Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Laura Marling, Saunton Sands and the last day of the holidays

It’s the last day of the holidays and everyone’s feeling grumpy. So grumpy that you could cut the air with a knife. My son’s revising polymers (I’m not sure what they even are) and my daughter’s trying to write an essay on nineteenth century French philosophy.

Our Cumbrian Christmas (above) seems another world away. Tomorrow my son will be back at school and my daughter will catch the Oxford Tube back to university. We always check the dates extra carefully after the debacle of a few years ago when I put my daughter on the school bus the day before term actually started. She was halfway to Oxford by the time she realised none of her friends had got on the bus. She’s never lived it down – her pal Holly was still teasing her about it on New Year’s Eve, seven years later.

I love the holidays. The atmosphere in the house is completely different. My Laura Marling tracks get switched off (“ugh,” says my horrified son) and Radio One blares constantly in the kitchen. My son cooks bacon sandwiches every couple of hours and my daughter sits in my study and chats to me. Neither of them emerge till 11 most mornings and they both stay up for hours after I’ve gone to bed.

Their school holidays are far more relaxed and free than the ones I remember. Me and my sister often spent Easter and summer breaks with our grandparents in the wilds of North Devon. It was a lovely place but it certainly wasn’t relaxed. Most days we’d buy picnics of Cornish pasties and Kunzel Cakes at Mr Moon’s old-fashioned grocery shop. We’d go for long windswept walks across Saunton Sands and try and steer clear of my grandmother’s two yappy Dachshund dogs, who were liable to take a bite out of our ankles when we weren’t looking. Every Saturday morning we walked into the pretty town of Braunton to spend our pocket money on Enid Blyton books, tiny bottles of Devon violets and Refresher sweets. How times have changed…


  1. I too have got the dates wrong before now, but sending them back a day late (oops!)
    I guess freedom has just changed shape, your holidays sound pretty wonderful to me - except for the yappy dogs! My children have developed a love of Refreshers, which can be difficult to find these days. Sadly they never got into Enid Blyton though, much to my disappointment.

  2. That makes me feel less guilty, Linsey. I thought I was the only chaotic one! And yes, freedom has changed shape - what a great way of putting it. I still love Enid Blyton, by the way, even though she's v unfashionable these days.


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