SEPTEMBER has finally arrived and brings with it the more than welcome cooler weather, less traffic and, generally, less hassle – although trying to get through the San Pedro tunnel and up the Ronda road at some points of the day still requires a cunning combination of the calm of a Zen Master and the ‘I’ve seen a gap and I’m bloody well going for it’ approach of a kamikaze pilot.
The month also brings a sound peculiar only to this time of year. It’s a deep relieved exhalation of breath and a contented sigh as the school year finally starts and Marbella parents drop their little darlings at the school gates.
We all know that Spain is a wonderful place to bring up children, what with the fabulous outdoor lifestyle and child-friendly attitude. But the one thing that blots this idyllic vision is the length of the summer holidays. Judging from the stories I’ve heard from my friends who are ‘blessed with children’, holidays in Spain seem to start in mid-May and last until Halloween. OK, I may have exaggerated that point a little – not by much – but you know what I mean.
Not being a parent myself, I am pretty much immune to the trials and tribulations of having tots, tweens and teens. But I do find myself getting regular phone calls towards the end of summer from despairing parents, imploring “We’ve done the water parks, kids’ playgrounds, zoos and safari parks. Please can we come up to the Casita and have a day on the lake?”.
If the offer is sweetened by a promise of food and drink, then I’ll normally agree and invariably end up taking everyone out on one of the boats. The kids throw themselves enthusiastically off the bow or the diving rocks while the mums collapse gratefully in the stern, normally with a bottle of chilled white.
As well as the aforementioned audible sighs of relief, the other event that marks this time of year is the sound of yummy mummies declaring that ‘once the kids are back at school, I’m going to go to the gym/yoga/pilates (insert fitness class of your choice)’.
Which made following Social Media on the first Monday back to school even more interesting than normal, as the Internet was full of mummies posting about having their houses back, enjoying a cheeky lunchtime snifter or just dancing in relief around the living room!
Probably to Alice Cooper but singing “School’s back from summer!”