Matthew Munson: The Summer holidays are whizzing by

Matthew and Bryan

Blimey, the summer holidays are already half-way over. How has that happened so fast? We’ve packed quite a bit in during the first three weeks, so things are going to slow down at Casa de Munson for the next three – we’re got to spend some time enjoying nature, taking it slow where we can and just spending time together as a family.

This weekend, of course, is the beginning of folk week, which has been a staple of Broadstairs for longer than I’ve been alive (apart from covid, which is going to be one of those sayings which stays around for a long time, I’m afraid to say). I introduced Bryan to it when he first came home, and now we go to the opening procession every year; it’s a little tradition we have, and it’s something we can easily and happily do together.

I worked in Broadstairs Library about twenty years ago – probably even longer ago than that, which is terrifying – and the Morris dancers used to walk past the library from the campsite every day, and then go back later on. Often, they would pause outside and practise their dances. I couldn’t see them, of course, but I could hear their various bells and sticks banging and clanking away – ever since, I hear the bells and am transported back in time to those years in the library. Weird how certain memories stick with you.

We’ve been away for a few days this week visiting some family and friends, and also spending some time together up in London. The planning and organising for trips away can take almost as long as the trip itself, or so it feels; it was the logistics that took some thinking about, but thankfully it all went according to plan.

I’d decided to pack a lot of travelling into one day in order to cut down on some costs; I was a little anxious about how it would work, but it ended up being absolutely fine. There weren’t any problems whatsoever on the way out of Kent, and equally on the way home this Friday just gone, I was gladdened to see that there weren’t any major issues. A family sat down next to us who were travelling to the coast, and Bryan and I happened to fall into conversation with them – they were genuinely lovely, and it helped pass the time a lot more quickly and pleasantly.

The ticket office at Ramsgate was a great help getting the prices and correct tickets sorted; I confess to being a little confused at the various prices, and speaking to a brilliant member of staff, he was able to advise me on a significant drop in ticket price by doing it a different way than I’d originally considered. I was understandably delighted, and it makes me sad to think these experienced staff members might not be quite so available in the future. I think the ticket offices are useful places and hope they can stay.

I’m back to work next week but condensed into three days. That’s a relief, because I genuinely want to spend some time with my son before he goes back to school and dance; he lives and breathes both of those things, so I’m very content to support as much as I possibly can – but, in the next three weeks, I know we’ll have a couple of long weekends together. Time ticks on, and I want to savour every moment of every week of every … well, you get the picture.

And, of course, I’m going to university in September – exciting times, but also nerve-wracking. I’m 42, so very much in the “mature student” category and with no previous experience of a three-year university course. I’m excited by what I’m going to be learning, and know that I’ll make the best of it – but will need to figure out my place just like everyone else will. I might be doing my studies part-time, but I’m excited by it nonetheless – I like to push myself as much as I possibly can, and this is just the latest opportunity. I know that university is a good step for me, and once I get over those initial nerves, it’ll be fine. Here’s to the summer holidays, but also to September for some new challenges.

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