Sunday, 28 August 2011

Ah, England, how I love thee!

Here we are, arrived at the very conclusion of our English summer, undefeated, always joyous in optimism, carrying on tirelessly to our August end!

An email pings into my inbox about a Solar Art workshop at our local community art studios.

I am a slave to Squirrel's eager face, lit up in anticipation of delight. Of course I say Yes! And to Shark too!

Time may be ticking away our final hours, but for my child's satisfaction and joy, I would stop all the clocks and stay the world.

Anyway, if I squeeze in one more activity which means all the kids are out the house, I can pack the final knickers and socks in peace.

The day of Solar Art arrives, and everyone is excited. Tiger must go to the lake, to complete her Windsurfing Stage II, so I hear her lament that she cannot join with her happy sisters for Solar Art fun.

Can we stay a bit longer in England, just a few more days? she whines. No, Tiger. We cannot.

Remember how, this summer in England, we have conjured miracles, enjoyed fantastic achievements, and completed all the listed items you gave me: the ones you said with a menacing stare, Otherwise I am not getting on the plane.

We followed all these child wishes, and more. I smugly called these past months a child-led education. True. There was bound to be learning in it somewhere. But Solar Art. Tiger, you cannot do. Time ran out.

Shark and Squirrel arrive at the Solar Art five hour fun day, and the bleak leaden skies are beating down. We all recall fondly how the sun was last seen over England several weeks ago.

I leave them to the joy, while I come home and still find space to squash in an IGCSE Geography syllabus.

When I see Shark and Squirrel again, their faces blurred by tears of joy, or maybe five solid hours of persistent rain, I can see that all the Solar Art delight was truly there! The anticipation was fulfilled! All our wishes came true!

Then Tiger, my daughter of summer, came home, her final activity done. Her course at an end, and her certificate gained, albeit with the ink run and the paper soggy. She said windsurfing was called off. They were told by Andy to sit in the kayaks instead. He went off and made telephone calls in the portacabin, and she escaped by pretending to be locked in the toilets. She glowed with pride as she told me how no-one noticed and he gave her the certificate anyway.

Oh, England. I will miss you, and all the adventures of summer you made complete.