Back to school!

The end of the school summer holidays is drawing nigh, and parents all over the UK are breathing a sigh of relief. Seven weeks is a long time to keep kids entertained and, even if your children are well behaved and easily pleased, they get bored and restless. This is not one of those blogs where I list all the fantastic free ways to keep your kids happy in the school holidays – I tend more towards the reality of long summer holidays, which are frustrating, expensive and draining for the vast majority of families.

Yeah, I know. They can go to the park, or the beach if you’re close enough (Mayhem has asked to go to the seaside 3467526 times this morning and it’s only 8.15am), and if the weather is bad – which it frequently is – they can do crafts in the house, or you can visit a museum. If your children are happy to do this for seven weeks then you are super lucky. Mischief and Mayhem love the park and the beach, but it’s fraught with difficulty (they run in different directions and I am only one person) and it is certainly not free. There are lots of ways at the park to part parents from their money – ice cream vans, food for the ducks, a ride on Thomas, bouncy castles – so it becomes as expensive as a soft play centre (don’t even get me started on those in the school holidays). And visiting a museum is not free either – I live in Newcastle, it costs a bloody fortune to park and I end up spending a fortune in the café and gift shop just to stop Mischief and Mayhem running around screaming when they get bored. I hear there are children who are well behaved and happy to have a nice day out which doesn’t involve bribery and sugar, but these children certainly don’t live in my house.

So, yeah, the school holidays is an expensive time. We have had a few days out – I took Mischief on his first trip to London, Flamingo Land, swimming, the seaside, Forbidden Corner, and we’re going to see the Tall Ships at Blyth this weekend – but mostly we have been at home or at the local park. Mischief and Mayhem go to a private nursery two afternoons a week so I can continue to work, but it’s expensive and not everyone can afford to do so. My heart goes out to the parents who work full time and have to fork out for full time childcare over the summer. Not everyone has family and friends who can step in. Why do we need seven weeks in the summer? Would two or three weeks not do the trick? It’s far too long, and it’s contributing to some serious discipline issues in the The Busy Knitter household. Mischief starts school on 7 September and Mayhem on 12 September and I will probably be seen doing the hula through Gateshead on the 13th.

Yesterday I was too tired, hot and bothered to do much knitting so didn’t get the sleeves finished on Ma Baker’s jumper. I will be working on that again today, and try and get some of the Mohair Wrap done too. I am determined to finish that, and even if I only work on it once a week I will eventually be done.

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