Breathe a sigh of relief, it’s all over

COMMENT: Going above and beyond is all in a day’s work at QA

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Parents of the south coast, let’s join together in one huge collective, exhausted sigh of relief and murmur: ‘We’ve survived the summer’.

It’s the first time I’ve encountered a school summer break as Molly is only five and just about to start her second year at school.

My initial thought after the break is ‘help me’. Physically, mentally and financially.

It has (in essence) been nice. Due to the early starts of doing a breakfast show on the radio, this means that I get home at lunchtime, so tend to have most afternoons free to get out and about and have some fun.

On the one sunny day we had in August, we went to the beach, enjoyed the icey creaminess of ice-cream on our lips and took a paddle in the ever-fresh Solent.

The other 40 days and nights of the summer holiday when the sun wasn’t shining became a bit more challenging.

Physically, my back is semi-broken (my own prognosis, I’m not a trained physician).

Trampolining face plants, tripping over slides in the garden and being smashed in the face with a cricket bat by a one-year-old have been the result of garden Olympics.

My policy on playing indoors when it’s raining has changed dramatically this summer.

Previously, I’d look out the window and if there was a mere suggestion of rain, I’d batten down the hatches and stay in.

Now, below a force six storm with a torrential downpour is fine for outdoor recreation. Just wear a cagoule.

Also, drip-drying in the garage is a great game that can be made to last for around an hour.

Mentally, I’ve been stretched to my very limits (some would suggest that this doesn’t take too much). Every day I felt compelled to come up with something new and fun to do, whilst trying to be cost-effective and a little educational.

With one child in tow, I can just about manage. But when I’ve got two saddled up and the dog, I feel like a man drowning in a pool of boggy ineptitude.

Do you put the picnic blanket down first and set up the food, whilst the kids are strapped in the car?

Or do you let the dog and kids go wandering off whilst setting it up the picnic, then whilst herding them up let someone else’s dog attack my Cheesy Balls? It’s all too much.

Finally, when it comes to money, I feel like a Greek bank. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve gone to my wallet to get a fiver and I’ve been cleaned out by the Dribbling Hooter Mafia.

The good news is it’s only seven weeks to half-term and 14 weeks until Christmas. Joy.