Camping with no camp bed or inflatable lying more or less on the ground is not very comfy. I feel like someone has been jumping on me wearing football boots. However I slept well because I was so exhausted every night. We walked miles and clambered over fences through hedges waded through swamps … OK so a couple of creeks but you know, luxury this was not!  However, fun it most certainly was! I don’t think we’ve laughed so much as a family ever and we laugh a lot as a family.  I don’t think we ever felt so close either, it was beautiful just being out in the middle of nowhere walking and talking no technology, just each other and the scenery for company.

The time passed too quickly and I ate a jam and cream scone. Thought I would sneak that one in. Mostly though we ate soup, tasty cartons of nice soup low in everything and given some substance by following it with lots of fruit. I was hungry quite a bit so I think I might have a good weight loss this week as I imagine my calorific intake and volume of food was rather lower than it has been of late.

Today we left my daughter to enjoy her own space again and we returned home ready to start back at work and school. It’s been a tremendous summer break, I have loved every minute of it even though now it all seems like a dream and as if it passed in a few moments. Only the heap of laundry, a mish mash of salty sandy beach wear and muddy wind blown camping gear,  bears testament to the past couple of weeks having been a reality.

Tomorrow I’m only in work for a couple of hours,  our students are back next week but there is prep to do for those first days when we’ll be putting the new intake through their paces, enthusing and orientating them. Even though there have been induction days already, there are many who haven’t attended and who will be in need of some familiarisation, so now starts the political mine field of ascertaining who is going to do what. I’m easy I’ll do as much as I can possibly fit in, it’s all very much worth it. It helps settle students and helps with building an early rapport both of which help tremendously with classroom management and engagement.

My son is back to school the day after and we swung into town before we left my daughter to pick him up a new uniform. I had to leave it until the eleventh hour as he’s been growing at a crazy rate this summer, if I had bought it at the beginning of the holidays he would be going to school looking like Bruce Banner after he’d been made angry.

We had a nice journey back by train which I spent responding to work emails and my son spent arranging his social life. His pre-start back excitement has begun with friends all busy messaging one another arranging meet ups and trying to coordinate buses and journeys. He’d missed out on some of it as we were technology-less while we were camping and so he had lots to come back to and I think that added to the fun. He also helped arrange a final summer holiday day out tomorrow for a big group of them so he’s looking forward to that and the weather promises to be good for them too. This will be his last full year at school, even though they have raised the age of compulsory participation in mandatory education in England now to 17 (it was previously 16) and his is the first year it affects, he will continue at college for his A levels. His next academic year is cut short as those who are taking their GCSE’s (General Certificate of Secondary Education) have their final year (year 11) cut short as most teaching is done and exams sat by the Easter break or not long after. Time flies once the kids are in school, it’s that breaking up of the year into three chunks that does it I think, it feels like only yesterday when I headed off to take him to school for the first time in the snow when he started one cold January morning back in 2004.

Nick’s going to come and visit at the weekend all being well. I had a few texts from him when we arrived back with civilisation. I assured him we’d survived and then had a good catch up chat this evening. We had a takeaway this evening for dinner. I was too tired to start cooking and so we had what I’d seen in the Times newspaper a good few years ago the takeaway which was voted the most healthy by far, a chicken shish kebab with salad. It was lovely and I avoided the chips and garlic sauce and opted for some chilli and a big glass of kambucha to get my system flushed with the stuff again. I’ve not had any for ages and I do feel less ‘bright’ without it. I do feel it is a real tonic for me if nothing else. I also downed a big glass of kefir which had my gut rumbling like an old washing machine within about half an hour but it settled and I’m sure it’s doing its thing.

Both of the cultures survived neglect just fine and at least now I know that I can leave them unattended for a while with no damage (it’s like having pets culturing food). My wheat grass had been harvested before we left so I’ve set a new batch now and my veg patches are ready to be harvested of spinach and lettuce so there will be lots of green salads going on this week.

Back to Darren tomorrow, I was supposed to go today but just had zero energy when we arrived home, it was all I could manage to do the laundry so it’s been a very lazy day for me but back at it tomorrow. I think I deserved a rest day that hill walking was gruelling, I’m not sure I was fit enough for it but I did it, it was tough though but a challenge I’m glad I accepted and didn’t back down from.


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