British summers are short. But the school summer holidays are long.
So this week, every parent of school-aged children in the UK (aside from Scotland where the holidays start earlier) is staring intently at a grid of summer childcare/amusements/trips with a pencil, a rubber and an air of angst.
Summer holidays are poignant markers of time passing. Sports day and prize-giving followed by the putting away of school bags and uniform give you a tingle of nostalgia in the very moment it happens. In contrast to the forced fun of new year, which is just pressure to drink excessively.
I have a romantic 1970s idea that the kids should all just run feral in local fields for the whole of the summer holidays. But we live in London zone two.
The fields are building sites, the roads thunder and anyone not hovering over their child is begging for an intervention from social services.
The other day, a man was seen idling against a lamp post near our swings and slides. Our gloriously efficient head of the PTA was immediately on the phone to the various mothers scattered around and alerting them. A bus arrived shortly and the oblivious chap headed off for his dinner.
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