A summer break?

The strange time distortion continues. The days seem to fly by yet lockdown seems to drag forever. It’s difficult to keep track of where we are at and when we might see something change. I guess that’s the position for the wider community but for us in schools and college we do have some significant hurdles to get over right now. We’ve got mass testing underway and to look forward to, we’ve got home testing for staff, for pupils and students and we’ve got to do all that whilst the children and young people return to their more typical educational activities, locations and structures. Thank you, as always, for all that you are doing to support the children and young people of this community; allow them all to get the very best out of the educational provision we can offer during these extremely challenging times.

The anticipation that dare not speak its name. Are you thinking about the summer break yet? Dare you think about a summer break yet? It seems that we have had, with the government announcements of the last couple of weeks, the prospect of something of a summer opening up for us. For many of us that will be a well-earned break after a terrifically difficult 18 months or so. I guess that many of you didn’t get much of a summer holiday last year. But of what do you dream? Is it to holiday on the mainland of Britain (in the UK, although you may not be able to travel over water to Ireland), or dare you dream of travelling further afield; be that mainland Europe or even further afield to far-flung realms.

One of the real (although terrifically minor in the greater scheme of things) problems for many of us, over the last 12 months or so, is not having something of a decent break to look forward to. Just not being at work doesn’t quite do it. Many of us like to get away, change the scenery, feel some warmth, some sun on our backs and so on. The COVID crisis has prevented us from doing that. On a personal level, last summer, my couple of weeks in Spain became two days in a hotel in the Lake District and then three days camping in the Peak District. Great breaks in themselves, and the weather was pretty good too, but not what I’d hoped for or expected. Usually at this time of year, in our house, we’ve got a summer break booked. That’s not just because we like to be well organised and well planned, which those people who know me well will know that is an absolute must, it’s more that the long working days and weeks we all experience need to be counterbalanced, for me at least, by the prospect of a break away from work, away from home and all the attendant issues and pressures.

This year I dare not look that far ahead. I read that the holiday companies have seen bookings go through the roof. I’m really pleased that people feel able to take that risk. Unfortunately, I am not in that position as yet. What about you? Are you ready to commit yourself to booking a summer break? If so, and it’s in Britain, good luck if you’ve got something. I understand that prices are significantly higher this year than they have been in the past. That’s a price that many of us will be happy to pay.

As I have discussed over the past few weeks, having that light at the end of whatever tunnel we imagine we are in is very important. Having the prospect of a decent summer break will be particularly important for many of us this year. Maybe it’s time to get down to Lunn Poly and pick up a few brochures?

‘I’ll tell you what I love doing more than anything – trying to pack myself in a small suitcase. I can hardly contain myself.’

‘I was at sea the other day and loads of meat floated past. It was a bit choppy.’

‘I’ve just been on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday. I’ll tell you what, never again.’

Tim Vine