Yesterday we were due to meet up with friends for the day. Rachel and Kate are two of my oldest friends. We live miles and miles away from each other. We each have three children. Our lives are insanely busy, but we try at least once or twice a year to meet up in a great, noisy, rowdy heap. Yesterday was the day.
It nearly wasn’t.
I got the children up reasonably early (for the holidays), and we were sitting around the breakfast table when the door bell rang. It was about ten past eight in the morning. I wasn’t expecting visitors and it was early for the postman, so I was slightly wrong footed by the whole doorbell thing. I opened the door not really knowing what to expect.
What I got, and I definitely didn’t expect, was Tallulah’s friend Eleanor, all ready for school, asking if Tallulah was a) in, and b) ready for school? The answer was a) yes and b) OHDEARGODINHEAVEN NO!
I must have looked like a total slack jawed idiot. I literally did not know how to respond to her. Eventually I croaked out feebly: ‘Eleanor…is it really school today?’
She was now looking rather confused. It matched my expression perfectly. She swore that her parents had checked the website and it definitely said today. I started to flap in a completely useless way. If Eleanor was right I had less than ten minutes to get Tallulah out of her pyjamas, into her school uniform, lunch box packed, PE kit packed, school bag ready and into school. She would be late. LATE. For her first day back at school.
Mostly I was thinking: ‘SHITSHITSHITSHITSHIT.’ in a kind of running refrain across everything else I was thinking and everything else everyone else was saying. It paralysed me rather.
I was just about to ask Eleanor in while I went to check the website, and sent Tallulah up to get ready just in case, when Lucy’s parents (Lucy is another friend in the same year as Tallulah and Eleanor), who live a few doors down, leapt onto their drive and shouted: ‘It’s alright! They don’t go back until Tuesday!’
It was at this point that I breathed a huge sigh of relief, and poor Eleanor looked like she was going to cry.
I calmed her down and suggested she go home and start the day again.
I needed coffee to calm my nerves when I ventured back into the kitchen. I slurped feverishly at it while I looked at the website. First I found the return date for the summer holidays next year. They go back in late August. I wondered if this is what Eleanor’s parents had mis-read. I spooled back to this year. It did say school re-started today. FUUUUUUCK.
Panic stations part two began.
I sent Tallulah upstairs to begin rooting out school clothes, and rang the school.
It rang for bloody ages, and then there was a brief answerphone message saying that the school term re-started next Tuesday.
I called Tallulah off.
We were all absolutely exhausted after that debacle, which might explain why I missed the turning for the M5 coming off the M6 and ended up having to take a twenty mile detour to Kate’s house on top of everything else.
Bloody school. I knew education was bad for you.