Signs of Summer

Oh! I do like to be beside the seaside

There are lots of different signs of Summer, those from nature, the first juicy red home grown strawberries of the year, sporting, Wimbledon, cricket and cultural, Trooping of the Colour, Glastonbury. However when you live in a small seaside town there are other signs of Summer you quickly recognise as heralding the season.

  1. Sand – despite how much I sweep, tidy and clean there is always sand on my kitchen floor, shower tray and car in the Summer months.  As you walk you hear the crunchy steps following you around. However it’s a small price to pay for living in such an amazing place and being able to go the sandy beach everyday.
  2. A Garden Full of Drying Beach Gear – After each trip to the beach, our garden is full of drying swimming costumes, t-shirts, life jackets, spades, surf boards etc.. Its not simply drying but shaking out the sand ready for the next trip.
  3. Empty supermarket shelves – we have one large supermarket, Co-op, one medium supermarket and a convenience store.  The Co-op causes me stress throughout the year but my levels rocket sky high in the Summer when the shelves are frequently empty of fresh fruit and veg, milk and bread. It’s like a game of dare when you enter, already this year I haven’t been able to get milk or bread on a number of occasions, I can’t believe ordering and stock replenishment is so difficult.  I am thankful for online grocery deliveries and that Mr S works in the big town for emergency supplies.
  4. Parking – Normally it’s quite easy and free to park in town, however once May 15th comes, all our favourite spots are under no parking regulations and parking becomes an issue and an expense.  In Summer, once parked at work I daren’t pop home at lunch or I’ll never get a parking space near work for the afternoon.
  5. Driving – Our town has an interesting one way system and the main route for most of the residents is through the town centre, there is no alternative.  In the Summer, tourists forgot it is not pedestrianised and small roads and busy pavements mean driving can be a challenge, you drive slowly and are always ready to slam on brakes as pedestrians walk in front of you.  The one way system means you are also predicting what unfamiliar drivers will do at junctions.  It drives Mr S mad, I just smile.
  6. Themed weekends – To extend the season we have lots of themed weekends before and after the main holiday season, they are musical, blues, jazz, folk, transport, steam galas and sporting, regattas, cycle races and a marathon.  These are fantastic and can make the weekend seem like a little holiday.
  7. Staying local on a Saturday.  Saturday is swap over day and in the 6 week holiday the traffic in and out of town and the surrounding areas is so heavy that a trip out of town is ill advised, there are only two routes in and out of town and both will be heavily congested for miles, best to stay local.
  8. School Trips.  Lots of school children visit our town in the summer for language schools and geography field trips.  As a teacher I am sympathetic if I get caught as they all cross the road and smile at the frazzled teachers, counting and keeping them safe.  I am also pretty good at answering all the surveys they have to do as part of their coursework although they are often disappointed that I’m not a tourist as the theme is normally tourism and what ameities the town should have.

Summer is brilliant in a seaside town and whilst some of the signs may be a little frustrating (Co-op!) I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.  It is the best time of the year and I love that so many people want to be in our town too for their holidays and to create happy memories.

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Little Sparkles

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We are definitely on a countdown to the holidays now. The children are enjoying the final school weeks, but there is lots going on and they are exhausted, it’s time for a break to relax and play. This week has seen lots of trips and treats for the children, whilst I have been organising plans for the holidays and starting to prepare for September. Friends have been surprised by my preparation but it means I can relax in the holidays without a long to do list. I want my holiday to be fun and carefree not fretting about school uniforms and gymnastic clubs!

READ

I finished ‘When God was a Rabbit’ and remained unimpressed. It was so contrived and the clues so planted, the tarot card reading and Twin Towers episode was just crass and it felt like a countdown of all the major events in the past generation with a tenuous link to a story.  I feel quite sad when I read a book I don’t like; I want to appreciate an author’s work.

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I bought a new magazine this week, The Simple Things. It’s a coffee table type of magazine and very aspirational but I do like its simplicity and ideas. Its inspired me to add a visit to a French flea market to my bucket list and I loved the articles on nature, lavender and beach houses. There’s a lovely visual piece on shells which I’m going to photocopy and use it to help us identify the shells on the beach.  I was surprised to some acquaintances in a feature, the seaside lifestyle is quite popular at the moment,  another friend also appeared in a recent edition of Prima.

WATCHED

It was the parent’s viewing class in ballet this week, so I got to watch Little Miss dance. She has got such natural rhythm and coordination and she dances so gracefully it’s beautiful.  I was able to record her perform a solo and sent it through to Grandma who was very proud and impressed.

I also watched a spectacular storm from my bed.  It was unexpected as at 7pm in the evening when we were at the school fayre the weather was hot and sunny, yet at 11pm we were experiencing a storm with so much lightning and rain, I have never seen anything like it.  It was a mix of exciting and a little scary, the sky was so lit up and I was genuinely concerned about a strike near us.    The pictures below are a map of the lightning strikes which illustrates how intense the storm was and the flooding in town, we had half a month’s rain in just one hour.

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LISTENED

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I have been eagerly awaiting the start of the Ashes this week and was tuned in to Test Match Special for the start. I have very happy memories of the Ashes series, both in Australia and at home, cricket reminds me of happy times, good friends and sunshine and TMS is the perfect accompaniment.  We do have Sky Sports and if Mr S is home the cricket, highlights and analysis will always be on in the background but to me TMS is the spirit of cricket, I love the commentary, talk and relaxed presentation, its perfect company and keeps me entertained and makes me smile throughout the day.    It also has the best theme tune to any programme!

MADE

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I made a new running plan this week as I have managed to run on three occasions this week without pain or niggles, I am so happy and looking forward to some races and achieving new goals.

I also made lots of personalised cards this week on the Funky Pigeon website, July is a very busy month, so I took an hour out to make the teachers and TAs thank you cards, and family and friends’ anniversary and birthday cards.  I have sent the cards directly to the recipients so I can relax now knowing that everyone will get a card on time.  A couple which were sent to me have arrived and I’m really pleased with them.  I do think its good value doing the cards online, I love to send beautiful, thoughtful cards and was getting a bit fed up with cards made in China, this way my cards are produced in the UK.

WORE

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I have worn two pairs of new shoes this week. First are my Birkenstocks, for years I’ve fancied a pair as I have friends who swear by their comfort and design. Last time I went shopping I was very nearly tempted and then felt a bit disappointed that I hadn’t tried them on. On this trip, I was delighted that the ones I liked were in the sale and when they fitted perfectly I bought them.   They feel a little odd to begin with but I think I’m a convert.

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The second pair of shoes is a new pair of trainers. After two successful runs I just happened to be driving past the running shop and as there was a space outside I parked and just popped in to see what they had!   My trainers are always my most expensive shoes and the only ones which ever wear out. These trainers feel good and were comfortable and supportive when I went for a run.

Happiness is ….. Running

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Up until about a year ago, I was a runner. I ran regularly with my club and on my own.  I ran races up to half marathons, did our club championship and loved my sport.  And then I lost my va va voom, I was busy and tired, a hard, cold Winter had ruined my confidence and then when helping Mr S in the garden I slipped and hurt myself badly.  The initial diagnosis was rest for two months but after this time I was still struggling and in pain.  For the last four months I have patiently trained on the cross trainer and cycled, my tentative steps back into running hurt me, the pain was too much and I returned to the cross trainer.  However this week my beloved gym has closed and I have been brave enough to try running again.  I was so anxious, the pain has been intense and I worried about my form, recovery etc.  However, I am so excited that I have now done two runs without pain during or after the run, they are shorter than normal, only 40 minutes each so far and I have walked a little but I am running again.   I can progress from here, I’m already planning a few park runs, a local 10 miles and a Spring half marathon and that lovely runner’s feeling is returning although I will start cautiously and listen to my body!  I feel so different when I run, admittedly I have run in pretty perfect conditions this week, early in the morning or late at night when its been warm with a breeze and I have managed beautiful routes off road but running changes me, it makes me happier, calmer, more relaxed.  I have time to reflect, think and plan.  I can listen to music and be creative and imaginative, it is my time.  I am so happy that I have running as my thing again.

Sunday Sea Life!

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Unfortunately, we had to change our planned family day due to inclement weather but we had such a brilliant day out, it was a very worth while change to the plans.  When we awoke to miserable weather and rain, we needed a new family activity and inspired by our breakfast cereal box, Mr S suggested a trip to the local aquarium. The link to the cereal box was that it had a voucher on for BOGOF and Mr S got sent out to the shop for another box with the same voucher thus saving £40 on our day out.  I do like a saving!

I have passed the Aquarium many times but until today I had never been in, from the outside it doesn’t look too impressive but inside it was wonderful. As well as the exhibits there was also a special competition to be a LEGO deep sea diver, so we had fun looking for LEGO toys in the tanks.  The centre housed all different sea creatures, rays, sea horses, sharks, turtles, ocean life and penguins.  My favourites were the turtles and the rays mainly for their stunning appearance and the graceful way in which they glided through the water.  I loved the patterns on the animals the patterns, shapes and shades were stunning, there is so much inspiration in nature.  As well as the sea life there were also simple rides, we did Crocodile Creek, a water flume and got soaking wet, much to the children’s amusement and Copacabana where the children could play in splash pools and fountains, we were prepared and brought towels and swimming costumes with us.  Fortunately by lunch time, the weather had improved greatly and we enjoyed our picnic and then were able to play in bright, warm sunshine.

The Sea Life centre was really informative and interesting and I was pleasantly surprised by its work on conservation and pledge not to exhibit creatures simply for public enjoyment, thus there were no dolphins or whales.  The day went so quickly and we all really enjoyed the attraction, best of all we got free return tickets for September to see their latest exhibit, we’re already looking forward to our return.

Little Sparkles

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It’s been a much more relaxed and family focused time this week and with our mini heatwave it’s meant lots of time outside and playing in the sun. We’ve enjoyed some nice family times in the sunshine, on Saturday we played on the beach and on Sunday we were at a local farm picking fruit. We were back on the beach after school on Monday and to cope with the heat, the sprinkler in the garden has been used to cool us all down!

READ

After seeing a number of recommendations for her new book, I have started to read Sarah Winman’s ‘When God was a Rabbit’   I am around 100 pages into it but have to admit to not really enjoying it, there seems to be too many themes, mental health, child sexual abuse, child neglect, a talking rabbit called God! It feels like it’s a contrived list of things which might shock the reader but which don’t interweave with a real plot yet. I may persevere for a few more pages as I don’t like to give up on a book but it’s not a great recommendation to read her new book.

I have also read one of Little Miss’ books, Judy Moody. It’s not a series I’m familiar with so I read it to see what Little Miss is reading and so I can talk to her about the book. The titled character is cleverly crafted, Judy Moody is a little moody but you see chinks of the person she really wants to be and how she uses her character as a defence.  Children’s books can be real works of genius and I think Judy Moody is a character we can work with!

LISTENED

I listened to an excellent edition of Woman’s Hour on Wednesday which revealed this year’s Top Ten Influential Women in the UK. It was a good mix of women from media, politics although I didn’t agree with the whole list. I felt it lacked contributions from science and technology and education. However it was still an interesting listen and key words seemed to resonate of the nominees, strength, dignity, responsibility. The number 1 in the countdown was Nicola Sturgeon and her interview was intelligent, reasoned and witty.  I’m definitely an admirer.

WATCHED

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Nothing on television, not even Wimbledon! It’s too bright and sunny to have the television on, I prefer to sit outside and enjoy the cooler evenings reading a book or jotting down a few ideas and plans. This week it’s been the children’s school Sports Day so I have seen the children run, jump and throw in a nicely organised afternoon of sport. Sadly the weather was a bit bizarre, we had drizzle to begin with, then bright, hot sunshine which led to the grass steaming, then a sea mist and finally heavy rain which led to the cancellation of the parents’ race, no sticker for me this year L

MADE

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After our fruit picking trip, I made a delicious gooseberry crumble, sometimes the simplest recipes are the best. Among the other random things I have made this week are lots of sandcastles and a pirate eye patch for Little Man who has become obsessed with pirates this week after Pirate Pete made a surprise visit to his class.

WORE

A dress and heels! It was our school prom on Friday night and I got in the full spirit of the occasion by dressing up. It was an amazing experience and the Prom team had done so much to make it an absolutely stunning occasion.

I also wore my comfy, well-worn Teva sandals when I went fruit picking.  They’re a very useful, Summer sandal and I was amused to read in the Times that apparently they’re the trend of this Summer.

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