The six week summer holidays always seems such a long time, but sitting down and looking at these photos reminds me that we are already two thirds of the way through. I'm OK with that though, we have packed a lot in. John has taken annual leave over the last two weeks (we were supposed to be in France) so that's made it feel even more like a break.
I spent a couple of days during the first week in school, getting some things ready in my new classroom, sorting out cupboards and corners, making wall displays. I made some bunting for my book corner (which has a travel theme) from an old map of the UK I found under Angus's bed.
I almost didn't take it in to school, I liked it so much.
End of term celebrations came thick and fast, with lovely, thoughtful presents and cards from the children in my class, end of term drinks, celebratory drinks with my PGCE friends. I took a pavlova.
Pretty much the day the holidays started, the hot weather changed and we had a week of very stormy weather. High winds, torrential rain showers and a few very loud thunderstorms, which we don't get very often.
The garden liked the rain though. This was taken two weeks ago. It is starting to look a bit messy and scrappy now - lots of things need cutting back.
I never have enough flowers to pick huge bunches, but I am able to keep picking small handfuls each day. The sweet peas are almost over now but these cornflowers (in such pretty colours!) and alliums added a little colour to the bathroom.
Crafty pursuits continue as always. I have patched my jeans, again, and will keep patching them. I like them this way.
I patched a large hole in the sleeve of my favourite knitted jumper with a bee. It was really hard to embroider onto such a stretchy surface which is why it's not quite perfectly symmetrical. I have since learnt that you can buy water soluble fabric which you can embroider over on slippery or stretchy fabrics - I think it's called stabiliser - so I will use that in future. I've used the water soluble cross stitch fabric before but I don't know why it didn't occur to me to find something for embroidery.
I finished my Stitch A Day for July.
Highlights include the crazy weather we had in July, finishing the shed, the world cup final, flowers and cakes and tennis.
There's also a teacher's hat, milkshakes, lobster (lunch out with John on a rare day off for both of us), iced coffee - which kept me going during the final, hot week of term - ice creams and butterflies, among other things.
The second week of the school holidays began with a car journey north to visit friends and family.
As always, it was wonderful to see old friends from university (friends for life) and how their children have grown. We spent a lovely weekend in Yorkshire eating, drinking and exploring the local area. They live near Holmfirth and the area is so beautiful. It is hilly - I always forget quite how hilly - and rugged and quite stunning.
Then we drove further north to spend time with family in Durham. Covid meant that it was a long time since we'd made this journey and we had a really nice time. The weather was perfect, warm and dry and breezy, and we had fun exploring our favourite haunts like Barter Books in the pretty town of Alnwick.
A new place for us was The Alnwick Garden, an absolute delight. We spend a happy couple of hours wandering around the grounds and enjoying the weather.
We spent a really enjoyable morning being tourists in Durham. John grew up in Durham and seems immune to its charms, but I love it. The cobbled streets and old buildings, the river running through it, the huge cathedral, the independent cafes and restaurants....full of history.
We had what was probably the best breakfast I've ever eaten in Flat White Kitchen in Durham. I had eggs Benedict, while John, Bella and Angus chose different types of pancakes, which are homemade, fluffy and come with different toppings. I made sure to sample a bit of everyone's. The milkshakes were also amazing, and the coffee.
We explored Durham Cathedral. I have been before many times, but I think this was the first time the children were old enough to be interested, and perked up quite a lot when they found out that some of the Harry Potter films had been filmed here.
There was also a beautiful riverside walk, with John entertaining us by pointing out where he used to go fishing as a child, and where he fell in....
So, not the holiday we had planned, but really nice to get away for a week, and equally nice to come home. The next four weeks (actually, it's more like three and a half) are filling up. We have lots of plans to see people and visit places, and I have a long list of things I either want or need to get done while I have the time. And if some summery weather could return for the month of August, that really would be good, as it's feeling distinctly cool and grey out there at the moment and it's too soon for slippers.