We’ve just had two weeks of school holidays here. I had thought – given that it’s the middle of winter – it might be one of those breaks where time would drag and boredom would kick in after a day or two, but if anything the opposite was true. The fortnight flew past and when DorkySon went back to school on Monday it seemed far too soon.
He is a boy after my own heart. On the last day of term I asked what he wanted to do for a celebratory treat. He replied that he’d like a visit to the bookshop, then fish and chips and ice cream. So that’s what we did, followed by a beautiful early evening walk along the Hobart waterfront. DorkySon rarely comes out with us in the evenings – he still likes to snuggle into bed before 7 – so it is rare for him to be out in the dark. He loved the lights, and the live music that was being performed in Brooke Street Pier.
After a quiet weekend, during which DorkySon barely made it out of his pyjamas, the first week zipped by in a blur of swimming lessons, library visits and long walks on the tracks near our house. We were so lucky with the weather over the holidays; it was freezing cold, but mostly dry. On those crisp, clear days you get here the whole city looks ridiculously pretty. The light sparkles on the water, and the snow on top of Mount Wellington makes you feel very grateful to be down here at sea level. We had to buy DorkySon a puffa jacket though, so he now looks fully Tasmanian.
The second week was supposed to be a quieter one, but we still ended up spending a good amount of time out and about; meeting up with DorkySon’s friends at the park, doing a big clearout of the house (which is worth a post of its own – Marie Kondo has nothing on my son!), and getting ready for some friends from the US who came to stay for the last weekend of the holidays. They are keen birdwatchers, and were thrilled to get so close to several species that were new to them, like rosellas, galahs and fairy wrens. It’s funny how having visitors can so often remind you of how many beautiful things you have nearby.
They timed their visit well, as it coincided with the Huon Valley Mid-Winter Festival, down at Willie Smith’s Apple Shed. We spent Saturday sitting on hay bales with our friends; watching Maypole Dancing; listening to folk music; sipping warm, spiced cider; and enjoying rather too much of the food that was available from stalls around the site. DorkyDad did a performance in the Storytelling Festival and DorkySon loved all the people dressed up in outfits for the wassailing, especially one man who was wearing a cape made of teddy bears! Not a bad way to spend a day.
School is back now, and we have quickly slipped into the regular routine. DorkySon is excited to be getting back to the business of learning to read and write. He wrote a postcard every day of the holidays (along with a letter to Santa – getting in early!) and read at least one book to me most days. But he loves the structure of term time, spending time with his friends and then rushing home full of news to share. He patted his chest proudly on Monday morning and said ‘I love wearing my uniform again.’ The only difference this term is that he has also started wearing a wooden necklace shaped like a whale tail, bought from the Sea Shepherd stall at the Mid-Winter Festival. I’m thrilled that he is so interested in the world and cares so much about it, although when I found him with a half completed direct debit form we did need to have a bit of a chat about what would be an appropriate donation for a six year old to make… I hadn’t realised that DorkySon learning to write could be quite so dangerous.
After I dropped DorkySon off at school this morning I noticed on the way home that there are a few cherry trees near us that are already starting to blossom. They will get a sharp shock if we have any more hard frosts, but it was a nice sign that the warmer, longer days are on their way.
As ever I’ve done a few other bits and bobs of writing this month, and thought I would link to them here.
“My four-year degree was something of a reading rollercoaster. One semester I studied The Modern American Novel, and the next Medieval Scottish Literature. It always paid to read the course descriptions carefully. Western Fictions was not, as I had expected, a deconstruction of orientalism. It was novels about cowboys.” – The Book That I Had to Read Again on The Writers Bloc
“There is sometimes a temptation when you lose people too soon and under difficult circumstances to romanticise their lives, to suddenly start referring to them as heroes. But in my mind Marc and Philip have always been heroes. They regularly pushed themselves – both mentally and physically – to their absolute limits because they cared so much about the Arctic and felt it was their responsibility to help protect it.” – Death on the Ice in the Observer Ethical Issue
“It is a word that implies effort on my part. It implies choices; that I will at times have to focus on one thing and prioritise it over another. I will have to choose important things to focus on, and let unimportant things fall by the way side.” – Focus on Mommikin
Talking of Mommikin, I’ve just taken on an editor role with the site, helping to source content and find new contributors. If you’ve got a post you’d like to write about the intersection of motherhood and creativity, please get in touch! You can follow Mommikin on Twitter and Facebook.
Loved the half completed direct debit form
I love those cold, clear, Hobart winter days, nothing like them. The pink blossom on the ornamental plums is usually the first to bloom, way ahead of everything else.
Love Dorky Son’s thirst for learning – great handwriting BTW. Little A loved his postcard – there will be one on the way back this summer! Even winters in Hobart sound lovely – so much to get out and do. we have just begun our summer holidays. We have had some nice warm weeks but this weekend is set to be a rainy stinker. Lovely to see how productive you are being with all your published articles! X
What an amazing bird! All I can ever get to eat things from my hands are pigeons or ants. By the way, using letters to Santa is a great way to teach your son how to read. I did a similar thing with my kids when they were young. I was very careful to teach them how to spell “train set” properly: M-A-T-H-S T-E-X-T-B-O-O-K-S.