from Transition Town, in which case they win), but I do wonder if shouting ‘We love kids coming in here BUT…’ is exemplary commercial policy? Whereas boo hiss chain Costa has always greeted Thing Two and I with great warmth during the innumerable times we have repaired there for his favourite chocolate milkshake (till I discovered that a Frescato was essentially an enormous coffee with a hint of chocolate. Which might explain the bouncing around in Bright Ideas.)

‘What will you do with yourself when both Things are at school?’ is a question I have been asked a lot lately.

Grange Girl suggested I consider the small ads of Lewes News for day-filling ideas. I noticed she’d already ringed some: dolls house club, embroidery workshop, and singing for larks.

I thanked her, put Lewes News in the recycling and turned on the heating (the one cancels the other out, you see). To put a dampener on any further talk of embroidery, I then started to draw up a timetable of things to do.

Day One. Have bit of a cry, then get a grip. Go into Bright Ideas without incident.
Day Two. Fold his little clothes and have bit of a cry. Then get a grip. Go into Neros and spill own drink on seat to make self feel at home.
Day Three. Watch something on telly other than Ben 10. Then watch Ben 10 for old times’ sake. Have bit of a cry, then get a grip.
Day Four. Make mud pies in the Grange. Fail to cry.
Day Five. Forget I have children and arrive late for school pick-up.

Personally, I think the time will fly by.

Beth Miller, 15th September 2010. Published in and in Viva Lewes October 2010 magazine. Photo iStockphoto

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