Monday, 9 August 2021

The First Two Weeks of the Holidays

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. 


  1. Thank you for the pictures of Durham and of Barter Books, they have brought back memories of our visits to the North East when DD was a student at Durham University. On one occasion DH and I turned the journey back into a holiday and explored the tourist spots on our way back south. Loved Barter Books, spent more time there than at the castle, the new waterfall had been opened recently then.

  2. Aah, remember so well the few days at the end of term tidying up and then getting ready for next term. And those people who say "you teachers have 6 weeks holiday" Anyway, Durham looks lovely I'd really love to visit, am more determined now after seeing your photos. Thank you.

  3. I don't know the North of England well, something that I need to change. Seeing your photographs make me want to visit Durham. Maybe when we are on the way to York, where my oldest son now lives. Your holidays sounds just wonderful, even though it was not the holiday you had hoped for in France. Just one more week of school holidays here, the end can't come soon enough to be honest. I am done with entertaining children while working full time. We usually take our holiday early in July and it seems such a long time ago! Mustn't grumble, life is good, really. Have a good week x

  4. Love to see you all having a good time after all the tension of school, study and COVID. One needs that eh. That the garden is unruly after all the rain is a statement, mine is a jungle. Gorgeous pictures as usuall.

  5. Wow, you're definitely making the most of it!!
    Where I live we're in the last week of the summer holidays and fortunately, the weather is picking up a bit - it's been cool and wet instead of our usual hot summer weather :o What I call "British" weather, in fact, so I'm glad the kids will at least get a week of swimming and hot weather fun in before it's noses back to the grindstone!!

  6. Lovely Gillian & I enjoyed the catch up on what you've been up to. Sorry you missed your French trip, but going north must have been great. Like you, we should have been heading your way this year, but alas it won't be happening in the near future, so I've loved seeing your snaps. Your embroidery on Stitch a Day is absolutely beautiful & as for your bee, nothing wrong there......I'm a little wonky in shape, so nature definitely isn't perfect. I love him. Enjoy the rest of the summer break, take care & hugs.

  7. Glad you enjoyed yourselves on holiday even if it wasn't where you had originally planned to go. Durham looks a great place to visit.
    Your stitch a day is looking fabulous, really lovely work.

  8. I love your pictures and that bookshop is on my list of places to visit, there is a family on facebook who post pictures of all the lovely bookshops around the country. The book family Rogerson, I think I saw it there.

  9. Lovely pictures (as always on your blog), and your trip to Yorkshire and then Durham looks like it had everything you could wish for when it comes to a holiday.
    July was not very summerly at all here (you have probably heard of the catastrophic flooding in some parts of Germany), but it has been warming up since Sunday. The forecast for tomorrow says 31C, which was pretty much average for the last few summers but has only been reached a couple of times this year.
    I love Ziggy's head on the stitch a day, and the bunting you made!

  10. I LOVE Durham, I was at university there, and also beautiful Alnwick and the wonderful Barter Books! In fact, I will be up there in two weeks' time. Have a very restful second half of your holiday, when term starts you will need those happy times in store. Your stitch a day is a real inspiration too!

  11. Nice time with family! I am always amazed at how fast your children are growing up!

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  13. Looks so beautiful! Summer break here in the US is 10 weeks! I love it but it's tiring entertaining my 2 sons for 10 weeks. I love your little bee and the pavlova looks divine.


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