Youngest daughter starts school in September (eek) and I'm all too aware that after nearly nine years, the kids-at-home era is drawing to a close for me. That is a long LONG time to have spent most of the week at baby yoga, Tumble Tots, a million coffee mornings, infant ballet class, swimming lessons, gym tots... and that's just the stuff outside the home. There have been many many fairy cakes baked, many finger paintings daubed, many dens built, many Hama bead creations ironed, countless stories read, half a ton of PlayDoh squished... I could go on. But the point is, it won't be going on for much longer. Ohhhh, I'm sad! But also... kind of excited. I have turned down so much work in the last few years, turned down a lot of festival events and school visits too, because I've chosen to spend the time with my kids instead. Come September, though, with all three of them out at school, I'll have so much more time to myself... I can't believe it. Who fancies going out for lunch, then?!
(We went into school last week, youngest daughter and I, to fill in some forms and to have a one-to-one chat with one of the reception teachers, as part of their starting-school procedure. My daughter was unusually quiet, a bit overwhelmed by it all, I think.
"Is there anything you want to ask the teacher about school, while we're here?" I prompted.
She thought about it carefully, then spoke. "What colour are the walls and ceilings in the classroom?" she wanted to know.
I was SO glad she'd come up with such a crucial, insightful question. I can tell she's going to go a long way, that one...)
Talking of school visits, I did a couple on Thursday for the Federation of Children's Book Groups, as part of their 'Share-A-Story Month' launch. I went to two schools and spoke to 240 kids at each one... berloody hell, talk about crowd control. It was quite - okay, VERY - loud, especially when I got them all to do troll noises - oh yes, and a bit of gratuitous screaming, too. The poor teachers were wincing but I think the kids all enjoyed themselves. Sold over 100 books too so that was brilliant but my God it was knackering, and I was soooo ready for that glass of wine when I got back. I don't know how teachers manage it. Respect!
So tell me... what are you reading at the moment? Anything good? I'm halfway through 'For Whom The Bell Tolls' by Hemingway at the moment - trying to better myself with a heavyweight book, see - and am finding it surprisingly enjoyable. I bought it ages ago but kept putting off reading it, because I thought it might be a bit grim and serious and maybe too boys-own for me, but it's actually very readable, and lots of the dialogue is *gasp* brilliantly funny and sarcastic.
Have naughtily just ordered a load more stuff from Amazon - The Children's Book (couldn't resist), Sarah Waters' new one (a pre-order) and, becacuse I love him and he makes me laugh, Jonathan Ross's book. That should keep me quiet for a while...
At Hawthorn Time ~ Melissa Harrison
4 hours ago