The children are finally back at school. On the first day , I missed them terribly, and just moped about in my jogging bottoms.The second day, I thrived. I baked scones, cleaned the house, wrote my blog, had a bubble bath, read a magazine and watched reality shows I'd recorded. By day three, I thought, I should really do something more useful with my time.
This week, I went along to the AGM of Shepton Mallet Branch of the Royal British Legion and was over the moon to be officially elected onto the committee, I also volunteered to become part of the local welfare team. At last, I have a purpose!
First call to action was attending the launch of a brand new 'pop in' advice centre for the East Somerset and Mendip region. It will be held at the Citizens Advice Bureau in Highfield House, SHAPE, Mendip district council offices, Shepton Mallet on the second Monday of every month from 10 – 12 noon.
The aim is that this new outreach service will enable members of the armed forces community, veterans and their families in the local area to access practical help and advice in the heart of the community.
Over freshly baked cake and tea- Colin Joy, RBL Welfare Officer explained the service to me. “Whether it’s a matter of money worries, careers advice after service or a much-needed family break, our Legion Outreach can help. We help older veterans with home adaptations to enable them to live independent lives and also offer support to families caring for someone with dementia through the Legion’s Admiral Nurse Service. There are so many ways we can help, if you just ask. ”
Regular readers of my column and blog, will know, that in tougher times my family has accessed help and support from both the British Legion, and the CAB. So I am thrilled to be able to give something back by volunteering with this project.
My husband ,Wayne aka 'My Big Handyman' is also offering reduced rates for Veterans and their families – call him for anything from odd jobs , DIY and decorating to gardening on 07403 661577.
We will both be along at Shepton Mallet Library, on Saturday 14th October , representing the local branch of the British Legion at the 'Family Fun Day'. We shall be giving out some poppy themed goodies, at the event, celebrating libraries week. Starting at 10am, the library fun day will have a wide range of free kids craft workshops, activities, story telling, live demonstrations, and half price DVD rentals, as well as cakes & refreshments. It's sure to be a great day for young and old. Please come along and say hello!
All of a sudden I'm in 'Back to school' panic mode. How on earth did I not check and wash the boys PE kits in weeks 1 – 5 of the school holidays! After finally boil washing the crinkled up stale sweat-smelling shorts and t-shirts, I discover both boys have out grown the kits anyway. That includes the fairly expensive trainers I'd purchased just months ago. This leads me to nervously make my reluctant children try on their school trousers and tops, as I suspected- everything is now atleast a couple of inches too short. How can this happen in just over a month?
School shoes are 'ouchy' now, socks and pants barely pull up, and the 'back up' school uniform 'essentials' I smuggly bought in the Aldi sale – are either too big or too small. Add this to the fact I neglected to empty lunch bags on the last day of term (leading to mouldy mutant cheese monsters evolving in the seams , plus quite possibly a new species of fruit fly!) and we've got quite a large and expensive shopping list.
Luckily, or unluckily- August was also both boys birthday month. Ofcourse this was a bit costly- but we found a great joint-party venue , in Shepton Mallet Leisure Centre. For £75 they provide a huge hall and boom box, a bouncy castle, about 15 diddy cars, balls and hula hoops, tables and seating. I did mini lunch boxes for all 18 children, and ofcourse – although they didn't have to, everyone brought lovely gifts and cards. These included some cash and even an Argos voucher!
Along with Grandma chipping in, and also buying some funky school supplies as birthday presents, all is not lost. Phase two of the plan involves mad dashes around the local charity shops- and a trip to Clarks village to have the boys feet measured properly.
All the clothes my boys have outgrown, and their old 'babyish toys' now they are 6 & 8 years old, will go back into charity shops ( though I haven't told them this yet!)
Despite some dodgy weather, we've really enjoyed the hols, but I think everyone is about ready to get back to the school routine. I hope they'll remember all the fun things we did, like messy science experiments in the garden, the trip to Wookey Hole and Watchet Harbour, Yeovilton Air Show and watching “The Emoji Movie” at Wells Film Centre. However, boys will be boys, so they'll probably just tell their mates about the underground roller-coaster they built in Minecraft !
I'm a 43 year old, mum of two little boys- currently living in Shepton Mallet in Somerset. I'm the Founder and Creative Director of Radio Shepton, a Stand up and comedian and spoken word performer, and write a regular column for The Wells and Shepton Mallet Journal. Which is the basis for my blog usually. I lived in Swedish Lapland for 7 years until 2014 where my boys were born. My partner and I ran a husky dog sledding business. Before that I was a poet, radio presenter, media lecturer, writer, TV producer, actress and burlesque performer ! I never want my life to be boring :)