Hooray for Half term!
Antonis started ‘big’ school in September and absolutely loves it! (Poor him…he hasn’t quite got it….he will be doing this for the next 14 years of his life!). Anyway, so far so good and he’ll learn soon enough. Pavlos and Joseph are feeling slightly smug that their school days are numbered (so lots of sniggering about Antonis still having a lifetime of school!). Anyway, back to the point, with his new ‘big’ school comes a new routine and learning how the world works.
This brings me nicely to the trouble I had when faced with telling him about the half term holiday. Antonis thinks holidays are when you pack your suitcase and go on an aeroplane and at the other end you get out either in Ibiza or South Africa…..so to say he was disappointed when he woke up on the first day of his ‘holiday’ to find we weren’t going anywhere is an understatement…..Antonis burst into fits of tears and refused to listen.
He packed his suitcase with all the essentials….his ‘shark’ tool which is a sharp tool that he takes when he goes into the woods with Pav to be Bear Grylls (it is actually a metal file with a blunt end – but he thinks it’s a survival tool), a torch (with no battery in it), the all- important pistol (which I am usually stopped and almost arrested for at the airport), a good supply of ‘bits and pieces’ (these are toys which are of no use to anyone – not even Ant). They usually take up all the space and are small useless toys that have come from crackers/MacDonalds/tombola’s/other people’s houses, and, the odd pair of socks from when he was about 18 months old as well as some woolly gloves (an absolute must in Ibiza in August) and a hat….that he had when he was born to come home from hospital in…With the suitcase packed, Pavlos, Joseph and I try to explain what this half term thing is. ‘It is a ‘holiday’ from school and work’ I explain. He points out that it isn’t because Daddy is at work, hmmmmm -we try again. As he starts coming around to the idea and we start promising endless treats, he starts to get it…slowly. ‘If I go on a train, is it a holiday?’ he asks. ’Well that’s more of a treat, a holiday treat’ I explain. ‘Good’, Ant replies…….’Can we go to see Daddy on our holiday on the train?’ Ant asks…….This sort of bargaining goes on for the whole morning and before I know it, I’ve promised that we’ll go to London, go for a sleepover at Nanny’s and to the cinema and yes okay, I’ll have a Halloween party for him. Some holiday I am beginning to think, with a timetable that is more exhausting than a redcoat’s summer itinerary at Butlins!
I suggest that we make a plan for the half term and to my surprise the older boys are quite happy with it! So, our first treat involves taking Ant to the Imperial War Museum, which all the boys love. This is an impressive exhibition with all sorts of aircraft and tanks as well as the fabulous 1940’s house (which we realise is exactly like ours in design….I would hope that ours is a little more contemporary inside, but not sure the boys agree!).
We start to queue for the Blitz experience – the wait is 40 minutes, it’s steaming hot and all visitors are squashed together in an airless environment…I begin to wonder if this is the blitz experience minus black out and bombing sound effects. Feeling slightly faint, I decide it’s time we to leave and head off for Covent Garden for a ‘Sumptuous Tea’ at Mercer St Hotel.
Having read about the new Sumptous Tea I have decided that this is the best treat the boys could have – a genuine excuse to fill their faces with lots of lovely sweet things – cakes, sandwiches, marshmallows, choccy sauce and enormous strawberry shakes – oh yum! We are all in heaven…..but noticeably larger than we were when we sat down….my new Next tunic is pinching at the sides and so we bravely decide to leave the rest of the tea (one solitary raspberry from a cake) and we roll home on the train…..
So, with half term well under way and friends to stay and trips to various places, we await the Halloween party which Antonis’ has been looking forward to for days. Being all super-mum-ish and laid back, I thought that this would be a breeze as I’ve already done a Halloween shoot and was going to just copy all the ideas. So, on Saturday I am all relaxed and tell the family we will decorate the house an hour or two before the party and do the shopping on Sunday morning…..no worries!
Big mistake – note to myself, never relax about a party! Especially if you are going to have an impromptu ‘hooray I got through the half term alive’ party with your husband the night before and drink your ‘wine cellar’ dry. Oh dear god, I wake up with a headache like I have Pavlos’ Halloween costume machete embedded in my skull, the organisational skills of Mr Bean and the enthusiasm of Eyore.
Never mind with my ever-supporting little family we get the house decorated, people arrive, I have a few ‘hair of the dog’s’ and all is well in the House of Contomichalos……Except I am starting to miss the boys now who are back at school, Ant is starting full time and Chelsey is moving to London – I am beginning to feel the effect of the ‘empty nest syndrome’ – oh dear….watch this space!