Our holiday in France was followed by a trip to Yorkshire for a conference. Since I wasn’t actually involved but only came with for the ride, it was an opportunity for a last couple of outings before the return to school. I took the younger 5 children to Nostell Priory, where we found a great adventure playground and and a good walk round the lake and through the gardens. The next day, we both took our twins and baby to the National Coal Mining Museum, which was very interesting, and where my husband and the twins were able to go underground into a mine. The weekend was only marred by having the previous three weeks’ accidents compressed into 3 days, culminating in the discovery of what happens if a 6 year old eats 7 cheese triangles and then complains of a stomach ache before going to bed…I don’t think the mattress will ever be the same again!
Now back to the computer and checking in on my favourite blogs, I discovered #BlogElul, which sounded like an interesting idea. Today is the first day that our school children are all back in school and it’s pouring with rain here. I had hoped to be able to write something about getting off to a good start in sunshine etc, but it’s actually more like, it’s just as well they are in school because otherwise they would be stuck in the house. I was thinking the other day about how the academic and Jewish years (at least in the Northern hemisphere) begin at around the same time, so that Elul and Rosh Hashana and their opportunities for self development and turning over a new leaf tie in very well with the potential for the same in school. We have three children beginning the next stage of their education this week and it’s very exciting. I’m sure there will be ups and downs, but as one of the teachers at the new secondary school pointed out – this is a great opportunity to begin again: none of the teachers and most of the pupils know who you are; if you had a bad reputation or were naughty in primary school, it can all be left behind. Sounds like a good metaphor for the yomim noraim to me – and changing schools is probably much easier than doing teshuva!