The boy goes back to school today. Unlike his sisters, he had a random day off from school yesterday. Way back in the mists of time we called them Baker days. God alone knows what we call them now. Probably 22.214.171.124 Testing days or something. He is not happy about going back, but I did point out that thanks to a burst water main on the last day of term, he has had seven days off to everyone else’s five. He can’t really grumble.
Yesterday I made sure that, given his days of woe over the holidays, we did some nice stuff in between running around catching up with the inevitable shed load of chores that comes after a week of putting your domestic life on hold. Mainly that nice stuff involved feeding him. Four days of not eating anything will give you a keen appetite and every time we passed food, his face lit up with glee and he started to salivate.
He eases into routine gently today with swimming taking up a large part of his afternoon. I can understand how he isn’t too thrilled about this actually, given that the school pool is an outdoor one, and they swim regardless of the weather, but it will make a change from being in lessons, and at least the pool is heated. He was quite excited before half term when he swam through a hail storm. Today, what with the wind and the rain he may well have to swim over several tree branches, but that will be bracing, as they used to say about Skegness.
Tomorrow he spends all morning visiting a Sikh Gurudwara, which he is excited about. We have many friends who are Sikhs and their hospitality is legendary, as is the fact that even if you’re just popping in you must be fed.
Even though he looks like Jason, sometimes you can tell he’s my son.
Tomorrow afternoon is taken up with Forest School. The school has a small tract of woodland attached to it. Some of it is available for the children to play in all the time. Some of it, the bit with the stream running through it, is only for forest school activities.
Every Wednesday afternoon for six weeks he will learn how to fall in streams, build dams, light fires, make bivouacs and come home with wood lice in his hair. He is one of the least physically dextrous children I know. I am thinking here of his short lived football career, where the school had to ring me to say he had run head first into a goal post. I suspect that over the next six weeks there will be a wide variety of things they have to ring me about. I am fully prepared. I have stocked up on plasters and tea tree oil. I have figured out the route to the Royal Infirmary. All will be well.
He is particularly excited that they have access to axes and knives and things that allow them to hack away at the wilderness. It is all very non PC, including the hot chocolate with marshmallows they get to make and eat over a fire.
I don’t blame him for being excited. I spent many happy hours as a child covered in soot and mud setting fire to things and falling down ditches, eating half raw potatoes covered in embers and poking at stagnant water with sticks in the hope of finding a shark. It is pretty exhilarating, and I’m very grateful he’s going to get a crack at experiencing it.
I can only hope, that unlike the terrible porridge debacle of cookery lessons, it lives up to expectations and he comes home with all enthusiasm intact.
And all digits.