Monday, January 19, 2009

Summer Holidays Draw to a Close

Swimming in the dam and trying out the kneeboard

It’s the last day of the summer holidays. Back to school tomorrow with Youngest starting Big school – Class 1. She has been apprehensive about the change and not sure whether she’ll like her teacher; worried about whether she knows enough for Class 1. She is only slightly reassured when I point out that she already knows a lot of her letters and numbers and can sing several songs in Xhosa and Afrikaans, having learned from her brother and sister. She counters with the fact that she only knows big letters, not little letters and can’t do sums. I tell her that little letters come at the beginning of Class 2 and she has a whole year to learn things before that. The biggest advantage that she can perceive is that she will now be able to choose what she wants from the Friday bake sales and not just have things doled out to her like in kindergarten. I’m keeping fingers crossed for tomorrow that her newly discovered self-confidence will get her through the first morning and that she’ll find that it’s all so easy after that.

We’ve just spent the last weekend of the holidays camping on the edge of Clanwilliam dam with friends. They have a motor-boat and all the toys, so the children were introduced to the delights of being pulled through the water fast behind a boat, on a doughnut or a kneeboard.

Youngest proved to be the speed-queen with the older two more cautious, but at the end of the day their favourite activities proved not to be the fast stuff. For Youngest it was swimming back from the boat to shore with Dad (quite a distance, but they were wearing life jackets and had boogie boards to rest on).

The other two loved it when we took the boat upstream and landed on a sandy beach, to spend an hour digging and lining their own dams with clay and constructing elaborate waterways. The whole weekend was a great end to the holidays and also distracted them from the imminent return to school and the incipient gloom that was engulf us all.

Bleary-eyed breakfast outside our tent

We are now hooked on camping. After last time we sorted ourselves out with inflatable mattresses and a better tent, a table and folding chairs, so we were much more comfortable and even got to sleep a bit the second night. (The first night the campers next door stayed up till two o’clock setting the world to rights and declaiming loudly over a beer or two, which didn’t leave much time for sleep before the dawn chorus in the tree above our tent got going.) We are now all set to discover all the wonderful places around us, determined that this year will will go exploring more often and make the most of all the beautiful places around us.

This afternoon we have managed to use up most of the casualties of an inadequate cool box: the milk that miraculously survived two days but wasn’t going to last any longer and was just developing a yoghurty consistency; the butter that had liquidified on the return journey and then set to golden hardness in the fridge overnight. Crustless milk tart is a very forgiving recipe and we have now done our own magic – turning the inedible into a treat! Maybe it will even make it into tomorrow’s lunch boxes to brighten up the beginning of term.

View from our tent at breakfast time


  1. Oh, that view from your campsite! Gorgeous.

    Good luck to the little ones with's such a big deal at that age.

  2. Sooo beautiful. It is always so strange to me to see you experiencing the opposite season that I am!

  3. That view. Oh, sigh.

    Good luck for the new school year.

  4. Oh you have taken me back a few years to camping at the dam.
    Good luck with the start of school. As you know mine this year is rather different to the last 9 years, but have spoken to him and he has already made a new friend, unpacked his clothes and seems to be very happy. Swellendam is a wonderful environment and they really go out of their way to cater to the individual - not like normal schools where you have to fit into their pattern to be happy.
    Thank you for your encouraging words this morning.

  5. The view from your tent is breath-taking!

  6. Beautiful camping pics! Ahhh I long for late July now and family camping at our local lake. Except for the mountains and all the trees there are similarities here with the western chalky rocks of Kansas. We call the sport "tubing" instead of the donut. DH pulls the kids on the tube too fast I fear. I'm a big chicken. Have not done the tube on the lake! Do not trust dh and his speeding and my over 50 muscles and bones. This is a under age 35 sport I think! lol. We must camp out together some time Kit! I'll prepare some smores, roasted wienies and 'hobo' meals in tinfoil packets for you over the campfire. Campfire food is unlike any other. ;) Have you ever been to the states? You and your family are welcome to stay with us any time for a holiday! :) Just be sure it is in Northern hemisphere summer...right now the winter is so cold and dismal. No outdoor activity and I'm crawling the walls for spring. I have a dose of cabin fever. Enjoy your lovely are blessed.

  7. what a very, very beautiful view. thanks for dropping by mine,


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