Half Term

Ah, yes: half term.

The alarm clock did not go off this morning. About a month ago there was some considerable hoo-ha about iPhone alarms giving up the ghost and refusing to get themselves or anyone else up in the morning.

I can’t say I blame them. These tiny tablets of perfection work all the hours God sends, plus a few slipped in by the Opposition.

They are the 21st century equivalent of a Swiss army knife. They do everything. They know everything. Would it be so wrong for them to turn HAL and question whether we appreciate their tireless operations on our behalf?

Managing e mails, entertaining small people when they are bored, hosting that prima donna of the literary cyberworld, Mme WordPress, while supplying weather and news updates, fielding our phone calls and taking messages.

And does it all end at 5:30 when the office shuts up shop and everyone shuffles off to the tube station? No, it does not.

The evening is an endless round of playlists, YouTube excerpts and books which ramble on throughout the night to sooth fevered executive brows to the level where sleep is possible. And yes, even as War Of The Worlds settles into another night of filibuster, the woman of the house is riffling through pictures of those cats with inscriptions on them, and giggling under the duvet.

An iPhone’s work is never done.

I have been jollying mine along because, when all is said and done, a change is as good as a rest. And this is a special week.

It is our half term. Each term lasts approximately 12 weeks and in the middle of that comes a week when we all stop, and sleep in, and rest, and meet, and play and look up at each other and say, Oh, hello, are you still here?

And so when my husband informed me that my iPhone had tantrummed and missed the six o clock bulletin today, I did not tense perceptibly, and ready myself for springing out of bed like a taut jaguar.

Partly, this is because the last time I resembled a taut jaguar was some time in 1992. My good friends, who are kindly and supportive, would never dream of telling you I get out of bed rather more in the manner of a flustered camel.

But mostly, it was because neither jaguar nor camel would have any need to spring out today. Given, I had an appointment to assure the hospital that my recently injured eye had not fallen out since Wednesday evening. But we were all dressing in Home Clothes, Granny was on her way to hold the fort while I showed off my nice new eye. Life, Reader. was good.

Things have continued with that irrepressible air of half-term promise. The hospital kept me a fraction of the time the NHS usually requires. The Doctor may have been stuck in a pile-up on the M3, but he extricated himself with British resolve and a fresh-faced engaging smile, arriving to see me by 10:15am.

After a brisk forest dog-walk and coffee with my sister we repaired to Pizza Hut for an unrivalled chance to pile embarrassing amounts on one’s plate just to see the expression on everyone else’s faces.

By mid-afternoon our senses of humour had come out to play. I haven’t seen mine in a week or so, and the children’s get free rein when there is no pressure to attend school. We joined the dog in the land of party animal.

We looked at it, and saw it was good. We were, as Shakespeare puts it so perfectly, in a holiday humour.

We went to the supermarket and I subsequently delivered a maternal lecture about keeping one’s eyes peeled when someone (one this occasion one’s mother) needs help. It was a lengthy piece of oratory and my children wisely waited for it to finish.

The dog was in the back of the car, ready for his afternoon walk. He has been thieving unwisely and his girth is showing the result of his misdemeanours plainly.

We got into the car. He reeked happily beside me. We hadn’t even got to the mud yet. In the silence I met his eyes and said: “Fatso”.

The children dissolved in peals of laughter. “Mum”, Maddie remonstrated between the chortling,”You can’t lecture us on helping others with kindness and then call the dog a bad name….”

She is right. Publicly, I took it back.

I do like half terms.

30 thoughts on “Half Term

  1. πŸ™‚

    Ah, half term indeed. And maternal lectures, report cards and

    terrible weather. Sigh!

    I need to get a dog I reckon.

  2. These wonderful pauses in life that help us regroup, refocus, refresh, whatever, and the joy of children giggling with glee as their mum calls the dog a name. I just love it! Enjoy the rest of your half-term break, Kate. I’m smiling over here on the Cutoff (in spite of the forecast of more snow).

  3. Half term sounds like a wonderful invention. And that gorgeous landscape…I’m glad your eye is still in place…And thanks so much for the image of the flustered camel. I’ll smile about that for the rest of the day.

    1. That there is the Queen’s back garden, bathed in the singular light only England can supply: the dog loves it because all the posh dogs go walking there and he gets to be a grime evangelist. Glad you liked the camel. A tragically accurate image.

  4. What a lovely, joyous post, Kate. It sounds like you had a wonderful first day of half term, especially not having to wake to an alarm. Enjoy the rest of the week with your children.
    I did wince at the term “keeping one’s eyes peeled” … glad your eye is still looking good! πŸ™‚
    Sunshine xx

      1. I know the term, Kate, my husband uses it all the time. It was just knowing about your eye accident that made me wince! Hope the sun’s shining for you today? It’s grey in London.

  5. Enjoy the freedom! You don’t have a million and one things to be squeezed into the time?

    My pooches would have resented deeply such allusion to their girth, and would have sulked. Even if the term is not fully understood, they are expert at picking up a tone which is derogatory.

  6. kate! i keep wanting to write to tell you how happy i am to see your posts on my iphone via google reader again…. (GASP!) i fought all this technology for ages…and now i am trying my best to keep the bad phone habits at bay. but i have managed to do nearly everything with it. amazing.

    anyhoo! congrats on the halfway point and for returning to your loyal readers! YAY!

    1. Thanks UE. It was all getting a bit silly with me writing, just not posting.. I am sure you will be familiar with the charm that putting together diverse elements adds to every day. I’m not writing daily though: I need to show the stats they don’t matter πŸ˜€

  7. I love the idea of half term. That sounds lovely. But even more so, I love your adoration of your iPhone. I have the same adoration for mine. It’s only two years old, and I have no idea how I ever lived without it.

    1. Mine is just coming up to its second birthday. I may need to delegate it to my husband and procure an iphone 4, but I never voice my plans very loud in case I dismay it.
      Yes, I am that far gone….

  8. I despise sleeping in. It doesn’t happen very often as I don’t use an alarm. My body naturally wakes me up at five-thirty every day. However, every now and then… It’s a miserable feeling.

    Equally, I dislike being called on my little hypocrisies. Don’t we all? Does it still count if the dog doesn’t understand?

    1. The early mornings are a wonderful time, Kristine πŸ™‚ You share Cindy’s habit: she, too, rises at 5:30. For us sleeping in is seven, but we still feel muddle-headed if we let it go on too long.
      God bless the dog, he has many crosses to bear πŸ™‚ But I think, judging by the tail and the moustache, that he has recovered from his trauma. He and I have plans for a Spring regime of diet and exercise. We will both be Baywatch-beautiful by June!

  9. Sadly, I know just what you mean about wobbling out of bed like a flustered camel. My bed is lofted and I’d like to say I clamber out of it every morning like a spider monkey jacked up on caffeine, but I know for a fact that it tends to look something more like a sloth who has suddenly lost her grip and tumbled to the floor in a quivering heap of frizzy hair and watery eyes. It’s not pretty. A delightful post. You have a nice, gentle sense of humor.

    1. Thank you Chelsea, and thanks for coming in to take a look. It’s always lovely to see a new face, especially someone with such a talent for simile πŸ˜€ From now on, I declare work days will be the spider-monkey-on-caffeine-look. I think that tops jaguar any day.

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