Spring has sprung! Someone pass the gin...
Daisy is our new online columnist for the Evening News. She was born and raised in Norwich, and now lives on its outskirts with her two children, aged 6 & 4. She likes cats, tea, pianos and the internet.
As I rifle through the host of permission slips and out-of-date party invites pinned precariously to my kitchen notice board, it suddenly dawns on me that we're nearly halfway through the year already.
A mild feeling of impending doom suddenly grips me, as I realise that this means the summer holidays are fast approaching.
Ahh, summer holidays. Those delightfully sunny, carefree days spent exploring the Norfolk countryside, wandering lazily by the river Wensum, wiling away the hours in Earlham park and generally marveling at how great life is.
Or at least, that's how it's supposed to be. In reality, by the second week the kids are bored, the house is a mess, my bank account is empty, and the alcohol section of the supermarket seems to have become self-aware and calls my name as soon as I walk into the store.
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Combined with the guilt of wishing they were back at school, and I'm inclined to suggest that the summer holidays are more stressful than moving house, having a baby and getting a kitten all on the same day.
Now, before you mistake me for a child-hating witch, I must add that of course, I adore my children. The center of my universe, the apple of my eye, the hazelnut in my Ferrero Rocher…
- 1 Mayhem at some petrol pumps - but how are other city garages faring?
- 2 SOLD! Royal Arcade goes for £2m MORE than guide price
- 3 Monster rats 'the size of cats' invade city - and get in via the LOO
- 4 This is where you can park for free in Norwich
- 5 Mayhem across city as drivers race to the petrol pumps
- 6 'Untouchable': People tell how Norwich killer left them in fear of their safety
- 7 New café serves a hundred customers in two hours on opening day
- 8 The Bill star reveals he has moved to Norfolk and why he loves it
- 9 Six new cafes and shops coming to Norwich
- 10 New flights from Norwich Airport to Jersey
But when you reach August, you find yourself fantasizing about being able to do the Big Shop on your own and have said, 'Please just go to sleep!' more times than you care to remember.
I don't know why, but for some reason the children just will not sleep during the summer holidays. My little angels turn into nocturnal demons, and I find myself musing upon ridiculous notions… Why they can't just go to bed with a Will Self novel and a glass of brandy like good little children?
That's why, for me, May always brings with it a note of terror. A more terrifying note than the one in the book bag from the head teacher, which reminds me the school dinner money is a week overdue.
And so, in anticipation, I begin work on my over-enthusiastic Plan For The Summer. A ridiculously long and highly unachievable list of all the educational, fun places I intend to visit during those six long (so very long) weeks.
Usually the list starts off with a dozen or so really exciting Mother-of-the-Year-Award activities like, 'Make plaster casts of animal footprints in Holt Country Park', 'Go fossil hunting on Hunstanton Beach'.
And by the end of June, it's a dog-eared, scribbled mess of 'picnic in the park x10' and, 'Put them in the garden with a bucket, spade and some mud'.
But this year (I say this every year) will be different. There will be an itinerary, I'll make bookings and buy tickets, I'll even invite other people so that I can't back out at the last minute.
It'll be a proper plan, and I'll stick to it. Failing that, there's bound to be a Playscheme somewhere, right?
Other than the looming dread of the summer holidays, May brings various challenges. When you live in Norfolk, as beautiful as it is, you do have to endure an awful lot of pollen from rapeseed fields.
With one child rather allergic to rapeseed, May is a month of antihistamines and inhalers in my house.
All of the lovely new school clothes I bought in January are ripped, stained, too small and lost, but shops don't have any 'Back 2 Skool' sales on, so the replacement clothes cost a fortune.
The cats' injections are due, the garden is starting to grow in through the windows, and the long-avoided spring-cleaning finally takes place.
'Oh, don't be so miserable!' I hear you cry. You've got me all wrong; I appreciate the positive parts of May just as much as you, honest.
The days are longer, the sunsets are beautiful, the barbecue gets dusted off and you don't need a coat and scarf every time you leave the house.
Plus there's all the lovely wildlife. Especially the happy-go-lucky blackbirds, which are extra loud in the mornings, awakening you from slumber with their beautiful song.
Every morning. At 5am. For the next six months.
*Insert long sigh here*
Maybe I'll do what my four year old does when her sister snores, and sleep with my fingers in my ears.