The View From The Downs

The View From The Downs

So it’s September again. How did that happen? I’m still getting the hang of summer and suddenly we are into the season of ‘mists and mellow fruitfulness’. I’m thinking about ordering logs and we’re picking brambles for blackberry and apple tart. More than any other month, September seems to signal a complete change of focus and a speeding up of the pace at which we live, and that’s especially true if you happen to be the parents of small children.

For them, the easy-going, long days of summer holidays have gone. They’ve been replaced by ‘back to school’ time and periods of intense activity at the beginning of the day and mid-way through the afternoon, when crises can develop without warning. They may seem like minor problems, but they appear entirely unexpectedly and usually need resolving without debate.

A seven year old, for instance, can need convincing quickly, between face-washing and breakfast, that there are no style options available when it comes to school uniform. The tiniest ones need to be persuaded that going off to infant school is not the same as being sold into slavery. And most children have to accept that all new shoes squeak. “They just do. It’s because they’re nice and shiny and new. No it’s not just yours. Nobody will laugh at you. They’ll stop after you’ve worn them for a bit. Honestly!” It’s exhausting, really.

Of course, real crises do occasionally arise, like discovering as you’re about to leave for school that you’ve lost ‘Wally’ the class bear who’s been having a special sleepover with you. That is certainly panic time, but it’s as nothing compared to the sinking feeling you experience when the teacher calls you in at school pick-up time and says: “Please don’t worry about your daughter’s Show and Tell today. We all thought it was very funny.”


By Roger Linn