Slowing Down

Two more days in the office, and then a week off. A week of working in the garden, tidying the hell hole of a house up, cleaning bathrooms, cutting trees down, and pretending to have a break. Because we all know it’s not going to be a break. It’s just an excuse to use up some of my leave really.

Because I have worked here longer than Methuselah, I have accrued holiday days year on year. I think I may have reached the maximum amount now – something like 25 days to be taken during the year, resetting at the end of September (don’t ask me why).

Even taking into account an already booked summer holiday, and next week off, I will still have 8 days left to take. I’m thinking that as soon as another hole opens in the schedule, I should reserve another week off. I have no idea what I might do though. I can’t afford to do anything expensive. No doubt I’ll end up either decorating, hacking the garden to pieces, or travelling back and forth to the rubbish tip – because that’s what everybody does on days off, right ?

In a few weeks time the children will break up for summer in the UK. I think their school year ends towards the end of July – returning in early September. I’m always surprised when I talk to friends in the United States, and discover their children get almost a month longer off in the summer. I’ve never quite understood how anybody can afford to send their children to summer camp each year – or college for that matter. Is everybody in collosal amounts of debt?

Anyway. A week off. A few days of waking up in the morning and panicking about the day ahead before realising that no, I don’t have to get up immediately, and yes, I can make some toast and a cup of coffee, and yes, the kids have trashed the house, but no, they don’t have to get ready for school.

Here’s the bit where I wonder about reading a book or two. We know it’s not going to happen, don’t we. When was the last time I sat and read a book recently? There is always something else to do – somewhere to be, or something to fetch for somebody. I can’t imagine the next week will be any different.

We also know that if I don’t have to get up during the next week, not only will I stay up until all hours jumping down internet rabbit holes, I will also getup even earlier than on working days – because who’s going to waste their day off, particularly if everybody else is still asleep and therefore not asking for help, giving orders, or complaining about anything for an hour or so.

When I was young, I always wondered why my grandfather got up so early in the morning. Now I get it. He could potter about during those first hours of the day and do whatever the hell he wanted, without having to explain himself. He could just be.

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