Ah, the summer holidays.
I have treasured memories of the summer holidays. Growing up in Cornwall, my summer was one, long seaside adventure. It was waiting at Penryn station for the two-carriage train: the smell of diesel an odd precursor to the smell of salt and sun lotion. It was sandwiches and squash from Tupperware, wherever we happened to stop: one of my favourite memories is of me and Mum perched on a stone wall, a herd of cows one side, a mudbath on the other, laughing about how we were going to get down.
I don’t live in Cornwall at the moment and unlike my Mum, I have to work but I’m lucky to have been freelance for most of my children’s lives. It’s meant that I’ve been around for the summer holidays but it hasn’t always been easy to juggle things.
I’ve written serious corporate copy for multinationals as well as sunny holiday brochures, sat at my Dad’s kitchen table in Falmouth. Then there’s the time I sat with my laptop at Winkworth Arboretum café, under the trees, while the kids cleared off into the woods. The library in Falmouth, the beach café at Swanpool, the coffee hut at Frensham Little Pond, all favourite places to write while they’re off having fun.
So, to my plans for the summer. As usual, I’ll be winging it. I never know what’s going to come in over my desk, so I’ve developed my own system of coping: it involves getting up really early and working until lunch. I don’t have any family in the area but my little girl, her adult brother and his girlfriend make a fab troupe – they are our future and I love seeing them together. Then there’s my good friend Jay, he’s invaluable over the holidays for cinema trips and afternoons baking in front of a Disney movie.
Of course, there’s the days when I abandon work altogether and we go off on the kind of adventure I went on with my Mum. We’re not far from the sandy woodland of the North Downs so it’s not unusual to find us at the top of a hill-climb, scrambling over fallen trunks or kicking around through the bracken (and the smell of warm ferns is the one of my favourite). We’re also National Trust members, so that’s a free and fun day out if we’re stuck for something to do.
So, not quite the Cornish seaside childhood I had but I think I’ve managed to pass something of it on to my kids, in my own way. And as an added bonus this year, my Mother lands this week for a few days. Let’s hope the sun shines.
Whatever you’re up to and however you juggle it, here’s to sunny days, new adventures and happy kids.
Amanda Fearn is a freelance writer and writer, looking forward to the endless days of summer (although now she’s 44, they seem to be a little less endless). Check out her website or Facebook page to learn even more!