"FUIMUS - We Have Been"

"FUIMUS - We Have Been!" motto of Clan Bruce

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Wednesday, 29 August 2012

ONCE UPON A DREAM; Back to School Thoughts

A traditional English Cambridge Satchel
photo from www.Google.com
As the final week of the summer holidays draws to a close I cannot help but think back to my own school days.  Although I don't have any children, I still get excited at this time of year. This is partly because all my favorite activities such as ice-skating and dance will be child-free once again; but it is also due to the fact that there is the buzz of change in the air.

September is a time of transition from summer to autumn and we all feel this shift in the seasons as the year prepares for its slow decline into winter.
Of course for kids the prospect of going back to school is anything but welcome, but for parents it is time to breathe a sigh of relief that the old familiar routine will soon begin again.  I used to like school when I was very young, then I fell out with it in my tweens, before a fresh burst of enthusiasm for learning took hold of me in my teens as I was working towards GCSEs.  Even so, I felt that enthusiasm wane as the summer holidays drew to a close and the first day back at school loomed ever closer!   I don't think it was a reluctance to learn that bothered me so much as the loss of liberty.

Luckily my mother understood our reluctance and she devised a few traditions which helped my older brother and I be more inspired, if not by school itself, then certainly by the new season.  On the last week of the school holiday she would take us shopping for new shoes, stationary and school bags.  I still buy myself a new bag at this time of year and I have a special fondness for satchels - I like the old school traditionalist look of a satchel and I have a bright red one which I use as my holiday bag for when I am in the Highlands. I plan to buy a black or brown one this year.

Autumn fun begins with playing conkers!
photo from www.Google.com
On the weekend before school started Mum would start to ask us what we were looking forward to about the autumn term; this made us think of friends we hadn't seen, nature walks and fields trips, playing conkers, Halloween events and Bonfire Night...in short everything we loved about the coming season.  The Sunday night before the first day back in class was when we finally got look over our new stationary and pack our new school bags, making sure we had everything we would need next day.  As we chattered and packed my mother would be dishing up a home made rice pudding and mugs of hot cocoa as a supper treat, with the promise of creamy porridge next morning to make getting out of bed a little easier.  We would also dig out scarves, hats, gloves and legwarmers, ready for when the weather turned colder. We were Prepared!  Such simple rituals are what memories are made of so here are some more of the things which stick out in my mind about going back to school and which I am reminded of at this time of year;

  • Kicking through autumn leaves as I walked to school each day with my brother
  • Wearing my new Spider Man mittens for the first time - on a string, no less! 
  • My Victoria Plum satchel
  • My Miss Piggy Loves Kermit lunch box
  • Seeing our breath in the air and feeling the morning mist dampening our hair 
  • My brother telling me off for dawdling
  • Parting at the gates to my school as my brother went on to Big School 
  • The smell of the classroom
  • Meeting a new teacher...always scary at first 
  • Bagging a desk...always by the window if I could manage it
  • Standing in line for the tuck shop at break time
  • Playing conkers
  • Being a Milk Monitor...big responsibility
  • Getting into the school Choir

Even now in my 30's I still love learning something new. Autumn is a great time to take up an activity or sporting class or to attend night school; these are things I do quite often. Many schools offer a course of adult learning programs in the evenings; you could do pottery one term and cake decorating the next.  Schools are community buildings and they are not just for kids...so see what is on offer and what new skills you can pick up.  The only limits to learning are the ones you impose upon yourself.

Have a think back to your own school days; what traditions did you have?  What traditions have you made for your children?  What traditions would you like to begin? Remember that you are creating the memories your kids will look back on throughout their adult lives so put some fun and frolic into their back to school routine and help them to get excited!


  1. We have just, this very morning, been shopping for school shoes, and yesterday for stationary !! My girls LOVE this part of going back to school, especially the new pencil case and pens! !!lol!!!They are both looking forward to going back this Sept, one into the final year of infant school and the other into GCSE year and the final year of school before entering 6th form. I shall look forward to next Sept when I have them both at the same school again for a couple of years, and only one school run to do!! I have to admit there are always a few new pens etc for me too when we go shopping, and a trip to the library has yielded some new books to pour over and learn from.From Sept-Dec is my favourite time of year, filled as it is with the changing colours of Autumn combined with collecting conkers/acorns etc, then followed by Hallowe'en,Bonfire Night and finally Winter and Christmas.

    Hope you soon enjoy a child free skate session !! and happy satchel shopping :-D x

  2. Satchel shopping this weekend!! :-)