Friday, September 23, 2011

Autumn Break Point

I have actually ground to a halt. My best intentions to write 500 words per day for my thesis are foundering in slack-jawed apathy. The dissertation is growing - in fact, it's probably growing too much. My latest chapter (so nearly completed!) is now over 52,000 words, and it's going to need some heavy pruning before submission. But it's nearly one-thirty on Friday afternoon, and here I am blogging - not doing academic stuff, carelessly frittering the remains of the day away.
My elderly parents came round this morning and regaled me with tales of their holiday in the Italian Lakes and I started to feel restless and very twitchy. I need a break, preferably abroad for a few days, but I have a feeling that just ain't going to happen this autumn. It's the financial climate, I guess. That, plus the rowing club fees are due for all for of us (and NO direct debit facility - ridiculous!), Daughter #3 wants to go on a residential school trip, the car needed taxing, new school uniforms, birthdays...the whole routine. Nor did we manage to get away this spring either as Daughter #2's second baby was due near the half-term holidays and I was on standby for minding the delightful Bouncing Babba #1.
It really aggravates me how hotel prices shoot up in half-term holidays (cynical or what?) but we are practically threatened with excommunication if we take the kids out of school in term-time. I did think about going to Rome for the weekend, taking them out of school for the Friday and claiming it was a pilgrimage. Well, it would have been - to the Tazza d'Oro coffee shop near the Piazza Navona as much as to go to St Peter's!
The weekend looms with all its usual activities. I just can't imagine what 'normal' (i.e. non-rowing) families do. Just lately, Saturdays consist of the rowing-convert Husband cycling off to the rowing club for 8am, hopeful of calm conditions, and me walking into town later to meet him for a much-needed latte and listen to his exploits.
Sundays usually start early again with me accompanying him to rowing and helping him out with the boat, boating up etc., or with me arriving an hour later (9am) with Daughter #3 and the Bright-Eyed Boy for the junior rowing training session, where I'll either coach singles from the riverbank (trying not to slip on the goose-shit and fall into the water) or cox a quad (getting noticeably chillier by the day).
Last Sunday the river was high, so the Husband and his cronies opted to stay in the gym (ffs!). The juniors put them to shame by blithely boating up and paddling off, although it was a bit 'exciting' on occasion, judging where to land etc. This again is followed by a welcome hot drink, coffee and rowing chat at the local Costa, which I surely must have shares in by now (that's probably where all the money's gone!).
Both Saturday and Sunday afternoons see us two adults (and occasionally children, too) down at the recreational gym near our house (much nicer than the boathouse gym), trying to fit in the weights sessions that we have failed to do during the week (more correctly the guilt-wracked Husband has failed to do - I'm a goody two-shoes and get there most days before I start my work). Into this we must fit the usual colossal school/work clothes wash and iron, prepare and cook food, homework (for the Husband too, sadly), and shop for the forthcoming week's packed lunches etc. Housework and gardening doesn't get a look in, not that I'm really that sorry, but I'm increasingly aware of disapproving glances at the fluff-wads and overgrown grass and weeds. Sunday night and we're knackered -slumped with a pile of food and glass of wine having a marathon sport-watching session of stuff we've recorded whilst out.
So yeah - I could do with a break, a complete break from the routine. We're going to tot up the air miles again and scan RyanAir and EasyJet. I seriously doubt it'll be on the cards...and if it is the only cards it'll be on is the Mastercard. I might have to live with that. Seize the day etc. Autumn on the banks of the Tiber....lovely!

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