Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Farewell my summer love

To be fair, the last fortnight has felt like borrowed time.

In our little corner of north-east Scotland, we've recently enjoyed some lovely sunny days.  They're not like the genuinely toasty days we experienced in July though.  These early September days have started out with morning haze and shivers in sweatshirts before the sun gets up to speed and we cast off the layers by late morning.

I always feel a little nostalgic at this time of year.  Forgive me then, while I indulge myself by clinging onto the best sights, smells and sounds of summer in this mid-September post.  Because for me, these are what summer's all about...

The sights

Sun sparkling on the sea, gardens at their most colourful, bright clothing contrasting with conker-brown limbs...

The smells

Cocoa butter soaked skin, salty freshness after a day at the beach, mouth watering wafts of early evening chargrilling...

The sounds

Children's al fresco play peppered with giggles and laughter, ice cubes jangling in frosted tumblers, the unmistakeable 'thwack' of flip flops on patios...


It doesn't do to get too remorseful, however. In the interests of balance, let's not forget about the sad sight of the parched plants you forgot to water, the city's pongy drains in the midday heat and the predictable drone of lawnmowers whenever you attempt to open your paperback...

Suddenly autumn doesn't seem so bad. (I'm thinking golden landscapes, cosy roll-necks and warming fruit crumbles.) Whaddya reckon?

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Thursday, 4 September 2014

An open letter to my child's new teacher

Dear teacher,

The start of the new academic session sees my youngest child move to the upper stages of primary school.

This means a lot to my family.  A lot more than first meets the eye.  It's not just a transition to a larger playground and the opportunity to get involved in new school activities.

For my family, this move means that both my children will now walk themselves to and from school.

It means that they'll take responsibility for getting themselves out of my front door and into your classroom on time.

Sounds simple? Here's what else it means for us...

  • They'll need to grab the packed lunch they helped to make from the fridge.

  • They'll have to remember swimming kits and musical instruments. On the correct day.

  • They'll be responsible for looking the way we both expect them to look as a representative of your school and our family.

  • At the end of a long day, they'll need to transfer the notes and homework from their bag to our kitchen table.

And so I need to apologise now.

I need to say sorry for the potential late arrivals, unkempt appearances, forgotten play pieces and missing homework.  I need to say sorry for the disruption caused if one of them has to sit poolside in their school uniform while the rest of the class swims.

So why am I letting this happen, I hear you ask?  Because we've done the lists.  And I've yelled the reminders.  And now I need to let them learn.  Themselves. The hard way.  It's finally time to hand over the ropes.  I anticipate a period of confusion and frustration for all of us.  But I think it'll be worth it in the end. 

You and me? I believe we have a common goal.  To encourage our children to be responsible, independent and well-organised young people.  If my expectations at home can echo your expectations in the classroom, hopefully we can all reap the rewards.

Meanwhile, I'd like to beg your forgiveness.  I realise, after all, that the start of a new term is a challenging time...

Yours sincerely,

A concerned parent

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