It always becomes a bit of a mad dash just before school finishes for the summer. Here in England, the school holidays can be anything from six to eight weeks long, and sometimes longer depending on the school and the location. It's a long time! And whilst I am sooo looking forward to not dashing about in the mornings, marvelling at how it can still be a surprise to small daughter than she has to get up and get dressed every week day, negotiating the traffic on the school run, making sandwiches, finding change for this and that, collecting big daughter from college during free periods when there's no bus service and the constant battle to get homework done on time, there is a little part (OK, rather a big part) of me that will miss the freedom that I have during term time.
This week has been all about sports day and class parties, finding lost uniform (we've gone from losing most of it over the year to now having more of it than we started with - all with small daughter's name in it. How does that happen?) and cramming in all the jobs that I know I need time and silence to think about. Baking muffins at a rather late hour ready to take to school the next morning. Running in the parents' race because small daughter asked me to. Reading and re-reading the printout of the Sockalong book. Changing a word here, fixing line spaces there, re-aligning photos. It's time-consuming work and not something that I can when there's likely to be a "Mu-u-um" resounding off the walls at any given moment.
And yet, in the midst of all this last-minute chaos, the garden does it's own thing, reminding me that it's only us humans who dance attendance to the hours of the clock. The vegetables have their own timetable and it's good for me to remember that. I'm really loving these rogue teasels this year, perhaps all the more so because I can't let them take over the vegetable box again next year. They're starting to turn pink now, just the slightest haze around the edges of their prickles. Beautiful. Just like the scent of the star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) which grows by the front door. I breathe in great lungfuls of the heady perfume every time I pass, and instantly I'm transported back to Italy on my honeymoon over twenty years ago. How powerfully scents and music can affect our memories.
It's been hard to slow down because of my desire to tick all the boxes on my list this week, but it's been good for me to sit just for a few minutes whilst I drink my tea, instead of leaving it to go cold or slurping it on the go. I've promised myself that I will take more time these holidays. It doesn't take long to watch the sun go down.