So this is day one of the School Hols, aka The Six-Week Break, a time when normal time fractures and its disorganised shards eventually coelesce into some sort of 'other' routine. Being very much a creature of time and motion, I find the whole business highly worrying and not a little troublesome. My day is very nicely organised. thank you. Once the children are deposited at school (the school-run economically incorporates the dog-walk), I take my place at the computer with my cup of strong, black coffee (radio on; Start the Week, Midweek, In Our Time, Desert Island Discs, according to day) and start work. First the quotidien admin; replying to emails, scanning articles or blogs before settling to a solid chunk of work or study (lunch or not as the mood and stomach dictate). Various diversionary activities punctuate the week in accordance with the dictum mens sana in corpore sano; Tai Chi, deadlifts and other powerbuilding exercise, cardio work or swimming. Occasionally I am lucky to meet up with friends. I like this life.
And now I must weave together a different sort of routine that will suit all the parties involved.
Unfortunately the most effective way of doing this is to act as the sergeant-major.
"Right you 'orrible lot, get out of them beds and get downstairs, eat your breakfast then we're walking the dog. Thirteen hundred hours we're orf to the gym where you will partake in physical hexercise then we will make a quick sortie to the shops to secure provisions. Sixteen hundred hours will see us back at barracks for approximately two hours R&R, then dinnah, then I will spend approximately one hour on admin. Lights out will be at the usual time."
And everything will run pretty smoothly. The temptation, of course, is to just let them drift through the holidays stuck to their various electronic games, which would indeed keep them quiet. And they are very inclined to do so. However, I am determined that the day will have some sort of form, that exercise will alternate with creativity or some mentally engaging task, that food will appear at regular intervals. Spontaneity is fine, but is often used as a cloak for laziness. Still being in your jim-jams at lunchtime is not going with the flow. It is moral decay, damn you!!!