Tag Archives: school holidays


Am I the only parent in the world who looks forward to the school holidays?  I was in a shop the other day, buying children’s things, and a brief conversation was struck up with the assistant. 

“I can’t wait for the holidays” I said.
“Ooh, are you going somewhere nice” asked Assistant
“No,” said I,  “I’m just really looking forward to spending some time with my children”.
She looked at me aghast.  “You are the first person I’ve heard who’s said that.  Everyone else has been in here moaning about how much they’re dreading the school holidays.  That’s really nice.”

My only problem with the holidays is finding childcare for the days when I’m obliged to be elsewhere.  During term time, everything is such a rush; rushing to school, trying to remember all the thousands of things they seem to need and all the insidious and constant amounts of money requested for this and that, rushing to clubs, rushing to finish dinner before choir/scouts/football, trying to get them in bed at a sensible time.

I love the holidays because we don’t have to get up so early and we can stay up late watching a film and eating chocolate because we can sleep in.  I love going places with them or just staying in and chatting or playing a game.  I like being able to have their friends round without being stressed to the gills because I’ve got too many other things to do and therefore resent their presence. I like having the time to do cooking with them or ‘crafty’ things.  Also, we really get our moneysworth out of our English Heritage and National Trust cards and, with English Heritage, I can take a couple of their friends along as well.

This last term has been a nightmare.  We have moved house, tried to negotiate the financial minefield that comes with moving, failed to get the house into a decent state yet which is driving me insane, started the long, arduous and stressful business of trying to get Boy the Elder into another school (as yet unsuccessfully) and watched my car slowly deteriorating because I have no money to repair it.  Oh, and whilst this is all going on, I have been trying to lay the groundwork for a new business using a computer that was run by one-legged, shell-shocked goblins.  I’m sure I’m no worse off than anyone else, but it’s all been a bit of a slog.

The Boys and I are knackered and I cannot wait for Friday afternoon and the start of the six week summer break.


Filed under Family and Friends, Indoor Activities, Leisure, Life in general, Outdoor Activities

A Cheap Day Out on a Rainy Day

Hurricane Jigsaw 27.07.09The school holidays are always a challenge when you have lively children, and although the older ones should be able to entertain themselves at least some of the time, we all need a bit of fresh air to run off energy and clear our heads.

Today the weather was very changeable but, as rain is not actually dangerous, we donned our wellies and macs and set off for Borough Hill, an  Iron Age hill fort run by Leicester County Council and, importantly, free.  There is nothing there but stunning views, cows and sheep and plenty of trees to climb, and we spent a glorious hour running around, getting stuck in rabbit holes and throwing dried sheep poo at each other (although perhaps I should draw a discreet veil over that.  Do make sure to wash your hands after throwing sheep poo…).

However, huge black clouds soon rolled in and we pulled up our hoods and ran back to the car.  It was now lunchtime and the boys needed feeding.  Eating out can often be more expensive than the trip itself and I would normally take a modest picnic on a walk – nothing exotic, sandwiches, crisps or raisins, fruit, a home made flapkack or a Penguin and fruit juice decanted into re-used soft drink bottles are perfectly adequate and healthy.  But today was clearly not an al fresco opportunity.   Everyone must explore their own environment to find  good cheap places to eat, but as a starting point, I would recommend investigating your local garden centres.  Many of them have excellent, cheap snacks and often children’s lunch boxes for as little as £2 which nearly always have a little puzzle book or game.  Although we all know of certain fast food chains that offer similar value, one should always support local business first, or our towns and villages will wither away.  We found a delightful garden centre on our way home which not only offered delicious food but also had gift shops, clothing, books and a play area.  I enjoyed oohing and aahing over plants for my impending garden and they had a super time in the play area.

It was now absolutely torrenting with rain so we agreed that we would go home and do something together.  Like most of you, I have an extremely busy life and, sadly, have little opportunity to spend as much time as I would like with my children. It was therefore  a real pleasure for us all to sit down with a jigsaw puzzle, intermittently arguing about who’d lost the pieces, enduring The Cat tormenting us by relentlessly sitting in the middle of the half finished puzzle and finally relinquishing the last piece to my elder son who could then claim that he’d done the lot.

I live in a country village, but I have lived in the city and I know that amenities vary greatly.   Most areas have parks or somewhere to walk and you’d be amazed at where you can get to on a bus.  Council or Tourist Information offices have great information about days out and how to get there, so make the most of them.

Would you like to try my recipe for the stickiest flapjacks in existence?  Then you must keep visiting The Wartime Housewife dear Bloggers, who knows what you might find!


Filed under Children, Outdoor Activities