For once, we chose the best week to go on holiday this year. The heatwave cooled the day we travelled to Gatwick, and the August heavens finally opened – for the first time in weeks – as we settled into the airport hotel room. Now, after a week of being blasted by Canary Island heat, we are back for the end of a much more British summer than the one we sizzled through in May, June and July.
And now the weeks are racing. Bank holiday weekend is here: the gateway to Autumn. The leaves turn, the conkers drop, the spiders invade, the nights draw in, and it’s all downhill to Christmas. After this weekend, it’s next to no time until school will be in once again, and it’s a big one for us this year: our youngest goes into full time education, and the full time childcare years are over. Big changes here in Casa Chamberlain.
In contrast, I’ve always found the turn of the calendar year from 31 December to 1 January a bit of an anti-climax. It’s nice to have a little something after Christmas to keep the festivities going, but apart from the date, not much else is changing – except you have to stop eating and drinking all the nice things, and go back to work. Several dark, cold months lie ahead before the daffodils and hyacinths start to brighten our lives again. It’s all a bit depressing, really, and I never feel like pledging myself to any big life changes – more like hanging on until there’s a bit more daylight in the world.
But this time of year is different. It was programmed into me from a young age, as I’m sure is the case for many people: several changes of school; the relentless march of ever more difficult academic work as the senior years progressed; the live-changing revelation of university at 18; they all taught me that September means new challenges, new fears to overcome, and new excitement. Even in my young adult years, before children pitched us back in the rolling round of school terms, I couldn’t escape the feeling that that September heralded change, and it’s probably because most major business decisions in the corporate world don’t happen until after the summer break.
I also find this time of year quite comforting, too. There’s something so reassuring about the milestones that follow one after the other – Harvest, Halloween, Bonfire Night and the twinkling approach of Christmas – that helps to make the new challenges a little easier to face and embrace, knowing that these shared, familiar community fixtures are on their way to punctuate life and bring a little joy.
So here it is, August bank holiday – the real New Year’s Eve for me. So I suppose it’s time for some resolutions, including the exciting project of growing my own business, in the daytime hours that my last baby has vacated by growing up, and trotting off to school. Sniff.