The End of Summer…


I don’t know what happened this year. I’m usually so ready for my children to be back at school – mainly because I’m panicking about the jobs that are piling up, and I’m quite ready for some quiet creative time. Maybe they’re older and easier, need less organising. They definitely help more. They are so interesting! Anyway – for the first time, I’ve not quite wanted summer to end. We had some great adventures in ‘Henri’ – our camper van. Henri is new to us and we’re new at campervaning, so this was a bit of a major maiden voyage. But what with GCSE revision and bad weather in the months leading up to this, we never managed to get much practice in. Still – go big or go home. We did a BIG first trip.

In France – A little sailing, paddle boarding (not me) and a summer Luge!

After the Lakeland 50 I was quite ready to just sit for a bit and we did a lot of that in around Lake Annecy. Sitting and reading, and eating a lot of french bread!

My Mum and Dad marked their Golden Wedding in August and had asked that ALL their children come and help them celebrate (which is why I wasn’t at Art in the Pen in August). A good half way point between Budapest (my big sister is there) and Yorkshire is Bavaria, where we all gathered. From Annecy we drove through Switzerland. It was not a favourite part of the holiday! We had to do a ‘wing it’ stop which is tricky with 5 in a camper. It was very hot and a very tight squeeze. German neighbours in a large motorhome found the idea of all 5 of us in a van you could practically park inside theirs very funny!

I love being part of a big family. I’m the quiet, cautious sister. I wish I wasn’t – it’s just the way it is. But I love being on the edge of a gathering and seeing everyone play and get along. As well as Mum and Dad, there are 3 daughters and husbands, and 9 Grandchildren, ranging from 6 to 24. That’s quite a gathering. We needed a lot of space and lot of food! My favourite thing all week was a Thursday evening chip cook-off with Daniel and my two brothers-in-law cooking. Think Great British Bake-off, but all being done outside, by candle light in a spectacular 3 hour Bavarian thunderstorm.

There was another German family staying in the grounds, sharing communal space. One of them said ‘I love your family. It is so Harmonious’. I like that. We must always try and be harmonious.

After a week of us all together, is was just us 5 in Henri Van again, starting the journey back home, with a few more stops. How lovely is Freiburg??

Unfortunately our full day there was a Sunday so not one of the beautiful shops was open. Instead we did galleries and I gathered patterns. It was so, so hot that in the afternoon we did what the locals do; sat with our feet in the river and read books (though two of our party may have been also looking for treasure. There’s always something to find: patterns, bottle tops, pretty stones…).

A French stop, an English stop, and back just in time for Hattie to collect her GCSE results on Thursday morning. Being away was the perfect distraction, but the morning of results day was tense in our house! She’s worked so hard and the look on her face when she sprinted out of the school hall with her envelope told us everything. She was so happy. She and her friends had agreed not to share their results, only to tell each other if they were pleased. That way no one felt out-done. Isn’t that lovely? I couldn’t be prouder of my beautiful eldest daughter. Here is a picture of her ‘Congratulations on being brilliant Converse Trainers’:

She’s off to Greenhead College. A level Art; well, of course…

A few days out with the visiting Aussie relations seem to have been mostly spent climbing and hiding in trees.

And then, because it was so unexpectedly fine and it would be rude not to, one last trip of the summer to the East Coast!

If you made it to the end then, crikey – well done. I didn’t intend this to be so long! There’s nothing really creative in this blog post. Just family, and sunshine. But I have been planning. Something big is happening next summer for which I shall need a lot of help from the people of Calderdale. I’m running the Yorkshireman Marathon tomorrow (In this heat!), and then I’m done with playing and back to work!

3 thoughts on “The End of Summer…

  1. Hi Kate
    What a lovely, happy account of your summer holidays. Thank you for sharing it and I really loved reading about your fab family.
    I’m glad you enjoyed France which is now my home though we live on the west coast near the Ille d’Oleron.
    Henri sounds exciting and we too are contemplating buying ‘a Henri’.
    I love your artwork Kate
    Best wishes
    Glynis xx

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