Once again, the school holidays are upon us. Our youngest son, who is still at primary school, broke up on Friday. He, of course, is overjoyed, much to the annoyance of our oldest son, who is at secondary school and does not break up for a few more weeks. This has caused much disgruntlement in the Hurley household and the cry of “it’s not fair” is regularly heard over the morning porridge. My husband, sympathy personified, fires back his standard witty response “life’s not fair” and gives his “best years of your life…” speech. Mostly on deaf ears though.
The youngest boy’s school really goes to town on the last day of the summer term. Parents, grandparents, ex-pupils, Governors, ex-teachers and Uncle Tom Cobley and all cram into the school hall for the final assembly and, the highlight of the school year, prize giving. It’s a time when sporting prowess and academic achievement are recognised and applauded. And, bearing in mind that it is a primary school, there are cups for things like best handwriting, politeness and most improved footballer. Each winner is called out and goes up to the stage where he or she shakes hands with the headmaster and collects the cup from the visiting dignitary whilst the audience clap and cheer. Proud mothers often wipe a tear away before the mascara gets smudged and fathers swallow the lump in their throat as their beaming progeny collect their treasured prize.
This year our lad won a cup for scoring the most rounders in the inter house rounders competition. In previous years he has walked away with the golf, football, tennis, cross country and swimming cups. Much to my disappointment the trophy cabinet has not been overly bothered by any academic awards. His father is very proud though but, as the ultimate competitive dad, feels that his youngest has been “robbed” of some of the cups. When some of the childrens names were announced I thought he was going to demand a stewards enquiry.
Leavers assembly this year was especially poignant as the headmaster is moving on to another post in Oman after 11 years as head and one of the most popular teachers is retiring. Also, the caretaker has decided to hang up his hammer and the head cook her whisk, as they both head off to retirement. The assembly was as much a celebration of them as it was for the children, and we all wish them the best of luck for the future. A new head starts next year and we will see how she stamps her mark on the life of the school.
In the meantime I have weeks looming ahead of me, trying to juggle work and bored children. At least being self-employed means a greater degree of flexibility than many, the problem is that if I don’t do my work no one else will and I won’t get paid. I can see some late nights ahead as the candle gradually burns away at both ends. Just as it nears the end of its wick and I, the end of my patience, the summer holidays will once more be a thing of the past and a new chapter will begin at our junior school.