Well, there we have it, everyone is back to school and work after a incredible summer of relaxing and exploring. We spent a lot of time together as a family during our 3-week road trip in France – mostly wandering about, swimming and of course plenty of eating! Routine was naturally abandoned as we made the most of the longer days and good(ish) weather while at home in Northern Ireland, so I readily admit I am grateful to restore some order and once again find a little time for myself to dabble in some creative projects on my days off work. I truly believe that the kids are on way better form when their days have some structure and they get some time with their friends too. As much as 2 whole months of summer together is brilliant and I try to enjoy it in all its messy beauty, there’s no doubt that we all benefit from some time away doing other things before regrouping in the evenings and at weekends for family time!
Summer would not be complete our annual ‘back-to-school’ get together with my extended family. Organised by my Mum and Dad, it is something we all look forward to every year and it can be a noisy affair when all 19 of us excitedly gather to chat and catch-up! Sometimes my parents host a fun day at their home but this year we decided to keep it low-key and opted for a bring-your-own picnic at the seaside. The weather played nice for most of the day but when a rain shower came our way we all squeezed in under the tarpaulin my brother had rigged up for shelter – good thinking on his part! Food was passed around, holiday stories shared and plans for the academic year ahead discussed – several of my parents’ 9 grandchildren are either starting school or moving on to new schools this year so there was a lot to chin-wag about and words like ‘where has to time gone..?’ and ‘look how big you’ve grown over the summer…’ floated on the breeze as we savoured the time together before the busy school days set in.
The real highlight of the day was taking a dip in the Irish sea! Swimming in the sea in Northern Ireland is rarely a tropical affair but those who braved the cold managed a decent half hour plunge, splash and swim about. Anyone who has read my blog for a while will know that I only learned to swim properly 2 years ago when my son decided to teach me how (you can read all about it here: SPLISH SPLASH) so to have the confidence to swim in the sea was exhilarating – we all came out of the water a pale shade of blue but beaming from ear to ear and agreeing that it was something we needed to do more often.
Our day out ended with a game of football and a walk with the dogs. Sleepy, grubby children with ice-cream in their hair and fresh air in their lungs were loaded into cars and off we all went, going our separate ways but feeling refreshed and excited for what this new season holds.
Farewell summer 2019…you’ve been great!