It's been strange to not have the summer off after eleven years of teaching. People keep asking me if I'm missing them and the honest answer is, "sort of." I mean, I'd love to have six weeks off, who wouldn't? But the truth is I don't need the holidays like I used to. When you work in a school you limp through the last couple of months of the academic year, desperate for a break, a chance to recuperate from the year just gone and prepare for the one about to begin. But my job now isn't so all-encompassing, exhausting and draining so there's no need for a long holiday to recover.
Not to be defeated by my lack of time off, I've nevertheless tried to make the most of my summer. I had a visit from my cousin, Mark, which was our first chance to spend quality time together since the 1990s (WHAT?!). My brother & his wife spent a weekend with us, which gave me a new appreciation for Leicester (or for the authentic Italian gelato from Gelato Village, anyway). Thomas and I took an awesome day trip to Nottingham for book shopping, cider supping, pizza eating and Ghostbusters watching, and I've had a mini bloggers meet-up with Laura, Elle & Becca. Sourdough bread was munched, Laura almost got taken out by a flying umbrella, and we poked around the new Delilah's Deli. Oh, and Thomas officially became a Dr, graduating with his PhD in a comically floppy hat.
But honestly, a lot of my time has genuinely been taken up by hanging out with the cat. Missy has continued to settle well and although she still hasn't quite graduated to curling up on a lap or on our bed, she shows her affection in other ways - like bringing us her favourite toy (a small pink stuffed mouse), or following us from room to room to sit near us. However, I fear we are both becoming insufferable cat people. Talking endlessly about her, even to non-cat owners? Earnestly discussing her bowel movements when one of us gets home (often before even a "hello" has been exchanged)? Singing silly songs to her, swapping out the normal lyrics for ones about furry cats? I'm afraid Thomas and I are guilty of all of the above on an almost-daily basis. It was when I found myself telling a close friend who's just become a mum that, thanks to cat ownership, I now understand where parents are coming from that I realised I had a problem. So yep, crazy cat lady over here.
And now I'm looking forward to all sorts of awesome things in the next month or so: an overnight trip to Bristol this weekend, followed by a dash up the M1 to see another cousin who's staying with my mum in Bradford. A few days away for Thomas's 30th birthday (but shh, it's top secret). Then I have jury duty in September, promptly followed by a week in Crete and a chance - finally - to relax after an exhausting twelve months. And, hopefully, the return of my blogging mojo.