It's the last day of term. Typically, it looks like we're in for rain during the first week of the holidays. But Joe and I have already made a list of things we'd like to do on both wet and sunny days: forty activities in total, from kite-flying to cake baking, map-making to scavenger hunts.
I'm planning on a quiet hour after lunch to savour the last of this solitude. The house is dark and shadowy and I can hear the splash of passing cars. On days like these I sometimes walk around the house, just looking at and touching things, moving them around here and there, opening windows to let in some fresh air.
Joe has a little chain of crystals hanging in his bedroom window. It faces east, so on bright mornings there are tiny rainbows all over the walls. Our room, on the other hand, gets the sun in the late afternoon. Which is actually quite restful. And on summer evenings we can sit in bed and still read by daylight.
On weekdays I come home from school, make the beds, get myself a drink and come up to the workroom to get things done on the computer. I'll often put some music on too. That can depend on my mood - I actually prefer rock music, punk, or heavy metal when I'm listening to music purely for enjoyment (!). But when it's there simply in the background I'll go for something a bit more forgiving on my ability to concentrate: Nick Drake, Kate Rusby, Neil Young.
So this morning I came home to an empty house and continued with some printmaking I started yesterday. Plant mono prints with layered colours. I don't usually print with colour but sometimes I like to experiment. I start with the lightest colours first, let them dry, then finish with a few black details (today's job).
I work on the dining room table as that's the biggest surface and I can lay my prints flat on the dresser shelves when they're finished. Out of reach of curious little hands.
The next stage will be to photograph them ready to list in the shop. But I won't be doing that today. Time's already starting to run away (as it tends to do). So I've tidied away all my equipment, washed my inking plates and brayers and come up to the workroom to write this post. It's chilly in here; rarely is the temperature ever just right. It seems to swing from stuffily warm to freezing cold. Mostly the latter. Which is why there's always a huge cardigan draped across the back of my chair.
I don't know if it's something that is specific to creative types, but I need solitude. It's vital to my emotional wellbeing. Just some quiet every day to escape conversations and noise and stimulation. It doesn't have to be a long period of time (indeed, it rarely is) but so long as I get it, I feel fine.
That peaceful time though, those precious minutes or even hours, seem to go by so quickly sometimes. I think I've got it about right today. Work, blogging and now lunch and a break from being online before heading back out into the rain to collect my boy.
Hard to believe that's it - his first school year is over. No more playing in the sand or mud kitchen for half the day. His puddle suit came home with him yesterday, worn out and ready for the bin. All his certificates and drawings and exercise books too. I'll have to put them in a memory box. Next year will be all about sitting at a desk and writing and doing maths. And he's not even five yet. I struggle to understand our education system sometimes.
Still, the summer lies ahead and I fully intend to make it one full of memory-making and adventures. It'll be nice to step off the whole school day treadmill, the morning rushing, the laying-out of uniform and memo-reading and last-minute panicking. As for those moments of solitude: they'll have to wait until the weekends. I can cope with that.