Why I love the school holidays

26 Aug

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I am the mother of one 17 Year old, so I no longer have issues of child-care. However, I have recently gone back to my profession of librarianship and choose to work term-time as a School Librarian. I hear much talk in the media and in my social groups about the curse of having to go on holiday during the school holidays. For me it is the only way! I love going on holiday in August, and what people don’t talk about is the fact that if you work term-time or as a teacher (I hesitate to say that teachers work term-time as I have many teaching colleagues and friends and I know that it is not that simple!) you have the option of long holidays without having to book time off! In what other job could I decide to go on a jolly jaunt to Spain for 3 or 4 weeks? Okay, so for the past 3 years I have had a job in which I could do just that (I worked as a housekeeper with a very flexible employer and did sometimes resort to unpaid leave) but it is relatively unusual. By the way, my husband Paul is self-employed so generally he always brings his work with him. As many of his clients are educational establishments, the need to go to meetings in August is really minimal.

The housekeeping was no longer keeping me mentally active enough, and also my school job is better paid. I have to say that the job of a school librarian is wonderful, but it comes with fewer stresses and pressures than the job of a teacher. My job is truly term-time and I never (well, hardly ever!) take my work home.

School holidays are a time to catch up and do all those tasks which I never otherwise seem to have time for, such as repainting the garden furniture, making bunting (okay, not finished that yet!) and finish my mermaid mosaic. Also it is lovely to have breakfast and lunch in the garden every day, weather permitting, meet friends for lunch and indulge in much retail therapy. I have always enjoyed spending time with my daughter, at all stages of her life. I sometimes think that I should have been a Blue Peter Presenter as I am always finding ways of making things which I could more easily buy in the shops. As for playing board games and helping her to make fantastic creations of out of bricks and lego – who could ever get bored with a child at home? Actually when Jessica was little I did work term-time, but I had to go back to school far sooner than I would have liked to, so I think maybe I am now catching up with some of the craft projects which I did not get round to doing when she was smaller.

The main reason people seem to object to having to take holidays in the school holidays (and by that I mean the actual process of booking a holiday and going away, either home or abroad) is the cost. Well, maybe I am just lucky, maybe I am more patient and diligent in my research, but I do pride myself on finding some amazingly good value deals online. We never book package holidays, and I did once compare our holiday with a typical package to a similar destination, and I do find that most of the packages can be particularly costly in the school holidays. I am in the process of booking next year’s August holiday, and we have decided (after a rather wet August in the UK this year) to have another long break next year, along the lines of our jaunt to Southern Spain last year. The next one is going to be in Portugal. I have a personal minimum requirement of a a comfy bed, a decent kitchen and a private pool. I also find that booking early, quite often our host offers us a good discount. Although we are taking a modest two weeks in the villa, our journey will be long and exciting, starting with the ferry from Portsmouth to Santander and continuing with a long drive through Spain, finding some lovely hotels to stay in along the way.

So all I have to do now is to see how many more exciting things I can do before I sadly have to return to school for the autumn term. Still, I could make quite a long and interesting list of holiday projects and outings undertaken this summer; a two-night trip to Padstow, visiting National Trust Gardens, trips to London with Jess to visit Foyles, Hyde Park, Camden Market and my brother’s flat, preparing for and taking part in an amazing Alice-in-Wonderland party in our garden, cooking lunch for my mother’s birthday for 20 friends and family, finishing (almost!) my mermaid mosaic, baking many cakes, gardening and harvesting a lovely constant supply of courgettes, breakfast out at Stubbings Cafe every Friday morning, sorting out a huge pile of foodie magazines, repainting the  wooden and metal garden furniture, a walk by the river, many lunches out and swimming both in our home pool and at the indoor pool at Newlands Girls’ School. I have also probably written more mindless and possibly amusing anecdotes on facebook than usual, although some may not agree about the nature of the postings! I have also purchased a new camera, which supports my other great hobby. Hopefully the quality of the photos on these postings will vastly improve from now on.

As far as I am concerned, I’d not have done of all these things or had such a relaxing time if I did not have this long summer break. So although it may be ten years before it will be feasible to visit friends in America and Australia (August not the best weather months for these trips really) at least I know that on returning to school I’ll only have to wait about 6 weeks until my next holiday!

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