29 January, 2016

Time and time and time

Like many parents, I can’t believe how fast my children are growing up. Remember how, when they were babies, everyone said: ‘Enjoy it while you can – they grow up so quickly!’ You don’t believe it at the time, of course, when you simply can’t see beyond the feeding and the nappies and the nights…

But, I can testify that it really does go fast. And this was brought home to me with a bang this week when I attended my eldest’s GCSE information evening. She makes her GCSE choices in just a few weeks’ time – how on earth did that happen?! I then did a quick calculation and realised that she would be leaving home in just over four years, which is simply stunning.

In another two years, both my children will have left home and my husband and I will have to find new (or rediscover old) ways of filling our time. By then, we will both be in our fifties – something else which I find very hard to believe…

23 January, 2016

Shopping in Newbury

We took advantage of the good weather last weekend by visiting Newbury for a family shopping trip. We had been there years ago but couldn't really remember it at all. We were pleasantly surprised.

There is a new, open air shopping area in the centre of town, which is very pleasant. We visited John Lewis (very useful), New Look (for the kids), Marks and Spencer (useful again) and Waterstones (looking to spend our Christmas book tokens). All of these are staple shops, of course, but they weren't too busy or crowded, which made the shopping experience much less stressful than usual. The modern, ‘industrial look’ architecture was also easy on the eye, making the shops seem unusually spacious and clutter free.

We had lunch in the Waterstone’s Café, which was a good experience. Very friendly staff and locally sourced food, which is always a bonus. Again, there were just a few tables and it wasn’t too crowded, which meant that we were able to enjoy a relaxed lunch. There was also a very nice-looking Paul up the road (with café prices that weren't too steep), but that unfortunately was full, so we couldn't give it a try.

On the way back to the car, we had a quick wander round the older parts of the town. The town hall looked interesting, as did the church and riverside walk. We didn't have time to explore these places, but I think we might plan another trip to Newbury in the near future, this time focussing on its history and culture.

05 January, 2016

Back to life, back to reality

My family and I had a lovely Christmas break -- almost two weeks with no work and lots of time just to enjoy ourselves. But that seems plenty and, in some ways, almost too much. There's a danger with having a block of time off work -- that you find you don't want to go back. If you're in non-holiday mode, accustomed to the rhythm of work, then you don't really think about what you're doing, you just carry on as usual. But if you fall out of the habit, then it's hard to get back in to it. And the more you think about returning to it, the less appealing it becomes.

So, perversely, I feel rather relieved to be returning to work (even though I'm not looking forward to it much at all). After all, I know that it'll be much more enjoyable when I'm actually doing it!

There's something strangely surreal about holiday time. And there's something to be said for the routine and banality of  everyday working life.