The end of term is upon us once again! For those of us with primary and secondary age children the bitter sweet realisation sinks in of our off-spring clocking up yet another year of schooling. For many families it’s a time to spend precious days together free of the restraints of the school routine.
Whether you are taking a trip abroad or keeping within our home shores for a stay-cation or days out, the next six weeks stretch ahead of us with endless possibilities. For Team Athena, we will be optimising our flexible working arrangements to continue to meet the needs of our clients, while taking time out with our nearest and dearest. Nikki and Martine will soon be heading overseas for well - deserved family breaks.
Juggling childcare for working parents during the prolonged break reaches a further level of logistical planning. My own children already have time with family members, rink hockey camp, soccer school, riding lessons and outdoor theatre events booked in. The opportunities for our young people to partake in organised activities has never been more extensive with the social and physical benefits these can bring.
Equally as important alongside this I always ensure there is plenty of downtime and unstructured 'bored' periods as it's very easy to end the holidays feeling as exhausted as they began.
For myself being part of a family farming business, this time of the year is the most crucial and nerve racking in the agricultural calendar. Time away from home is something we do not even contemplate. Life becomes a constant round of weather watching with bated breath until the cereal crops are harvested and safely undercover. The days are long 15+ hours but are vital with this being the pinnacle of a year’s work coming to fruition. There is nothing like feeling the sense of pride as the first combine is spotted out in the field at the beginning of the season, complete with the overwhelming relief of parking it up again when the harvest is gathered in once more. Ready, for the cycle of seed to crop to begin all over again.
There has always been lengthy debate over whether the summer break for schools should now be shortened, but we also must remember our rural ancestors who needed their children for additional labour help on the fields during these months and where the tradition has its roots.
Taking a week off work for a holiday was unheard of during previous centuries. In 1871 the Bank Holiday Act was introduced which brought about the beginning of official holidays. In 1938 the Holiday Pay Act recommended that full-time employees should be allowed one week’s paid holiday time per year. In the UK with the expansion of the railways during the Victorian era heralded the seaside as a popular get away destination and one which we all continue to enjoy today, especially living in Norfolk.
We can also use these long summer days to pause and reflect on where we are along life’s path just over half way through another year. A chance to look ahead to autumn with new beginnings that September and a change of season can bring – new school, off to university, starting work or changing employment. We have the opportunity of setting new term resolution’s to see us through to 1st January.
It is also a time for our own affectionate memories of childhood summer holidays. I cannot accurately recall how I spent day after long day during the early years other than the prominent occasions of staying with grandparents and family caravanning holidays. I often wonder what focal memories today’s children will take with them into adulthood?
Later during the teenage years, I entered the big wide world of work every summer and school holiday, gaining invaluable experience and developing a working ethos I continue to draw on over 25 years later. I will always be eternally grateful to my very first employers and the belief they showed in me.
On Friday 27th July we will celebrate the inaugural #NorfolkDay 2018 and everything great our home county has to offer us. I can think of no finer or perfect place to keep us all busy for the next 6 weeks to make memories and gain essential life skills. In Norfolk the sky truly is the limit.
From all of us at Athena Business Services, we would like to wish you a safe and happy summer break.