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.